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Episode 12: Playful Mapping

Geographer Chris Perkins, co-author of the book Playful Mapping in the Digital Age, shares his love of maps and helps me explore the deep connection between mapping and play. Thanks to my awesome Patreon backers for covering my running costs and keeping the show alive. And special thanks to my $5+ supporters Anuar Lequerica, Nick, Torbjørn Vik Lunde, and Watchsmart. Relevant links: * Playful Mapping in the Digital Age...


Re-issue of the Chaim Gingold (Earth Primer, Spore) segment from Ep1

In celebration of the release of a Mac version of the award-winning app Earth Primer — a science book for playful people — I thought it'd be nice to dig out the segment I did with its creator, Chaim Gingold, back in episode 1, and clean it up for re-release (with a brief update on Chaim's current situation and a note about Earth Primer's Mac release thrown in there as well). Chaim was at the time a PhD student at the University of California Santa Cruz and researcher at the Communications...


Episode 11: The Hide & Seek World Championship

On the Nascondino World Championship, a yearly hide and seek tournament that attracts teams from all around the globe. I talked to Alan Jones, the co-captain of the Australian team, the Nascondingos, and Giorgio Moratti, one of the organisers of the competition, about how it works, what it's like, why it exists, and where it's headed next. This episode also features an excerpt from my new podcast, The Life & Times of Video Games — a documentary-style show about video games and the video...


Episode 10: Beyond Monks (If Monks Had Macs part 2)

Life after If Monks Had Macs aka What Brian Thomas did next; ruminations on photography and the politics of art and play. (Based on an interview conducted in early January 2017.) Relevant links: * Ludiphilia website ( * Patreon ( * If Monks Had Macs ( * Pile of Prints ( * Ludiphilia twitter ( and my twitter ( Thanks to my...


Episode 9: If Monks Had Macs

It all started with a Macintosh ad: 'You too can be a knowledge worker.' This is the story of Brian Thomas' 15-year odyssey at the helm of one of the strangest pieces of multimedia software ever created — If Monks Had Macs. You can learn more about Brian, and about Monks, at his website: All music and sound effects from If Monks Had Macs, except: * I Am a Man Who Will Fight for Your Honor...


A Brief Note on the Delay

I know I said I'd have a new episode out in February, and now we're in the second half of March. There's a reason for that. The short version is that I'm waiting to publish the new episode until after I sort out a problem with iTunes. Because I don't want to lock out new subscribers with Apple devices (which is most of them) who aren't willing or tech-savvy enough to subscribe manually with the RSS feed. The long version is in the audio.


Episode 8: Locke

We're back! So sorry it took so long. Regular service (new episodes every 4-6 weeks) will now resume. On the eve of the Industrial Revolution and the morn of the English Civil War, one man reinvented educational thought. Special thanks to my Patreon backers Anuar Lequerica, James Weiner, and Nick for sticking with me through this prolonged hiatus. I'm dedicated to making this show as good as possible for you guys, and to maintaining a more consistent stream of new content from here on out....


Episode 7: Ausretrogamer

When Alex Boz dug his Commodore 64 out of storage, he was transported instantly back to his childhood, and that set him on the path to rediscover a lost passion and find a community he could call home. Thank you to everyone who's donated via PayPal or Patreon so far — especially Anuar Lequerica and James Weiner, whose very generous monthly pledges are helping me buy new gear to make a better-sounding show. Alex Boz runs the Ausretrogamer ( website and Twitter...


Episode 6: The Manhole

How brothers Rand and Robyn Miller built worlds from a manhole. This is the story of the beginning of Cyan, the company that went on to develop Myst — the all-time top-selling adventure game and one of the most influential videogames ever made. Adapted from interviews for my upcoming book The Secret History of Mac Gaming (, which is currently crowdfunding on Unbound. Thank you to everyone who's donated via PayPal or Patreon so far — especially Anuar...


Episode 5: 5 - Where the City (Simulation) Stops

I love SimCity. It's a wonderful simulation of the urban machinery around us, and a playground for messing with our cities. But it turns out the original game, at least, doesn't actually work the way it seems. Music by Three Chain Links, Jesse Spillane, Rolemusic, and Lee Rosevere. Thank you to everyone who's donated via PayPal or Patreon so far — especially Anuar Lequerica, whose very generous monthly pledge is helping me buy new gear to make a better-sounding show. Song credits: * The...


Episode 4: Fernando Pessoa

On Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa and the playful freedom of creating as someone else — someone distinct, and unique, but non-existent. (Pessoa wrote under hundreds of names, all of which belonged to people he called "heteronyms," or "non-existent acquaintances." He's an extraordinary example of something actually quite common in literature.) Music by Chris Zabriskie, Lee Rosevere, Kai Engel, The New Valleys, Richard Moss. Songlist: * NirvanaVEVO...


Episode 3: Avatars in Need

Sometimes we don't realise that we need saving. Sometimes it's fun to pretend we do. For one woman, pretending made all the difference. This is the story of how one middle-aged woman relearned to play while residing in Second Life, and of the Search and Rescue operation she was enlisted into to help save fellow avatars (who don't actually need saving). Music by Chris Zabriskie, Kai Engel, Revolution Void, and Richard Moss. Mario Bava Sleeps In a Little Later Than He Expected To...


Episode 2: Mercy

[Audio levels should be fixed now. Sorry about that.] A devoted wrestling fan hacks and modifies an old Nintendo 64 game called WWF No Mercy to help deal with the pain of his shattered dream, and gets more out of it than he'd bargained for You can learn more about the No Mercy hacking scene at Old Skool Reunion ( As always, you can follow Ludiphilia on Twitter @ludiphilia ( and subscribe on iTunes...


Episode 1: Playful Pedagogical Primers

For the first episode of Ludiphilia I've gathered two stories about learning by playing systems-driven games. One is about the educational value of Minecraft, and the other is about a guy who studies something he calls play design and who developed two of my favourite bits of playful software in recent memory. First I talk to Santeri Koivisto, the CEO and co-founder of TeacherGaming ( — the small company behind (educational repackaging's of Minecraft and Kerbal...