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Why We Dug Atari

Game collectors have their story, too. For them, the dig provided the extraordinary opportunity to get to the bottom of the “infamous Atari landfill.” Nostalgia had its role, playing upon the remembrances of 40-somethings hoping to reclaim a restorative piece of a childhood that Atari helped define. Searching for them reversed the expectations of a culture that values the past only if it is old and unique. Then there is…

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Meet the 12-year-old boy who makes games instead of going to school

Turning on the anti-clickbait filter: Homeschooler builds apps. Sam has been making games from his home in the south of England for “about a year.” He started out playing around with a programming language called Small Basic, a simplified version of Visual Basic, mostly making text-based adventures that are all words and no graphics. | It was Sam’s dad who introduced him to GameMaker: Studio, the creative resource suitable for…

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The 3 Scariest Words A Boy Can Hear (“Be a Man”)

Former NFL player and current pastor Joe Ehrmann reflects on the power coaches have over the identities of boys. There’s two kinds of coaches in America: You’re either transactional or you’re transformational. Transactional coaches basically use young people for their own identity, their own validation, their own ends. It’s always about them — the team first, players’ needs down the road. And then you have transformational coaches. They understand the…

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Text Games in a New Era of Stories

Clever NYT writer cleverly notices a genre that’s been around for almost 40 years, and praises as a “first glimpse” a work by an author and designer and ambassador and critic who’s been producing canonical works many of us have been glimpsing (and studying and teaching) for about 15 years. But beware the sentences of Emily Short. Because prose. And pages and stuff. Blood & Laurels made me feel more…

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Blood & Laurels : Emily Short’s Versu launches iPad Game

Emily Short (Galatea, First Draft of the Revolution), formerly employed by Linden Labs to work on the interactive fiction storytelling platform Versu, announces that her Versu game, Blood and Laurels, is now available for iPad. (The Versu team also includes Richard Evans and Graham Nelson.) It’s the eight hundred and twenty first year of the city of Rome, a year of bad omens and unrest. The Emperor is bloodthirsty and…

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Criminal Code: Procedural Logic and Rhetorical Excess in Videogames

Great example of the application of well-established humanities critical processes to the analysis of a technological artifact. Of all the possible options in the real world — increasing funding for education, reducing overcrowded housing, building mixed use developments, creating employment opportunities, and so on — it’s the presence of the police that lowers crime in SimCity. This is the argument that game makes, its procedural rhetoric. Naïve though it may…