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
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
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
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
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
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
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 Twitch.tv for those who can't make it in person." (Image: Deon-23, Mike Mayday, public domain) Read the rest
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
Lotus Dimension is a tabletop, D&D-style role-playing game in which characters advance through nonviolent means -- a game that incorporates "amazing sci-fi and fantasy storytelling while also incorporating principles of nonviolence inspired by peaceful protests, historical leaders and the tenets of peaceful philosophical practices." Read the rest
I discovered Villains and Vigilantes in 1982, with the publication of the game's second edition, and 11-year-old me played it like a fiend; I still remember long hours of designing costumes on the super-cool character sheets that came with the game (we'd sneak into the school office and run off more of these from blanks; ditto for hex-ruled paper for Car Wars and all the best stories from that month's Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine). Read the rest
The Quest for Enlightenment is a rudimentary but addictive exploration game in the style of Pirates! Sail a randomly-generated Caribbean drinking rum, unearthing dubloons and seeking spiritual enlightenment from His Noodly Appendages. I picked it up while checking out a game engine's (phaser.io) gallery of examples, but didn't put it down until I was a Master Pirate. It took me 18 in-game years, too, thereby proving once again that Malcolm Gladwell is wrong.
Cyan, the company behind the legendary Myst adventure game, is back with an unexpectedly well-received sequel, Obduction. Though the original and Riven were huge hits, further sequels suffered from changing tastes, growing ambitions, and a crank-em-out publishing deal with Ubisoft. But 2016, it turns out, is a great time for perfectly-refined retro adventures in beautifully strange Art Nouveau worlds.
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After Myst 5's release Cyan was in dire straits. Staff was let go then rehired and the studio was only surviving through contract work and ports of its older titles on new platforms like IOS and Android. A new version of Myst was released on Steam.
"We finished up Myst 5 as contract work for Ubisoft because the way things panned out and then it was just a matter of trying to stay alive," Miller says. "We got some gigs selling some of the older stuff and trying to put stuff online. We converted our stuff to mobile apps, which kind of saved us a lot with people leaving and we were getting getting smaller and smaller.
"And then the mobile market came up and allowed us to at least keep some of our key people. And that allowed us to think, gave us some breathing room. The mobile market was keeping us alive, then we realised there was potential now with Kickstarter to maybe consider something larger. And that's where the seeds of Obduction started to take route."
Over at Make, Gareth Branwyn wrote about how to check the balance of your d20 dice:
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Gamer Daniel Fisher used an old golf ball balancing trick to test the integrity of his D20 gaming dice. To set up the test, he mixed 6+ tablespoons of salt with 1/3 cup room temperature water in a small glass jar. By floating and spinning a die in the jar, he was able to see if it consistently rolled high, low, or was balanced.
Among other things, Fisher discovered that translucent dice tend to be more balanced, perhaps because you can easily see imperfections inside them (and wouldn’t buy or use them). Finding out that a number of his D20s regularly rolled low or high in the water, he cut into one to see what might be causing the imbalance. Inside, he found obvious manufacturing imperfections, chalky areas where the die may not have cured properly. Later in the video, he puts the cut die under a microscope to get a closer look inside.