illustration of boy playing Cold War video game

First-Person Shooter Ideology

The cultural contradictions of Call of Duty.

Mange, Morphine, and Deadly Disease: Medicine and Public Health in Red Dead Redemption 2

The video game offers a realistic portrayal of illness and public health in the 19th-century American West.

Model Metropolis

Behind one of the most iconic computer games of all time is a theory of how cities die—one that has proven dangerously influential.

You Have Died of Dysentery

A conversation with the lead designer of the 1985 version of the Oregon Trail video game.

Sex, Pong, And Pioneers

What Atari was really like, according to the women that were there.

The Unintended Consequences of Veterans' Day

In hindsight: A day created to commemorate peace has been transformed into one that perpetuates war.

Rediscovering History’s Lost First Female Video Game Designer

In 1976, Joyce Weisbecker programmed games for an RCA PC and console based on technology created at home by her dad.
Colorful abstract art

The Writers’ Strike Opens Old Wounds

The deep roots of the latest WGA strike.
Image of an AR-15

The Gun that Divides a Nation

The AR-15 thrives in times of tension and tragedy. This is how it came to dominate the marketplace – and loom so large in the American psyche.
Illustration of fantasy elements including a maze and a crystal ball from a "choose-your-own-adventure" scene from a book.

The Enduring Allure of Choose Your Own Adventure Books

How a best-selling series gave young readers a new sense of agency.
People in Ukrainian subway station converted into bomb shelter with makeshift beds and kitchen.

The History of the Family Bomb Shelter

Throughout history, the family bomb shelter has reflected the shifting optimism, anxieties, and cynicism of the nuclear age.
Neil Young, on left, and UFC announcer and podcaster Joe Rogan.

What The Neil Young-Joe Rogan Dust-Up Tells Us About The Music Industry

The music industry is thriving — but it’s not always trickling down to artists.

Best History Writing of 2021

Bunk's American History Top 40.
Newspaper article titled 'Novel-reading a cause of female depravity'

Why Novels Will Destroy Your Mind

Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, novels were regarded as the video games or TikTok of their age — shallow, addictive, and dangerous.
White Sands National Park on a sunny day.

The Lure of the White Sands

Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, Geronimo, Robert Oppenheimer, Steven Spielberg, and the mysteries of New Mexico's desert.

Can Slavery Reënactments Set Us Free?

Underground Railroad simulations have ignited controversy about whether they confront the country’s darkest history or trivialize its gravest traumas.
a blurry image of's home page

Should the National Register of Historic Places Apply to Websites?

Corporate motivation isn’t enough when it comes to digital preservation. Here’s a case for creating a National Register of Historic Places for websites.

The Lines of Code That Changed Everything

Apollo 11, the JPEG, the first pop-up ad, and 33 other bits of software that have transformed our world.

When Dungeons & Dragons Set Off a ‘Moral Panic’

D&D attracted millions of players, along with accusations by some religious figures that the game fostered demon worship and a belief in witchcraft and magic.