The Digital Antiquarian

The Digital Antiquarian A history of computer entertainment and digital culture by Jimmy Maher

  • This Week on The Analog Antiquarian
    by Jimmy Maher on April 16, 2021 at 4:41 pm

    The Library and Lighthouse of Alexandria, Chapter 9: A Declining Power and a Rising On

  • The Ratings Game, Part 1: A Likely and an Unlikely Suspect
    by Jimmy Maher on April 9, 2021 at 4:20 pm

    Warning: this article contains images of pixelated male genitalia. On December 9, 1993, members of the United States Senate’s Subcommittee on Regulation and Government Information and its Subcommittee on Juvenile Justice held a joint hearing on the topic of violence and sex in videogames. Educators, social scientists, activists, and several prominent figures from the videogame

  • System Shock
    by Jimmy Maher on March 19, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    We approached games as immersive simulations. We wanted to build game environments that reacted to player’s decisions, that behaved in natural ways, and where players had more verbs than simply “shoot.” DOOM was not an influence on System Shock. We were trying something more difficult and nuanced, [although] we still had a lot of respect

  • Wing Commander III
    by Jimmy Maher on March 5, 2021 at 5:25 pm

    Movies and computer games are my two favorite things. If I weren’t doing one I’d be doing the other. — Chris Roberts Prior to the release of DOOM in late 1993, Wing Commander I and II and their assorted spinoffs and expansion packs constituted not just the most popular collection of outer-space shoot-em-ups since the

  • Ultima VIII (or, How to Destroy a Gaming Franchise in One Easy Step)
    by Jimmy Maher on February 19, 2021 at 4:53 pm

    In 1994, Origin Systems’s Ultima series was the most universally lauded franchise in computer gaming. Over the course of seven mainline games and five spinoffs and side stories, the Ultima brand had consistently stood for elaborate but doggedly nonlinear plots which seriously engaged with questions of ethics; for the familiar but ever-evolving and ever-welcoming world