Boing Boing 

The phenomenon of the Breakup Explanation status update

The personal is public, and don't you know it.Read the rest

Try gay orc dating with Tusks: The Orc Dating Simulator

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If you have ever thought of being a male orc adventuring, traveling and bonding with all kinds of other male orcs, then Mitch Alexander's Tusks: The Orc Dating Simulator is for you. It's a really clever and enchanting premise that makes "orc society" feel like a real thing.

Alexander (no relation to me) has just released a free preview of Tusks, which lets you experience your first day among the Orcs as you travel through a sort of mythical Scotland, introduces the characters you can meet and romance, and even features a randomized Scottish name generator. I thought it was tenderly-conceived as a visual novel, lovingly-written and I really like the characters so far (there is also a boar and a selkie). There's also an "autonomous NPC" feature—the characters can make some decisions on their own regardless of your wishes—that I'm excited to see implemented.

I'm not a gay man, but my colleague Todd Harper is, and in his response piece he found Tusks and its diversity of bodies and ideals alleviating and welcoming, in an aesthetic climate that often prioritizes "a parade of... 'wax dolphins'":

Does this mean the final game can’t possibly upset me? Of course not. It might. But if it does, it will be a surprise, not the fulfillment of a prophecy. And that’s an infinitely more welcome situation than the last however knows how many fucking years of seeing “a gay [x]” and then having it utterly confirm everything about gay culture that I hate and which has hurt me.

Thus, to this I say: bring on the fucking orcs. In every possible reading of that sentence.

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Heck yeah! Fucking orcs!

Pixeljunk Eden's Baiyon to direct his own romantic adventure game

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Tomohisa "Baiyon" Kuramitsu is best known for his work as art and sound director on PixelJunk Eden, a distinctive and unforgettable abstract flow puzzle (one of my personal favorites). Now, the popular Kyoto-based multimedia artist is directing his own game for the first time.

Baiyon's upcoming project, MUSE: Together is the New Alone is a "romantic adventure" about a boy trying to wake a sleeping girl by collecting pieces of her life. "I was eager to create a video game with the theme of love where you can step into my mind's nostalgic scenery," he tells me. "I am not sure why, perhaps I am getting older, but I started to feel that I want to express my inner world."

"My main theme is 'to project the incompleteness of humanity and beauty of fluctuation within the digital logic of a video game', and that shapes sound and visual creation and story telling," he says.

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MUSE aims to release sometime next year on PlayStation 4 and PSVita. We don't normally post game announcements here on Offworld unless it's something you can imminently play, but we're curious about this one—you can see a little more of the concept and subscribe to the mailing list at the official website.

Why don't female protagonists often get to date?

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Little by little we're seeing more believable women characters in some of our video games, but what about their romantic options?

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This fresh, romantic take on Solitaire will have you hooked

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Imagine the card game of Solitaire, except it's about Victorian courtship, and you can win fancy dresses and decorate your ballroom and also unlock clever and challenging new twists on the game design. I KNOW. No seriously you have got to play this I'm not kidding.

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Gorgeous custom science fiction jewelry


Pittsburgh's Paul Michael Bierker is a jeweler who makes incredible, nerdy rings and other jewelry, from the Tie Fighter engagement rings to the Han Solo in Carbonite rings (also available as a pendant).

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Couples counsellor who assigns Ikea furniture assembly calls Liatorp "The Divorcemaker"

It's one thing to ask fighting couples to cooperate on assembling semi-disposable flat-pack furniture from a bullying, tax-dodging mega-corp, but the bedrawered, empanelled Liatorp is a bridge too far.

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Tone-deaf Valentines tweets from the NSA

"Roses are red, violets are blue, #NSA loves privacy rights and you." No, seriously.

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You autocomplete me


A letterpress Valentine from Paperwheel ($6.75). (via Dan Hon)

Dancing papercraft Valentine


Siberian-born, Philippines-based paper artist Maria Dubrovskaya makes beautiful articulated paper dolls and sculptures, including this timely dancing Valentine's Day heart ($15).

Vintage Monster Valentines


In 1966, Topps issued a series of "Frankenstein Valentine Stickers" that have only improved with age.

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Disembodied facial-feature candles


London-based Uncanny Art Shop makes realistic-looking candles containing disembodied facial features, some contorted in agonized rictii: there's a male mouth, two female mouths and a pair of ears on a featureless head.

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Death Star heart necklace


What could be more romantic than a fully operational battle station? $16.61, ships from Canada, made from polymer clay. (via Geeky Merch)

"Tie the knot" wedding invites that include a self-tying knot


Designer Cristina Moraleja created these clever 2011 wedding invitations for her clients Lois and Cris.

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Neuroscientist groom give neuroscientist bride a 3D print of his brain


Michael sez, "We're both neuroscientists studying human memory with fMRI at the University of Texas at Austin -- I wanted to surprise her with a gift that best symbolized me giving her all that I am.

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Surprise marriage proposal via Magic: The Gathering


Lindsey Loree proposed to her boyfriend by challenging him to a game of Magic: The Gathering into which she inserted a homemade "Proposal" card (she had to sneak a card into her lap to make it work); once he said yes, she gave him a ringpop to seal the deal!

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Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel: Bad romance, Russia and writer's angst

Anya Ulinich's 2008 debut novel Petropolis, marked her out as a master of tragicomic romance; now she's back with a huge, hilarious, bitter graphic novel about sex, immigration, the Russian soul, and heartbreak. Cory Doctorow reviews Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel: A Graphic Novel.Read the rest