Classic Nintendo audio is translated in (very near) real-time for live playing by a modern-day "player piano" (Yamaha Disklavier) and robot percussion system, under Raspberry Pi control.
The software is responsible for translating the gameplay audio to instructions which ultimately define which solenoid should be actuated. In full disclosure, there is normally a half-second audio delay that was removed in editing, but it's still very playable live. The piano is controlled through the Disklavier's MIDI interface, while the percussion's solenoids are directly controlled through the Pi's GPIO interface.
Snooker is among the more sedate British pseudo-sports, lacking both the working-class charm of darts and the brutal physicality of lawn bowls. But dark secrets lurk under the polyester waistcoat--and money. Lots of money that shouldn't be there!
World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn says every one of the sport's matches is now being monitored to ensure cheats are caught, after Stephen Lee was found guilty of match fixing. The former world number five faces a career-ending ban following the verdict at an independent tribunal last week.
Snooker is increasingly popular in eastern Europe, south Asia, and, on an epic scale, China. It's fascinating to watch a niche pleasure of the British commonwealth turn into a truly international game—but this scandal seems entirely home-grown.
It’s time for PCs to supplant walled garden living room boxes, but via a form factor that’s maybe a bit less, er, monolithic than the towering monster machines we’re used to. “The next step in our contribution to this is to release some work we’ve done on the hardware side,” said Newell. “Next week we’re going to be rolling out more information about how we get there and what are the hardware opportunities that we see for bringing Linux into the living room and getting it even more unified with [other devices].”
In Manic Pixel Dream Girl , a four-part comic, Elizabeth Simins recounts a memoir of being a girl who loved video games but felt that they were the reason she couldn't fit in with the other kids. It's a thoughtful and at times brutal story about identity, exclusion, and passion, and it has a wonderful ending (thankfully).
A reader writes, "The early history of role-playing games seems like a constant battle between the creators of Dungeons & Dragons and its fans. Sometimes, like with critical hits, the fans wanted the game to be one way, but Gary Gygax and the folks at TSR just wouldn't have it. The case of critical hits shows that the fans have the real power, and that even if it takes decades, eventually D&D will implement critical hits, damn it."
The history of critical hits was written by Jon Peterson, author of the fantastic-looking Playing at the World, a history of wargames and RPGs. Looks like an excellent companion to David Ewalt's Of Dice and Men.
Gweek is a podcast where the editors and friends of Boing Boing talk about comic books, science fiction and fantasy, video games, board games, TV shows, music, movies, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.
Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and semiotician. He is co-author of Significant Objects, published by Fantagraphics, and Unbored, the kids' field guide to serious fun. He edits the website HiLobrow, which as HiLoBooks is now publishing classics -- by Jack London, Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle, and others -- from what he calls science fiction's Radium Age.
Dungeons & Developers is a cute and useful "skill tree" in the style of an RPG levelling guide. It starts with basic HTML and works its way through various skills all the way to master Web developer. Each skill-box comes with links to free online tutorials and training materials, and the flowchart suggests a logical progression through all the varied topics.
Almost 12 years after its quiet debut on Sony’s then-new PlayStation 2, Ico (ee-koh) seems to be more popular now than it ever was then. What was once an obscure niche game is now increasingly cited as a source of inspiration for current games. And I don’t just mean indie efforts like Brothers. It’s also cited as an influence on the biggest of the big triple-A blockbusters, like Halo and Uncharted. Everywhere you look, you’re standing in Ico’s shadow.
One key is what Ico director Fumito Ueda calls subtractive design: just remove everything that doesn't tangibly contribute to the success of the whole. His follow-up, Shadow of the Colossus, was a perfect example: the entire world is depopulated of enemies to fight other than the "bosses". Long stretches of time spent wandering around an empty landscape would be anathema to lesser designers; but in Ueda's games, it becomes the soul of the entire thing.
Also, pervasive desaturated bloom effects. Which I think, maybe, we have had enough of now.
Not talked about enough is the weird, serenely mythological styling of these games' artwork, especially the melding of native American and European influences.
Ueda's third game, The Last Guardian, will be released in w͓̲͙͖̥͉̹͋ͬ̊ͦ̂̀̚ ͎͉͖̌ͯͅͅd̳̘̿̃̔̏ͣ͂̉̕ŏ̖̙͋ͤ̊͗̓͟͜e͈͕̯̮̙̣͓͌ͭ̍̐̃͒s͙͔̺͇̗̱̿̊̇͞
Minecraft's real star is its landscape, flowing psuedo-randomly from whatever name you give your world. But it also became a checkerboard of predictable components: rolling hills here, weirdly-shaped mountains there, and perhaps an abrupt patch of swamp or tropical jungle between them.
But not anymore: a new update, out today, revises the land-making algorithms and adds a bunch of new biomes--areas with a distinctive climate type, flora and fauna--and creates more natural transitions between them. There are cliffs, giant lakes, canyons, redwood forests, all sorts of new flowers and grasses, the option of wildly eroded "skylands", as pictured above, and much else besides.
A lot of other things are also improved in the "snapshot" preview of Minecraft 1.7, including a far more elaborate fishing system: you may now find all sorts of things in the water. This Reddit thread has all the details. (Note: If installing the snapshot release, it'll create ugly seams in saved worlds anywhere that the old meets the new)
Shelter is a weirdly beautiful badger simulator, by Might & Delight.
At $10, it's an impulse buy for fans of that muted, late-70s, Watership Downy British feel. And from the trailor, it looks like an engrossing, atmospheric experience. Now to download it and see if it's any good. (John Walker likes it.)
Link, the green-clad protagonist of Nintendo's Zelda series, is usually portrayed as a boy. A couple of games, however, feature him as a grown-up. Nintendo concept artist Katsuya Terada, however, also sketched a mature--even elderly--hero. These designs, along with fantastic watercolors of a more familiar young adult link, were made public in a long-out of print art book. Enjoy the flickr set: it might not stay up long!