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feel +‎ -ie. In the video game sense, introduced by the game publisher Infocom in the 1980s.


feelie (plural feelies)

  1. (science fiction, often in the plural) A proposed future entertainment, akin to a film/movie, where the audience can physically feel what happens to the characters.
    • 1932, Aldous Huxley, Brave New World[1], Chatto & Windus:
      Seven and a half hours of mild, unexhausting labour, and then the soma ration and games and unrestricted copulation and the feelies. What more can they ask for?
    • 2023 January 30, Megan Garber, “We’ve Lost the Plot”, in The Atlantic[2]:
      TikTok’s endless talent show is so captivating that members of the intelligence community fear China could use the platform to spy on Americans or to disseminate propaganda—feelies as a weapon of war.
  2. (video games) An additional physical item packaged with a game (usually interactive fiction) to immerse the player in the game world and provide hints to solving the game.
    • 2017, Andrew Williams, History of Digital Games: Developments in Art, Design and Interaction[3], CRC Press, →ISBN:
      The company also gained fame for its inclusion of “feelies,” small tangible items directly related to the game. The feelies for Infocom's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1984), for example, included papers representing “Destruction Orders for Your Home and Planet,” an empty bag representing “Microscopic Space Fleet,” and a “Don't Panic” button, among other items.