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The treachery of pixels: Reconsidering feelies in an era of digital play

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This article interrogates the importance of feelies for game design and game history, making the case for considering feelies not as ephemera, but as essential game components. Feelies have often been treated as supplementary aspects of game design, as evidenced by the reissue and even archiving of games without feelies. However, researchers would do well to consider carefully the impact feelies have on player experience, particularly as practices established around these early games continue to inform game design; too much attention to the digital components of games can efface the physicality of video games and artificially simplify interpretations.
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Keywords: Infocom; feelies; history; interactive fiction; material culture; narrative

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Illinois Institute of Technology

Publication date: September 1, 2013

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  • The Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds focuses on theoretical and applied, empirical, critical, rhetorical, creative, economic and professional approaches to the study of electronic games across platforms and genres as well as ludic and serious online environments.
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