Judith Pintar

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Judith Pintar is a sociologist and author of interactive fiction.[1] She is also a Celtic harp player and a composer of instrumental music.

Professional career[edit]

Interactive fiction[edit]

Pintar is the author of CosmoServe, an interactive fiction (IF) that simulates the interface of Compuserve Information Service (CIS), the first major online service provider before and during the early years of the World Wide Web.[2] The game was written using an early game design system for IF, Adventure Game Toolkit (AGT) developed by Mark Welch and David Malmberg, and won the 5th Annual Softworks AGT game-writing contest in 1991.[3] The following year Shades of Gray: an Adventure in Black and White, a game co-authored by a team of Compuserve Gamer's Forum members, for which Pintar was the principal designer, won the 6th Annual AGT contest in the group category.[4] Shades of Gray is “generally considered the finest AGT game of all time.”[5] The collaborative authorship of the game is referenced as an example of the kinds of creative possibilities that emerged within the early online IF community.[6][7] Both games were published in a book and CD by David Gerrold, Fatal Distractions: 87 Of the Very Best Ways to Get Beaten, Eaten, Maimed, and Mauled on Your PC, (Waite Group, 1994).[8]


Pintar received a master's degree in Anthropology and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) with a concentration in science and technology studies, and an area focus on the former Yugoslavia. She is the author, with psychologist Steven J. Lynn, of Hypnosis: A brief history.[9] Currently she is Teaching Associate Professor and Acting BS/IS Program Director at the UIUC School of Information Sciences,[10] as well as a faculty affiliate at the Illinois Informatics Institute where she teaches the design and programming of Interactive Fiction.[11]

Music and performance[edit]

One of the first musicians signed by the New Age record label Narada Productions in the 1980s, Pintar released three recordings of original music for Celtic harp on their Sona Gaia imprint.[12] Selected compositions were also included on several Narada compilations.[13] Her recordings are now owned and distributed by Universal Music Group.

Pintar performed internationally during the 1980s as a harp player and storyteller.[14] Her popular non-fiction book, The Halved Soul: Retelling the Myths of Romantic Love,[15] and the liner notes on her albums and CDs, incorporated stories and poetry that were originally performed.


Solo recordings[edit]

  • Secrets from the Stone (1984)
  • Changes like the Moon (1987)
  • At Last the Wind (1990)
  • Quiet Conversation (1997)

Compilation appearances[edit]

  • Sona Gaia Collection (1990),
  • Faces of the Harp (1997)
  • Narada Film and Television Music Sampler (2003)


  1. ^ Doug Atkinson. "Character Gender in Interactive Fiction". XYZZYNews. Archived from the original on 18 July 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  2. ^ Graham Nelson. "Inform Designer's Manual". Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Softworks AGT Contest 1991". Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Softworks AGT Contest 1992". Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  5. ^ Jimmy Maher. "A History of Interactive Fiction, Chapter 8". Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  6. ^ Nick Montfort and Emily Short (2011). "Interactive Fiction Communities: Through Preservation to something and beyond". Dichtung Digital Journal für Kunst und Kultur digitaler Medien. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  7. ^ Nick Montfort (2005). Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction. MIT Press. p. 197.
  8. ^ David Gerrold (1994). Fatal Distractions: 87 Of the Very Best Ways to Get Beaten, Eaten, Maimed, and Mauled on Your PC. Waite Group Press. ISBN 9781878739773.
  9. ^ Judith Pintar and Steven J. Lynn (2008). Hypnosis: A Brief History. Oxford: Blackwell-Wiley. ISBN 9781444305302. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  10. ^ "iSchool at Illinois, Judith Pintar". Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  11. ^ "Judith Pintar's Reading List: Interactive Fiction". Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  12. ^ Patti Jea Birosik (1989). The New Age Music Guide: Profiles and Recordings of 500 Top New Age Musicians. Collier Books. p. 143. ISBN 9780020416401.
  13. ^ "FolkLib Index - Wisconsin Harp Musicians". Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  14. ^ C.E. Forman. "An interview with CosmoServe's Judith Pintar". XYZZYNews. Archived from the original on 18 July 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  15. ^ Judith Pintar (1993). The Halved Soul: Retelling the Myths of Romantic Love. Harper San Francisco. Retrieved 30 May 2016.

External links[edit]