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The professor who discovered 80-year-old pixel art

If not for ASCII art, we wouldn’t have ASCII games like Candy box and Dwarf Fortress. And that would be terrible. So the way I look at it, we are greatly indebted to “ARTYPING,” which was invented in the early 20th century and done on typewriters. Some early examples of this forgotten art-form recently turned up on the blog of Lori Emerson, an English professor at the University of Colorado Boulder.  Along with a portrait of Shirley Temple composed of X’s and semicolons, she also posted some endearingly hokey old-timey excerpts from the book she found it in: ARTYPING (1939), written…

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Candy Box clones demonstrate ASCII is ready for a comeback

Candy Box was a wonderful joke. It had a small but influential portion of the Internet wondering how a game that uses keyboard symbols for graphics could be playable, much less awesome. Candy Box 2’s punchline was self-referential: how could a game that was a joke justify a sequel? It, too, was inexplicably awesome. The thing was these games were good inspite of their feigned badness. Thus begun ASCII art’s improbable comeback.  Since then we’ve seen more than a few copycats, and The Gold Factory is the latest. Not much is known about who created it other than he or…