rp_image2-300x187.jpg
1

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…

image
1

Star Wars: TIE Fighter 20th Anniversary Retrospective

In the Star Wars films, the empire is evil to the core. But TIE Fighter let you see the empire from a new perspective. The game didn’t make you feel like a bad person doing bad things, but like a pilot who might reasonably have believed that what he was doing was in the galaxy’s best interests. | Now, some 20 years later, it’s extremely common for games to let…

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 3.11.56 PM
2

Rediscovering Infocom Games With My Kids

  Call it the Familyhood of the Traveling Interactive Fiction Pants. Even though we all have very different needs, the games fit each of us perfectly. It is not unusual to find all three of us sitting on the sofa, exploring a world and arguing over which direction to go. Every afternoon, it’s like getting to go on a really great family trip except with no laundry to do afterward.…

image

Text Adventure Geeks Rejoice: Major Inform7 Update

I have final grades, an annual report, and a video project for a publisher to finish before I unleash my inner nerd and install the latet Inform7 update. (Inform7 is a free programming language and development environment for writing command-line computer games in the spirit of Zork and Colossal Cave Adventure.) This release is a major reform of a now-mature language which is widely used, and it has been over…