Nigel Richards of Christchurch, New Zealand won the French-language Scrabble world championship yet he doesn't actually speak the language. Richards, a former US and World Scrabble Champ simply studied the dictionary for a couple months.
"He doesn't speak French at all, he just learnt the words. He won't know what they mean, wouldn't be able to carry out a conversation in French I wouldn't think," said Richards' friend Liz Fagerlund, former president of the New Zealand Scrabble Association. "He does have a reputation for being the best Scrabble player ever and they know about him already, but they probably didn't necessarily expect him to go in for the first time and beat them at their own game."
The Button, the Reddit game that started (perhaps) as an April Fools' joke and became a social experiment, religion, and drug, has ended after 1,008,316 presses. Time's up. "The Button has ended" (Reddit)
Justin Beiber, one-time YouTube star, then chart-topping heart throb, then TMZ regular. Justin Beiber, recently roasted by the cool kids of Comedy Central. And now Justin Beiber, blasted out of space, over and over and over.
I have a boy in grade school, and his whole world comes comes down to a few passions, which include Legos and iPad games. That's why I am vicariously excited for him about this week's release of Sick Bricks, a new mash-up of click brick toy and tablet game.
I think one of the most fascinating uses of augmented reality is to reveal the "secret histories" of neighborhoods, buildings, and other locations when you are actually in those spaces. Jewish Time Jump: New York is a new mobile AR game meant to teach young people about New York City's rich cultural history of Jewish immigration and the women's and labor movements of the early 20th century. Jewish Time Jump was created by ConverJent, a nonprofit focused on Jewish learning games, with a grant from the Covenant Foundation, a Jewish education group. I haven't played Jewish Time Jump yet but it is a finalist in the 2013 Games for Change Awards for "Most Innovative." From The Jewish Week:
In a 21st-century twist on the scavenger hunt, players find the requisite clues by physically moving to locations inside and across the street from (Washington Square Park), which is adjacent to the building that once housed the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. (Today it, like most of the buildings surrounding the park, is part of New York University.) As players move from location to location, archival photos, events and characters appear on their mobile devices, triggered by GPS technology. Students also view historical documents — such as old Yiddish newspaper pages (with translations) and flyers — on their mobile devices as they play…
Asked why he chose an episode of labor history — the game deals with the New York shirtwaist strike of 1909, also known as the Uprising of the 20,000 — as opposed to another Jewish topic, (ConverJent founder Rabbi Owen Gottlieb) said that immigrant history is “already a part of many schools’ curricula” and that he liked how this topic incorporated women’s history and provided “fascinating conflict.”
Austin Whaley, 18, was arrested last month for yelling "bingo!" in a Covington, Ky bingo hall when he didn't really have bingo. The crowd of mostly elderly people grew angry and when Whaley refused to apologize, he was arrested for disorderly conduct. The judge barred him from the bingo hall and ordered him not to utter the word "bingo" for six months either. Good thing he didn't yell theater in a crowded fire. (TODAY News)
Bossa Studios created the surgery game "Surgeon Simulator 2013" in a weekend. It's somewhere between Operation, advanced medical training simulations, and splatterpunk films. From the description on Steam Greenlight:
You are Nigel Burke... an ordinary guy, with no outstanding skills.
Somehow forced to perform an array of vastly complicated procedures,
using any tools available. Your goal will be to complete every
operation in the quickest time possible, with minimal blood loss!
In 1985, Charles Bronson went 8-bit in the Death Wish 3 computer game from Gremlin Graphics for the ZX Spectrum, Armstrad CPC, and Commodore 64. It was an intensely violent and gory game. For the time, people, for the time. You can download the TZX tape image here, the Amstrad CPC version here, and likely locate the C64 version via GB64.com. (via @death_waltz_records on Instagram)
My Institute for the Future colleague Jake Dunagan is hosting a 24-hour online forecasting game to imagine the future of government services and civic engagement. It's called Connected Citizens and there are still a few hours left to play!
The near future holds epic opportunities for rapid innovation in government services. New civic technologies will be built with open data, ubiquitous cloud connectivity, and real-time sensing. Connected Citizens is a global conversation about how connectedness will change the relationship between citizens and governments, and how government services will be designed and delivered in the future.
How did Foosball spread from parlors in Fin de siècle Europe to rec rooms mainstay and dot-com cliche? In the new issue of Smithsonian, Derek Workman delves into the history of tabletop football and its unclear origin.
Alexandre de Finesterre has many followers, who claim that he came up with the idea , being bored in a hospital in the Basque region of Spain with injuries sustained from a bombing raid during the Spanish Civil War. He talked a local carpenter, Francisco Javier Altuna, into building the first table, inspired by the concept of table tennis. Alexandre patented his design for fútbolin in 1937, the story goes, but the paperwork was lost during a storm when he had to do a runner to France after the fascist coup d'état of General Franco. (Finesterre would also become a notable footnote in history as one of the first airplane hijackers ever.)
The Future of the Hospital, created and produced by Institute for the Future (IFTF) with the sponsorship of the California Health Care Foundation and Guidon Performance Solutions, is an online forecasting game designed to inspire a conversation about a new 21st century role for community hospitals, starting from the ground up—drawing on the insights of health and health care experts as well as ordinary people all over the world…
Players watch a brief 2-minute research-based scenario video, then share brief Twitter-length ideas, or cards that inspire chain reactions and linked brainstorms on topics by other players. The outcome will be an aggregation of new ideas, opportunities and solutions for community hospitals...
Sponsors will take the best of the “big ideas” generated from the analysis post event and integrate them into best practices and strategies for community hospitals across the country. Following the game, a post game summary with be available to the pubic highlighting key ideas that will be available to all game players.
MIT researchers developed a game that simulates the weird relativistic effects of slowing down the speed of light.
A Slower Speed of Light is a first-person game prototype in which players navigate a 3D space while picking up orbs that reduce the speed of light in increments. Custom-built, open-source relativistic graphics code allows the speed of light in the game to approach the player's own maximum walking speed. Visual effects of special relativity gradually become apparent to the player, increasing the challenge of gameplay. These effects, rendered in realtime to vertex accuracy, include the Doppler effect (red- and blue-shifting of visible light, and the shifting of infrared and ultraviolet light into the visible spectrum); the searchlight effect (increased brightness in the direction of travel); time dilation (differences in the perceived passage of time from the player and the outside world); Lorentz transformation (warping of space at near-light speeds); and the runtime effect (the ability to see objects as they were in the past, due to the travel time of light).