Arcade game combines Pop-A-Shot basketball with fighting off zombies

Here's a clever update to the arcade classic Pop-A-Shot basketball. The really Big Crane Company has combined the basketball mechanic with Plants vs. Zombies to create Zombie Jam.

Hit a basket in the proper column to fight off the approaching zombies:

There's also a version for playing Connect 4 by burying shots:

(Via Simon Carless.) Read the rest

Death Stranding Instagram filters

Now you can add some Kojima flavor to selfies or news coverage of the impeachment hearings. Erop has created two different Instagram filters.

And speaking of Death Stranding, check out this limited edition custom PS4 controller and stand:


The controller is themed after Sam’s Bridges delivery uniform featuring custom buttons, metal D-Pad, metal thumb sticks and custom touchpad styled to look like a container. The stand is styled after the BB pod with a detailed baby cast in clear yellow resin. The iconic Odradek Scanner attaches to the back of the stand to hang over the top of the controller when displayed together.

BB and Odradek Scanner come packaged in a custom, high quality hard case container.

Preorder closes at the end of December or once the initial 20 places have been reserved. Controllers will ship as soon as production has been completed which is expected to be March 2020 or earlier.

(Via Attract Mode.) Read the rest

Secret games to play when you're bored in public

This article by Holly Gramazio suggests several ideas for games you can play alone or with friends while in public. My favorite of the lot was posted by a Redditor, and seems like a great way to feel more positive about the world:

When I’m out in public or driving or something, I like to pick a person within my sight and imagine how they’re somebody’s FAVOURITE person, and if that somebody could be where I am in that moment, they’d be overjoyed to see them. I imagine how that person might joke around, or I think about the nice things they might do for their friends or family, and I wonder if there’s someone across the country that wishes more than anything that they could be as near to that stranger as I am now.

Check out more ideas here and here.

(Article via RPS, The Card Players by Lucas van Leyden via Wikipedia.)

(My partner and I have a new, stupid game that makes us smile--when we're watching sports together, we add an "N" to players' last names.) Read the rest

Bee simulator games compared

Paolo Pedercini compares every bee-themed game with an eye to their scientific accuracy.

Bees, particularly honeybees, are often incorrectly characterized in videogames – as well as in other media. Sometimes that’s due to their similarity with with the more aggressive wasps (which make for better enemies), sometimes that is due to the alien-like complexity of their social behavior, sometimes the creators are interested in bees only beecause they allow a multitude of puns around on the letter B. Hilarious.

At the inaccurate end of things, Flappy Bee (bees do not flap) loses to a title that features bees eating pizza and operating mechas. The winners are Drunk Bee, Monarchies, and Bee Hunting Simulator 2016; the issue is salient due to the recent high-profile commercial release Bee Simulator, which scores a respectable 4/5 on Paolo's list. Read the rest

Classic 2D games reimagined in pseudo-3D

Enjoy this compilation of 1990s-era sprite games extruded into lowpoly 2½D extravaganzas. These are works of static art, but I'm sure I've seen this done "live" in-game recently, in an automated, playable way. (Note that there are a number of 2½D Super Marios already--these replicas are hand-made, like this video). Read the rest

Check out the deliciously insidious first monetized choice in this freemium game

Storyscape is a freemium mobile app that offers several choose your own adventure-style stories. The vast majority of choices are free, and the choices made don't seem to have a meaningful impact on the story. So far, I've experimented with stories based on the X-Files, James Cameron's Titanic, and a snowbound post-apocalyptic scenario.

In the X-Files adventure, you meet the stars of the show and soon join the team. The first episode delivers the core elements of the X-Files--a gross monster, humor, and winks to the relationship between Mulder and Scully:

But there isn't an interesting monetized choice in the first episode of the X-Files story. On the other hand, the first monetized choice in the Titanic storyline is supremely well-crafted.

As the story opens, you're a gorgeous young orphaned immigrant suffragette who has found herself imprisoned in a jail in London. Over the ensuing episodes, you find yourself on the Titanic, choosing between various intrigues, suitors, and outfits (the diamond icon represents a choice requiring spending premium currency):

You encounter the occasional familiar face, as well:

However, that's all in the future. At the start of the story, you're in dank cell with little hope for release. Your younger sister is in the city, helpless without you. A guard enters with apparent ill intent. The game offers you this choice and explanation, since it's the first monetized choice I encountered:

I absolutely decided to know jujitsu:

That's the most I've ever enjoyed spending premium currency. You can try out the Storyscape app on your mobile device. Read the rest

Popular Chinese video game invites players to "hunt down traitors" in Hong Kong

"Fight the Traitors Together" (motto: "Hong Kong is part of China and this can't be meddled with by outside power") is a web-game that has attained new popularity in mainland China; it invites players to locate with caricatures of real Hong Kong protest leaders and slap them or pelt them with rotten eggs. Read the rest

In praise of slow gaming

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a game that my MacBook can't even look at sideways with it it turning into a steaming slagheap of aluminum and silicon. The RPG, in it's PC and Mac iterations asks for too much for my poor laptop's increasingly outclassed 15 processor. Happily, I discovered that it's available for my Nintendo Switch, albeit with significantly scaled-down graphics (there'll be a review coming later.). I downloaded it the other night and, with the snow coming down hard enough here in west central Alberta's back country today, I spent around an 90 minutes playing the game.

I scarcely made any progress. It was lovely.

There's something about many modern games that gnaws at me. Even in open-world games, I feel like a fire's lit under my ass to get things done. Skin 15 whatzitbeasts. With minimal motivation, kill the outlaws camped on the outskirts of town of town (becasue the well armed local garrison can't handle them.) Go where you want to, but do these things. In. A. Timely. Manner. Even my favorite games of the past few years—Fallout 4 and Skyrim—which let you wander and do whatever, still do what they can to make you feel like there's shit that needs doing, yesterday. So far, and admittedly, it's early into the game, Divinity: Original Sin 2 hasn't made me feel this way. Perhaps it's that the narrative is slowed down by forcing gamers to read and consider their responses to NPCs. You have to consider your responses to everything, really: taking an NPC into your party when you're unsure of their motivations can change the course of the game. Read the rest

A touch of The Dark Tower in Red Dead Redemption 2

Warning, Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass spoiler ahead.

It's fascinating to follow explorers discovering the bizarre out of bounds landscapes of Red Dead Redemption 2, like the mysterious pyramids, and seams where the land meets unfinished low-res geography.

Although Mexico is seemingly not part of the game, dataminers say they have found models for familiar Mexico locations hidden in the PS4 version. Gamers have also discovered a hidden path into Mexico. As this video shows, you have to ride your horse into a canyon and then press through the strange barrier at the end. If successful, you emerge in Mexico. The land is almost entirely barren, aside for an abandoned fortress:

Ahh, seems so simple to create an entire Wizard and Glass campaign for the game.

Speaking of, the apparent Big Coffin Hunters in Amazon's upcoming series look great:

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#thankyou #newproject #film #movie #actor #filmmakers #instagood #instagram #fotografie #fotoshooting #foto #pic #hair #hairstyle #hashtag #follwme #munich #berlin #hamburg #stuttgart #gunslinger #hollywood #dark

A post shared by emir muller (@mulleremir) on Jun 20, 2019 at 12:38am PDT

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Kickstarting a new edition of Steve Jackson Games's Car Wars

I grew up on RPGs, not tabletop strategy games, but the one exception was Car Wars, a dystopian science fiction game where you kit out vehicles with weapons and then fight them in giant duelling pits or in freeway battles. I loved Car Wars and played it like crazy. Read the rest

Owners of Tron: Evolution game can't play it because of DRM fuckery

Tron: Evolution is a Disney video-game that comes with the notorious Securom DRM (previously). Thanks to unspecified DRM issues, anyone who bought the game but didn't activate it can no longer do so, a situation that has been known since at least October. Disney says they're working on a patch but won't commit to a release date. Of course, people who didn't pay for the game and downloaded a cracked version instead aren't having any problems. (Image: Disney) (via /.) Read the rest

Frustrated game devs automated the production of 1,500 terrible slot machine apps and actually made money

Last March, game devs Alex Schwartz and Ziba Scott gave a presentation at the Game Developers Conference called "1,500 Slot Machines Walk into a Bar: Adventures in Quantity Over Quality in which they described how their own dissatisfaction with falling revenues from mobile app stores led them to muse about bulk-creating crappy apps and seeing if they could get paid. Read the rest

The game Operation was born as a test of desert survival skills

We all know the game Operation in which the player must conduct surgery on a curious character named Cavity Sam. As the commercial goes, "It takes a very steady hand." But as sci-tech historian Allison Marsh writes in IEEE Spectrum, Operation evolved from a very different electrified game called Death Valley that was invented in the early 1960s by a University of Illinois industrial design student named John Spinello. From IEEE Spectrum:

Spinello’s game, called Death Valley, didn’t feature a patient, but rather a character lost in the desert. His canteen drained by a bullet hole, he wanders through ridiculous hazards in search of water. Players moved around the board, inserting their game piece—a metal probe—into holes of various sizes. The probe had to go in cleanly without touching the sides; otherwise it would complete a circuit and sound a buzzer. Spinello’s professor gave him an A....

Spinello sold the idea to Marvin Glass and Associates, a Chicago-based toy design company, for US $500, his name on the U.S. patent (3,333,846), and the promise of a job, which never materialized.

Mel Taft, a game designer at Milton Bradley, saw a prototype of Death Valley and thought it had potential. His team tinkered with the idea but decided it would be more interesting if the players had to remove an object rather than insert a probe. They created a surgery-themed game, and Operation was born.


Read the rest

Huge selection of roleplaying miniatures available for free download, including Falkor and a bear with sharks for hands

Miguel Zavala, who has a Patreon, has created a huge number of 3d printable files for roleplaying miniatures and posted them for free download. It's a delightful selection of oddball Dungeons and Dragons characters, including many inspired by the longrunning Acquisitions Incorporated series:

Read the rest

David Lynch-directed advertisement for Playstation welcomes you to The Third Place

Once upon a time, people had so much free time that they needed a place to go that wasn't work or home. A third place. Sony was one of the companies competing for that space, and created an entire campaign around the concept. They hired David Lynch to direct a commercial for the Playstation 2 because "He's been living in The Third Place for quite a few years."

The commercial is predictably surreal, makes no detectable reference to video games, and could easily be reused for other products with equal success:

Lynch received some pushback on choosing black and white, but artistic version prevailed over the color version:

There is also a short documentary on the making of the commercial that feels suitably Lynchian--moments of levity amidst a murky, ominous set:

You can see more commercials in the campaign here. Read the rest

Surprise trailer for Half Life: Alyx delights franchise fans

It's been more than twelve years since the release of Half Life 2: Episode 2, and fans of the Half Life series have long been left out in the cold waiting for the story to conclude. Enter Half Life: Alyx, described as a "full" VR game featuring one of Dr. Freeman's sidekicks. You'll need a powerful PC (recommended is an Nvidia 1070 GPU and mandatory is a VR headset) and about 20 hours to spare. It's scheduled for release in March 2020.

Read the rest

It's theoretically possible to beat Minecraft without picking up a single item

In this video, an astoundingly dedicated player demonstrates how to complete Minecraft without ever picking up an item. Read the rest

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