Friday, March 18, 2005

Lecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts

MIT logoI've given a lot of lectures in different places over the years, but this has to be the most prestigious so far. Chris Weaver, the founder of Bethesda Softworks and one of the industry's oldest old-timers, is now a visiting professor at MIT, and he asked me to come talk to his class there. Chris is part of the Comparative Media Studies program, the one so ably led by Henry Jenkins. We had a great time gossiping about our colleagues and exchanging news. The lecture I gave was the same one as my GDC lecture this year, "Interactive Narratives Revisited: Ten Years of Research," which you can also read on-line by clicking the title.

Photo of buildings at MIT.

MIT has a huge, sprawling campus beside the Charles River in Cambridge. Although most of the architecture is pretty uninspired, there are some distinctly odd buildings... such as the foregoing. I think this is the place where we had lunch, but I'm not completely sure, because it's an easy place to get lost.

Photo of steam tunnels.The other thing MIT is famous for is the fact that every building is connected to every other building by underground steam tunnels, including one that is known as The Endless Corridor. (The founders of Infocom were from MIT, and The Endless Corridor featured in one of their early games.) Once you go into any building, it's never necessary to go outdoors again, no matter where you want to go on campus -- a boon during the icy winters. Or at least, it would be if the tunnels were reasonably signposted. They're not, however; you have to know your way around. Apparently the denizens of MIT take a perverse pride in the fact that you can get lost for hours in them. I only took one quick look...