Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In May, 2002, I was blogging about… typefaces in period movies; poets Paul Dirac and Stewart Conn; web usability; fired for making a satirical game

In May, 2002, I was blogging about Rating historical movies on how accurately they represent period typefaces The average UK reader spends 17 minutes a day reading a newspaper, compared to 11 minutes reading a novel. Paul Dirac, honorary poet laureate of modern physics. Student web project on poet Stewart Conn’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party” Fired for making a game (a government meat popsicle creates a satirical game that his superiors never bothered to play) Creator of Nancy Drew dies at 96 Why won’t we read the manual? Put a search box on your home page, not just a…

Move Along Home (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 1, Episode 10) Hopscotch Cringe Shenanigans

Rewatching ST:DS9 I was kind of dreading rewatching this “trapped in a board game” episode, but it wasn’t as bad as I remembered. But that’s not saying much, because I remember it as a cringeworthy mess. I liked Sisko’s attempt to bring up “the talk” with Jake by likening a first contact to a first date with a girl, and I liked that he got interrupted quickly — we can imagine how the rest of that lecture would have gone. Sisko’s resolve to do the first contact thing right fades after the Wadi play games at Quark’s for six hours.…

Inform 7 is now open source

Inform is a design system for interactive fiction based on natural language, and consists of a core compiler, together with extensions, kits and other resources, a number of outlying tools, and documentation, along with applications presenting the system in a friendly way on MacOS, Windows and Linux. This software had been used extensively since 28 April 2006, but by 2016 its source code was in considerable need of modernisation. In part that was wear-and-tear, but it was also the effect of years of experiment in which the code was often built without a full understanding of the concepts it was…

Q-Less (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 1, Episode 6) Shenanigans with Vash and Q

Rewatching ST:DS9 In the teaser, Bashir is monologuing for an evidently awestruck Bajoran woman, while O’Brien looks on scornfully.  A barely functional runabout has just made it back through the wormhole. Dax has picked up a passenger, whom O’Brien recognizes as Vash.   I enjoyed Vash’s chemistry with Picard in her first appearance (TNG s3e19 “Captain’s Holiday“), and though the Robin Hood sequence was the occasion for some great comedy in her return (s4e20 “Q-Pid“), this episode that hinges on the Q / Vash relationship just doesn’t work for me. Q needs to be credibly menacing in order for it to…

Captive Pursuit (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 1, Episode 6) O’Brien Befriends a Nervous, Hunted Alien

Rewatching ST:DS9 Sisko is listening to a sexual harassment complaint from one of Quark’s employees when an unexpected ship arrives through the wormhole — the Alpha Quadrant’s first visitor from the other side.  The ship’s pilot is jumpy; O’Brien gets him to relax a bit, but when asked his name, species, and job, the new arrival says only “I am Tosk.” When O’Brien deposits him in a guest room, he immediately asks the computer where the weapons are stored.  O’Brien tells Sisko he thinks the ship was fired on. Later at Quark’s (where O’Brien annoys the proprietor by calling him…

Mobile is a “really punishing format” for indies, says inkle’s Jon Ingold

Mobile is a really punishing format for independent developers. It used to be that the App Stores drove users to find games in viable quantities – 80 Days certainly benefitted enormously from Apple’s Editorial featuring – but that process has largely stopped. To be big – which is to say, to be viable – on the App Store now, a game needs to have a lot of push behind, a lot of other strategies for finding users and keeping them. That all means up-front money, investment, and ultimately a loss of creative independence. There’re plenty of studios thriving in that…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In April, 2002, I was blogging about an autistic person’s guide to asking a girl on a date; The Inform 6 Beginner’s Guide; broken links;

In April, 2002, I was blogging about Instructions for “Asking a Girl on a Date” (autistics.org) The Inform Beginner’s Guide (I edited this book on programming text adventure games in Inform 6) Broken Links: Just How Rapidly do Science Education Hyperlinks Go Extinct? (yes, the link was broken but I linked to the backup on the Internet Archive) Faking It: Sex, Lies and Women’s Magazines “Prenatal memory and learning” (language acquisition begins before birth) “Did I Miss Anything?” (poet’s creative response to a “question frequently asked by students after missing a class”) A Salon article mocking the New York Times…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In March, 2002, I was blogging about…

In March, 2002, I was blogging about The coming era of participatory news The “Worst Manual Contest” Ancient “Domesday Book” outlives electronic version (that article is also gone… but here’s contemporary coverage from Slashdot) My own text-adventure game “Fine-Tuned: An Auto-mated Romance“ PBS special “Merchants of Cool” (early observations about the cultural feedback loop as teens engage with, internalize, and mirror back the images marketers use to sell products) The Gettysburg Address on PowerPoint Star Trek Chaplains? (and religion on Babylon 5) Turn of the Century (the standardization of screws) William Shatner’s Blog

The beauty from some Olympic skaters was not worth seeing a child emotionally broken on live television.

I didn’t watch any of the video, and I have no desire to. This article was painful to read. “I hate it! … I don’t want to do anything in figure skating ever in my life! … Everyone has a gold medal, and I don’t!” One can forgive a teenage girl for having an emotional response to disappointment in a high-stakes situation, but Trusova’s reaction was an ugly display of poor sportsmanship, happening mere feet from a devastated Valieva. Trusova would later have to be coaxed into even coming back onto the ice to accept her second place finish. As Valieva…

Academics want to preserve video games. The game industry is fighting them in court.

For decades, champions of the video game industry have touted gaming’s cultural impact as the equal of literature, film and music. Traditionally, the classic works from those mediums have been preserved for study by future generations, and amid gaming’s global rise in relevance, a group of video game scholars and advocates is pushing to preserve the game industry’s historic titles and legacy in a similar fashion. In the process, though, the would-be preservationists have found a number of challenges that include, ironically, legal opposition from video game companies and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), a trade organization that lobbies on…

Starship Mine (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 18) Picard out-thinks thieves raiding an evacuated Enterprise-D

Rewatching ST:TNG Picard plays cat-and-mouse with thugs when the Enterprise is evacuated for routine maintenance. During a long tracking shot, Picard bumps into senior staff members who just happen to be standing in the corridor with administrative problems for him to solve. In the turbolift, Data tries out his new “small talk during awkward moments” subroutine, and Picard recommends he meet Commander Hutchinson at this afternoon’s reception on Arkaria Base. On his way off the ship, Picard pauses to take in the empty bridge, as the local work crew arrives to set up equipment.  At the reception, Data observes the…

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Ship in a Bottle (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 12) Barclay’s holodeck hack brings a mastermind back, that’s a-foul play

Rewatching ST:TNG Data and LaForge are enjoying a Sherlock Holmes holoprogram when LaForge notices an NPC glitch. Because they have more important things to do, they call Barclay, who inadvertently activates the sentient Moriarty simulation (from s2e3, “Elementary, Dear Data“). Picard is shocked to learn that Moriarty has experienced consciousness while stored in the computer databank. Moriarty becomes convinced Picard lied to him about asking Starfleet to work on a method to let Moriarty exist off the holodeck. Moriarty shows a stunned Picard, Data and Barclay that he can leave the holodeck and walk out into the corridor without disappearing.…

Into the depths of code. Algorithmic archaeologies and cave fantasies in video games

The full article (by Angelo Careriis) in French, but there is an English abstract, and Google Translate is just a few clicks away. By examining a mixed body composed of video games linked to the American hacker culture (Colossal Cave Adventure, Rogue, Dwarf Fortress), and some academic research that examine these objects with an experimental and transdisciplinary approach (speleology, archaeology), this paper deals with the metaphor of cave exploration applied to computer programing. Colossal Cave Adventure, a text-based game that was created by an experienced spelunker after a series of expeditions in the Mammoth Cave system, plays an important role…