Publish and Perish

Andrew Reinhard
Received 2017-05-04
Citation: Reinhard, Andrew. 2017. “Publish and Perish”. Epoiesen


To the extent possible under law, Andrew Reinhard has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Publish and Perish (author’s write-up about the game).

Andrew Reinhard is the Director of Publications for the American Numismatic Society ( ORCID ID: 0000-0001-7987-8227

My first Twine game is called Publish and Perish. As an academic/scholarly publisher for the American Numismatic Society (and before for the American School of Classical Studies at Athens), I frequently found myself explaining how the publishing process works (and doesn’t) to new authors. These discussions inspired me to create a game about the peer-review and publishing process, specifically for academic non-fiction. The old “publish or perish” adage still stands, and professors and tenure-track hopefuls are often held to an unrealistic publishing standard of both quantity and quality.

I wanted the game (interactive fiction, really) to do a couple of things: 1) walk players through the publishing cycle, being as realistic as possible, and 2) make the player perish no matter what while having a fun (or frustrating) time doing it. That’s life, isn’t it? Published or not, we all die. We can choose to be either amused or frustrated by this eventuality of being forgotten whether or not we created anything. We publish for the work, but mostly we publish for ourselves. Academic publication is, at its core, fundamentally about enlightened self-interest. Sure the research gets out there more or less, but we’re really doing this to promote ourselves, to advance our careers, and to consolidate a lifetime of work for future validation that what we did actually meant something.

At the 2017 TriBeCa Games Festival, Jonathan Morin of Ubisoft stated that games are really about validation. Many of us don’t get the validation we need in the real world, but games are quite good about making a player feel accomplished. Perhaps Publish and Perish will give players some validation. Being published certainly does, and it’s a great feeling when it happens.

Explore Publish and Perish

Archived Version as of May 4th 2017

Read Jeremiah McCall’s response

Read François Dominic Laramée’s response

Cover image ‘Skull dark map book gun’, Pixabay

Masthead image from Stevenson, Robert Louis. “Edinburgh. Picturesque Notes … With etchings by A. Brunet-Debaines from drawings by S. Bough … and W. E. Lockhart, etc.” 1896. p109. British Library Flickr Stream