Steven Johnson

17 Stories by Steven Johnson

For the Fun of It

We explore ornamentation, the non-medical application of a device made with gold leaf, and how the MIT Media Lab stays creative.
9 min read

Sphere of Life

An investigation into one of humanity's oldest and most ubiquitous inventions: the ball.
8 min read

The Game Worlds We Make

Why designing a simple board game with my son rivals anything he's learning in school.
0 9 min read

Party in the Front

An exploration of the cultural shift that began with a leisure space of idle chatter and led to some of our most productive modern...
11 min read

In Pursuit of Condiments

A look at how playful spices remade the map of the world.
9 min read

Clever Like a Fox

A look into how games and childhood play encourage the kind of adaptive, flexible thinking we need to navigate a complex world.
11 min read

Greater Than Zero

An investigation into the surprising history of games designed to change our political values.
12 min read

Airplanes, Zoos, and Infinite Chickens

An exploration of the power of play, from screen-based games like Pokémon Go or Minecraft, to the imaginative worlds of children inventing playgrounds out...
11 min read

Strange Loops and Circuit Benders

A mysterious stranger in San Francisco's Union Square helps jumpstart a sonic revolution with a malfunctioning tape recorder.
14 min read

32 Dots Per Spaceship

A look back at the origins of Spacewar!, the first video game and one of the most influential pieces of software ever written.
10 min read