Kickstarting an encrypted email game about the Snowden leaks

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James writes, "A blend of fact and fiction, players take on the role of an NSA agent tracking down the source of the leaks. They'll discover the journalists involved, and the real messages sent by Snowden to them at the time." Read the rest

Dungeons & Dragons game delayed

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These demonic presences are angry—even angrier than usual!—because eagerly-awaited retro-style game Sword Coast Legends has been delayed. Read the rest

Making a Princess Peach/Furiosa costume

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Seelix set out to make an incredible costume that mashed up Imperator Furiosa from Mad Max Fury Road and Princess Peach from the Super Mario franchise -- she succeeded. Read the rest

Game show contestant won $110k by memorizing "random" board pattern

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Press Your Luck was a mid-80s game show modeled along similar lines to Wheel of Fortune. But instead of a wheel, its flashing board was digital, supposedly random and unpredictable.

Sadly, no, writes Priceonomics' Zacahry Crockett. One contestant, Michael Larson (not the fellow on the right) figured out the nonrandom patterns the board followed and racked up huge gains as the network panicked. He had turned their game of chance into a game of skill, and he was skilled enough to take them to the cleaners.

… During Larson’s rally, Tomarken, the show’s host, grew increasingly nervous. His quips graduated from shock (“We’ve never seen this happen! You’re on a roll!”) to disbelief (“This is unreal”), to utter disgust (“You’ve got to be kidding me”) — and once Larson hit the $30,000 mark, he started pressuring the contestant to bow out.

“Michael, you really are PRESSING YOUR LUCK,” he warned at one point, wagging a finger in the air. “After this show, you’re going to get a special call from the president of CBS…”

Finally, 40 successful spins and $102,851 later, Larson passed his final 3 spins to Ed Long, fearing that he was beginning to lose focus. On his very first spin, Long hit a Whammy and lost all of his cash. When the spins were passed to Litras, she too hit a Whammy on her first try. In the hopes that Larson would screw up and lose his cash, she then passed the spins back to him, but Larson did not falter.

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One Night Ultimate Werewolf – spot the werewolves in the room or be destroyed

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See more photos at Wink Fun.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a bluffing and role deduction game for between 3-10 players. During the game you'll be assuming one of a dozen different roles in a village on the brink of being destroyed by werewolves, possibly being one of the two werewolves. You'll start out knowing what your role is, but by the end of the night phase, it may have changed and typically you won't get to check it again. Working from that knowledge, you have just a few minutes during the day phase to puzzle out who the werewolves are with the limited information you have. You then vote to kill one of the roles, trying to catch one of the werewolves.

The components for this game are top notch, and the speed at which it plays is a refreshing change from longer bluffing games like Mafia or Werewolves of Miller's Hollow, the granddad of this game. Bezier Games also has a free companion app for iOS and Android that does all of the narration that normally you'd need someone to sit out for. The app also has a running timer to give that against-the-clock feeling. Included, in addition to the role cards, are markers that you can use to physically sort out and keep track of your deductions.

I really enjoy this game because you're trying to sort through the limited information that everyone has, or says that they have, sort out the lies and then decide if the werewolves are even in play. Read the rest

Study: tracking every RPG book in every public & academic library in the world

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Edd writes, "I am a professor at Ithaca College in New York. Recently for a research study I tracked almost every Role Playing Game Book circulating in every public and academic library in the world." Read the rest

Watch the Angry Birds movie trailer!

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Apparently, next summer "we'll finally find out why the birds are so angry."

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Man busted for high speed chase "learnt to drive on a Playstation game."

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Adam Jones of Skegness, England was given a year jail sentence for "aggravated vehicle taking and driving without a license or insurance" after leading police on a 100mph chase that damaged countless cars. After he was caught, Jones reportedly told authorities that his driver's education consisted of playing Playstation driving games.

"You said you 'Only learnt to drive on a Playstation game," the judge told Jones. "You were driving like a Playstation game. You drove as fast as you could as if in a video or playstation game without any care for those around you."

(ITV) Read the rest

The Mad Max game is every bit as brilliant on disability as Fury Road was

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Mad Max: Fury Road has attracted praise for its deft handling of some of the themes that Hollywood normally gets very, very wrong. The way that women take charge, for example, the Gamergate crowd had the rare perspicacity to realize that Furiosa was a new, significant stride in the evolution of female action protagonists. Read the rest

Build a 5-story school building, then knock it down with SmartLab's demolition Wrecking Ball

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See more photos at Wink Fun.

With toys, sometimes simple is best: no batteries, no electronics, all kid-powered. Such is Wrecking Ball, the latest addition to SmartLab’s line of award-winning Demolition Lab build-‘em-and-wreck-‘em DE-construction toy sets. Build the five-story school building, then knock it down with the wrecking ball. Simple concept – and that’s where the fun just begins.

First you assemble. Punch out the realistically illustrated wall and roof panels and add the plastic stand-up feet. Each panel depicts part of an abandoned schoolhouse, complete with hazard tape warnings, broken windows and bell tower. Also snap together the wrecking ball crane with extension feet and pre-assembled lever mechanism. Colorful stickers add a finishing touch to the wrecking crane.

Then build the five-story schoolhouse by stacking the walls and roof panels. The stand-up feet make this easy so even the youngest kid can do it without needing delicate “house of cards” dexterity. Add the bell tower on top to finish.

Now for the big moment. Adjust the telescoping arm to aim the wrecking ball so you can strike the building just where you want. Pull back on the handle as the wrecking ball s-l-o-w-l-y swings back and rises up with a dramatic “click-click-click…” Make any last minute fine adjustments, then press the red button to release the wrecking ball. The ball swings down and – kaBLAM!– the panels tumble as the school walls and roof collapse. Classic tension/release play pattern.

Simple enough for any kid. But there’s more: suggestions in the instruction propose other challenges. Read the rest

Tell-all free-to-play-game dev's confessions

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An anonymous developer for a free-to-play game explains how his company stalked its most prolific players, creating fake sexy-lady Facebook accounts to friend them in order to gain insight into their proclivities so that super-expensive, one-off virtual goods could be made and targeted to them. Read the rest

Listen to William S. Burroughs read Edgar Allen Poe for a PC game

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In 1995, William S. Burroughs was recorded reading of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" and "Annabel Lee" for a PC game called The Dark Eye. (He also was the voice of a character in the game.) Hear those recordings below and read this post at Open Culture for more details.

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Kickstarting an inclusive RPG based on HP Lovecraft's works

Becky writes, "My partner and I are launching our Kickstarter today for a role-playing game based on the works of HP Lovecraft." Read the rest

Anita Sarkeesian on women's bodies as prizes in video games

Kate from Feminist Frequency (previously) writes, "Feminist Frequency has just released a supplemental mini-episode in their Tropes vs Women in Video Games series." Read the rest

High-ranking chess player caught cheating with wearable tech

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Arcangelo Ricciardi was booted from the International Chess Festival of Imperia for cheating using a camera pendant to transmit video of the board to an accomplice and some kind of wireless device in his armpit to receive signals of suggested moves. According to The Telegraph, Ricciardi claimed the devices "were good luck charms." Read the rest

TopatoCon 2015: games, geek music, webcomics, and donuts!

R Stevens (of Diesel Sweeties fame) writes, "A bunch of webcomics, gaming and geek music folks are getting together in Northampton & Easthampton Mass. later this month for Topatocon. There may even be vegan, gluten free donuts!" Read the rest

The true story of Diablo II, legendary action RPG

Diablo II claimed hundreds of hours of my life. I'll never get them back, but I had a great time losing them. Enjoy the oral history of one of the most enduring and popular action RPGs of all time.

Designer Erich Schaefer:

No regrets. It ruined a lot of lives, but it was worth it.

I'm wedded to the belief that a lot of Diablo II's magic is in its "aesthetic completeness." Every element—design, art, music, pace, tone—are polished to perfection and add up to a perfectly gloomy gothic world. Even its self-seriousness and irony levels are dialed-in just right, avoiding the inherent Hot Topic-ness that afflicts many similar things. Read the rest

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