For Friday

If you are having trouble with City of Secrets, unfortunately there is no walkthrough, but this page offers some useful hints. In order to actually read the hints, you have to use a ROT-13 decrypter; there is a link to one of these on the same page as the hints.

For Friday, please read this blog posting by Emily Short: The Prose Medium and IF.

Published in: on March 31, 2010 at 12:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

For Wednesday

For Wednesday, please start playing City of Secrets, which is available from this link.

To play this game, you will need an interpreter that can run .blb files. If you are using a Macintosh, then you can run such files using Zoom. If you are using Windows, then I suggest WinGlulxe.

As an optional reading, you may wish to look at Dennis Jerz’s article “Somewhere Nearby is Colossal Cave”, which you can find here. This is somewhat beyond the scope of what we’re talking about now, hence why I am not requiring you to read it, but it is a good example of a scholarly work on interactive fiction that pays attention to visuality and forensic materiality.

Published in: on March 30, 2010 at 3:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ad Verbum

For Monday, please read Chapter 7 of Montfort’s book and start playing Montfort’s game Ad Verbum, which can be found here. You can play it with the same program that you used to play Zork.

Published in: on March 27, 2010 at 7:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Take a look at this

This ad from the publisher Dorling Kindersley is a brilliant use of typographic materiality:

Published in: on March 23, 2010 at 11:04 am  Leave a Comment  


If you’re using Frotz, you only need to download either or WindowsFrotzInstaller.exe. Both of those files are available at . You certainly don’t need to download all of the 44 files listed on that page.

Published in: on March 22, 2010 at 1:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Zork I

You should have received an e-mail containing a .z5 file of Zork I: The Great Underground Empire. If you haven’t received such an e-mail, please contact me.

To open this file, you will need to download and install an interpreter that can run Z-machine files. You can download a variety of free interpreters are available at this website. I recommend Frotz if you are using a Windows computer, and Spatterlight or Zoom if you are using a Mac.

If you have never played a text adventure game before, I recommend consulting this beginner’s guide.

Zork I is a rather difficult game. If you want some hints, try this page. If you want a full solution, there are several available at this page.

Published in: on March 20, 2010 at 12:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Reading and discussion question for Wednesday

On Monday, we’ll finish our discussion of Iron Man.

For Wednesday, please read Matthew Kirschenbaum’s “Extreme Inscription: Towards a Grammatology of the Hard Drive,” which can be found at , and answer the following discussion question:

In this article, Kirschenbaum tries to define the material properties of the hard drive itself, as opposed to the material properties of the onscreen images that the hard drive helps make possible. How does this emphasis on the formal properties of the hard drive affect our understanding of the materiality of computer graphics?

Published in: on March 11, 2010 at 3:19 pm  Comments (15)  

Reading for Friday

The reading for Friday is “Reading the Title Sequence” by Georg Stanitzek and Noelle Aplevich. As I mentioned in class, this essay is fairly dense, but try to get out of it what you can. You can find it

Published in: on March 3, 2010 at 7:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Assignment for essay 2

Essay 2 will be due on March 19th (the Wednesday after spring break). The minimum length is 5-7 pages not counting illustrations, or approximately 1800 to 2500 words.

Assignment: Choose a digital text we have not discussed in class. Explain how this text’s use of computer graphics or other specifically digital technologies affects its treatment of the material properties of letters or other non-mimetic signs. In other words, how does the text’s use of graphics (etc.) change the way it thinks with and about the materiality of letters (etc.)?

Material component: Use an appropriate font and include a brief colophon explaining why this font was chosen. Do something with the typography of your essay that you couldn’t have done if you were writing the essay with a pre-digital technology (e.g. pen and paper or a typewriter).

Logistics: Provide MLA-format parenthetical citations for all works cited in the body of your paper. Include an MLA-format Works Cited list with your paper. With your paper, please provide either a copy of the text you’re writing about, or instructions as to how I can find a copy.

Published in: on March 3, 2010 at 10:08 am  Leave a Comment  

Reading for tomorrow

The reading for tomorrow is the introduction to Andrea Codrington’s book Kyle Cooper. I have submitted the reading to ARES, but in the meantime, you can find it here. I apologize for taking so long to upload it, but it should be a pretty quick read.

Published in: on March 2, 2010 at 1:18 pm  Leave a Comment