When Chell is crushed between two portals, she enters an infinite realm of psychedelic visuals

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Crowbcat created a Portal setup that had Chell, the game's heroine, trapped between two portals that crushed her. The results were an astounding wonderland of psychedelic visuals Read the rest

Think up and create your own board game with this Game Inventors Kit

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See more photos at Wink Fun.

It's exciting to get a new game in its pristine box, wrapped in cellophane, begging to be opened. Inside you find the game board, colorful game pieces, cards, and, of course, instructions. Instructions are the worst part of a new game. Reading and rereading the sheet of rules, digesting them, and teaching them to your friends so you can get your game on can be excruciating. And how many practice games do you have to play before you really get it?

Instead of learning how to play someone else's game, how about inventing one of your own? Combine the elements of all those games you've played and loved into your own unique adventure using a board game inventors kit by Board Game Manufacturing. Don't be put off by their site's poor graphics and design. Their product is worth the slog through its eye-crossing pages.

I purchased their Junior Game Inventors Kit. The kit includes everything you need to start building a game: a pre-cut box, a blank folds-to-square game board, paper to cover box and board, nine pawns, a pair of standard dice, a 12-sided numbered die, 56 blank cards, and a bundle of play money. You can also purchase a la carte from a long list of goodies. I added a money tray, a set of ten chipboard blanks, and ten stands to the basic kit. They offer an Advanced Game Board Inventors Kit as well, with a mind-boggling array of pieces.

The components of the kit are sturdy and as good as those in a purchased game. Read the rest

ZX Spectrum-based handheld retroconsole is pretty good

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The design perfectly transmutes the cheap minimalist beauty of the classic ZX Spectrum home computer into a unique handheld game console. But does the ZX Vega capture the experience of the early 80's machine?

Indie Retro News reviews it and finds it well-worth your £99, so long as you know what you're getting: a weird British contraption from the early 80s, and only the game-related features of it at that.

Hardcore Speccy fans may have been shouting to have room for expansion but, it's plain to see that this is not what it's about. If you look at this at what it's meant to be, a handheld Speccy to play games on, you can't got far wrong. I agree that you can't beat the original Speccy, the same goes for any original computer but as a pick-up-and-play, it fits perfectly.

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Meet the inventor of Whac-A-Mole and The Rock-afire Explosion

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Dennis Fechter is the creator of the Rock-afire Explosion, the animatronic band that made greasy memories at Showbiz Pizza throughout the 1980s. He also insists he's the inventor of Whac-A-Mole, based on a similar Japanese game that he saw in 1976, although the company that popularized it call bullshit on that claim. Now, Fechter has a new game in the works, Bashy Bug, and he's banking on its success to save his career, and his legacy. From Popular Mechanics:

Day two of the (International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions Convention) finds Fechter on the floor but with a non-working game. This is the first public debut of Bashy Bug.

As Fechter promised, the game is mechanical. The player operates a giant rubber flip-flop while a mutated cockroach skitters underfoot. If you can step on the bug, you earn a point. If the bug escapes when you bring your foot down, the bug earns a point. I know from experience that the system has been wired with a jerking intelligence to randomly stop the bug's run just short of the target that makes this harder than it sounds, and after the bug has scored a few points against you, you'll find yourself sucked in. But nobody here will have that opportunity.

"I haven't slept," Fechter tells me, standing in front of this monument of a purple machine with an animatronic roach face hovering above the scoreboard and Billy Bob painted on the cabinet. There is a mania in his voice that I would blame on fatigue if I hadn't interviewed him before.

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Kickstarting "Knights and Bikes," gorgeous, brilliant game, part Goonies, part Earthbound

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Knights and Bikes is a fictionalised recreation of co-creator Rex Crowle's boyhood in Cornwall, riding around on his bike and pretending to be a medieval knight; Crowle and his partner Moo Yu are a powerhouse pair of game developers, part of the Little Big Planet core team, and they've tapped some fantastic artistic and musical talent to work on the game as well. Read the rest

Kickstarting a set of super-nerdy, pan-dimensional RPG dice

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David sez, "The Tesseract Dice are unique, science themed dice, with shapes ranging from 4-D cubes, to Tesla coils to atomic explosions. Its goal is to bring unique and fun science themed game pieces to the gaming community." Read the rest

All the Dungeon Crawlers

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Dungeon Crawlers are those pseudo-3D maze games where you stomp around one square at a time, turning at 90 degree angles. The purpose of Dungeoncrawlers.org, then, should be obvious: to build "an online database for classic and modern first-person grid-based dungeon crawler games."

The design's great, too: nice and straightforward, but with a bit of period atmosphere! They've got everything from Alkalabeth to Grimrock. Read the rest

EA reveals the Xbox One sales total that Microsoft prefers not to

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Microsoft long ago stopped saying how many XBox Ones it had sold, but figures released by Electronic Arts expose numbers far short of rival Sony's Playstation 4.

On a financial call with reporters, CEO Blake Jorgensen said the combined install base of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 was about 55 million units. With Sony boasting of 36 million PS4s shifted, that makes for 19 million Xbox Ones.

The numbers tally with rumors, but both machines are doing well given that we're still only 2 years into the current generation of hardware. The big loser this time around is Nintendo, thought to have sold only about 11m Wii Us. Read the rest

Strategic butt coverings in video games

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Feminist Frequency's excellent Tropes vs Women in Video Games has a new installment on the prevailing ways that characters' butts are presented in games: with female characters, they're emphasized, centered and revealed; with male characters, it's often literally impossible to see their butts.

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Tracery - a JavaScript library to generate stories

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Tracery is a JavaScript library that automatically generates stories by assembling words from a glossary. Kate Compton, a PhD candidate in computer science wrote it. Learn more about Tracery in this interactive tutorial at the Crystal Code Palace.

Here's a one-button conversation game called Interruption Junction. It was created by Mx. Dietrich Squinkifer using Tracery. Instructions: "Click repeatedly or mash the spacebar to interrupt." Don't let your character fade away! Read the rest

Sony filed a trademark application for "Let's Play"

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"Let's play" videos are a hugely popular online genre in which gamers narrate their playthroughs of games that excite and challenge them. Read the rest

Design your own planet, Populous-style

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Oskar Stalberg's online game/toy "Polygonal Planet Project" runs in the browser and lets you design your own wee planet. You can raise and lower land, ice, forests and cities in a way similar to Amiga classic Populous, and watch the 3D globe rotate.

It's pretty hard on the old CPU—my little Macbook struggled with any world larger than the smallest option—but lights a strange little fire in the creative part of my mind. He also made one for 3D houses, which is just as much fun!

Update: "Or download a faster version for your desktop at: http://oskarstalberg.com/game/planet/planet.rar" Read the rest

Slideways: if Connect 4 was as sneaky as Go

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Slideways is a tic-tac-toe variant that lets players occupy squares, change their opponents' squares, or move where the squares are relative to one another. It's a strategy game with more sneaky ways to win -- and lose -- than seems possible, at first.

Watch what happens when you put 20,386 cars into Trackmania

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Trackmania is a highly-customizable car-racing game renowned for the insane videos players generate, showing off feats that would be impossible or absurdly dangerous in real life. Feats such as showing 20,000 cars racing simultaneously around the track.

Graham Smith explains at RPS:

The video is the culmination of half a year of work by organiser L4Bomb4, who collected the replays recorded in Trackmania United Forever and Trackmania Nations Forever, then converted and rendered 12,000 of them in the newer Trackmania 2: Stadium. “Unfortunately, the skins of the cars got lost in the process, but I could render with 12k cars at a pretty high quality without the game crashing,” writes L4Bomb4 on the video’s YouTube page. Another person, Danixks, edited the video and used a compositing technique to include 8000 further replays that would crash the game if rendered at the same time. The result is 20,000 cars on a single track.

It really must be seen to be believed: there are so many vehicles they merge into a bizarre fluid, spilling and splashing around the game's vast arenas. Read the rest

Menopoly: female lead missing from Star Wars Monopoly game

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Rey, the female lead of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is not among the character tokens one may play in the film's tie-in version of Monopoly. Featured are only male characters, including one not even present in the new movie.

It is the latest in a line of official merchandise that has drawn ire for prioritising less prominent male characters over Rey. … A Star Wars figurine pack released by Target also failed to include Rey or other new female Star Wars characters such as Captain Phasma, played by Gwendoline Christie. The six featured characters are Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, Finn, Poe Dameron, a Stormtrooper and a TIE Fighter pilot.

Hasbro, the game's maker, claims that including Rey would have been a spoiler.

…Julie Duffy, the company's Global Communications vice president told the Daily News. "Rey was not included to avoid revealing a key plot line that she takes on Kylo Ren and joins the Rebel Alliance," she said.

Slightly less laughable is the excuse sometimes aired that, as there is an individual figurine for Rey available, people should stop complaining about the sets from which she is excluded.

After all, TIE Fighter pilot is a very important character.

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Breaking the DRM on the 1982 Apple ][+ port of Burger Time

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4AM is a prolific computer historian whose practice involves cracking the copy protection on neglected Apple ][+ floppy disks, producing not just games, but voluminous logs that reveal the secret history of the cat-and-mouse between crackers and publishers. Read the rest

Science fiction: what if game companies could get rich on bots, instead of players?

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MVP -- Patrick Miller's "game dev short story" -- is a cleverly told piece of science fiction about a game dev team that hits on a weirdly compelling, unlikely and eerily plausible commercial strategy: optimizing their game for gold-farmers' bots. Read the rest

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