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A Pedestal, A Table, A Love Letter: Archaeologies of Gender in Videogame History

A thoughtful, informative article on the importance of Roberta Williams, co-founder of Sierra Online (an adventure game titan from the 1980s). Drawing from both media archaeology and feminist cultural studies, this contribution first outlines the function Roberta Williams serves as a gendered subject of game history. The remainder of the essay is organized as three short, non-chronological vignettes about specific objects and practices in the biography of Roberta Williams. Attention…

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Oregon Trail: How three Minnesotans forged its path

Rawitsch, a lanky, bespectacled 21-year-old with hair well over his ears, was both a perfectionist and an idealist. He started dressing as historical figures in an attempt to win over his students, appearing in the classroom as explorer Meriwether Lewis. By now he’d made it through to the western expansion unit, and he had in mind his boldest idea yet. What he had so far was a board game tracing…

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Rehearsing ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is like trying to herd cats onto a grid and make them walk it perfectly.

I’m really enjoying the experience. I’ve made a playlist of all the numbers I’m in, and as I drive or do laundry I’m mentally practicing the choreography. What do we do again after the sunburst? Am I supposed to cut in front of or behind Travis when we zip our two separate lines into a single ring around the ghostly, curse-shrieking, ladder-mounted Fruma Sara? Rehearsing ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is…

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The Sentence That Knocked Down the Berlin Wall (But Almost Didn’t)

Words that defined Ronald Reagan’s presidency, as remembered by the White House speechwriter. As a speechwriter you spent your working life watching Reagan, talking about Reagan, reading about Reagan, attempting to inhabit the very mind of Reagan. When you joined him in the Oval Office, you didn’t want to hear him say simply that he liked your work. You wanted to get him talking, revealing himself. So you’d go into…

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The First Programmer Was a Lady

Over a hundred years before a monstrous array of vacuum tubes surged into history in an overheated room in Pennsylvania, a properly attired Victorian Gentleman demonstrated an elegant little mechanism of wood and brass in a London drawing room. One of the ladies attending this demonstration brought along the daughter of a friend. She was a teenager with long dark hair, a talent for mathematics, and a weakness for wagering…