Gamers blindly navigate a digital maze with input only from brain stimulation

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In a new experiment at the University of Washington, test subjects navigated a virtual maze without seeing it. The only input they had were cues delivered in the form of magnetic zaps to the backs of their heads, stimulating particular regions of their brains. From UW Today:

The subjects had to navigate 21 different mazes, with two choices to move forward or down based on whether they sensed a visual stimulation artifact called a phosphene, which are perceived as blobs or bars of light. To signal which direction to move, the researchers generated a phosphene through transcranial magnetic stimulation, a well-known technique that uses a magnetic coil placed near the skull to directly and noninvasively stimulate a specific area of the brain.

“The way virtual reality is done these days is through displays, headsets and goggles, but ultimately your brain is what creates your reality,” said senior author Rajesh Rao, UW professor of Computer Science & Engineering and director of the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering.

“The fundamental question we wanted to answer was: Can the brain make use of artificial information that it’s never seen before that is delivered directly to the brain to navigate a virtual world or do useful tasks without other sensory input? And the answer is yes.”

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New role playing game has clever text-based ascii animation

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Stone Story is an RPG coming soon to Steam. From the developer:

Stone Story is an RPG set in a dark and vile world. The game's fluid ASCII art is painstakingly animated in plain text by a single insane game developer. Currently in closed alpha, the game features 6 locations to explore, 4 boss fights, mind-blowing ASCII cutscenes and plenty of loot to discover. Much more content is planned once the project reaches beta.

The casual play contrasts with the retro visuals, providing a unique experience that blends nostalgia with modern design principles. One of the game's defining mechanics is that you have no direct control of the player character. You choose what items to equip and which locations to visit, while an artificial intelligence does all the exploring, combat and looting. An expansive item crafting system allows you to combine otherwise disposable items--rewarding experimentation and making full use of all the gathered loot.

Stone Story will be published on the web, Win, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android. Initial language support will be English, Portuguese and Chinese. Further localization will be added based on regional stats.

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Wonderful guitar cover of Super Mario World music

Samuraiguitarist Steve Onotera created this fantastic cover of the Super Mario World music including sound effects made on his guitar. (via Laughing Squid)

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Now, THIS is how to sell Nintendo!

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Nintendo sales training video from 1992. Er, as the fellow says, "Hasta Luigi, baby."

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Happy anniversary to the coolest Let's Play grandma on YouTube!

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One year ago, grandmother Shirley Curry started posting impossibly charming Let's Play videos while playing Skyrim to connect with her grandkids. They are delightful to watch and listen to. Read the rest

Peak Pokémon Go has already passed

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A new report from Axiom Capital Management suggests that Pokémon Go is on a downward trend in daily active users and engagement of those users. The data comes from Sensor Tower, SurveyMonkey, and Apptopia.

Additionally, "The Google Trends data is already showing declining interest in augmented reality, whereas interest in virtual reality remains high," says senior analyst Victor Anthony.

(Bloomberg Markets)

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Watch a hamster clear a Super Mario Bros. level

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Like an 8-bit Habitrail. Read the rest

King of Kong also the Prince of Pac-Man

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Remember Billy Mitchell, the star of excellent videogame documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters? In 1999, the Donkey Kong champ was also the first person confirmed to attain a perfect score on Pac-Man.

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Take a nostalgic trip through the "Art of Atari"

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The Art of Atari is a new hardcover celebrating the wonderful illustrations of the iconic game company's packaging, catalogs, and other artwork that, according to the book's introduction written by Ernest "Ready Player One" Cline, was "specially commissioned to enhance the Atari experience to further entice children and adults to embrace the new era of electronic entertainment." Speaking from personal experience, it totally worked.

The Art of Atari (Amazon)

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Fantastic Street Fighter chalk art animation

Chalk artist Chris Carlson created a fantastic 3D mural of Street Fighter that comes to life.

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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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Crystal meth found in pawned Sega Genesis

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A gentleman in Moultrie, Georgia pawned his Sega Genesis console but was arrested later after the pawn shop employees found a stash of crystal meth in the console's cartridge slot.

According to WALB, "There was no word on whether the Sega Genesis console was in working condition." Read the rest

A young boy plays through video game history

At The Message, BB pal Andy Baio wrote a fantastic piece about the experiment he is running with his ten-year-old son: What happens when a 21st-century kid plays through video game history in chronological order? Read the rest

eBay: Huge collection of 80s-90s console videogames

On eBay: a massive collection of 5700 console games, 5700+ games, and custom shelves for it all. Buy it now for (gulp) $164,000. Read the rest

Tetris, the, er, movie

“This isn’t a movie with a bunch of lines running around the page," said production company Threshold’s CEO Larry Kasanoff. "We’re not giving feet to the geometric shapes... What you [will] see in ‘Tetris’ is the teeny tip of an iceberg that has intergalactic significance."

"A ‘Tetris’ Movie Is in the Works" (Thanks, Gil Kaufman!) Read the rest

Video: montage of arcades in movies

Arcades in movies, 1975-1994. Read the rest

When finishing Dragon's Lair was awesome

Steven Frank looks back on a triumphant 1980s childhood moment, when he beat the laserdisc arcade game Dragon's Lair to the astonishment of onlookers. Read the rest

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