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You can play the Hitchhiker's Guide game right now

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Yesterday, March 11, was Douglas Adams' birthday. Did you know you can celebrate by playing the 1984 Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game in your browser at work this instant?

Although games made with a text parser -- you know, where you type commands like TURN ON LIGHT or LOOK IN POCKET or S to travel "south" through described space -- are increasingly a lost art, the Hitchhiker's Guide game, made by Adams and Infocom's Steve Meretzky, was radically accessible for its time. The game playfully teaches you how to succeed at its opening circumstance by letting you die repeatedly in ways that quickly acclimate you to its sense of time, space, and humor.

The frustrating thing (or the beautiful thing, if you're like me) about old text games is the limitations of what they can understand. But the Hitchhiker's Guide game was downright literary for its time, empathetic to uncommon commands, skilled at understanding what the player wanted to do. It holds up well even today.

Give it a try. Maybe help each other out in the comments?

You can also emulate it a little more neatly with help from this crucial abandonware repository and an emulator like DOXBox or similar.

Smells of the past

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Stuart Eve created Dead Man's Eyes, an "augmented reality and heritage app" to bring the sights, sounds and smells of the past into the present.

At The Atlantic, he writes about his motives:

The past is dead, a foreign country where they do things differently. I experimented with augmented reality as a way to try bring me closer to experiencing what life was like in the past. Augmented reality is a way of merging the real world with virtual objects. It normally involves overlaying virtual objects onto live video feed from either a web camera, a head-worn display, or a mobile device. Many of the major technology companies (with the notable exception of Apple) have now produced such headsets—such as Google Glass or Microsoft's HoloLens. Some augmented-reality applications require the use of a physical marker to launch the experience—such as advertising interfaces that allow you to “drive” a car before buying it—whereas others work by locating your device using the embedded GPS and compass, such as Google’s worldwide roaming augmented-reality game Ingress.

Edgy sex games highlight intimacy, not conquest

Unconventional titles that focus on consent, care, and collaboration offer a softer future—even if the spanking is very, very hard.Read the rest

Anita Sarkeesian on what she couldn't say

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What I learned from Lumosity: fluid intelligence doesn't matter

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One of the controversies surrounding brain training sites has been the creators' claims that they build fluid intelligence.

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8-bit gamer duvet cover


Pixel Nostalgia ($100): also available as a rug, print, tee or tote.

(via Crazy Abalone)

Money laundering arcade game

The brilliant artist Tim Hunkin has opened a coin-op amusement arcade in London called Novelty Amusments. Here's a video of his money laundering game. The object is to steal money when regulators aren't looking. You can tell it's just a game because in real life the regulators would be wearing blindfolds.

Necromantic lawyers say George Patton can't appear in video games


California's insane publicity rights regime mean that the general -- who's been dead for 69 years -- can't be a video-game character because people might mistakenly think he endorses the game.

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Gaming: Tim Schafer and dev team watch an awesome Psychonauts speed run

Tim Schafer and members of the Psychonauts development team sit down with speed-runner Stephen "SMK" Kiazyk to watch him do a run of the game and witness the different ways he's found around their painstakingly crafted work in order to complete it as fast as possible.

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Flashing LED-equipped dice that light up on critical hits


Thinkgeek's $25 critical hit dice are a set of D10, D12, and D20 that light up when you roll their maximum values (they're all correctly weighted for fair throws).

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A trans Magic: The Gathering card

Tom writes: "Over the years, there have been thousands of Magic: The Gathering cards, many with their own characters and mini-stories. Only one, however, is trans, and this one is pretty darn cool."

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D20 and 20,000 Leagues ties


These gorgeous 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and D20 ties are $24 from San Francisco's Binary Winter

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Greece's new finance minister used to be Valve's games economist


Yanis Varoufakis used to manage in-game economies in games like Counter-Strike; now he's finance minister for a Greek government that has set its sights on reforming the entire basis of austerity and debt service in the Eurozone.

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Game Boy Pokemon mugs


Mug Emporium's $12 Game Boy Pokemon mugs come with your choice of Pokemon, though, one supposes, you should really catch them all. (via Geeky Merch)

WATCH: Trailer for Haphead, crowdfunded indie cyberpunk series about pro gamers

In one week, Toronto's Postopian Pictures -- the people who brought us Ghosts With Shit Jobs and many other delights -- will premiere their crowdfunded cyberpunk series Haphead (previously):

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How to win at rock, paper, scissors

In 2005 a Japanese electronics firm decided to sell its collection of four French impressionist paintings. Christie’s and Sotheby’s courted the company. The CEO asked the auction houses to play a game of Rock Paper Scissors to determine who would sell the paintings. The representative for Christie's researched Rock Paper Scissors strategies, and used the advice of one of his co-worker's children: “Everybody knows you always start with scissors.” This proved to be good advice in this case, because Sotheby's chose Paper. Christie's sold the paintings for $17.8 million, and earned a $1.9 million commission.

William Poundstone (author of many books I've enjoyed, including Big Secrets, Fortune's Formula, Prisoner's Dilemma, and an entire book about Rock Paper Scissors) starts off his article about Rock Paper Scissors strategies with the above anecdote. He looks at strategies involving statistics (in pro tournaments Rock gets thrown 35.4%, Paper 35%, and Scissors 29.6%), doublethink, tells, scripts, and pattern recognition. His conclusion:

  • Scissors is the least popular choice, and men favour rock. Both are reasons to choose paper in a one-shot match.
  • Announce what you’re going to throw and do it. Most players figure you won’t go through with it.

16-bit game-controller doormat


What says "Speak friend, and enter" more than a $20, 16-bit game-controller doormat? (nonskid, 13.75" x 30")

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