Interview with a designer of the new Dungeons & Dragons

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On the always excellent Expanding Mind podcast, we hear from Jeremy Crawford, one of the designers of the new 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons.

"We discuss identity, the multicultural multiverse, Eastern Orthodoxy, and the sacred absurdity of terrible dice rolls," says host Erik Davis.

Listen here:

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Kickstarting Bloc by Bloc: a game about radical insurrection

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Rocket Lee writes, "In Bloc by Bloc: The Insurrection Game, players struggle together to overthrow a repressive government and liberate a randomized city that changes with each game. To win, players must build barricades, loot shopping centers, occupy strategic locations, clash with riot cops and defend liberated zones before time runs out and the military arrives. Each player is also dealt an individual faction agenda and those with Vanguardist or Nihilist agendas are secretly playing to win the game alone." Read the rest

A look back at the D&D moral panic

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Retro Report did a short feature on the moral panics about D&D in the 1980s. It's a fun, 13 minute look back at the moment when D&D totally changed a bunch of kids' lives, only to be vilified and literally demonized by opportunistic members of the religious right. Read the rest

The saga of Ian Bogost's pressure-washer

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Beginning in July 2014 and continuing to April 2015, someone (possibly Ian Bogost) maintained an obsessive Tumblr site about whether Ian Bogost, an eminent and brilliant video games critic and editor of a spectacular series on everyday objects, would buy a pressure washer, and if so, which one. Read the rest

Crowdfunding new Commodore 64s, desktop and handheld

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The 64 is a crowdfunded rebuild of the classic Commodore 64, to ship with an as-yet-unannounced collection of games and software from the beloved gaming platform. Read the rest

Pac-Man suits

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They're a mere $110 from Opposuits, which is a positive bargain, espeically when you contemplate just how much daily use you can get out of it. (via Crazy Abalone) Read the rest

Garden: XKCD's latest maddening, relaxing webtoy

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The latest XKCD is Garden, a webtoy that invites you to position lamps, adjust their spectrum and focus, and wait while your garden grows. Read the rest

Code Master is an ingenious programming board game that'll make you feel smarter

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I love playing clever puzzle games with friends and for years my go to company has been ThinkFun. They’ve just released a title with the claim of “teaching the basics of computer programming without a computer”. The designer of Code Master is an ex NASA virtual reality simulations programmer named Mark Engelberg and I think he’s hit his mark.

Like most of ThinkFun’s games, it comes with an ingenious, well-ramped set of levels that teaches new mechanics as you go. Even though the later levels are driving me batty, the “Huzzah!” moments encourage me to keep playing long after I should have gone to bed.

You play the role of an adventurer who needs to collect gems on each level before escaping through a Portal. To aid you in your quest you’ll need to “write a program” that moves your hero across the map.

To write the program you’ll need to order a random set of movement tokens that allows your avatar to travel on appropriately colored paths.

For the level shown above, you’re movement tokens are 1 red, 1 blue and 2 greens and must be placed in the following order to make it from start to finish.

This particular level may seem simple but believe me – the game ramps to insane levels of difficulty!

Early on you’ll be introduced to special paths that only allow your Avatar to move in the direction the arrows are pointing and Loop paths that bring your Avatar back to his current position. Read the rest

Indie games roundup!

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The best from the independent dev scene

Online casino bankrolls largest-ever, ruinously expensive war in Eve Online

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Eve Online ("spreadsheets in space") is the infamously intricate massively multiplayer space trade/conquest game where real cash can be exchanged for in-game currency , making the battles fought there consequential in a way that sets it apart from other games. Read the rest

Russia bans Polish "Communist Monopoly" board-game

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Kolejka ("Queue") is a popular satirical Polish board game that lampoons life under Stalinist rule; the Russian consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor has banned publisher IPN, the Polish "Institute of National Remembrance," from distributing its Russian version of the game unless they remove "anti-Russian" elements that are "excessively critical" of the USSR. Read the rest

Shower curtain that looks like a Nintendo cartridge

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Thinkgeek's $25 NES-themed shower curtain will class up your bathroom a treat; pose in the see-through panel to be the star of the cartridge (try to look as 8-bit as possible). (via Geekymerch) Read the rest

Trigger Windows Solitaire victory animations with a single click

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Here is a startlingly compelling implementation of the classic Windows Solitaire victory animation: simply click and win! The creator is Richard Cabello, who has perhaps played enough Windows Solitaire for one lifetime. Read the rest

How to Talk About Videogames: a book that is serious (but never dull) about games

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Ian Bogost's How to Talk About Videogames isn't just a book about games -- it's a book about criticism, and where it fits in our wider culture. Bogost is the rare academic writer whose work is as clear and exciting as the best of the mainstream, and whose critical exercises backfire by becoming enormous commercial/popular successes.

To do in London: digital storytelling with Rhianna Pratchett and Leigh Alexander

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Alice writes, "Held at BAFTA (195 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LN) Level Up will boast a discussion and celebration of digital storytelling in gaming led by a panel of renowned author-gamers, including academic and children's author Gabrielle Kent, script writer Rhianna Pratchett, and journalist Leigh Alexander." Read the rest

Mondrian pong

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Happytoast made this amazing thing for B3ta's video game art challenge. Someone make it into a real game, plz? Read the rest

Timing is everything in Minecraft's new combat system

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Minecraft's combat system always reflected its simplicity, and basically amounted to clicking things until they died. It's just been overhauled with a game update centered entirely on combat. Ideas that seem simple become more challenging when you have to account for lag. Read the rest

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