In light of several recent inquiries regarding Thoughtcrime, I’ve updated everything. Here’s all of the new information, including a link to the board game version.
Thoughtcrime is an online role-playing game that I designed for use in secondary literature classes studying the novel 1984. Played in a text-based virtual world that attempts to replicate the totalitarian regime of Big Brother, Thoughtcrime pits players against each other in a subtle struggle for survival. Thoughtcrime may be played with small or large classes, from school or home computers. Played over the Web in real time, a game of Thoughtcrime may begin at school but extend well beyond school hours. The game is currently being played in the Literary Worlds enCore MOO, a text-based immersive environment that hosts a large number of literary simulations.
Teachers interested in using Thoughtcrime in their own classrooms should first contact Robert Rozema, the owner of this blog and the designer of the game. Please do so at least two weeks prior to the date you intend to play the game, since setup and orientation both take time. To get started, you should do the following:
- Check to make sure your school can access the Literary Worlds MOO. If your school firewall or filters prevents you from accessing this site, please contact your school IT administrator.
- Read the Rules of Play
- Setup the game inside the Literary Worlds MOO (see this how-to video)
- Consider showing the Thoughtcrime Trailer to generate interest
- Print out the appropriate number of role sheets for Thought Police, Brotherhood, and Party Member
- Assign character names and passwords to your students. Character Names and Passwords (PDF)
- When your students have oriented themselves and are ready to play, use the MOO command start counter to begin.
- Several teachers have played Thoughtcrime with their literature classes over the years. I describe some of their experiences in blog posts.
- My co-authored book, Literature and the Web: Reading and Responding with New Technologies (Heinemann, 2008), also has a chapter about Thoughtcrime
- I have also designed a Board Game version of Thoughtcrime, which is available through The Game Crafter