GameDev News for 15 January 2021



Hello, everyone! I got around to making a backup of the wiki and running maintenance after not much activity since October. Turns out it's now down to 301 pages, just about where I wanted it. There's more to do, mind: I was asked to make a dedicated book section on the site, which was my plan too for a while now, but other things always seemed more important.

Speaking of which: while games will have to take a backseat here for the rest of the winter, in March Tomb of the Snake will be 6 years old, and it would be nice to give it a third release. Can't say much otherwise, outside of the vague plans outlined before the holidays. So instead, let's see some news from the internet at large:

Last but not least, I have more extended commentary for you about the first entry in a digital archaeology project that just started and will go on for the entire year. Details after the cut.

I failed to announce it the last time, but at the start of 2021 Aaron A. Reed debuted his grand project titled 50 Years of Text Games, and by the time you're reading this, the second article in the series should be out. But I want to talk about the first, covering The Oregon Trail: a seminal game that half a century ago first demonstrated how the already amazing power of written text to unleash out imagination is hugely amplified by the addition of interactivity.

Despite never playing Oregon Trail, I somehow managed to independently reinvent the genre a few years ago. Poorly, mind you, except for the theory article I got out of it, and further developed into a new kind of computerized gamebook (that was marginally more successful). It's still highly instructional to note a few historical details:

  • how fifty years ago computers were deemed the future of education, and rightly so, only for that idea to die quietly before the 20th century was over;
  • how right from the start videogames failed to adequately engage with the treatment of Native Americans by colonists from Europe, and never seemed to learn better;
  • how a humble code printout kept on a whim can change the world.

I really need to continue my experiments in this field. Meanwhile, have a great weekend and see you next time.


Tags: meta, rpg, classics, critique, strategy