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About Me

Hello!

I’m an American who now lives with my wife Dorte in Odense, Denmark. Said wife is kind enough to allow me to write and occupy myself with various paying and non-paying projects, many of which I tell you about on the blog and on other parts of my home pages. She demands only that I provide her with dinner every night. What a deal!

Before I started my expatriated life I lived in Dallas, Texas, for many years, and I still have plenty of family and friends and roots of various kinds there. I worked in the IT field for some fifteen years there, while also managing to collect BA and MA degrees in Literary Studies and Aesthetic Studies respectively from the University of Texas at Dallas.  I may return to university life again at some point to pursue the vaunted PhD, but for now I’m enjoying my freedom from classes and (especially) from Corporate America. It’s really a pleasure to be able to work on only the projects I want to work on.

The bulk of the posts here form an historical chronicle of interactive entertainment, particularly story-focused games (what I like to refer to as “ludic narratives.”) This project could take years, but that’s fine; I’m enjoying it immensely, and happy to take my time poking at digital artifacts that are in many cases virtually forgotten. As I work my way through history, I’m also trying as much as possible to share the tools and techniques I use, to help digital historians who come after me and to help to preserve as much of this history as possible.

I also use this blog to keep those interested up to date on my other projects, to post reviews of contemporary interactive fiction titles, and as time goes on who knows what else. I won’t get into what those other projects are here; they’re after all likely to change as time goes on. You can, however, always find them on the blog’s sidebar.

When I first started to blog, I wasn’t at all sure that anyone would care to read what I wrote. (No matter what they say, I’m convinced that every writer wants to be read, just as every kid who ever picks up an electric guitar dreams of playing to a stadium full of screaming girls.) I haven’t quite found my metaphorical stadium of screaming girls, but I’m happy that a fair number of you are reading. Thanks for that! I’ll try to make sure the content here remains worthy of your time.

In return, you can also help me out a bit: please think about donating a little something by clicking the button on the right-hand sidebar. You can set the amount and the frequency, based on the enjoyment you get from reading what I write here, the importance you place on documenting this history, and of course your own personal financial situation. This blog will never become a commercial endeavor, but more donations will mean more time I can take away from other, paying projects to add to it.

 

20 Responses to About Me

  1. Tim Cutler

    June 14, 2011 at 1:34 am

    Nice to have company.

     
    • Walter Kroczak

      April 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      Hey, Jimmy Maher, I just read your essay on Camus’ “The Fall.” I could not believe anyone could write so brilliantly and so unpretentiously. I’m a screamer in your “stadium full of screaming girls”–though I am (and I apologize for this) a sixty-something hetero nominally Catholic white male who smokes a pipe.

       
  2. ezfreemann

    August 7, 2011 at 11:40 am

    hi, my name is cory. we exchanged emails once before like a year ago when i was stuck on King of Shreds & Patches. i want to tell u i love your blog and your King and your Filfre! keep up the awesome work!

     
  3. Roger Giner-Sorolla

    September 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Great site, came here via metafilter. Your category of the”experiential game” perfectly explains a convergence I noted here:

    Tables and the Military

     
  4. David Korabell

    October 17, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    I have recently been reading beyond role & play
    http://www.ropecon.fi/brap/

    a collection of articles which discuss the nature of ludic narrative. Primarily through role-playing games, but much of the material also applies to interactive fiction as well.
    I highly recommend it.

     
  5. Jim Leonard

    February 23, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Your Digital Antiquarian games industry articles are among the most refreshing and approachable as I’ve ever read. I thought I knew quite a bit about the early days of the industry, but you manage to keep coming up with more details — interesting and entertaining! — than I thought possible. Please keep up the excellent work!

     
  6. Norm Johnson

    March 23, 2012 at 1:51 am

    Hi,

    I Just wanted to say keep it up. This is the only blog I’ve ever read that I can’t stop myself from reading.

    WONDERFUL.

     
  7. George

    September 11, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Jimmy, Can you please tell me how did you managed to destroy the enemy ships to become a space ace in Ultima I in apple II. Everytime, I try to kill the enemy ships, it’s not killing them. Please help.

     
    • Jimmy Maher

      September 11, 2012 at 10:20 am

      Assuming you are playing the original California Pacific version that I did:

      It seems that this part of the game uses an “undocumented opcode” on the Apple II Plus ROM. This apparently gives problems when running on anything other than an Apple II Plus, and on many emulators. I played on AppleWin with the machine type set to Apple II Plus, and never had any problems. So, I can feel reasonably certain that this setup is okay. This old Usenet thread may help as well: http://compgroups.net/comp.sys.apple2/ultima-i-space-travel/1125260.

       
      • George

        September 11, 2012 at 11:10 pm

        Thank you very much. This solves the problem. I finally beaten the game. Now the entire gameplay will be on youtube. Do you know if Apple II versions of Ultima II, III, and IV also uses the undocumented opcode” on the Apple II Plus ROM? I would like to know since I’m going to start those games next and know them for the future so I won’t get anymore errors.

         
        • Jimmy Maher

          September 12, 2012 at 8:30 am

          I don’t know of any similar issues in the later Ultimas, although as of this writing I certainly haven’t looked at them as closely as I have Ultima I.

           
  8. Tim

    December 31, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    If I taught a class on the history of computing, and I do hope to do so someday, this site might end up being used as a sort of textbook.

     
  9. Masta

    May 31, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Brilliant stuff. Keep up the great work. The Ultima articles have been fascinating and the topics in general have been quite illuminating.

     
  10. Sir Cabirus

    September 10, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Love this blog and am currently reading though all entries in chronological order. Is it possible to add an “index page” with all articles to date? Right now i have to click though the calendar on the right panel to access older articles, which is kind of a hassle. Or am I missing something?

    Keep up the great work. Do you plan to release all this stuff in a book at some point? I would definitely buy one.

     
    • Jimmy Maher

      September 11, 2013 at 6:48 am

      Thanks for the kind words!

      No, I don’t believe you’re missing anything. :) I’ve gotten a fair number of requests like this recently. I’ll see if I can come up with something.

       
      • Jimmy Maher

        October 14, 2013 at 1:51 pm

        I’ve added a link to the sidebar that will take you to a “table of contents” for the blog as a whole, showing all articles so far in chronological order.

         
        • Sir Cabirus

          October 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm

          Much appreciated, thanks a lot!

           
  11. Jaroslav Švelch

    January 21, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Dear Jimmy!
    I’m an academic based in Prague, Czech Republic and I have just read your MIT Press book on the Amiga. I enjoyed it tremendously, especially your descriptions of the European “scene”. I just published a somewhat related article on the history of games in Czechoslovakia.
    http://gamestudies.org/1302/articles/svelch

    If I had read your book before I published this, I would have made sure to reference your work. But I’ll do it next time.
    Keep up the great work!
    Best,
    Jaroslav

     
    • Jimmy Maher

      January 21, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      Thanks!

      It’s a small world sometimes. When you submitted this commented I was just finishing up an article on Automata and Deus Ex Machina, referencing your interview with Mel Croucher.

       
  12. James

    February 4, 2014 at 7:30 am

    I just spent the good part of today reading all your articles on Sierra. AMAZING! Thank you for providing a riveting read.

     

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