Back in the '80s I sometimes played Mind Mirror, a clever computer game designed by Timothy Leary. Apparently he also worked on several other games that never got released, including a Neuromancer adaptation that he hoped would feature art by Keith Haring, music by Devo, photography by Helmut Newton, writing by William Burroughs, and a character based on David Byrne. The New York Times has the scoop:
Last week, at a reception celebrating the opening of the [Timothy Leary] archive to researchers, the library displayed a monitor showing a continual loop of samples from the dozen or so games Leary developed in the 1980s, alongside cases containing paper documents relating to his famous LSD experiments. The games were recovered from the roughly 375 computer disks included in the Leary archive, and will be viewable—and in some cases, playable—on a specially equipped computer in the library's rare books and manuscripts division.
"The games were still in development, so they're buggy," warned Donald Mennerich, the digital archivist who led the project.
But Leary's games, Mr. Mennerich added, are also right in line with some of the ideas about interactivity that prevail in digital culture today.
"Leary brought an angle of psychological interaction to this idea of interactive gaming, this idea of reprogramming your brain," he said. "It didn't catch on then, but he was pretty far ahead of the curve."
Read the rest here. I'd be curious to learn how much of the design work Leary himself did on these projects, and how much came from the actual programmers and other collaborators. Whatever the answer to that might be, Leary's software is an interesting stop on the trail that leads from the psychedelia of the '60s to the cyberculture of the present—a winding path from LSD to GTA.