Questing for Choice(s)

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There is a fundamental issue with how we (as academics, players, and creators) view game narratives. This particular art form leaves room for player intervention, for changes and transformations, however, such interactivity has done little to push the boundaries of storytelling beyond alternate endings and perpetual quests. Is this as far as stories can go? … Read more

Writing By Design

The most obvious connection between writing and design is communication. Graphic designers communicate through visual elements, and writers communicate through the written word. Although they make use of different tools, essentially they both foreground methods that bring about an exchange of information. But can learning graphic design help us understand something about writing?

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Twine Games: The Digital Author

In this way is revealed the whole being of writing: a text consists of multiple writings, issuing from several cultures and entering into dialogue with each other, into parody, into contestation; but there is one place where this multiplicity is collected, united, and this place is not the author, as we have hitherto said it was, but the reader. Roland Barthes—The Death of the Author

It was 1967 when Roland Barthes first pronounced the death of the author. It was a great idea, at the time, that the author’s biography and psychology were insufficient to explain their intentions for writing great works of art. Draining the text of the author’s ego allowed for the legitimacy of readers’ interpretations, and presented the wonderful idea that power rests, not in the hands of the few people who write something special, but in the hands of the many who thoughtfully engage with it. What’s more, the death of the author has been quite influential regarding the interpretation of digital media such as video games. We usually focus on what consumers do with them or how they are influenced by them rather than the intentions of the myriad nameless people are responsible for a game’s creation.

What I’ve found by studying Twine games is that they confound the belief that the author is dead!

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Why Historicizing Games Matters

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You just can’t exaggerate the importance of D&D to all of the many storygames that have followed it. It really did revolutionize the way we look at stories and games and the combination of the two in a way totally out of proportion to the number of people who have ever actually played it. But then, we could make exactly the same statement about Adventure, couldn’t we? Every story-oriented computer game today, including graphical adventures, can trace its roots straight back to Adventure — and from Adventure, straight back to D&D.

I’m not omniscient, but yes, I think we’d have something like Adventure come along, probably sooner rather than later, absent Crowther and Wood. Would it have used such a flexible parser for interaction, though? I don’t know, really. Certainly the many IF conventions that we still employ that have come down to us from Adventure would be a bit different. We can also say for sure that adventure games wouldn’t be called adventure games — that name is lifted straight from the original Adventure, which might perhaps begin to convey to your readers Adventure‘s importance in the scheme of things.

(From an interview with Jimmy Maher in Adventure Classic Gaming)

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Typographic Topography

Before getting to where the Typography Team’s™ cartography project has ended up, it might be a good idea to put these maps in context and point out how we got started down this particular(ly strange) path in the first place. It begins, as so many things do, with a slip.

A text exchange reading: Person A: Welp, looks like I'll be studying topography Person B: You mean typography? Person A: ...actuallyIt was the week before the semester began, and I was on a beach working on a tan instead of working on a dissertation. Having just received word from the DWRL’s indefatigable leaders on my specific research group, I excitedly texted a friend and had the conversation on the right ———> ———> ———>

In the beginning, there was a typo. And so I went about creating a map of the earth according to different types of type, separating the serifs from the sans-serifs. And I saw that it was good—but you should really make that judgment for yourself.

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