Every year, Cards Against Humanity gives away a limited edition "PAX Pack" to attendees at PAX East, making the giveaway as surprisingly awesome as they can. This year, they outdid themselves with an epic prank that involved created an elaborate, fake "extreme oatmeal" brand called "PWNMEAL" (complete with a long-running, perfectly obnoxious marketing campaign), producing three tons' worth of FDA-approved instant oatmeal packs, and hiding the PAX Packs inside these packets and waiting for the attendees to discover the truth.
Max Temkin's lavishly illustrated, gleeful recounting of the prank might just be the most triumphant story of a business doing what is most awesome because doing awesome things is awesome that you will read all year.
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Notch, the celebrated creator of Minecraft, has a new, existential webgame: Drowning in Problems. It's a pretty damned great example of telling stories with interactivity, and how the medium can evoke emotion without resorting to the clumsy trickery of narrative. It takes about ten minutes to play through, and by the time I was done, I felt like I'd gone through a journey that made me thoughtful and reflective about the very meaning of life. (via Mefi)
Christy writes, "I made an amazing, horrible, wonderful thing: behold, the Koopa Troopa Bacon Turtle Burger, complete with animated gif. It had to be done, for the good of humanity.
Side note: I was appalled to discover that turtle-shaped burgers are irresistible to small children: my 4 year old was so excited about turtle-shaped food that she ate an entire burger in one go."
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I carry 3 red dice in my back pocket so that I can play a game called Cee-lo with people that I meet. Like most betting games, Cee-lo has a rough reputation. But played among friends, not betting for money, it can be rather wholesome.
I really like being able to play a simple dice game with people for a few reasons:
- it’s a really fun game!
- I’ve successfully played it with kindergartners and every age group above,
- I’ve gotten mixed age groups to have a GREAT time playing,
- It never runs out of batteries or needs to be upgraded,
- it’s very portable,
- it gets people to talk in real time,
- I don’t have to hand an expensive device to other people or count on them having one, or having one compatible to mine.
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In Stack competitions, a bunch of earth-moving equipment plays a monster-scale game of Jenga with 600lb blocks of wood -- pretty amazing skill on the part of the operators!
This is pretty amazing, but don't get too excited about Cat's equipment. Remember, this is the company that bought an Ontario factory, got a huge, multi-year tax break out of the government, then, pretty much the day it ran out, demanded a 50% wage-cut from the union, refused to negotiate, then closed down the factory, fired its workforce just before Christmas, and split town, having waxed fat on corporate welfare. No amount of fun promotional Jenga games can change the fact that if Cat's corporate personhood was literal, the company would be such an obviously dangerous sociopath that it would be permanently institutionalized to protect the rest of society.
Built For It Trials - Stack: Largest Board Game Played with Cat Excavators
] The graphics for Hitman GO
are beautiful. I have not played it yet. Can someone who has please review it in the comments? Is it worth $5, plus all the in-app purchases required to move to the next chapters?
Hitman GO is a turn-based puzzle game where you will strategically navigate fixed spaces on a grid to avoid enemies, infiltrate well-guarded locations and take out your target on beautifully rendered diorama-style set pieces.
Artist Dan Hernandez painted a gorgeous series of frescoes depicting Space Invaders and other vintage game screengrabs as Renaissance and Byzantine art. They're hanging in a show called "Genesis" at the Kim Foster Gallery in NYC.
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Zombies aren't known for their critical thinking skills, but in Zombie Dice, a fast-paced, risk-vs-reward dice-rolling game designed by Steve Jackson, you play a zombie who must balance its desire for human brains with its fear of getting blasted to necrotic bits by a shotgun.
The game comes with 13 specially marked dice. The dice have three kinds of markings: brains, shotgun blasts, and footprints. (Green dice have more brains, red dice have more shotgun blasts, yellow dice are in-between).
The rules are simple: two or more people can play. Everyone is a zombie. The dice represent humans. When it's your turn, pull three dice from the cardboard cup (without looking) and roll them. Set any brains to one side. Set any shotgun blasts to the other side. Footprints mean the human got away - keep those in front of you. Do you want to roll again? No problem. Just re-roll the footprints dice along with enough fresh dice from the cup so that you roll three dice. You can roll as many times as you like in an effort to eats lots of brains in your turn (my record is 11 juicy brains in one turn), but if you end up accumulating three shotgun blasts, you lose all your brain points for that turn and the next player-zombie gets its turn. When one player gets 13 points, play continues until the round is finished and whoever has the most points wins.
Here's a sample turn:
Arrow keys to move, and you can push one block one space. That's pretty much it for this perfectly absorbing browser game!
It comes in two flavors: the more elaborate original by Patacorow, and the ultrasimplified Puzzlescript demake by rmmh. (Source code.)
Previously: Ghost Ship, free pirate-themed browser game
A couple of weeks ago my friend Kent Barnes recommended a simple, fast-moving dice game called Tenzi. I bought it and my wife, 11-year-old daughter, and I had fun playing it. The rules are simple - everyone starts out with 10 dice and the goal is to roll your dice as fast as you can until all of them show the same number. Every time you roll, you are allowed to set aside any dice that match your desired number. When all ten of the dice show the same number, you shout "Tenzi!," throw your hands in the air, and gloat while the other players gnash their teeth. The game rules included a couple of variations on the basic rule set, which we also played and liked.
A few days later Kent told me about a $10 deck of cards called 77 Ways to Play Tenzi. I ordered the deck and last night my wife, 11-year-old, 16-year-old daughter (who doesn't like games and joined us reluctantly), and I tested the deck out. Ninety minutes later we decided that this deck takes Tenzi to a new level. The deck adds variety, surprise, and humor to Tenzi. It makes Tenzi so much more fun that I think the company shouldn't sell the dice without the cards. My 16-year-old daughter was surprised that she had such a good time.
77 Ways to Play Tenzi | Buy Tenzi cards and dice as a set
See example cards
My friend, Kent Barnes, told me about Tenzi, a simple dice game. The object of the game is to end up with all of your dice showing the same number.
Here's how to play: Each player gets 10 dice. When one of the players says "go!" everyone rolls their dice. After the first roll, you set the dice with the most matches, and roll the remaining dice to try to match the ones you've set aside. You don't take turns; you just roll as quickly as you can. It usually takes less than a minute for someone to win. It seems idiotically simple. It's more fun than it sounds.
We play a variation: the winner of the previous round gets to choose the point number (between 1 and 6), and everyone has to try to match their dice to that number.
London's IDEA booksellers unearthed this 1982 yearbook, from South Plantation High School in Florida, that has a fantastic hand-drawn video game theme. (via the excellent @ideabooksltd Instagram feed)
Game on? Or game over?
[PDF], a brief research report from the U Washington Information School, summarizes some of the findings from the TASCHA report on computer skills acquisition
. This particular explainer deals with the relationship between playing games and goofing off on computers and learning to do "productive" things with them, finding (as Mimi Ito did, before
) that horsing around is a critical component of mastering computers, and that labs that ban games and other forms of playful engagement with computers are hampering their ability to teach the people they're supposed to be serving.
Jeff VenderMeer writes, "The Fourth Estate, my UK publisher, has put together a cool site that takes the main premise of my novel, Annihilation, and creates a text game around with, with images and video as well. Now you too can join an expedition into the mysterious Area X, supposedly a pristine wilderness, but hiding a lot more than that. Overseen by the secret agency, the Southern Reach, which has its own secrets to hide."
Previously: Talking with Jeff VanderMeer about his new novel Annihilation