Boing Boing 

Giant D20 soaps

These 100g D20 peppermint soaps are $10.52 each -- there's a real D20 in the center of each one. (via Geeky Merch)

The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987

Top 100 (or insert random number here) books have been around for ages. They tend to make great coffee table books, but it takes something really special to start a conversation. Brett Weiss has done just that with his book The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987. Instead of just throwing together a full multiple-page spread with a few generic tidbits and “personal feelings,” this Top 100 book reads more along the line of a great educational text-book. I mean this with only the highest of compliments. With each game featured readers are given a surprisingly in-depth history lesson and a succinct explanation on just why it made this list. The book covers amazing pieces of video game history, some of which are new even to an aficionado like myself.

It is important to note that this isn’t the kind of book that typical gamers today might be expecting. As the book covers the early years of gaming (1977-1987 to be precise), most gamers weren’t even born yet – heck, some of their parents might not have even been born or gaming yet. This means you aren’t going to be seeing any Call of Duty of Mass Effect here. Rather, you’ll see the games that helped inspire the games that the youth are playing today. This text opens up a world that will no doubt be foreign to many, but one that is important and necessary to all gaming fans. It doesn’t matter your age – if you are a hardcore collector, or if you only have a passing interest in video games, The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987 will educate everyone on a much simpler time when making games was the wild west and full of limitless possibilities. – Jorge Luis

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

How to make virtual worlds more convincing

Video games often feature expansive worlds to explore. But a combination of rigid structure and bland surface randomness leaves them wanting for depth and meaning. A company named Improbable wants to fix this.

Virtual worlds will no longer feel as if they’re built of “cardboard,” says Improbable’s CEO and cofounder, Herman Narula. Moreover, using Improbable’s technology, objects and entities will be able to remain in the virtual world persistently, even when there are no human players around (currently, most virtual worlds essentially freeze when unoccupied). And actions taken in one corner of a game could have implications later or in another place.+

Virtual worlds are already often expansive. The procedurally generated game No Man’s Sky, for example, presents a virtual galaxy that is too large for any human to fully explore within his or her lifetime (see “No Man’s Sky: A Vast Game Created by Algorithms”). But even if we are awed by the sprawl of their geography, the complexity of such worlds is limited by hardware and software limitations.

Worlds Adrift is the flagship game in development using the system.

I'm eager to see this in action. The price of increased complexity and realism is often a counterproductive uncanniness, a finer level of detail that firmly reminds the observer of how far it remains from reality.

Making simple worlds more convincing? I enjoy it when generative techniques are reserved for nature, "man-made" stuff such as cities or buildings are designed by hand, and when much of the world remains inaccessible, an imagination-triggering mystery.

Elite: Dangerous "the best damn spaceship game I’ve ever played"


It's a big, incomplete mess, but so is Minecraft, and Elite 4 just happens to be an incredibly good game, writes Lee Hutchison.

To find Elite: Dangerous a good game, you have to like what it is: the greatest "I feel like I’m flying a spaceship" game that’s ever been made up to this point in the history of computer gaming. Meticulously planning out your trade routes and then hauling cargo for hours at a stretch has to be its own reward. Flying thousands of light years out into the black to see what no human has ever seen has to be its own reward. Blowing up dozens and dozens of criminals to snag their bounties has to be its own reward.

The journey has to be worth it for you, because otherwise, Elite: Dangerous is a monotonous grind-fest with no destination.

Which is exactly what Elite, Frontiers: Elite 2, and Frontier: First Encounters were. Nailed it.

Youtube and Nintendo conspire to steal from game superfans

Youtube's stilted, one-sided dispute resolution system allows game companies like Nintendo to confiscate the earnings of gamers who produce hugely popular "Let's Play" videos.

Read the rest

If Indiana legalizes homophobic discrimination, Gen Con's leaving Indianapolis

The chair of the 57,000 attendee conference has written to Indiana governor Mike Pence to say that the conference will pull out of the state if a bill passes that lets businesses discriminate against LGBT people if their religion tells them to be hateful fucks.

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Kickstarting a new edition of Lord of the Fries

The classic Cheapass Game is getting a second life, with a brand-new second deck, thanks to you and Kickstarter!

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Hacking a laser-cutter to play real-world Space Invaders

Martin sez, "I just completed my silliest projects to date: while running the risk of turning my laser cutter into a giant fire ball I actually succeeded in turning it into a real world version of the Space Invaders game."

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Gamer jewelry

New Zealand jeweler Charlie Meaden's OG gamer pieces include these shiny game-controller earrings and the Space Invaders ring, both available in gold or silver. (via Geeky Merch)

The 1982 JC Penney Christmas Catalog

631 lovingly scanned pages for your perusal; may I draw your attention to the electronic toys, including Little Professor at $15, Speak and Spell digital at $62, Coleco Frogger at $60, Merlin at $31.50, Simon at $32, Pocket Dungeons and Dragons at $20 and Electronic Battleship at $40 (multiply by 2.42 to adjust for inflation).

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Snatch: world's liveliest family game

Silly innuendoes aside, this looks like a fun game from 1954. Time for someone to make it again?

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Six Japanese Dating Sims to Fall In Love With

Welcome to Otome, visual dating games made with women in mind. They enjoy a healthy fandom, but many acclaimed titles remain in their native Japanese—frustrating, because romance and relationship games are more popular than ever.Read the rest

Punk Games

Its time to break down the walls between games and other creative fields. Read the rest

Fantasy worlds that break history's back

Anything can happen in the world of pretend. Microscope is a pen-and-paper game of "fractal history" that forces us to reexamine the rules of the real Read the rest

You can play the Hitchhiker's Guide game right now


Yesterday, March 11, was Douglas Adams' birthday. Did you know you can celebrate by playing the 1984 Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game in your browser at work this instant?

Although games made with a text parser -- you know, where you type commands like TURN ON LIGHT or LOOK IN POCKET or S to travel "south" through described space -- are increasingly a lost art, the Hitchhiker's Guide game, made by Adams and Infocom's Steve Meretzky, was radically accessible for its time. The game playfully teaches you how to succeed at its opening circumstance by letting you die repeatedly in ways that quickly acclimate you to its sense of time, space, and humor.

The frustrating thing (or the beautiful thing, if you're like me) about old text games is the limitations of what they can understand. But the Hitchhiker's Guide game was downright literary for its time, empathetic to uncommon commands, skilled at understanding what the player wanted to do. It holds up well even today.

Give it a try. Maybe help each other out in the comments?

You can also emulate it a little more neatly with help from this crucial abandonware repository and an emulator like DOXBox or similar.

Smells of the past


Stuart Eve created Dead Man's Eyes, an "augmented reality and heritage app" to bring the sights, sounds and smells of the past into the present.

At The Atlantic, he writes about his motives:

The past is dead, a foreign country where they do things differently. I experimented with augmented reality as a way to try bring me closer to experiencing what life was like in the past. Augmented reality is a way of merging the real world with virtual objects. It normally involves overlaying virtual objects onto live video feed from either a web camera, a head-worn display, or a mobile device. Many of the major technology companies (with the notable exception of Apple) have now produced such headsets—such as Google Glass or Microsoft's HoloLens. Some augmented-reality applications require the use of a physical marker to launch the experience—such as advertising interfaces that allow you to “drive” a car before buying it—whereas others work by locating your device using the embedded GPS and compass, such as Google’s worldwide roaming augmented-reality game Ingress.