The Trope Tank

A lab for research, teaching, and creative production, the Trope Tank is directed by Prof. Nick Montfort and located in the Massachusets Institute of Technology in room 14N-233. To see what we've been up to lately, read the 2012-2013 Trope Tank Annual Report.

Home computers and videogame systems ready for use in the Trope Tank
Home computers and videogame systems ready for use in the Trope Tank; Title photo above by Elizabeth Woodward
Prof. Nick Montfort standing by the Asteroids machine in the Trope Tank
Prof. Nick Montfort in the Trope Tank · Photo by Steve McLaughlin


To develop new poetic practices and new understandings of digital media by focusing on the material, formal, and historical aspects of computation and language.


In-house researchers from semesters past:

Slant collaborators, 2013–

The Deletionist collaborators, 2011–

Racing the Beam and Platform Studies series collaborator, 2007–

10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10 collaborators, 2010-2013

Tools for the Telling collaborators, 2007-2008

Purple Blurb guest organizers:

"Trope Report" Series of Technical Reports

  1. TROPE-12-01 - The Trivial Program "yes" (Nick Montfort)
  2. TROPE-12-02 - XS, S, M, XL: Creative Text Generators of Different Scales (Nick Montfort)
  3. TROPE-12-03 - Creative Material Computing in a Laboratory Context (Nick Montfort and Natalia Fedorova)
  4. TROPE-12-04 - Carrying across Language and Code (Nick Montfort and Natalia Fedorova)
  5. TROPE-13-01 - Electronic Literature for All: Performance in Exhibits and Public Readings (Clara Fernández-Vara)
  6. TROPE-13-02 - Videogame Editions for Play and Study (Clara Fernández-Vara and Nick Montfort)
  7. TROPE-13-03 - No Code: Null Programs (Nick Montfort)


The Trope Tank hosts postdoctoral and undergraduate researchers, student visits from various classes, codefests, and other sorts of events and collaborations. The facility hosts the monthly meetings of the People's Republic of Interactive Fiction. The Trope Tank is also an overflow area for the Electronic Literature Organization across the hall, serving as a meeting space. The Purple Blurb series of presentations of digital writing is a program of the Trope Tank. The director, Prof. Nick Montfort, is part of the Comparative Media Studies/Writing section at MIT in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

Comparative Media Studies/Writing
People's Republic of Interactive Fiction
Electronic Literature Organization
Purple Blurb


A catalog of materials in the Trope Tank (hardware & software) is now avaialable.

Hardware and software catalog

Researchers interested in computer and video games, electronic literature (including interactive fiction, hypertext fiction, and digital poetry), home computing and hobbyist programming, or related topics are welcome to contact Nick for access to the collection of materials, computers, and video game systems that is housed in the Trope Tank.


The Trope Tank, MIT
77 Massachusetts Ave, Room 14N-233
Cambridge, MA 02139


The Trope Tank is at MIT in Building 14, the same building that is the home of the Hayden Library. The room number is 14N-233; this is in the north wing on the second floor. After finding building 14, come in — the entrance on the northeast side, next to the large black steel Calder sculpture, is the closest one to the Trope Tank. Once inside, take the stairs or elevator up to the second floor. The Trope Tank is not inside the library; it is in the wing across the courtyard from it.