Boing Boing 

Gaming: Tim Schafer and dev team watch an awesome Psychonauts speed run

Tim Schafer and members of the Psychonauts development team sit down with speed-runner Stephen "SMK" Kiazyk to watch him do a run of the game and witness the different ways he's found around their painstakingly crafted work in order to complete it as fast as possible.

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Flashing LED-equipped dice that light up on critical hits


Thinkgeek's $25 critical hit dice are a set of D10, D12, and D20 that light up when you roll their maximum values (they're all correctly weighted for fair throws).

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A trans Magic: The Gathering card

Tom writes: "Over the years, there have been thousands of Magic: The Gathering cards, many with their own characters and mini-stories. Only one, however, is trans, and this one is pretty darn cool."

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D20 and 20,000 Leagues ties


These gorgeous 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and D20 ties are $24 from San Francisco's Binary Winter

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Greece's new finance minister used to be Valve's games economist


Yanis Varoufakis used to manage in-game economies in games like Counter-Strike; now he's finance minister for a Greek government that has set its sights on reforming the entire basis of austerity and debt service in the Eurozone.

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Game Boy Pokemon mugs


Mug Emporium's $12 Game Boy Pokemon mugs come with your choice of Pokemon, though, one supposes, you should really catch them all. (via Geeky Merch)

WATCH: Trailer for Haphead, crowdfunded indie cyberpunk series about pro gamers

In one week, Toronto's Postopian Pictures -- the people who brought us Ghosts With Shit Jobs and many other delights -- will premiere their crowdfunded cyberpunk series Haphead (previously):

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How to win at rock, paper, scissors

In 2005 a Japanese electronics firm decided to sell its collection of four French impressionist paintings. Christie’s and Sotheby’s courted the company. The CEO asked the auction houses to play a game of Rock Paper Scissors to determine who would sell the paintings. The representative for Christie's researched Rock Paper Scissors strategies, and used the advice of one of his co-worker's children: “Everybody knows you always start with scissors.” This proved to be good advice in this case, because Sotheby's chose Paper. Christie's sold the paintings for $17.8 million, and earned a $1.9 million commission.

William Poundstone (author of many books I've enjoyed, including Big Secrets, Fortune's Formula, Prisoner's Dilemma, and an entire book about Rock Paper Scissors) starts off his article about Rock Paper Scissors strategies with the above anecdote. He looks at strategies involving statistics (in pro tournaments Rock gets thrown 35.4%, Paper 35%, and Scissors 29.6%), doublethink, tells, scripts, and pattern recognition. His conclusion:

  • Scissors is the least popular choice, and men favour rock. Both are reasons to choose paper in a one-shot match.
  • Announce what you’re going to throw and do it. Most players figure you won’t go through with it.

16-bit game-controller doormat


What says "Speak friend, and enter" more than a $20, 16-bit game-controller doormat? (nonskid, 13.75" x 30")

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Event: L.A. Pokémon art show and game tournament, Sat., Jan. 3, 2015

Who Is Sugimori

This Nintendo Pokémon-themed art show and game tournament sounds like a great way to spend a Saturday in Los Angeles.

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Cards Against Humanity buys a private island ("Hawaii 2") & gives it away


Each 250,000 of the CAH Holiday Bullshit subscribers got one square foot of a wooded island in Maine, called Hawaii 2 (nee Birch Island).

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This 1987 roguelike game is still great

If you had a Mac in the late 80s or early 90s, you might remember the excellent roguelike maze adventure Scarab of Ra. It still holds up very well today, the core tenets of its design more en vogue than ever.

If you can't be bothered fussing around with emulation, there's an in-browser version you need to know about -- check it out here.

The 20 games you shouldn't miss in 2014

Over the past year I played hundreds of amazing games across a wide spectrum of team sizes, budgets and ambitions. These exemplify the best that 2014 had to offer: interesting places to explore, important achievements, or just nice ideas executed simply. I hope you'll find them as surprising and delightful as I did.Read the rest

EFF's copyfighter's crossword


EFF's annual crossword puzzle is a roundup of news stories from the world of digital civil liberties from 2014. Can you get 'em all without googling?

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Outfit a game-designer's toolkit for < $20


Game designer Rick Marazzani did an under-$20 raid on his local dollar store and built himself an incredible game-designer's toolkit with everything he needs to create an infinite variety of games in just as many styles; his reasoning for each piece is an especially telling glimpse of the game-designer's mindset:

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Want to try making a video game? Visit the Sorting Hat

sortinghatIf you have ever read anything I've written about video games, you will have heard me insert notations about the democratization of tools. The business of making games used to necessitate access to bureaucratic, white-guys-only organizations and their social and professional lexicons. But now there are radical tools that anyone can use to make games about anything they want.

That's good in theory, but how do you know where to start? Developer Zoe Quinn has made a simple new online utility designed to help experimental developers and new creators alike see which tools are right for their vision. Sortingh.at makes recommendations depending on your aspirations and existing abilities, and also provides links to resources online you can use to learn how to use those tools.

Lowering traditional barriers to entry and de-mystifying aspects of game creation is a great way to welcome new creators to the table in a space that arguably needs some fresh voices and different perspectives.

Play thousands of 48-hour game jam entries

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The Ludum Dare international game jam is probably the largest event of its kind -- and the longest running, at over 12 years. Three times a year, game developers are challenged to build and share a new game within 48 hours, often documenting their process and making source code available. Each time, the community votes to agree on a theme.

This year's is 'Entire Game On One Screen.' Which sounds simple, like, 'okay, no iPad companion app,' but it's actually a real design challenge -- just think about how many games have menu screens, inventory screens, y'know, different levels, little things like that.

The submission phase is over, and anyone who wants to dive in can play and rate the 2,637 games, with 1,365 in actual competition (here's a cool entry browser if the website itself is overwhelming). It's fun to get involved, not only to learn more about the rapid prototyping process, but to see the seeds of game design's next wave of inspiration. The winner of the competition is always a creator to watch.

There's often a lot of brilliant weirdness -- like this 'hot n cold' maze game led by staring animals. Or this -- what is this? And there's something about this simple but beautifully-drawn dragon game that takes me back to the interactive net art domains I used to visit in the 90s.