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Chris Crawford on Game Design by Chris Crawford

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Thank You, National Enquirer

Some months before, while waiting in a supermarket checkout line, I observed that the headlines in the National Enquirer appeared to be designed by a combinatorial algorithm using standard components such as Elvis, flying saucers, revolutionary new diet plans, freakish babies, secret things, etc. Reflecting further, I realized that indeed a great many headlines have a formulaic quality to them. Perhaps, I mused, someday I would write a headline generator program for harried editors.

Now that fantasy came back to me, and I realized that I could put that crazy idea to work in my design. I could have a headline generator that would present events to the player in terms of news stories generated by combinatorial algorithms. ...

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