In fine fashion, I neglected to update the site to include all of the readings assigned that are external to the Salen / Zimmerman text. To make things simple for the nonce, here are the two texts that I had intended you to read for this week. Look at them if you have time (they are both interesting, Jerz’s article for DHQ especially so).
Jerz, Dennis G. 2007. “Somewhere Nearby is Colossal Cave: Examining Will Crowther’s Original ‘Adventure’ in Code and in Kentucky.” PDF
Juul, Jesper. 2003. “Game, Play, World. Looking for the Heart of Gameness.” In Level Up: Digital Games Research Conference Proceedings, edited by Marinka Copier and Joost Raessens, 30-45. Utrecht: Utrecht University. PDF
I meant, additionally, to encourage you to experiment with a version of Crowther’s Colossal Cave. There are, unsurprisingly, myriad versions available. If you want a quick sense of content, but aren’t interested in seeing how the game was really played, take a look at this version. Rick Adams developed a nostalgic instance of the game for use in a promo for AMC TV’s quasi-historical series, Halt and Catch Fire. (As for the TV series? meh. Too much quasi, not enough historical.) And here is a later iteration (550-point version), available via DosBox and played in the browser, as part of the recent release of games to the Internet Archive.
Finally: A may be of some use.
I have no idea how writers who post regularly and uniformly to the Internet manage to do so. I have tried, off and on, for years to do the same thing — indeed, I’ve devoted hundreds of hours to the task — but almost always without ever actually pushing content to the web. Instead, my blog entries tend to remain virtual: stacks and stacks of Post-It Notes; notes scribbled on the backs of used envelopes and on the kraft-brown insides of Petit Ecolier biscuit boxes; Evernote entries tagged “blogfodder”; .txt files tagged “blogThis”, “blogMe”, and “blogMe?BlogYou”; and at least half a dozen Moleskines, each brimming with cryptic, half-forgotten notes, quotes, links, and titles, everyone more urgent than the last.
So: In addition to the approach described below, I’m going to try pushing material that may be more obliquely related to our weekly conversation over tea and scones. You may find it interesting — but you are welcome to ignore it, too.
Which brings me to why I wanted to write this post in the first place (maybe this is why the content never gets out the door?).
I spoke briefly about Infocom and their excellent text-based games (circa the 1980’s). We’ll pursue them further at some point in the future, but for now, if you’ve some time on your hands, consider inviting the extraordinary author and narrative-technologist Emily Short into your corner of the spacetime continuum. In this episode of her podcast, the venerable Short focuses on genre for which she has been one of the most able torch-bearers, “interactive fiction.”
The page on her site includes lots of related links. Think of it as though you’d just run into, say, Emily Dickinson at the grocery, and asked her “So, whatcha been reading? Anything good?”
The Short Game: Interactive Fiction