This SNES bluetooth game controller lets you play the latest games you love, retro-style

Remember the glory days of playing Super Nintendo on that classic gray controller with its signature purple push buttons? Yeah, we do too.

8Bitdo is bringing the 8-bit gaming vibe back with the SNES30, a 1:1 original design that supports both Bluetooth and USB connections.

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Hey, kids, let's play Corporate Monopoly!

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Global Justice Now's "Corporate Monopoly" is an excellent piece of information design; it's a playable boardgame adapted from Monopoly (itself originally designed to teach the evils of capitalism), in which a shoe (the 99%) and a top hat (obvs) take it in turns to go round a familiar board whose squares tell stories about real-world class war, centred around UK policies and business. Read the rest

Hive Pocket – a strategy tile-laying game with bugs that you can play anywhere

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See more photos at Wink Fun.

Hive Pocket is a strategy and tile-laying game for two players. It's the more portable version of the original game, Hive, with a couple of expansion pieces and a cloth bag for transport. The base game has 11 pieces, with a queen and several other pieces that move differently around the board. The grasshopper jumps over straight lines of pieces, the ant can move anywhere on the outside of the board, the spider can move 3 spaces at a time around the outside and so on. You'll be attempting to surround the opposing queen bee to win the game. There's 2 expansion pieces that are optional to the base game.

Hive falls into a category of easy to learn, and difficult to master. The game typically doesn't take the full 20 minutes, as there's an emphasis on turn economy, or getting the most out of your moves so that you're not one move behind the other player, but frequently it turns into not being able to stop someone from winning. I've had games run way longer when someone devises a new strategy that they want to try out. I have the pocket edition because it's easy enough to throw in something to bring along. The tiles are hearty and the bag is showing no signs of wear. Not having a board also makes it so that you can play while waiting for food, in an extremely small area. – James Orr

Hive Pocket – A strategy tile-laying game that's easy to learn, difficult to master

Hive Pocket Smartzone Ages 9 and up, 2 players, 20 minutes $17 Buy a copy on Amazon Read the rest

Poetry from a polymath games legend: Raph Koster's "Sunday Poems"

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Game designer Raph Koster is a polymath. A legendary game-designer (Star Wars Galaxies, Ultima Online, etc), author of one of the seminal texts on game design (A Theory of Fun), visual artist, musician -- and poet.

The Lost Arcade: doc about rebirth of legendary NYC arcade

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Changing technology made it a legend, then gentrification killed it. But Chinatown Fair, Manhattan's legendary video arcade, is open to players again in a new location. The Lost Arcade is a forthcoming documentary about a place best summed up in the line: "of course the best players went there. It was the only place still open."

Chinatown Fair opened as a penny arcade on Mott Street in 1944. Over the decades, the dimly lit gathering place, known for its tic-tac-toe playing chicken, became an institution, surviving turf wars between rival gangs, changing tastes and the explosive growth of home gaming systems like Xbox and Playstation that shuttered most other arcades in the city. But as the neighborhood gentrified, this haven for a diverse, unlikely community faced its strongest challenge, inspiring its biggest devotees to next-level greatness.

The premiere showings are on Nov. 14 and 18th, 2015, in New York City at IFC Center.

More from the description:

The story focuses on three members of the Chinatown Fair community: Akuma, a young man who found refuge in the arcade after running away from foster care; Henry Cen, a kid who grew up in Chinatown and became one of the best Street Fighter players in the world; and Sam Palmer, father figure and longtime owner of Chinatown Fair.

When Sam is forced to close Chinatown Fair, Henry and Akuma refuse to let the arcade community die and create Next Level, a modern incarnation of the classic arcade located in the Chinatown neighborhood of Brooklyn.

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Read the manual to Pong (1976)

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The manual for Atari's classic game (posted to flickr by Brian Bennett exactly ten years ago) is not a masterpiece of design. But it is beautiful, in its way, and I strongly approve of that particular shade of orange. Sadly, your ninety-day warranty is over.

Pong (1976) [via]

P.S. there are all sorts of manuals for early arcade games, including Pong, at Textfiles.org. Read the rest

Can you solve all 100 of these stylish, simple puzzles?

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It's low-key; solving one hundred of these feels like an attainable goal. I mean, probably. Try it.

The Smoke and Mirrors decks

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There's a reason that 8 runs of Dan and Dave’s Smoke and Mirrors decks have been produced. They're amazingly elegant and people just want to get their hands on them. They remind me of girls I dated in school who were just too darned classy for me. They never judge my clumsiness and always make me look better just by being with me. 

There’s no visual storyline hidden in these decks because their design isn’t about that - they're more about beauty in simplicity. From what I can see, the decks were created for collectors, cardists and magicians who love weaving tales with their hands. Below is a great link of The Icarus Sequence which is a series of flourishes that references one of my favorite stories. 

The performer's name is Huron Low and to me, his technique is somehow both inspiring and sickening at the same time.  

You can pick up loose Smoke and Mirrors decks of your favorite colors on EBAY or get them ganged in a box set

Each set is an instant collector’s item and comes with a serial number on velum.

The truth is, I’m not interested in saving these decks for a re-sell. I’m interested in fumbling with them now and even though I stink at card manipulation, these cards behave as nicely as any I've ever touched.

It’s clear that these decks are a labor of love to Dan & Dave. In fact, they almost seem to be like their children – each one even has a special name. Read the rest

Poll finds more women than men own game consoles

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According to a survey by Pew Research, 40 percent of the adults report that their home contains a videogame console: 42 percent of women and 37 percent of men.

The survey confirms the general consensus that videogame popularity has substantially grown among females in the West. The industry’s marketing scope has also shifted noticeably towards the trend, with majority of current generation videogames now containing gender diversity.

The Pew Research reports that game console ownership overall in the US remains where it was back in 2010, but this is expected to change over the course of the next few years as the videogaming industry gradually prioritizes consoles over PC gaming.

PC owners were apparently not polled in the study, notably. In entirely unrelated news, the Candy Crush empire was sold for $5.9bn in cash. Pictured above is D. Fox, said to be Britain's "oldest gamer." Read the rest

Activision Blizzard to buy Candy Crush game maker King Digital for $5.9 Billion

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Activision Blizzard announced Monday evening that it plans to buy King Digital Entertainment, the maker of Candy Crush Saga, for about $5.9 billion. It's the third-largest video game industry deal ever. It's quite a dollar amount, but it's significant for other reasons, too.

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Why does Facebook want the machines to win at Go?

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Classic strategy games have long been bested by computers: checkers is a solved puzzle, and the machines long ago surpassed human Chess grandmasters. But thinking meat is still the master when it comes to Go—for interesting reasons that Facebook is interesting in cracking..

…researchers at Facebook are now tackling Go with an increasingly important form of artificial intelligence known as deep learning.

In recent years, companies like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have shown that deep learning is remarkably adept at recognizing photos,identifying spoken words, and translating from one language to another. To recognize a cat, for instance, a deep learning system analyzes thousands of known cat photos, feeding each into a network of machines that approximate the neural networks of the human brain. Thanks to these neural networks, your Facebook app can recognize photos of you and your friends. Google’s smartphone digital assistant can recognize the commands you bark into your Android phone. And Microsoft can instantly translate your Skype calls. Now, Facebook is using similar technology to recognize a promising Go move—to visually understand whether it will be successful, kind of like a human would. Researchers are feeding images of Go moves into a deep learning neural network so that it can learn what a successful move looks like.

That's not to say computer Go players are dumb. They are not.

P.S. Yes, Chess has a solution; no, computers will not find it any time soon; yes, it's probably going to be a stupefyingly long and boring draw that begins 1. Read the rest

New biography of Dungeons and Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax

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Michael Witwer's Empire of Imagination is a new biography of Dungeons and Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax that not only tells the tale of this marvelous wizard but also explores the profound impact D&D had on popular culture, gaming, and geek culture. NPR spoke with Witwer for All Things Considered. Listen below.

"Many of the derivative games — and maybe it's all of the derivative games we've talked about — whether it be computer role-playing games or whatnot, they actually lack most of the most important fundamental elements of a role-playing game," Witwer says. "That is, sitting around with your friends and participating in this kind of group storytelling exercise: actually being in a room physically sitting at a table with nothing but pencils and paper and dice. There's something very special about that, and it's kind of a social experience that's pretty hard to frankly re-create over any type of electronic media."

Empire of Imagination: Gary Gygax and the Birth of Dungeons & Dragons (Amazon)

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Halo 5 is here

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Last night at midnight, Halo 5 launched. Will this be the last epic adventure for video gaming's mightiest champion? The Master Chief is back, but all the cockamamie advertising colors our hero as the bad guy.

I wish I could tell you if this game is any good! I've certainly been waiting a long time to play it! I purchased my Xbox One at launch, anticipating that Halo 5 would shortly follow. My Xbox has been around for two years now, with nary a Chief sighting. I could have played the Master Chief collection, but I heard poor reviews of its translation to the Xbox One.

The only game I've really enjoyed in the interim has been Destiny, which was developed by Halo creators Bungie. There is no small amount of question, in my online Destiny circles, around Halo killing Destiny. Destiny has also felt like Halo, without the amazing backstory and hero. Bungie is creating a backstory, and thus far it is pretty much a dud. The game play, and its mesh of FPS with MMO queues, like farming (sigh) are addictive but it is not Halo. I miss stickies. I long to gloriously dual wield the needler, or have a hell bent for leather Warthog chase! Will Halo 5 kill Destiny?

Large online teams of 12 players, mashed with an insane gameplay frame rate, and 4 player campaign mode all sound wonderful! I'm far more interested in the story, however. I have not read any Halo fiction, I have simply played the games, and the Master Chief is my ultimate video game hero. Read the rest

Marxism triumphs over capitalist pixels

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VEC9 is the first vector arcade game to be released in 30 years, the only true 3d vector arcade game to be released besides Star Wars -- and the only one to let you smash capitalist aggression for the glory or Mother Russia. Read the rest

Illegible minimalist dominoes

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I would go bonkers trying to play dominoes with these, a perfect gift for the person in your life who has a nice set of dominoes already but would like to have something fancy out.

Edge Dominoes are made in the USA, come as a 28-piece set, and are "meticulously crafted from durable aluminum with no material wasted."

$74.

Edge dominos are made differently from any other domino set. Every tile is extruded from a solid block of aluminum, which is a zero waste process and the material is 100% recyclable. The metal flows into shape, is then cut to length and finished with a durable matte black anodized coating. Each unique number pattern in the 28 piece set is laser engraved onto the tiles, creating bright, white and everlasting dots. The result is a quality domino that looks great, plays well and is 100% made in the USA.
[via Uncrate] Read the rest

Juxtabo – Create patterns with colored chips for a fast-paced mental workout

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See more photos at Wink Fun.

Funnybone has yet another award-winning strategy game available for your enjoyment – Juxtabo. Much like a colorful, 3D version of dominoes, Juxtabo has simple rules that allow children as young as six years old to play. The strategy encourages development of quick pattern recognition, but also flexibility as you plan, since the “board” changes with every turn. Juxtabo allows up to four players to compete with one another. 

The playing pieces are two-sided chips, each side a different color, arranged in a 5x5 configuration. Players draw their own chips, as well as pattern cards. Players win pattern cards by creating that pattern on the board with chips in their hand. The catch? To stack a chip on the board, you must match the color facing down on your chip with the color facing up on the “board.” With a timer included, it's a fast-paced mental workout. 

 If the description alone doesn’t intrigue you, Juxtabo is the recipient of the 2015 Academics’ Choice Brain Toy Award (among others). That means this game has been approved by parents, educators, students and children, scientists and artists alike. The game comes highly recommended, of course, but avid puzzlers beware – Juxtabo just may prove addictive! – Chloe Quimby

Juxtabo Funnybone Toys Ages 6 and up, 1-4 players $30 Buy a copy on Amazon Read the rest

How to play chess like an asshole

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I was raised to play chess in the most boring way imaginable, with both sides developing their pieces into a big symmetrical knot before anything even gets taken. Worse, most chess books basically imagine you to play like a master, preparing your openings and exulting them on the basis of their success and failure at the international level.

Instead, everyday players should learn the flawed but brutal attacks of their ancestors, dashing gambits, and all the dirty tricks.

Here's a video of the Top 7 Aggressive Chess openings. The "unfashionable" King's Gambit comes in at #4 and is a great place to start for people wanting to rediscover chess as a brutal game of wits. It's the chess equivalent of kicking down a door and dashing in, arms windmilling at the enemy.

The first thing to know in being a chess troll, though, is to avoid the two tricks usually associated with cheap victories: Fool's Mate and Scholar's Mate. These don't even happen in pubs, are no fun at all, and the attempt is liable to make you the fool.

If you just want a ploy to get hated for, instead learn the Fried Liver Attack. This is your One Weird Trick for getting into fights at the kind of fancy parties where chess boards come out.

(If you're playing black and looking to deal with white smugly trying to Scholar's mate you, here's how to nail them.)

Now, here's a favorite.

The Halloween Gambit is a good one to play in those generic "everyone calmly develops their knights" chess games that happen when all either player really knows are the rules. Read the rest

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