In Defense of Liking Things

It used to bother me that people got all excited about the color shirt that was being worn by a particular person holding (or throwing, or tossing, or avoiding) a small round object. Then I read the Onion article “Walking Sports Database Scorns Walking Sci-Fi Database:” A self-described “sports fanatic” who experiences vicarious thrills through such idols as Mike Piazza and Tiki Barber, Moreland said he can’t understand science-fiction fans’…

The future is in interactive storytelling

An interesting piece. Easy-to-learn hypertext authoring tools like Twine and TextureWriter have encouraged many of my students to give this kind of storytelling a try. As longtime experimenters and scholars in interactive narrative who are now building a new academic discipline we call “computational media,” we are working to create new forms of interactive storytelling, strongly shaped by the choices of the audience. People want to explore, through play, themes…

As CRT Supplies Vanish the Classic Arcade Machine is Virtually Dead

If you understand the environment in which medieval scholars created and used books, you can better appreciate why medieval books look and function the way they do. Understanding the cultural impact of computers requires us to study the development of both hardware and technology. Playing a text adventure game on an iOS device is convenient, but does not capture the physicality of the original games, with their instruction manuals (often…

First They Got Sick, Then They Moved Into a Virtual Utopia

When my son was about five, I sat him on my lap and let him explore the world of Riven (the sequel to the point-and-click adventure Myst). I remember feeling his back muscles tense up when he approached a cave and the music got creepy. “Can I go in?” he asked. I told him he could do whatever he wanted. He turned to look at me, as if to assess…

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New “Adventure” Details from Will Crowther in Mammoth Cave Book

The new book from the University of Kentucky Press, Mammoth Cave Curiosities” A Guide to Rockphobia, Dating, Saber-toothed Cats and Other Subterranean Marvels, offers some new tidbits from Will Crowther about his ground-breaking 1970s computer game, “Colossal Cave Adventure.” In a subsection confidently headed “The First Computer Adventure Game,” we find this weaselly clunker: “Developed in 1976, Adventure was probably the first computer adventure or IF game…” (217). Probably? Of course…