Contributing writer

Julia E. Hansbrough

Latest Content

Arts

Sorcerers, Bards, Fighters

One of my adventurers, Howard, is pointing to the little figure that represents his character, a red-haired elf sorceress. “I’m playing a chick, and I have a huge rack. It’s very important.”

Arts

This One Time at Camp

The kid blinked, puzzled, swore under his breath, and logged back into Unreal. David logged him back out, and the cycle repeated a couple more times until the kid, muttering something about the “stupid broken computer,” stormed away. David was grinning. “Hey, that computer’s free now.” I didn’t even care about Unreal anymore; what I wanted to know was what the heck had just happened. “How’d you do that?” I sputtered.

Arts

Becoming a Bird Nerd

Such outdoor experiences are typically seen as the antithesis of geekiness: it’s you versus nature, relying purely on your eyes and ears to take in as much as you can. You can’t ask Wikipedia what bird you just saw, and there’s no associated trading card game or comic book. But while I was on the trip, I couldn’t help but think of how all this identifying, classifying, and searching felt like one of my geekier hobbies. When my T.F. excitedly pointed out a rare bird, my first thought was, “My God, this is just like Pokémon!”

Arts

Just Another Magic Player

I played my first Magic tournament in third grade, with a bow in my hair and a deck of cards I had scrounged together by saving up allowances and “borrowing” cards from my older brother. I used a Lisa Frank notepad to keep track of “life totals.” In hindsight, I’m sure I looked perfectly ridiculous to the shop’s clientele.

Arts

Welcome to Smogon University

I quickly learned that I really didn’t know anything about Pokémon. Have you ever tried to optimize your Pokémon’s EVs and base nature? Have you ever made sure your team had a good balance of walls, revengers, and offenders? What about defending against Rain Dance, Baton Pass, and Endeavor teams? I hadn’t either.

Columns

Beatable Games, Unbeatable Music

For years, video game tunes were all I listened to.

Columns

Watching Virtual Grass Grow

Late one night, seized by a fit of temporary insanity, I decided to play “Farmville.”

Columns

A Gamer's Fondest Fantasy

A few weeks ago, when I picked up “Final Fantasy VII” (FFVII) again, I was expecting to relive one of the best gaming experiences I’d ever had.

Columns

Saving the World, One Class at a Time

In my freshman year of high school, I mastered the art of not paying attention in class. In particular, I mastered the art of hiding my Game Boy behind my chemistry textbook.

Columns

Years Later, 'Metal Gear' is Still Solid

Unfortunately, there are no purple hearts or medals of honor for thwarting video game enemies.

Free Time
Columns

In Search of Lost Time

Larry, In His Element
Scrutiny

Professor Summers

Data Sculpture
Visual Arts

Painting by the Numbers: Data Visualization

School at School
Columns

What We Forget About School: School