After tragedy and trauma, some game developers have found solace in the poetry of code and the power of storytelling

Granada Hills, Los Angeles, August 1999. Ben Formaker-Olivas was nine years old and jumpy with excitement. He and a bunch of other kids were at the North Valley Jewish Community Center, waiting for a bus on a scruffy back lot just down the hill from the main building. …


At a moment when real life is wracked by crisis, designers say that games should offer a respite from violence, rather than a celebration of it

Shooting things in games is intrinsically compelling. Firing, watching something blow up, and then seeing our score ping higher on the screen creates an exciting feedback loop that gives us immediate agency and power. Shooters are the most popular genre of video game in the U.S. and account for 25%…


’This is all about putting the tools in the hands of people that might not otherwise get the opportunity.’

A few days ago, my 11-year-old son sent me a What’sApp message: “Look what I made—it took ages.” There was a video attached, and when I (with some trepidation) hit play, I saw a character from the video game Fortnite running over a series of flashing tiles, each of which…


Developers are experimenting with A.I. to learn from your moves and personalize your gaming experience

Eight years ago, game developer Bethesda attempted a radical experiment with its epic role-playing adventure Skyrim — and it went horribly, beautifully wrong. To make players feel like they were a part of a living, breathing world, the designers created an artificial intelligence system named Radiant, which gave computer-controlled characters…


YOUTH NOW

Young adult novels are bravely exploring the biggest themes of our era and creating a community of empowered teenagers in the process

When I started writing my second novel early last year, I made a gigantic mistake. At the time, I didn’t see it as a gigantic mistake; I saw it as a smart and clever editorial decision. I was both wrong and right about that. Anyway, I wouldn’t realize the trouble…


Great Escape

Teens have always created their own spaces to experiment, socialize, and indulge idle curiosity

We’re just not going to make it this time but decide to make a run for it anyway. As we gain speed, we are laughing, because, well, here we are: an esteemed contributor to the New Yorker disguised as a bush and pushing a fortysomething novelist across an abandoned parking…

Keith Stuart

Journalist/novelist. Author of A Boy Made of Blocks and Days of Wonder. Veteran video game player. Twitter: @keefstuart

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