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What Borges Learned from Cervantes

Borges reinvented Don Quixote as a playful novel, full of surprises and unexpected anticipations of the way we read today. Across genres and over decades, his varied meditations opened new paths for readers. The following conversation took place during January 2016 between Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College, author of Quixote: The Novel and the World (2015), and publisher of Restless Books, and…

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Journalism isn’t dying. But it’s changing WAY faster than most people understand.

Think of journalism as falling into three basic baskets: The “what” basket, the “so what” basket and the “now what” basket. The “what” basket is filled with reporting in a straightforward manner on things that happened. “There was a fire at 8th and Elm Street today. No one was injured,” and all that. The “so what” basket is the why it happened and/or why it mattered arm of journalism. It’s…

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The Minecraft Generation

It’s a world of trial and error and constant discovery, stuffed with byzantine secrets, obscure text commands and hidden recipes. And it runs completely counter to most modern computing trends. Where companies like Apple and Microsoft and Google want our computers to be easy to manipulate — designing point-and-click interfaces under the assumption that it’s best to conceal from the average user how the computer works — Minecraft encourages kids…

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ink: Inkle’s open source scripting language for writing interactive narrative

Gearing up to teach “Digital Storytelling” this summer. Not sure whether I have time to add this tool to the syllabus, but I’m definitely going to play with it. ink is a scripting language built around the idea of marking up pure-text with flow in order to produce interactive scripts. At its most basic, it can be used to write a Choose Your Own-style story, or a branching dialogue tree.…

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A Video Game About Changing What Happens In Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Elsinore is a game where you play as Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. She’s stuck in a time loop, a la Groundhog Day or Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Her goal? To prevent Hamlet, a Shakespearean tragedy so tragic that it borders on ludicrous, from ending tragically…. As Ophelia, you gather information and interact with people to change their stories — to, say, stop Hamlet from murdering Polonius and, you know,…