This being the internet, it is of course difficult to know if this is for real, though I will say I checked his facebook page because it had been a long time since I had heard from him. I don’t really know what else to say, except that I will miss him.
Conrad visited a PR-IF meeting in Boston a couple of years ago. He was living in a homeless shelter at the time, and was neither apologetic nor defensive about his lifestyle. He was there to talk about IF. I am sorry that this has happened.
I read this and I try to remember any conversation I had with him, and the only thing that comes up was a squabble from when he thought he’d figured out Pudlo’s identity. It makes me feel amazingly petty.
Is there any information about what happened to him?
I remember an interesting exchange with him or two. I had no idea about the hobo thing and have just discovered that he wrote a blog on it (you can google it). It’s weird that I randomly chose today to check what’s being talked about here, which I had fallen way out of the habit of. 8(
The thing I remember most about Conrad is that review he did of that weird dog sitter game. Which really isn’t much less petty than your memory, come to think of it.
(I guess we’ll never find out if that was real or not.)
Conrad had an interest in conversational IF and wrote a couple of pieces. I think (though I am having a hard time now digging up confirmation of this point) that he was pseudonymously responsible for this odd, imperfect, but striking ghost story IF about an American living in Cambodia (ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=bgzdh0efni3tt2ly). Periodically he would email me about design ideas he had.
Sometimes he seemed to be, for lack of a better word, confused about what was real in his life, but his enthusiasm appeared genuine and it seemed like there were things he really wanted to express through IF work, and I’m sorry that it seems he didn’t get the opportunity to do so.
January last year we had a brief email exchange. I was going to look over something he had been working on but I never got it. I wish I chased it up now. I can really empathise with the hobo thing, especially the desire to not buy into a society you never wanted to be a part of. I’m sorry it ended this way for him.
Browsing Conrad’s blog, I came across this. I do not mean to speculate or anything, but I think in light of his death, it makes sense to consider the appeal in that blog post, if only because it was a cause that was evidently very important to him.
That’s an odd post that I can’t really take seriously; so it seems like maybe you are being sarcastic. But here’s a post of his that shows some great insights (despite being against conventional wisdom on some points) on what people want from alternate endings, etc., based on analysing the results of comps.
This is, I think, a compelling game design idea. This principle is essentially at work in Michael D. Hilborn’s excellent Fingertips: Fingertips game, where the more satisfying alternative ending is much harder to achieve. This idea works even better when we try and move away from the notion of there being only one correct ending to a narrative.
Far from it! I’m prepared to take just about anything seriously. Taking it seriously doesn’t mean that I believe it, but it means I believe that people who do believe it have good reasons for believing it, and that we should listen to the people who do believe so with fair consideration and empathy.
I hadn’t seen that post before, but I did remember his posts about the 2009 Comp, especially this post. Actually, I think his 2009 Comp posts were the only writings of his that I had read at all. His statistical analysis really is a solid contribution to the IF community, even if some of his conclusions may be debatable.
I only really got to know of Conrad Stanley Cook through the whole Adam Thornton Jacek Pudlo thing that happened a while back. Although he was ultimately wrong, he proved that we was willing to defend Emily Short’s honour right up to the bitter end. One might even say he was her knight in shining armour.
I suggest that in true interactive fiction style, we run a special speed IF dedicated to Conrad Stanley Cook - The Conrad Cook Competition.
I like to think that he’s in a better place now and most importantly at peace. Maybe he shall return to us again. Abiit sed numquam oblitus.