Video Game Designers Partner with Writer Neil Gaiman


Novelists have collaborated with video game designers to create interactive fiction for decades. In 1984, author Douglas Adams and computer game developer Steve Meretzky paired-up to turn the Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy series into an interactive fiction video game. Cyberdreams later worked with author Harlan Ellison to turn his short-story, “I Have No Mouth, and…

Video Games: Making the Music


Understanding a music compilation requires more than listening to the sounds. NPR music critic and correspondent Ann Powers explained that “music is not a thing, but things are important to music. You can’t really understand 1920s blues without learning to shimmy and slow drag. It’s incredibly enriching to discover the stuff an artist kept around,…

Video Games Explore Ancient Myths and Folklore


Scholars’ perceptions of mass media’s impact on folklore and mythology are complicated. Some scholars believe that tale dissemination via movies, television programs, and video games encourages viewers to rediscover classic stories. Others argue that film adaptations of folk and myth narratives may create “definitive texts,” which threaten to “replace the more fluid oral variants.” What…

B-movies: From the Silver Screen to the Video Game Screen


A local movie theater recently hosted an “Indoor Drive-in” series to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the original drive-in theaters. First opened by Richard Hollingshead in 1933, drive-ins became family destinations. People paid a minimal fee to enter a gated parking lot with a huge movie screen located at one end of the grounds. Hollingshead…

Rock and Roll Video Game


I recently went to a Guns and Roses concert. Axl Rose, the only original member, proved a bit soft around the edges and failed to hit the high notes like he used to—during a few songs, I thought of the 1984 mockumentary, This is Spinal Tap. I also realized heavy metal, glam rock, and hard-pop…

Pretend Play in Video Game Worlds


Pretend play often helps us cope. When we’re sad, scared, or depressed, pretend play lets us escape our hurts and gather strength to face our fears and trials. As psychologists Dorothy and Jerome Singer and Sandra Russ explain, pretend play—“such as divergent thinking, the ability to transform one object into another, and the organization of…

Poe, Thoreau, and Dickinson as Video Game Avatars


Henry David Thoreau advised his peers, “Let us first be simple and well as Nature ourselves, dispel the clouds which hang over our brows, and take up a little life into our pores.” Thoreau’s contemporaries professed similar emotional, individualist, and idealist sentiments. I respect authors of the American Romantic and Victorian period of literature; however,…

Altering Classic Video Games


I recently watched independent animation film director and designer Léo Verrier’s short film, Dripped. The 8-minute film presented a fictional story of a burglar who stole famous paintings from museums and proceeded to eat the artwork. Shortly after the thief consumed an artwork, his body morphed into a figure or design from the specific painting….

Video Games in the Humanities Classroom


Before I came to The Strong, I taught writing and literature courses at the Rochester Institute of Technology and elsewhere, which fits right in with writing electronic games blogs. As video games occupy more and more of our playtime, it is not surprising that some educators are finding opportunities to use gaming to teach writing…

Satisfy Your Wanderlust with These Video Games


I have wanderlust. In college, I found like-minded companions in Dean and Sal from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. In one passage, Sal recognized why he felt compelled to travel and explained that he had “no place he could stay in without getting tired of it and because there was nowhere to go but everywhere,…