Ferjik, Ken

A historian, artist and game designer, 75-166 AT. Regarded as the father of true virtual universities.

While the traditional universities were slowly dying during the Information Era, unable to adapt to the changes in economy, society and technology, the unconventional and non-academic Ken Ferjik explored the possibility of educational virtual reality gaming. His earliest creations such as Micronesian Quest (115) and The Himalaya Wars (118) were detailed historical simulations that inspired many imitations. Over time, he successfully integrated both elements of networked gaming and roleplaying (exemplified by Pertinax (121) and Mother Russia (123)), culminating in the political-educational simulation Cuba (2096). He became interested in how to extend these simulations into true tools for education and research, gradually extending the series of simulations with Manifest Destiny (131), Dustbowl (134) and Eagle of the East (135). For the last 30 years of his life he continued developing his simulations, now as part of the curriculum of the Sanayo Virtual University. He worked together with AIs to create immersive virtualities with carefully adjusted social interactions, Verstheen-dramaturgy and connections to research databases that became not just a template for countless other immersive virtual universities but also defined the basic concepts of virch art through the millennia.

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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg

Initially published on 29 October 2001.