Making smarter trash cans

I’ve managed to climb down the scaffolding in the pouring rain and get to an open window. It leads to a kitchen, and from there I hear voices: it’s the cleaners, or rather the hired killers masquerading as cleaners who have been dogging my every step. They’re watching […]

Professor Zork

Problem-solving is fun! I learned this lesson not from my teachers, not from a book, but from computer games. Specifically, from text adventure games like Zork, Lurking Horror and Leather Goddesses of Phobos. Typing in commands like “go north,” “take candy,” “ask sam about instrument,” allowed you to […]

Playing Soldier

Wargames are huge and always have been. If you think the latest videogames are anything new, think chess. Think toy soldiers. They’re fun, they’re violent, and they have a moralistic narrative frame that makes them palatable to most political persuasions. Not mine, however. I’d always prefer to be […]

When Reality Bleeds

Two ravers are discussing how ridiculous it is that videogames are blamed for inciting killing sprees. “Yeah,” one says to the other. “We grew up playing Pac-Man, and it’s not like we’re running around in the dark, popping pills, and listening to repetitive electronic music.” This internet joke […]

Too Damn Talky

Games are often criticised for not having any plot. What isn’t given much consideration is whether it’s possible for there to be too much story. The Longest Journey (Funcom, 2000) made me think about this a lot.