Patio-stone Mario pixel-art

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Fantastic fingertip synth performance of Commodore 64 game music

Tubesockor pokes away at three Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators to play the music from the 1987 Commodore 64 classic game Delta. The original game music is by Rob Hubbard, inspired by Philip Glass's "Koyaanisqatsi" and Pink Floyd's "On the Run." Clips from the game below! (Thanks, UPSO!)

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1 billion hours played of Civilization

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Legendary game series Civilization is 25 years old this year, and Dean Takahashi reports on its long journey from revolutionary god game to a cultural touchstone in its own right.

Few game franchises live to see a 25th anniversary, but Civ, as most gamers and industry folk call it, is thriving. It has 33 million copies in sales to date, including 8 million for its latest, 2010’s Civilization V and its expansions. Meier’s teams at MicroProse and Firaxis have created 66 versions of the game across all platforms, and based on extrapolations from sales on the Steam digital distribution and community platform, the Civ series has been played for more than a billion hours.

Many hours were lost to this game, but my most enduring memory of its early iterations was the fact that city names had a short character limit. I thereby found, as a young teenager, that it honed my creative instincts for devising succinctly offensive city names. This "economy of stupidity" has proven a most valuable skill. Read the rest

Chess grandmaster takes on mouthy hustler

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The most entertaining chess match you'll watch all year: Grandmaster Maurice Ashley, with the black pieces, takes on a trash-talking, fast-fingered hustler. [via] Read the rest

Brianna Wu pwns a misogynist troll

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When a prick on Twitter attacked Gamergate arch-nemesis Brianna Wu's game dev credentials, sneering that her latest game looked "like something that would've been shitcanned on the ps1," Wu proceeded to shred the fool with a masterclass in the technical capabilities of the PS1 and their relationship to Revolution 60, Wu's new game.

Female Video Game Developer Snaps at Twitter Troll, Results Are Fantastic [Mike Dever/Vice] Read the rest

Kickstarting Fabulous Beasts, a tabletop game that uses smartblocks

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Fabulous Beasts is a new game from indie studio Sensible Object, which combines stacking/balancing (think Jenga) with smart, sensor-enabled blocks that talk to your mobile device as you play the game, creating fun and complex challenges. Read the rest

Teaching an AI to play Mario -- sociably

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Last year's AI Video Competition featured Mario Lives! An Adaptive Learning AI Approach for Generating a Living and Conversing Mario Agent, in which researchers from Germany's University of Tübingen explained how they'd modified Super Marion Brothers to turn the characters into adaptive, machine-learning chatterbots that discovered how to play the game together. Read the rest

Zebra is a minimalist maze game that will mess up your mind

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Bennett Foddy, of QWOP and Sportsfriends fame, has already destroyed your brain with Zebra. Though a very simple implementation of the classic "3D maze" genre, it renders the walls as alternating angles of zebra pattern, ensuring you'll have a skullcrushing headache within seconds. Good luck! Read the rest

Creatures avoiding planks

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Creatures Avoiding Planks is a web toy demonstrating natural selection. Wee blobby creatures wander around avoiding floating planks, which kill on touch. If one lives long enough, it reproduces, passing on slight variations of its own movement behavior to the offspring.

The brilliant work of @hardmaru, I can't watch it anymore because I feel so sorry for them. Read the rest

When Chell is crushed between two portals, she enters an infinite realm of psychedelic visuals

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Crowbcat created a Portal setup that had Chell, the game's heroine, trapped between two portals that crushed her. The results were an astounding wonderland of psychedelic visuals Read the rest

Think up and create your own board game with this Game Inventors Kit

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See more photos at Wink Fun.

It's exciting to get a new game in its pristine box, wrapped in cellophane, begging to be opened. Inside you find the game board, colorful game pieces, cards, and, of course, instructions. Instructions are the worst part of a new game. Reading and rereading the sheet of rules, digesting them, and teaching them to your friends so you can get your game on can be excruciating. And how many practice games do you have to play before you really get it?

Instead of learning how to play someone else's game, how about inventing one of your own? Combine the elements of all those games you've played and loved into your own unique adventure using a board game inventors kit by Board Game Manufacturing. Don't be put off by their site's poor graphics and design. Their product is worth the slog through its eye-crossing pages.

I purchased their Junior Game Inventors Kit. The kit includes everything you need to start building a game: a pre-cut box, a blank folds-to-square game board, paper to cover box and board, nine pawns, a pair of standard dice, a 12-sided numbered die, 56 blank cards, and a bundle of play money. You can also purchase a la carte from a long list of goodies. I added a money tray, a set of ten chipboard blanks, and ten stands to the basic kit. They offer an Advanced Game Board Inventors Kit as well, with a mind-boggling array of pieces.

The components of the kit are sturdy and as good as those in a purchased game. Read the rest

ZX Spectrum-based handheld retroconsole is pretty good

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The design perfectly transmutes the cheap minimalist beauty of the classic ZX Spectrum home computer into a unique handheld game console. But does the ZX Vega capture the experience of the early 80's machine?

Indie Retro News reviews it and finds it well-worth your £99, so long as you know what you're getting: a weird British contraption from the early 80s, and only the game-related features of it at that.

Hardcore Speccy fans may have been shouting to have room for expansion but, it's plain to see that this is not what it's about. If you look at this at what it's meant to be, a handheld Speccy to play games on, you can't got far wrong. I agree that you can't beat the original Speccy, the same goes for any original computer but as a pick-up-and-play, it fits perfectly.

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Meet the inventor of Whac-A-Mole and The Rock-afire Explosion

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Aaron Fechter is the creator of the Rock-afire Explosion, the animatronic band that made greasy memories at Showbiz Pizza throughout the 1980s. He also insists he's the inventor of Whac-A-Mole, based on a similar Japanese game that he saw in 1976, although the company that popularized it call bullshit on that claim. Now, Fechter has a new game in the works, Bashy Bug, and he's banking on its success to save his career, and his legacy. From Popular Mechanics:

Day two of the (International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions Convention) finds Fechter on the floor but with a non-working game. This is the first public debut of Bashy Bug.

As Fechter promised, the game is mechanical. The player operates a giant rubber flip-flop while a mutated cockroach skitters underfoot. If you can step on the bug, you earn a point. If the bug escapes when you bring your foot down, the bug earns a point. I know from experience that the system has been wired with a jerking intelligence to randomly stop the bug's run just short of the target that makes this harder than it sounds, and after the bug has scored a few points against you, you'll find yourself sucked in. But nobody here will have that opportunity.

"I haven't slept," Fechter tells me, standing in front of this monument of a purple machine with an animatronic roach face hovering above the scoreboard and Billy Bob painted on the cabinet. There is a mania in his voice that I would blame on fatigue if I hadn't interviewed him before.

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Kickstarting "Knights and Bikes," gorgeous, brilliant game, part Goonies, part Earthbound

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Knights and Bikes is a fictionalised recreation of co-creator Rex Crowle's boyhood in Cornwall, riding around on his bike and pretending to be a medieval knight; Crowle and his partner Moo Yu are a powerhouse pair of game developers, part of the Little Big Planet core team, and they've tapped some fantastic artistic and musical talent to work on the game as well. Read the rest

Kickstarting a set of super-nerdy, pan-dimensional RPG dice

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David sez, "The Tesseract Dice are unique, science themed dice, with shapes ranging from 4-D cubes, to Tesla coils to atomic explosions. Its goal is to bring unique and fun science themed game pieces to the gaming community." Read the rest

All the Dungeon Crawlers

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Dungeon Crawlers are those pseudo-3D maze games where you stomp around one square at a time, turning at 90 degree angles. The purpose of Dungeoncrawlers.org, then, should be obvious: to build "an online database for classic and modern first-person grid-based dungeon crawler games."

The design's great, too: nice and straightforward, but with a bit of period atmosphere! They've got everything from Alkalabeth to Grimrock. Read the rest

EA reveals the Xbox One sales total that Microsoft prefers not to

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Microsoft long ago stopped saying how many XBox Ones it had sold, but figures released by Electronic Arts expose numbers far short of rival Sony's Playstation 4.

On a financial call with reporters, CEO Blake Jorgensen said the combined install base of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 was about 55 million units. With Sony boasting of 36 million PS4s shifted, that makes for 19 million Xbox Ones.

The numbers tally with rumors, but both machines are doing well given that we're still only 2 years into the current generation of hardware. The big loser this time around is Nintendo, thought to have sold only about 11m Wii Us. Read the rest

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