Boing Boing 

Ashley Madison's founding CTO claimed he hacked competing dating site


Raja Bhatia was the original CTO of Avid Media, Ashley Madison's parent company; in an email to Avid CEO Noel Biderman in the latest Ashley Madison dump, he hacked the back-end of Nerve, a competing dating site.

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A romance game that feels like playing a Jane Austen novel

If you've ever wanted to experience the romance, gossip, and tragic social misunderstandings of an Austen heroine, Regency Love is a visual novel made just for you.

Set in the Regency era of England—the late 1700s to the mid 1800s—the game casts you in the role of a young woman of marrying age in a small English town called Darlington. Although you come from a respectable family, your father has passed on, and you feel increasing pressure from your mother to marry soon—and marry well. You can, of course, have your own ideas about it means to marry well, especially as you meet the eligible bachelors of Darlington: the dashing lieutenant Mr. Graham, the intellectual, introspective Mr. Curtis, and the handsome but troubled Mr. Ashcroft.

Your primary choices in the game revolve around dialogue options; the way you speak to other people not only defines your relationships to them, but defines you, by adding to your score for various character traits. Will you be frivolous or sensible? Witty or vulgar? Compassionate or cutting?

It's not all melodrama, however. You'll also have the chance to take tea with townsfolk, go shopping at the haberdashery with your friends, or even play matchmaker for other couples in Darlington. Through the game, you'll also be quizzed both on the social etiquette of the era and Jane Austen novels themselves; correct answers yield "motivation points" that can be channeled into the skills most valued in a lady of your station: practicing the piano, embroidering, painting, and dancing.

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Regency Love was created by Samantha Lin, Jenny Tan, and Melody Wang of Tea for Three Studios, three women inspired not only by their love of Jane Austen, but also a far more modern tale of intrigue and romance: Dragon Age.

As the team explains on their webpage, "we were (re-)playing Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2, and thought, 'Hey, why not replace the darkspawns with chickens and Alistair/Zevran/Fenris/Anders with versions of Mr. Darcy/Mr. Knightley/Colonel Brandon/Captain Wentworth?' And so we did."

Although the chickens ultimately became an impossibly wise and maybe slightly telepathic cat, the game otherwise holds fairly true to their vision. Although the original game was released in 2013, they recently launched a new version that also allows players to buy an additional, all-new story as well.

Regency Love is available for $4.99 on iOS, and with around 150,000 words of writing throughout its various paths, feels substantial enough to justify the price.

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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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