A game where Character Creation is the Whole Game

Fans of old computer RPGs will doubtless agree that best part of many was the character creation screen, where you get to fool around with portraits, characteristics and classes and all the other little details.

I wondered "what if a whole game took place in a classic 8/16-bit style character creation screen?" So I made a prototype browser game called Character Creation is the Whole Game.

When you spend one of your allocated points, your character ages and automatically experiences the adventures that in life might have resulted in greater strength, wisdom or skill. Random events take place -- dungeon plunges and hauls. Stat choices would lead down different paths of life: with clever balancing to epic jobs and rewards, and mediocrity to those who dumbly max or spreading . And eventually you die or retire or become King. Read the rest

Review: Punkt's MP01 is the ultimate minimalist dumbphone

Punkt's MP01 is a minimal treat for people wanting a simple but flawless phone—and willing to pay top dollar for a few details done very well. Read the rest

Review: Lenovo Yoga Book

Lenovo's Yoga Book is the most striking personal computer I've seen in years. More than the original iPhone, or Sony's X505, or the Messagepad, here's technology that seems a few years ahead of schedule. It's compact, attractive and thinner than anything else that might be called a laptop. Imagine two hinged pieces of black glass, one of which glows with the internet and the other with Okudagrams, and you have the Yoga Book. Read the rest

Corinthian Leather: the collected political nightmare photoshops

Due to infrequent but insistent requests for my unpleasant Photoshops of various politicians, I'm putting as many of them as I can remember here in one place. Sweet dreams!

I'd make a calendar but the licensing fees involved would necessitate crowdfunding it, which sounds like hard work.

There are a couple of extras here not seen before, such as Donald McNugget; and I likely missed a few too. Read the rest

We Are Zogg

I learned that Boing Boing seems never to have linked to one of my favorite things on the internet: Zogg, the Cuddly Menace. Jason Yungbluth's brilliant remix of My Little Golden Book About God is as wonderful as it was 478 glorns ago, so I thought it would be fun to perform a dramatic reading to celebrate the impending arrival of the star tankers.

Yungbluth (@IAmDeathRay) is a cartoonist and "all around sexy beast" living in Rochester, NY. His comic books include Deep Fried, PEEK and the Weapon Brown graphic novel. You can read Jason’s work in the pages of MAD magazine too.

Weapon Brown in particular is getting great reviews lately, such as the following from Total Nerd. A parody of Peanuts sent in a grim dystopian techno-future, it was originally published in 2002 but has recently been collected in Omnibus form.

Do not fail your species. Read the rest

FACT: Dogs finally won the internet from cats at the same time Trump announced his presidential candidacy

I had an unsettling realization and it checked out. Is it just that we needed their warm, comforting companionship instead of the cooly cerebral presence of felines? Or are they in on it? Read the rest

Rogue One is good

In the first act, we visit planet after planet without any sense of place or structure. I almost tuned out in fear of ending up at BOOP CHOWBAH, IMPERIAL WASTEWATER TREATMENT MOON. But once the Death Star fires its first shot, we're off to the races: Rogue One is fast, focused action sci-fi given space to get its hands dirtier than usual Star Wars stuff.

Yet it so loves and respects that universe, treating it with great reverence. In particular, I loved how the "primitive" computer displays of the original Star Wars era were convincingly upgraded into an intentional UI aesthetic. Now the 1977 original looks like a faithful low-budget sequel to a beloved classic. Read the rest

Another Thanksgiving Prayer

As it's been 30 years since William Burroughs' legendary Thanksgiving Prayer was recorded, I thought a contemporary tribute was in order. Read the rest

So much for transparent aluminum

I added a line of dialog to Star Trek: First Contact.

PREVIOUSLY: Yeah, Obi-Wan Remembers the Truth Alright Read the rest

White Supremacy Euphemism Generator for journalists

Reading recent coverage of Donald Trump's friends on the far right, it struck me that even when people pander to the idea Western culture's wellbeing is inseparable from European ethnicity, they somehow avoid being called white nationalists or supremacists by journalists. Read the rest

Defunct 19A0s Computer Company Name Generator

This generates names of Defunct Computer Companies That You're Sure You Can Remember From the 19A0s

Really not sure about this livestream from Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel's livestreaming a press event: the PayPal billionaire is explaining why he's supporting Trump, how he's going to speak truth to power, why his comments about women aren't "big" issues, and so on. This is just a taster of what's coming in the new year, obviously.

Can't say it was what I expected but still looking forward to what Disney does with Episode VC! Read the rest

Alt Right conspiracy image generator

I made a generator to provide images from Twitter after The Fourth Debate. It picks random frames from TV footage and draws conspiracies on them. Reload the page for another set! Read the rest

Randomly Generated Catalog of Creepily Nondescript Domestic Surveillance Equipment

The Cobham catalog, exposed by The Intercept, features countless pages of surveillance gadgets sold to U.S. police to spy on American citizens: tiny black boxes with a big interest in you. In the creepily bland feature lists and nerdy product names is a whisper of a dark future; perhaps darker than anyone can imagine.

Psygnosis Amiga Game Generator

I'm a huge fan of the Commodore Amiga (the world's first psychedelic computer), but what sucked me in as a youngster were games for it made by the Liverpool game developer Psygnosis. In the late 1980s, they realized what this weird, powerful machine could do and created a distinctive aesthetic for their titles. They hired Roger Dean and other prog-rock geniuses to create game art, and adhered to a unique storytelling vibe: not quite gothic, not quite fantasy, not quite 1970s UK pastoral postapocalypse. Then they soaked it in moody tribal electronic music by the likes of David Whittaker and Tim Wright, years before Sadeness hit the charts.

The games were also brutally difficult, sadistic even, to the point that it made everything all the more mysterious. There were, simply put, not enough wonderful games with names like "Agony", "Leander" and "Shadow of the Beast."

Psygnosis is long defunct, absorbed into Sony and its legacy ascended to Brandhalla. So I hope no-one minds my Psygnosis Game Generator, which combines a random Psygnosisy game name (equal parts concise, literary and antideluvian) with a randomly-picked work of art by Roger Dean and the classic Psygnosis box art wrap. Click "generate" for another—and be sure to share your artifact from a parallel universe. (You can also fiddle with URL parameters if you want to manually pick a title, typeface,painting, etc.)

A Psygnosis Game Generator [boingboing.net] Read the rest

Spider preparing a fly for dinner

We found this little fellow in the garage preparing dinner. Despite a sultry summer, we've been free of flies and I figure it's all thanks to Team Cellar Spider.

Read the rest

If adblocking is dead, the future is brandblocking--and less appetizing things, too

Facebook is at war with users who block ads, and battle proceeds apace. Just two days after boasting that it could serve ads that were undetectable by adblockers, Facebook got a rude awakening in the form of updates to AdBlock that detected them just fine. But it isn't giving up, and has already adjusted its code to once again circumvent the blocks.

A source close to Facebook tells me that today, possibly within hours, the company will push an update to its site’s code that will nullify Adblock Plus’ workaround. Apparently it took two days for Adblock Plus to come up with the workaround, and only a fraction of that time for Facebook to disable it.

Update: A source says Facebook is now rolling out the code update that will disable Adblock Plus’ workaround. It should reach all users soon.]

Still, the cat-and-mouse game is sure to rage on.

AdBlock is at a disadvantage due to Facebook's engineering resources and ability to update its site on-the-fly. That said, Facebook loses more money from each lost ad than AdBlock pays to remove it, which creates an asymmetrical fight. AdBlock is, of course, not a noble venture—it dominates the ad blocking market and whitelists ads from publishers that pay it protection money.

Adblockers generally distinguish ads from content by looking at how web pages are structured and where they come from. To those unfamiliar with HTML, web pages are a nest of boxes, each tagged as a <paragraph or a <division or an <articleor what-have-you, with each identified or classified so that other code can decide what it looks like, where it goes, or what content gets pasted into it as the page renders. Read the rest

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