13

This question has confounded me ever since I was a freshman in college trying to subtly bludgeon my way through Dunnet in the lab without my professor noticing. Why in the world does emacs come with games and amusements? Why include games in a text editor?

For this question, I'm looking for an accurate historical summary. Were there games present in emacs from the very beginning? Were silly amusements always intended as a feature? Did someone package the very first included game in as a joke and everyone ran with it? Is it a mystery lost to the sands of time?

  • 1
    The short answer is: "Because emacs is not just a text editor". – Malabarba Oct 7 '14 at 19:29
  • Related: In college we had oscilloscopes with tetris on them: imgur.com/a/343yN. – jpkotta Jan 29 '18 at 18:15
19

I think the only honest answer is "because we can".

According to history, the first entry lisp/play/studly.el for the GNU Emacs repository was created in 1986. Then over the years, a few additions were made, including yow.el by RMS in 1990.

The hacker spirit has always been very compatible with (silly) games, and using software (like Emacs) for something that it wasn't initially intended to do, even more so (does anybody remember that Emacs is a text editor at the core ?)

Bottom line, don't over-think it, it's just the way it is :)

0

I think it is a less intimidating and less frustrating way to start learning the key bindings and then start developing that muscle memory. Plus games are a great way to get started writing programs in any language so emacs provides a medium to show those accomplishments/amusements off.

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    "For this question, I'm looking for an accurate historical summary. Were there games present in emacs from the very beginning? Were silly amusements always intended as a feature? Did someone package the very first included game in as a joke and everyone ran with it? Is it a mystery lost to the sands of time?" – Drew Jan 28 '18 at 3:22
  • It would be great if the first sentence were true. Most games use their own one-char keybindings instead of the key sequences Emacs became famous for. I've yet to see one that actually teaches you Emacs-style keybindings and combines it with a game. – wasamasa Jan 28 '18 at 10:58
  • I used blackbox and bubbles to get a solid grasp of the navigation key bindings, which later really helped me jump around in my code, and in my notes with org mode. I'm not saying these games will make you an emacs master, just offer a smoother transition away from using the mouse all the time. – Modulo Jan 28 '18 at 17:10

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