Secondary Worlds

Teaching, Technology, and English Education

Category: Simulations

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Thoughtcrime Strikes Again

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. Introduction 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 […]



Thoughtcrime: The Board Game

If you teach 1984 and want to try the game, you can follow the link below. I was hoping the final product would be a little cheaper (even with its steepish price tag, my profit is about $1.00 per unit sold). But I think it might be a blast for British literature students, AP literature […]

News, Simulations

Games as Texts Idea Still Showing Life

The idea that video games are an interesting kind of interactive story has been around for a while–at least since the first edition of Hamlet on the Holodeck by Janet Murray. It seems every couple of years, academics (and in this case, journalists) take out the idea and kick it around a little. That goes […]


Another MUVE Gets Me to Just Leap In

Another dispatch from the virtual world: the ongoing contest to create a three-dimensional social network has a new player: Just Leap In, a new multi-user virtual environment (MUVE). I can never resist a new virtual environment, so I installed the beta a couple of days ago and have been looking around ever since. So far, […]


Virtual Realities Still Waiting for the Killer App

This is the topic I thought I had buried when I didn’t get a small NEH grant to develop a MUVE (multi-user virtual environment) based on 1984 within Second Life, the popular but declining virtual world. Okay, I thought, I’ll stick with the MOO version of Thoughtcrime (the 1984 game I developed), perhaps working on […]


My Kind of Class: An Educational Role-Playing Game

I have more than a passing interest in the educational value of role-playing and video games, particularly for teaching literature. The fourth chapter of Literature and the Web (shameless plug–now over 300 copies sold!) discusses one game–Thoughtcrime–based on George Orwell’s 1984. I’ve been receiving quite a few emails lately from teachers interested in playing this […]


Google Lively: A User-Friendly but Limited Virtual Environment

OVer the past few years, I’ve been keeping tabs on emerging virtual environments (Multi-User Virtual Environments or MUVES). Second Life has been my main interest, but I am also curious about the new Google Labs project called Lively. When I first heard of this project (October 2007 post here,) I was hopeful that it would […]


Googleverse Coming Soon?

I was excited to see the following news about Google’s possible partnership with Multiverse, the massively multi-user online gaming platform that was the original choice for Edward Castronova’s Arden (though now it looks like the project will be using Neverwinter Nights and has possibly run out of money). In any case, this sounds like very […]

News, Simulations

Wired Geekipedia: Where’s Second Life?

Staying on top of technology trends is like running to stand still: things are always in flux, with new applications replacing old standbys at an increasingly rapid pace (this has been especially true since the so-called Web 2.0 revolution that has made Internet startups cool again–see TechCrunch for a great blog on this). One way […]

News, Simulations

Them’s the Breaks

Found out some disappointing news yesterday–the NEH Digital Startup Grant that we wrote to fund the literary role-playing game Thoughtcrime was not approved. I was optimistic that it would go through, given the very positive feedback our team received after the first submission. In any case, we’ll have to wait until a better opportunity comes […]

News, Simulations, Web 2.0

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