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Welcome to Ludology, an analytical discussion of the hows and whys of the world of board games. Rather than news and reviews, Ludology explores a variety of topics about games from a wider lens, as well as discuss game history, game design and game players.

We post a new Ludology episode every other week. In these episodes, hosts Erica Bouyouris and Sen-Foong Lim deep-dive into a single topic within game design, often with a well-regarded guest from the game industry. We generally focus on tabletop game design (mainly board games and RPGs), but we often pull in experts from all forms of games, from video games to escape rooms to slot machines.

On weeks where there is no flagship Ludology episode, we will alternate between two smaller mini-sodes. Erica and Sen are currently in search of content creators for these 5-15 minute slots, so please reach out if you have ideas!

Our History

We aim for most Ludology episodes to be timeless, so you are welcome to explore our entire catalog. Most of it should age quite well. The podcast was started in 2011 by Geoff Engelstein and Ryan Sturm, with Mike Fitzgerald taking over for Ryan in 2015. Gil and Scott joined the show in 2017 when Mike stepped aside, and Emma joined in 2019 when Geoff ended his tenure as host. Emma left in 2021, and Erica and Sen joined us. Since then, Scott stepped down in 2022 and Gil will be hanging up his mic in 2023, leaving Erica and Sen to carry on this amazing legacy.

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Jun 12, 2022

Gil and Sen sit down with game designer and chronicler Aaron A. Reed to talk about his project 50 Years of Text Games, in which he covered one important game for each year between 1971 and 2020. The project will be made into a book.


2m21s: The Oregon Trail

3m13s: Gil mentions a bunch of games that Aaron wrote about: Adventure, Hunt the Wumpus, games made with Inform and Twine, 80 Days, Fallen London.

9m22s: Sen's childhood PET computer, Gil's childhood Panasonic computer

10m24s: The game Adventure, the company Infocom, and the rise of Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs).

14m16s: You can probably add board games like Gloomhaven to this list too!

17m28s: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game, with the infamous Babel Fish puzzle. Here is the text of the Infocom hint guide for that puzzle. Click "Next Answer" for the next step. Each step has spoilers, obviously!

Also, Gil was wrong, it was "only" 30 steps.

18m33s: Myst

20m07s: Infocom's "feelies." Several fan sites have information on them; this is one.

20m38s: Infocom's game Suspended had a ridiculously cool cover; a plastic injection-molded face with cut-outs for the eyes. The eyes you see on the cover are printed on cardboard beneath the face. Because the images for the eyes are recessed, they will seem to follow you if you walk past the game on the shelf. 

22m54s: Robert Lafore's "Interactive Fiction"

26m46s: St. Bride's School

30m45s: The Oz Project

33m09s: The digital game Façade.

36m00s: Adventuron, Choice of Games' ChoiceScript, Inkle

37m00s: So Far, Photopia, Galatea, Trinity

42m01s: The harrowing dramatic film The Sweet Hereafter, which was an inspiration for Photopia.

44m46s: The seminal ARG The Beast, created to promote the film AI

49m47s: Here's the article Gil was talking about. Also, Porpentine's game With Those We Love Alive

52m35s: PixelBerry's interactive romances Choices, of which The Freshman is a story in the game.

56m10s: Ludology 151, where Geoff and Gil discuss what a game actually is.

57m57s: Aaron's book Subcutanean, which is different for everyone who buys it.

58m51s: Sen is likely thinking of Cain's Jawbone, a puzzle released in 1934 by Edward Mathers, under the pseudonym Torquemada.

1h01m27s: Archives of the Sky

1h03m03s: The short IF game 9:05. It's really quick; play it if you can!

1h04m10s: Star Saga One: Beyond the Boundary.

1h05m05s: Above & Below, Near & Far, Tales of the Arabian Nights

1h06m02s: Aaron's 50 Years of Text Games book