Tuesday, December 17, 2002
Notes on Cavespace, in Topic Magazine
In the spring of 1981 I first set foot in Colossal Cave, the text-generated cavern that is the setting of the first digital role-playing game, Adventure. Twenty-one years later I first set foot in Mammoth Cave, the dirt-and-limestone cavern that inspired computer programmer and avid caver Will Crowther to write Adventure. Somewhere in between I began to think of caves, and of cavespace, as increasingly resonant icons of an information-saturated age. And then I wrote an essay about it all, now out in the latest issue of TOPIC Magazine. Skip over my philosophizing if you want, but if you've never heard of Stephen Bishop -- the Kentucky slave and protogeek who made Mammoth the icon it is -- don't miss the opportunity to get acquainted.
Monday, December 16, 2002
"The Unreal-Estate Boom," Wired Magazine
My long-gestating article on the real-world economies of virtual worlds is finally out, on newsstands and online, in the January issue of Wired magazine. It's a heart-warming tale of geekery and commerce, but if you just want the executive summary, it's just about all there in the headline and subhed:
The 79th Richest Nation on Earth Doesn't Exist:
The population is 225,000, the hourly wage is $3.42. Welcome to virtual paradise, where a carpenter can live in the castle of his dreams -- if he doesn't mind an 80-hour workweek double-clicking pig rion and hoarding digital dung.
PS: Don't miss the print version, which features, by way of bonus, a small sidebar on the strange case of Black Snow Interactive, the boys who hired Tijuana wage slaves to play Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot for fun and profit. Well, Black Snow's fun and profit, but that, of course, was the point. Who said the New Economy never happened?