Twisty Little Passages

Have just got myself a copy of Nick Montfort’s “Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction”. He’s analysing interactive fiction – sometimes text adventures, sometimes not – from a narratology point of view, which is quite interesting. Especially the first bit, where he’s talking about the different ‘voices’ in the fiction…. makes me think of the role of the chorus in Greek tragedy… Speaking of things classical, I’ll be speaking at the Classical Association of Canada Annual General Meeting at Memorial University in Newfoundland in a few months – here’s my abstract:

“Why Read About Rome When You Can Build It?” Simulations, Gaming, and Classics

It is no coincidence that a huge number of commercial game titles feature Classical themes. People enjoy these games not least because they are entranced by the subject matter. This is an opportunity for us as educators, but we have to reflect carefully on how to take the advantage. Done well, the incorporation of games can lead to increased levels of literacy, domain knowledge, and critical thinking skills. For distance students in particular, online simulations and games provide a level of immersion that has been demonstrated to improve their learning to a level above that of traditional classroom experiences.

However, sometimes, games and simulations used in a learning context achieve precious little in terms of the resources invested. In this paper therefore I suggest a rationale and methodology for embedding simulations and games in the teaching of Classics. I will also present the design for a prototype of a text-based adventure game written in Latin, for improving students’ ability to read the ancient language naturally.”