Polish developer 11bit Studios' recently-released This War of Mine
, a bit of a different look at video games' favorite setting. Focused on hiding, building and survival, it puts the player in charge of a team of civilians.
The game was inspired by the 1,425 day-long Siege of Sarajevo, which began in 1992 during the Bosnian War. Last night I played with a friend, guiding an unlikely family of survivors through the dangerous work of scavenging food and supplies, and fortifying a shell of a home against invaders. You manage different civilians each time -- this time we had an athlete, a reporter and a chef in our care. Later, we were joined by a warm school principal who was scared to be alone. We had no kids to care for and couldn't afford the extra mouth, but we couldn't turn her away.
After two weeks of building rat traps and water filters and bargaining with other wanderers, scavenging in abandoned rubble -- imagine The Sims, but very, very dark, made moreso by the lifelike photographs of our characters -- we found a hotel overrun by armed madmen. It was a gripping reminder that combatants are hardly the only consideration in conflict.
The game is available on Steam.
Have you ever wanted to be alone in the woods, drinking your own urine to survive? Probably not, that’d be weird. But you’ve wondered if you could do it, right? An exclusive essay by the author of the new science fiction novel, The Martian, out in paperback today
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Bryan M of Digg writes: "John All fell 70 feet down a crevasse, which left him seriously injured and unable to use his right arm."
He recorded four videos about his ordeal as it was happening!
The Wolfram Cabinet contains 170 items critical to human survival. Survival will cost $14,500 and require about 40 cubic feet. The inventory. The brochure. The relatively inexpensive briefcase edition. [via Uncrate]
In 2011, the Pagami Creek Fire burned through 92,000 acres of Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area. At Outside magazine, Frank Bures tells the story of two kayakers caught in the inferno
. Includes some amazing photos taken by one of the kayakers.
Nokia's latest ultra-cheap candybar phone looks like a good replacement for my trusty e-ink Moto F3. A month's battery life on standby, an FM radio and an LED flashlight add up to a perfect "backup" phone for long-term blackouts, natural disasters and zombie holocausts. [Engadget]
Now this is how you do multimedia.
At The New York Times, John Branch tells the amazing, terrifying story of 16 backcountry skiers and snowboarders caught in an avalanche in the Cascade mountains in February 2012. The article, by itself, is a must-read. But you should also take a look at the absolutely fantastic way that Branch and his editors put the online medium to good use — embedding interactive maps, photos that move like something out of Harry Potter, and more standard videos into a lovely, fluid design.
Alissa Walker, who pointed me toward this piece, said that she felt cold just reading it. And you really do get that feeling. All the elements of Branch's article are brought together in a way that enhances the urgency and amplifies your sense of experiencing somebody else's story. It's really, really, really fantastic.
Read the full story at The New York Times
The latest from Joey Roth, designer of minimalist teapots and speakers, is more down to earth: a compass pendant. Made with Shwood in Portland, the frame is laser-cut from maple and rosewood; the compass itself is a Francis Barker model.
Meanwhile, it's still flooding in Thailand. And, after three months of this, the Thai people have been forced to get creative.
Thai Flood Hacks is a Tumblr that feels like a pean to human ingenuity. Here, you will find boats made out of old water bottles. Homemade jet skis. Raised walkways built from shopping carts. Guys just out walking around on stilts. It's amazing. Thai Happy Mutants have pulled off some awe-inspiring instant solutions that allow them to get on with their lives in the middle of an infrastructure-crippling natural disaster.