Talk:Robert Abbott (game designer)

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Good article Robert Abbott (game designer) has been listed as one of the Video games good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.

Different Robert Abbotts[edit]

Someone apparently put the bit about Sneakers into the article because of a confusion with this Robert Abbott, who is not the game inventor.

The security consultant is Robert P. Abbott. If the game inventor is still checking in here, would you add your birthdate and/or middle name? That will help prevent someone else from re-introducing this error down the road. Besides, you owe me a favor after the damage that Ultima did to my undergraduate grade-point average.  :) JamesMLane 02:49, 8 August 2005 (UTC

There is now (finally) a birthdate. :) ~~ Hi878 (Come shout at me!) 05:01, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Confusing language[edit]

Though early in his life he worked as a computer programmer with the IBM 360 assembly language, in the 1950s Abbott turned to game design.

That sentence implies that IBM 360 assembly language predated the 1950s. The IBM 360 series didn't emerge into daylight until the late 1960s. All it needs is a little tinkering with the wording, but it would be better for someone familiar with the subject to take care of that. All I can do is point out this confusing phraseology. Floozybackloves (talk) 14:49, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Attempted to fix. ~~ Hi878 (Come shout at me!) 17:20, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Sent to me in an e-mail[edit]

Robert Abbott sent the following information to me in an e-mail.

Abbott was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He began inventing games when he was fourteen and recruited his little sister, Margie, as a play tester. Abbott attended St. Louis Country Day School, went to Yale for two years, then attended the University of Colorado for another two years. According to Abbott, "being much too bright, I never graduated."[11] After dropping out of the University of Colorado, Abbott spent two more years living in Colorado. For reasons he still can’t explain, those two years were a period of intense creativity for him. During that time, he invented all of his card games, including his game Eleusis.
Abbott next moved to New York City, where he worked at various clerk jobs, until he had a life-changing experience: Martin Gardner wrote about Eleusis in his Mathematical Games column in Scientific American. So—you’re probably saying—Abbott got his game in a magazine. How can that be a life-changing experience? To understand this, you have to know about the effect Gardner’s column had on the world of science and the world of games and puzzles.Wikipedia’s entry for Gardner explains some of this, but it can’t explain everything. Gardner’s effect on the game Eleusis and on Abbott is a good example of the importance of the Mathematical Games column.
Abbott had written a letter to Gardner to explain the rules to Eleusis. Gardner was intrigued by the game and he even saw more in Eleusis than the inventor had seen. Abbott’s letter had mentioned that the strategy for playing Eleusis was basically inductive reasoning, but Gardner took this further. He saw that the game as a whole could be a model for the Scientific Method. Gardner’s column on Eleusis appeared in the June 1959 Scientific American, and it generated a great deal of interest.
Abbott now realized that this was a good time to get more of his games published, so he put together four of his card games—Babel, Eleusis, Leopard and Construction—and made them into the book Four New Card Games, which he privately published in 1962. Abbott sold it by mail and it did fairly well, since it was mentioned in a few places. The book came to the attention of the publisher Sol Stein, who had Abbott expand his book to eight card games plus one chess variant that Abbott had invented, and which was referred to as Baroque chess. In 1963, this book was published by Stein’s firm, Stein and Day, as Abbott’s New Card Games. (In 1968 there was a paperback edition by Funk & Wagnalls.)
In 1963, Abbott was having some success in publishing, but he wasn’t really making much money, so he decided to go back to his hometown of St. Louis, where his brother-in-law, Bob Ellis, got him a job as a computer programmer at the Washington University Computer Research Laboratory. In 1965, Abbott moved back to New York, and for the next 20 years he continued to work as a programmer, mostly in IBM 360 assembly language.
Abbott continued his work with games, but he also became interested in a new form of puzzle that eventually became known as Logic Mazes. His first logic maze had been published in October 1962 in (where else!) Martin Gardner’s column in Scientific American, but it wasn’t until later that Abbott realized a lot more could be done with this form of maze. Since then, Abbott has created various mazes, most of which appeared in the books SuperMazes and Mad Mazes.[9][10] In 2010, his Where are the Cows? maze was published by the Oxford University Press in the book Cows in the Maze.[15]

~~ Hi878 (Come shout at me!) 23:48, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

Video games?[edit]

Why is this article under VG project? Only connection I see is that there is a video game version of Theseus and the Minotaur. Did Abbott program that version? --Mika1h (talk) 17:59, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

I have wondered that quite a bit, actually. He invented the maze, which was turned into the game; that's what I came up with. He designed several of the levels, as well. ~~ Hi878 (Come shout at me!) 18:44, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Robert Abbott (game designer)/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: DeadlyAssassin (talk contribs count) 08:22, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Rate Attribute Review Comment
1. Well written:
1a. the prose is clear and concise, and the spelling and grammar are correct.
  • Generally well written, although there are a number of very short sentences especially in the Biography section which make the article somewhat difficult to read.
  • There isn't any copyvio caused by lifting from any of the online sources having checked with Duplicate Detector.
1b. it complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, words to watch, fiction, and list incorporation.
  • I would not have said that Logic maze is the main article of that section.
  • The lists don't always seem to be referred to by the text. Where they aren't referred to in the text they aren't referenced. For more information on lists like this can I recommend that you look at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lists of works?
2. Verifiable with no original research:
2a. it contains a list of all references (sources of information), presented in accordance with the layout style guideline.
  • I think that your use of short sentences has caught you out here, I think you probably have covered all of your facts with sources, but it seems from reading the article that you haven't. For example, "Abbott was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He attended St. Louis Country Day School. Abbott went to Yale for two years, then attended the University of Colorado for another two. According to Abbott, "being much too bright, I never graduated."[11]" may be covered by Buxbaum (reference 11), but it's not clear from the text.
2b. all in-line citations are from reliable sources, including those for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons—science-based articles should follow the scientific citation guidelines.
2c. it contains no original research.
  • I think that you got an email from the subject really pretty cool, but it falls into Original Research teritory, and isn't recognised as a verifiable source. On the other hand I'm not sure where you can verify the information contained in that email elsewhere.
3. Broad in its coverage:
3a. it addresses the main aspects of the topic.
  • Beyond his early life the article doesn't cover much about his personal history.
  • I think what is also missing is perhaps a section on the effect that Robert Abbott has had on the development of games. You make oblique reference to this in the opening sentence, but it's not really picked up elsewhere.
3b. it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style).
  • It's a hard line to walk, but is the article about the man or his games? The detail included on Baroque Chess, and Eleusis for example is probably overly detailed and more appropriate for the relevant game articles.
4. Neutral: it represents viewpoints fairly and without editorial bias, giving due weight to each.
5. Stable: it does not change significantly from day to day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute.
6. Illustrated, if possible, by images:
6a. images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content.
6b. images are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions.
7. Overall assessment. Given some of the points I've noted above, I would like to put the nomination on hold for a week to give you time to make some amendments. I think what you've got is a great start.
  • 1a. If I fixed up the biography section, is there much else I would need to figure out? The Biography section was interesting to write, so I may not have been paying attention to how I was writing it as much as I should. :)
    • I think I've done an acceptable job of cleaning that particular section up; however, I am sure that when I am a bit more awake, I'll notice more that I should change. ~~ Hi878 (Come shout at me!) 04:17, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • 1b. The list of games was sent to me in a different e-mail; there aren't any sources that I could discover for most of them. I think I'll just remove the games part.
  • 2a. With that particular example, and other places like that, should I just put "[11]" at both spots?
  • 2c. More than just one e-mail. :P However, there is almost nothing at all anywhere about his life; I only know anything because he has told me. Is there no way that the e-mail would be acceptable?
  • 3a. For the first bit, see above. For the second bit, how did I refer to that, exactly? That wasn't my intention.
  • 3b. How much paring down would you suggest? I've thought that before, but I've never really been able to figure out what seemed too much.
  • Thank you for taking the time to review this! ~~ Hi878 (Come shout at me!) 00:25, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

It was my pleasure to review, it was quite an interesting article actually.

  • 1a. Yes check.svg Looks good :)
  • 1b. Yes check.svg Fair enough
  • 2a. Yes, there's no problem using references more than once in an article. Do you know how to use the <ref name="xx"> tag? No offence intended if you do. :)
  • 2c. I've asked the question of an experienced editor hopefully they will have a suggestion that will help us. ETA: On DGG's suggestion, I've moved the question to WP:BLPN.
  • 3a. Looks good. What I meant is that you said that 'he is sometimes referred to as "The Official Grand Old Man of Card Games".' That must mean that he has had an effect or been influential somehow, or maybe it means he's been at it longer than others?
  • 3b. I'd suggest quite a bit, the main articles cover the games themselves quite a bit. I think a couple of sentences would be appropriate in an article about the man. I've had a go, if you agree with my edits the next step would be to create stub articles about the games which can be done with the content I've removed. I didn't want to create those until we'd agreed about this point.

Good stuff. --Deadly∀ssassin 07:16, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

  • 2a. I already have used them for the references in this; I just thought it odd to have the same citation in two adjacent sentences, but whatever. :)
    • With that particular spot, is the amount that I have used it now alright? ~~ Hi878 (Come shout at me!) 04:38, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
  • 2c. Probably a wise move. I've commented there about how I intend to use e-mails.
  • 3a. To be completely honest, I haven't really seen that anywhere except for in the article I use as a source, which says that he is called that. Perhaps he just has been at it for quite a while?
  • 3b. I think that most of it is probably fine; since what was there is still hanging around in the history, and can send it off to the respective articles at some point. There already are articles for the games and one of the mazes; the other two mazes don't have articles, however. I'm not entirely sure about the cow one, but I don't think that either are notable enough for articles; therefore, I think that at least some of the information for those two sections should be retained, just so that people can still find out about them here. Otherwise, thank you for being bold!
  • Again, thank you for the review; I'm glad this is finally getting somewhere! ~~ Hi878 (Come shout at me!) 04:32, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
  • 2a Yes check.svg Done I think it looks fine to my eyes.
  • 2c Hopefully that discussion attracts some attention soon. :)
  • 3a Yes check.svg Done I think your rewrite of that sentence helps to clarify a bit, it would be good if we knew why and I suspect you're right it's because of his longevity.
  • 3b Yes check.svg Done Great, I've taken the removed paragraphs out and put them onto the talk page so that they're a bit more visible - if others come along later they may never know to look in the history for that content.

Almost there! --Deadly∀ssassin 09:19, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Hopefully, it won't take too long. :) ~~ Hi878 (Come shout at me!) 22:43, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
  • The discussion seems pretty clear that the email isn't notable. I've removed content that relied solely on that source as referenced (there was only 1), however some relied on the email and another source and not having the other sources to hand I can't tell how much of the content relies on the email and how much on the other source. Can you remove the content that relies on the email and then let's see where we stand. --Deadly∀ssassin 12:14, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
    It has been fixed. I wasn't too terribly worried about that e-mail; I'm more worried about how I am going to get certain other things in, such as when he was married, and the names of his first and second wives. I haven't seen that anywhere online. Anyways, how does it look now? ~~ Hi878 (Come shout at me!) 21:56, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
  • That's not as bad as I feared it would be. Congratulations, you're the proud father of a Good Article! --Deadly∀ssassin 11:14, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Preserving Games Content More Visibly For Later Use[edit]

The following content about some of Mr. Abbott's games was removed from this article as it was too much for an article about the man. I'm putting it here so that should articles be created about the games themselves in the future it is more prominently available. --Deadly∀ssassin 09:15, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

I told you already; the articles already exist. :) However, much of this information isn't in them, so it is still useful. ~~ Hi878 (Come shout at me!) 22:36, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
  • That'll teach me to try to edit Wikipedia when I'm 1/2 asleep. :) --Deadly∀ssassin 12:08, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

File:Traffic Maze.png Nominated for speedy Deletion[edit]

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  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference MadMazes34-35 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Abbott 1963, pp. 122-123
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference ANCGF.26W121-138 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference Ultima was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ Cite error: The named reference MG1959 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  6. ^ Abbott 2001, pp. 11-22
  7. ^ Gardner 2008, pp. 151-159