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About Me

I’m an American who now lives with my wife Dorte in Odense, Denmark. Dorte is kind enough to allow me to write and occupy myself with various paying and non-paying projects, some 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.

The bulk of the posts here form an historical chronicle of interactive entertainment. 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. In the long-term future, all this material I’ve written and continue to write will become… something. Maybe a book, maybe something else. I believe this history is important, and it’s one of my priorities in life to make sure it’s preserved so it can outlive me and my web-hosting contract.

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 becoming a Patreon patron or just making a one-time donation via PayPal by clicking one of the buttons on the right-hand sidebar. In either case you can decide how much to spend, 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. I will never require anyone to pay to read this blog, but more donations will mean more time I can take away from other, paying projects to add to it.

 

47 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.

     
  13. Keith Harvey

    January 17, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Dear George,

    I installed the TRS-80 BASIC roms under MESS emulator. Level 1 works OK, but Level IIseems to be missing some files (an error message tells me some Level 2 BIOS files may be missing that are required.) Can you provide me with an updated Level II BASIC romset with said missing files.

    Sincerely, Keith Harvey

     
  14. Juan Castro

    March 18, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    I FINALLY finished the translation of “Send In The Clones”. It’s going to appear at our blog in a few days. At the end you write:

    “(…) the arrival of the first game to make many Apple, Atari, and Commodore owners wish that they had a Tandy 1000 or, indeed, even one of its less colorful relatives. We’ll get to that soon — no, really! — but first we have just one more detour to take.”

    That follow-up hasn’t happened yet, is that correct?

     
  15. Vidar

    May 28, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    I’ve almost read everything now, and find myself checking this site for new material way too often :)

    Would you consider creating a mailing list (see mailchimp, for example) to notify your eager readers of new stuff?

    That’d be such icing on the cake!

     
  16. Steve Metzler

    June 23, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Jimmy, hi,

    Been reading your site on and off for a few months now. Great, in-depth articles! And largely due to reading your stuff, I seem to be on an IF kick again :-)

    In fact, downloaded King last night and enjoying it immensely. So I sent you a little donation. I know it’s ‘traditional’ that IF on the PC is free, but why should you creative guys only get sales for Kindle, iPhone, Android, etc., and not for the PC?

    All the best,
    Steve

     
    • Jimmy Maher

      June 23, 2015 at 11:59 am

      Thank you!

       
  17. Ian Dingle

    June 26, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Hi,

    Your articles are awesome. I can’t remember the last time I spent so much time reading articles on one site. It has been an amazing nostalgia trip – I started playing games with an Intellivision, then moved to a C64 and then a 128. Ultima, Bard’s Tale, Zork, Archon, and so many more are great memories of my childhood.

    Thanks

    Ian D

     
  18. Alan Egdell

    July 26, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Just discovered your blog from rock paper shotgun, enjoying it greatly!

     
  19. Ian Brown

    August 26, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    Great stuff here! Really enjoyed the Wizardry posts.

     
  20. DR

    August 28, 2015 at 2:06 am

    I was wondering about the origins of Sir-Tech because Wizardry was a game I loved growing up with computers as a kid. When I stumbled upon your site it was full of interesting history and information. How did you dig all of this up?! 10/10

     
  21. Christian Benesch

    September 8, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    Fantastically written and with great background information. A permanent fixture in my Feedly. Keep up the great work!

     
  22. Stephane B

    September 19, 2015 at 1:47 am

    The Digital Antiquarian is such a pleasure to read.

    Most blogs I follow, I do so for somewhat utilitarian reasons; I skim, I skip, I rarely go back to read old entries (I went back and read everything). Yours is more a case of “ooh, new entry. Let’s sit down with a glass of wine and enjoy it”.

    Your writing style is just wonderful, telling a story like very few people can. In many ways, I think you’re better than an Erik Larson, Tracy Kidder, or Mitchell Waldrop.

    So, thank you!

     
  23. Jim Levy

    November 12, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Just found your post on Activision and my role. I am very impressed that you got almost everything right and pleased that you understood my leadership role in the company and the industry. There is a bit more to the story of LCP, particularly in the packaging and marketing, that I would be glad to share. It was one of our most interesting and entertaining projects. And, yes, Crane is a genius and was the clear creative leader of the company in 1.0 and 2.0.

     
    • Jimmy Maher

      November 13, 2015 at 9:16 am

      Thank you! It’s always great to hear from someone I write about, especially when I’ve gotten “almost everything right.” I have your email address now, and will keep your offer in mind.

       
      • Jim Levy

        December 8, 2015 at 2:22 am

        Getting “almost everything right” is a major compliment, since so many writing about me and Activision’s history and role in the founding of the game software industry have gotten so much wrong. There’s a lot of mythology, rather than fact, in many histories.

         
  24. Brian Kerslake

    December 17, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    Hi Jimmy. Dave at Ulster University pointed me at your blog about Topologika’s Giant KIller text adventure which I developed, as you say, back in 1987 with its author the late Peter Killworth. Dave thought I might want to comment on it. I much enjoyed reading it and about myself! I’ve sent some edits to him to forward to you. Please get in touch direct if you wish – happy to help any time.

     
    • Jimmy Maher

      December 18, 2015 at 8:07 am

      Thanks, Brian. I have been in touch from time to time with Dave, so will wait to hear from him with those edits. And will definitely keep your offer in mind going forward. Cheers!

       
  25. Phill Case

    January 21, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    Hi Jimmy:

    You and I had some email coms a few years ago on the history of AI, as I was an employee of the company from about 1984 to just a few weeks before they failed.

    I recently came across the account on this page:

    http://www.filfre.net/2012/08/saga/

    and realize that I can shed a fair amount of clarification to the events referenced here. If you send me your current email address, I’ll put together a narrative on some of the questions and events of this time.

    All the best,

    Phil

     
  26. Ben P. Stein

    February 3, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Thank you so very much for this website and for your excellently researched writing, thoughtful analysis, and great choices of topic.

    When I visit this site, I have a feeling of abundance: there is an abundance of information that wasn’t available or impossibly inaccessible when these games came out; there is an abundance of resources and opportunity for playing games, all of which we couldn’t all afford when they came out; and most importantly, there is an abundance of insight and intelligence in what you write.

    Thank you and keep up the great work!

     
  27. Dan Art

    April 15, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    No new articles for a couple of weeks; I have alas taken for granted a regular output of these excellent posts. Hope all is well!

     
    • Jimmy Maher

      April 15, 2016 at 2:16 pm

      Just took a bye week to sort through some things. New article coming… *very* soon. :)

       
      • Dan Art

        April 15, 2016 at 7:17 pm

        Groovy

         
  28. Satoshi

    April 19, 2016 at 6:08 am

    I would love to donate — put up a Bitcoin address in addition to Patreon!

     
  29. Mark Hatfield

    May 12, 2016 at 8:03 am

    Greetings Jimmy,

    I am the author of the 2008 IF competition entry ‘Berrost’s Challenge’.

    I appreciate your review and comments about my game. If anything, you were too generous. Not too long after the competition ended, I worked closely with Emily Boegheim to revise, improve, and update my game. I added new features, such as an automap feature, and an achievement system, which encouraged multiple approaches to solving the puzzles. I implemented a great many behaviors based on Emily’s multiple play-throughs.
    I also corrected all grammatical errors that Emily or myself found, and listened to feedback from all reviews and tried to make the game friendlier and more accessible, while retaining it’s roots as an Infocom homage.
    Unfortunately, I never quite finished the project, and never released the new version, although it’s still on my list of projects to complete.
    Reading your review has put the project in my mind again, and I may revisit it very soon.
    Just wanted to thank you for a fair review, and express my appreciation for not being too harsh on my little game. If and when I complete v2 of the game, I will be sure and send it to you.

    Mark H

     

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