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Robot Dramas: Autonomous Machines in the Limelight on Stage and in Society

A thoughtful overview of robots in culture, addressing the fear and hope that go hand-in-hand when humans reflect upon, fictionalize, and create our relationships with with mechanical workers of all stripes. Aaron Dubrow, National Science Foundation media officer, includes his perceptions of a panel on robots in theater, where I brought up the legacy of the 1920s Czech play that introduced the word “robot.” Theater is not an arena where the NSF…

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BREAKING: British Burn Washington … 2 Centuries Ago

Two hundred years ago this week, during the War of 1812, invading British troops destroyed two of the nation’s most important buildings — the White House and the Capitol. The war had started over issues of tariffs and the taking of American sailors on the high seas; by the summer of 1814, British fighters were in middle of a campaign burning and looting along the coast. –BREAKING: British Burn Washington…

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Editorial: Video Games and The Great Train Robbery

Through the development of crosscutting and other continuity editing techniques, many filmmakers (perhaps unwittingly) found “that the development of systematic narration and continuous action could also deliver a sense of shock, of percussive action that is broken and picked up again continually.” (Gunning, 311, 2006) The once disjointed forces, attraction and narrative, came together to function symbiotically in films. The same cannot yet be said for most video games. Many…

A Mind Forever Voyaging

A Mind Forever Voyaging review

When it comes to gameplay, A Mind Forever Voyaging also seems modern and innovative. Yes, it’s a text adventure, which some may wrongly view as self-evidently antiquated. But it’s also a largely puzzle-less, combat-less story that could almost be compared to games like Gone Home or Dear Esther, but with a larger and more open world to explore. It is a bit more intricate than that, however – as the…

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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…