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…

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Down with Fake Politics! Down with Fake Government! Long Live the Free Press!

You can’t get much more American than Thomas Jefferson. He did not love every newspaper reporter on the planet; however, he wrote that, if forced to choose between government without newspapers or a newspaper without government, he would not hesitate to choose a newspaper without government (under certain very sensible conditions). The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to…

Fake Kitsch! Not Really the 80s!

There is a part of me that misses the 80s. I miss the loud grating sound a floppy drive disk would make for a second or two before it loaded a new area of your text-based adventure game. You knew, when you heard that sound, that something important was happening. Everything about this “How To Do the Thriller” dance video is loud and grating. Note that I don’t actually miss…

York Corpus Christi Play Simulator Screencast (PSim 2.1; D.G. Jerz)

Another digital artifact lives. The York Corpus Christi Pageant Simulator was my first serious accomplishment in digital humanities. After I learned all the medieval drama content from a class with Andrea Johnston at the University of Toronto, I made the computer program as part of a humanities computing course with Willard McCarthy in 1994, and published a poster paper and an updated version over the next few years. This simulation…

My 20-year-old Java Program Is Broken!

So a harmless little Java program I wrote in 1997 no longer works, due to security updates in modern browsers. It’s a simulation of medieval pageant wagons in the town of York, England. I wish I’d recorded a screencast of myself demonstrating it while it worked. I imagine it will be possible to get it working somehow, but it will no longer simply work as an app embedded in a…