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Text based games in an after school program

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I’ll be running an after-school class in text-based games next year (starting September 2008).  I’m quite excited about it, and there seems to be interest from many in the school community.

I’ve developed a tentative outline, and I have begun reaching out to others in the text-based gaming community to get some ideas and feedback. I’ll keep track of my progress here on my blog, and I’m really looking forward to running this class.

The class would last an entire school year (September through June), meeting once a week. So we would be looking at about 30 class meeting times (probably more like 20 with interruptions and field trips).

I have thought about this a bit, and here’s my basic outline:

Text based games

The classics:

play part of Adventure
play part of zork I
play a multiplayer text based game (but this is tricky as they will
all be minors)


Talk about different code bases
Play some muds:
science fiction
popular fiction
build a mud using (mud code base 1)
build a mud using (mud code base 2)
interviewing a mud builder
interviewing a mud creator


Talk about different mushes
Play some MUSHES:
science fiction
popular fiction
Build a mush using the pennmush server


playing muxes
playing a Battle tech mux

Interactive fiction

The big difference in interactive fiction and MU*‘s
playing IF: play some games
designing IF using Inform 7
Puzzles: what makes a puzzle fun?

Good writing

How to write a good story
How to write a good bad guy
General game skills
How to run a TP (tiny plot, from the mu* world)
Coded systems versus free form RP


On 15 July 2008, Blair Buscareno inscribed the following thoughts about this post:

*I* would like to take this course.  Unfortunately for me, I’m 42 and don’t attend your school!

Really, Bill, any way you can set this up for the rest of us to take somehow?

On 19 July 2008, Bill inscribed the following thoughts about this post:

cool idea.

Let me look at decent courseware.

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Bill MacKenty, Chief Zuccini

I make a difference in the life of kids. You want to tell me what's more rewarding?



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