Let’s face it, it’s time to give up on those Portal and Half-Life sequels

Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope. Best case scenario? A virtual reality game that is either based around Portal or Half-Life, or unites the franchises into one experience. Valve has invested heavily in VR and clearly values the technology as an entertainment phenomenon – the Portal demo for Vive is one of the absolute great products of the modern VR era. But a VR Half-Life or a VR…

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Saints and Poets, Maybe They Do Some

I wrote the following in 2004, when my son was 6 and my daughter was 2. The time is waning that my son will want nothing more than to play Battleship and The Magnificent Race with me all afternoon. Some day I’ll make a silly joke, and my daughter won’t giggle with glee, she will roll her eyes and say, “Dad, you’re embarrassing me.” I played the Stage Manager in…

In Defense of Liking Things

It used to bother me that people got all excited about the color shirt that was being worn by a particular person holding (or throwing, or tossing, or avoiding) a small round object. Then I read the Onion article “Walking Sports Database Scorns Walking Sci-Fi Database:” A self-described “sports fanatic” who experiences vicarious thrills through such idols as Mike Piazza and Tiki Barber, Moreland said he can’t understand science-fiction fans’…

The future is in interactive storytelling

An interesting piece. Easy-to-learn hypertext authoring tools like Twine and TextureWriter have encouraged many of my students to give this kind of storytelling a try. As longtime experimenters and scholars in interactive narrative who are now building a new academic discipline we call “computational media,” we are working to create new forms of interactive storytelling, strongly shaped by the choices of the audience. People want to explore, through play, themes…

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…