Nintendo announces new hybrid portable game console


Nintendo's Switch is a touchscreen tablet with removable physical controls that turn it into a traditional handheld game console. It comes with a chunky dock to hook it up to a TV set for high-definition couch action; also announced is a traditional wireless gamepad to match the squared-off dark gray design: it's what disassembles to become the tablet's own controls.

Introducing Nintendo Switch! In addition to providing single and multiplayer thrills at home, the Nintendo Switch system also enables gamers to play the same title wherever, whenever and with whomever they choose. The mobility of a handheld is now added to the power of a home gaming system to enable unprecedented new video game play styles.

Switches use cartridges instead of discs: suggestively retro, especially in the promise of instant-on gaming, but also reflective of the general decline of optical media in favor of flash and high-bandwidth internet connections.

The promo video depicts intriguing social game cultures that don't yet exist—think kids toting their no-nonsense, easy-to-use Switches around to the pub and competitive event alike. For me it lit up dormant arcade-era neurons that Sony and Microsoft (and Apple, for that matter) never get close to.

It's out in March. Read the rest

Game developers say no to DRM: "hurts our customers"


The developers behind the hotly anticipated Shadow Warrior 2 have gone on record explaining why they didn't add DRM to their new title: they themselves hate DRM, and understand that DRM disproportionately inconveniences legit customers, not pirates who play cracked versions without DRM. Read the rest

Atari founder Nolan Bushnell's new virtual reality startup


Modal VR, the new stealth startup co-founded by Atari and Chuck E. Cheese creator, has opened the doors a crack. According to Bushnell, their portable VR system is built for business applications (even though the demo video shows, you guessed it, a game). “We want to help enterprises solve problems by looking at them from another point of view," Bushnell said.

“For those of us who grew up on “Star Trek,” the holodeck has always been the gold standard," he said. “Modal VR is the first time that I believe we actually have the holodeck.”

"Nolan Bushnell’s Modal VR launches next-generation virtual reality platform for enterprises" (VentureBeat)

"Nolan Bushnell Says His New Virtual Reality Startup Has the Keys to the Holodeck—and it’s Portable" (IEEE Spectrum)

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The FEEL FLUX grants the sense of slowing down time


I’ve been playing with my FEEL FLUX for weeks and its hit rate in the amazement department is 100%.

Each time you drop the metal ball through the copper tube you’d expect it to zip out the other end but instead, it lazily creeps from one end to the other and dribbles out into your waiting hand.



A “Silent Catch” is what happens when you toss the ball into the FF and it slowly glides down the sides without making contact with it.  I have to say that it’s satisfying and magical every time I pull off the maneuver.

As the ball glides down the tube, the magnetic field changes inside the metal wall and when this happens, a bit of voltage is created.   This reaction is not unlike a tiny, temporary battery and is called an electromotive force. The movement pattern of the voltage moves down with the ball and looks like this:



What could be simpler?

The tube’s material is an electrical conductor and drives current around in circles as the ball descends. The scientists at my laboratory tell me that when this happens, a second magnetic field is created that opposes the downward motion of the magnetic ball. The ball wants to fall through the tube at 9.8 meters per second but the field wants to halt it and of course, gravity wins in the end. And here’s the crazy part – the faster the initial downward motion, the more powerful the slowing force becomes. Read the rest

Dice so nerdy, they make other dice seem not nerdy


Eric Harshbarger's weird, laser-engraved dice are a tour-de-force: a pair of D6s for figuring out where to go for dinner in NYC; another D6 to figure out which die you should roll; an all-20s critical hit D20; Sicherman D6s that have different faces to a normal D6 pair, but the same probability distribution; punctuation mark dice (I've had students who were definitely using these); dice for indecisive people, and so on. Read the rest

Women as sinister seductresses in video games


The latest Tropes vs Women in Video Games (previously) is as on-point, smart, and deep as ever. Read the rest

100% CGI versions of 80s tech and toys

Mike Campau recreated Generation Gap, a CGI series of some of the most iconic items from 1980s childhoods, each one lit with gorgeous multi-hued gradients. Read the rest

Sim Fed Chairman


The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco has released a simulator that challenges you to be the Chair of the Federal Reserve and "achieve full employment and low inflation." Read the rest

Emulator lets you turn NES games 3D


Super Mario Bros and other classic games can be run through 3DNes, a nifty 3D emulator. Read the rest

Hand-Crafted Poké Ball May Be Peak Pokémon, But Is Still Totally Awesome


The artisan behind this Pokémon "Poké Ball" (aka Monster Ball) masterpiece is Jasper Hams.

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Kid makes a diorama of her neighborhood disguised as an RPG rulebook


Jim Jones writes, "I have been playing The Warren, Marshall Miller's role playing game about being rabbits, with my three kids for a little over a month. We play in an area based on our suburban neighborhood. My second grade daughter chose to do a diorama of a suburb for school so she could talk about our game and we built it so that it appeared in the rule book for the role playing game itself." Read the rest

Will $120m video game Star Citizen ever be ready to launch?


Star Citizen is an epic game development project, crowdfunded to the tune of $124m (million!) and directed by industry legend Chris Roberts. But whether it'll end up an epic game remains unclear, as endless feature creep, ambition and internal rancor see the project enter its fifth year. While Roberts was bothering his devs to add multiple layers of clothing to the game, each with different fabric properties, David Braben was shipping Elite 4 to hungry star pilots. Read the rest

Kickstarting a boardgame version of the Zombies, Run! exer-game


Zombies, Run! co-creator Adrian Hon writes, "That's right, we turned our running app and audio adventure into a board game! It's a frantic, fun, real-time audio-driven sprint across a zombie-infested landscape for 2-4 players, who must rescue survivors, uncover secrets, and (hopefully!) find a cure." Read the rest

The history and future of Lemmings, and a proposal


Lemmings is one of the best video games of all time, and seemed in the 90s to be on the verge of becoming an explosive media phenomenon. Its tiny animated characters are fab: adorable yet down-to-earth, capable yet doomed, a smorgasbord of sarcastic bite and hurt/comfort neediness. After publisher Psygnosis was bought by Sony, though, the Lemmings soon vanished into the corporate archives. The creators went on to make the Grand Theft Auto series. But perhaps their first mega-hit could have its day again.

‘I would have loved to take the characters and do something different with them,’ says [co-creator Mike] Dailly. ‘But we never got the chance. When you get down to it the original game was brilliant, and the sequel had brilliant tech. But the characters themselves are what makes the game. And they should be used for more, for far more.’

In today’s nostalgia-hungry industry the return of Lemmings is hopefully a matter of time. Updating a classic is never easy, of course, but the game is so original and well-loved it’s amazing no-one has tried to do what Championship Edition did for Pac-Man. That may be Lemmings’ beauty and its curse. There is not a single element of the game that could be removed without changing the whole thing. Adding more stuff, as with the sequel, doesn’t make it better. And how can you update visuals that are iconic because they’re 8×10 sprites?

In the leap from cult hit to world-spanning franchise, there are hard marketing problems when your entire premise is "100 literally identical characters, constantly and comically brutalized". Read the rest

400+ depictions of soda machines in video games


Jess Morrissette writes, "I'm a professor of Political Science at Marshall University, and I recently launched a project aimed at cataloging screenshots of every soda machine to have ever appeared in a video game. We've reached over 400 entries in less than a month, featuring virtual soda machines ranging from the earliest days of video game history through games released in recent weeks." Read the rest

To do in San Francisco this weekend: the first-ever roguelike celebration


Noah writes, "This weekend a group of roguelike enthusiasts and developers are getting together for the first ever Roguelike Celebration. It'll feature talks from developers of the game that spawned the genre - rogue - as well as the creators of Dwarf Fortress, Kingdom of Loathing, ADOM, Tracery and lots more. It'll take place all day on the 17th and will be streamed live on for those who can't make it in person." (Image: Deon-23, Mike Mayday, public domain) Read the rest

Adafruit's Tempest in a Teacup: the world's smallest MAME cabinet


The fun-lovin' hackers at Adafruit banged together this teensy weensy MAME cabinet over a weekend; it's more of a kludge than a project, and they didn't document the build in its entirety, meaning that making your own is a challenge that the Fruits have thrown down before you. Read the rest

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