Tags: case study
Tags: interactive fiction, business
Tags: tabletop, rpg, philosophy
A good retrospective of a home computer that sold pretty good after all for a cult classic; I didn't know that! Also an object lesson in how locking out 3rd-party developers leaves your machine without enough software to attract the buyers you need. Because you need them, while they can always go buy from the competition. One would think manufacturers learned as much after four decades, but no.
Tags: hardware, business, critique
My own write-up that I forgot to mention in the last newsletter.
Tags: interactive fiction, tools
Another fascinating RPG.net forum thread. The title says it all. (Content Warning: Sexual assault, racism, Islamophobia.)
Tags: tabletop, rpg, representation, case study
Via the RPG.net forums I just learned that the Risus RPG was put up for sale
at the end of May (and snatched up ten days later
). It's the end of an era for sure, no matter how well it will be handled by the new owner. Luckily it doesn't impact me: while I admire Risus as a work of art, I make videogames, for which it's completely unsuitable. Besides, the license is much too restrictive. And nowadays tiny RPGs (even business card-sized!) are commonplace. In fact I have a new favorite, and you'll hear about it soon. But until then, hats off to a pioneer.
Tags: tabletop, rpg, business
I got online way too late for the BBS era, and while alternatives like MUDs survived in the small, with tilde servers even enjoying a revival, the few BBSes I visited were already little more than museums. No wonder then that my experience with certain web-based games in 2000-something lacked essential context. One such game was Black Nova Traders, which is now deader than its illustrious ancestor. But it's still good to learn, even belatedly, where it all came from.
Tags: classic, mmo, strategy
A big "don't do that" moment.
A big "why should I care?" moment.
Tags: mmo, community, game design
For lack of anything better these days, it was interesting enough to read about the birth of E3, and an object lesson on how to squander a huge opportunity (not to mention years of accumulated goodwill) in one fell swoop. Goes to show that being a jerk doesn't pay, and that people in the most innovative industry can still be out of touch with the times. As for part 2 of the article, sorry, but just no. Study after study after study failed to find any link between violence in entertainment media and in real life. Those few that did... were invariably found to be faulty or outright fraudulent. Invariably. So can we please stop with the both-siding already? Pretty please?
Tags: business, history
Halfway between newsletters, Aaron A. Reed writes about the history of LambdaMOO, which is funny because it had come up in conversation with my friends just the day before. LambdaMOO is one of the text-based virtual worlds I surveyed in early 2010 (more than 11 years ago), with little success, so most of my knowledge about it is theoretical. In retrospect however it's obvious why I couldn't make heads or tails of the place, nor meet any of the few remaining residents. Pro tip: those few social MU*s that survived go out of their way to help newcomers get their bearings. And while newcomers always start by exploring and playing with toys, sooner or later they'll want to meet the locals. At which point it turns out that communities need rules, and rules have to be enforced. You can't work around that, not with any kind of technology. Funny how all those spiritual successors mentioned in the article had to rediscover this simple principle again and again.
Tags: obscure, mmo, community, overview
I missed this one last time, because it's way, way off the beaten path, and only found it now while searching for something else entirely. Turns out the classic JRPG Dragon Quest, that provided the template for an entire genre, will soon be 35 years old. And amazingly the series is still going strong, even though it had ups and downs over time like any other. There's something to be said about having a formula and sticking to it, you know.
Tags: classic, rpg, history
How people used to play MMORPGs when few had computers or internet.
Tags: obscure, mmo, rpg, tabletop, history
Tags: classic, retrospective
Tags: tabletop, rpg, community, representation, critique
French language introduction to storylets, and how to use them in the latest version of Twine.
Tags: interactive fiction, tools, concepts
(The sheer insecurity of male gamers in the 1980s. Afraid to play a female protagonist. Afraid to play an easy game. Of games marketed to a broader audience.)
Tags: interactive fiction, history
Tags: interactive fiction, writing
Tags: hardware, critique
Yet another unsung pioneer of interactive fiction, her strange, different work, and paths not taken in the end.
Tags: obscure, interactive fiction
Tags: tabletop, rpg, representation
Another game I had the privilege to watch being made in real time, courtesy of the Itch.io community.
Tags: indie, adventure, retrospective
Tags: business, critique
"The definitive list for devising your interactive fiction and text-based videogames"; it's in French, but most tools are in English.
Tags: interactive fiction, tools, overview