Cragne Manor, an 84-room horror "exquisite corpse" text adventure that's a tribute to the classic game Anchorhead

It's the 20th anniversary of Anchorhead, Michael Gentry's seminal horror text adventure; to commemorate the occasion, Ryan Veeder and Jenni Polodna worked with 84 developers to create Cragne Manor, a tribute, whose puzzles are ingenious, frustrating and amazing. Read the rest

There's a new Katamari Damacy title for the Nintendo Switch: Reroll

"Katamari" is the Japanese word for "clod" or "lump," and people familiar with the Katamari Damacy video game franchise know that the object is to created a giant clod of stuff by rolling it around like a snowball, picking up increasingly larger objects over time.

Reroll is a new Katamari Damacy game for the Nintendo Switch and it looks like fun. I'm going to get it and I'll let you know what I think.

Image: Nintendo Read the rest

Pro Office Calculator: a mysterious and addictive game disguised as a desktop calculator app

Pro Office Calculator is obviously just a normal (Mac/Win/Lin) calculator, right? Wrong. I love this shit. (via Waxy) Read the rest

The Occult Defence Agency Budgeting Simulator: a text adventure that pits monster-slaying against austerity

In the Occult Defence Agency Budgeting Simulator, you are placed in charge of the budget for an organisation whose mission is "defending the United Kingdom from paranormal threats. Vampire covens, stray werewolves, pixie swarms, cultists with funny robes and impractical daggers, unlicensed hauntings, and more obscure matters" -- but you are British, and that means your boss is a government minister who insists that you make headline-grabbing "swingeing cuts" every year. Read the rest

Meet the proprietor of the last chess supply store in New York City

Imad Khachan is proprietor of Chess Forum, the last chess shop in New York City.

“When no other place will welcome you, you have a seat [here],” Khachan says.

Khachan is the subject of King of the Night, a short documentary above by Molly Brass and Anne Hollowday.

(The Atlantic)

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Malware authors have figured out how to get Google to do "irreversible takedowns" of the sites they compete with

When a rightsholder complains to Google about a website infringing its copyright, Google will generally delist the site, but allow the site's owner to contest the removal through a process defined in Section 512 of the DMCA. Read the rest

Buying a Commodore Amiga 30 years later, just to play games

Thirty years after its mostly-European heydey, the Commodore Amiga remains a cult favorite with a huge library of excellent and often weird games to discover. But what if emulation isn't your idea of fun? This guy went out and bought a real one.

The Amiga still has an active and faithful community, and it's thanks to them that it's possible to pick up an Amiga and get it upgraded and running all these years later. I also think it's a testament to how important the machine was in the UK and around Europe.

If you're looking to learn more about the booming home-brew game scene during 80's Britain then I can highly recommend "From Bedroom to Billions", it's a little low budget but seems to capture the time perfectly.

The follow-up documentary, "From Bedroom to Billions: the Amiga Years" is also a must watch if you have fond memories of the Amiga.

Interesting how buying a later, more powerful model, obliged him to further upgrade it before games were playable. The low-end 512Kb Amigas were invariably put to use as game consoles, booting right into games, the code given bare-metal access. But it seems fancier models more or less obliged users to launch games from the operating system's GUI, Workbench. And there even 2Mb wasn't enough.

If you like Workbench, though, there's a new simulation of it online. Just for fun! "OS 1.3" is the right one for the legendary A500 era. Read the rest

Procedurally-generated racetracks

I haven't played Bloody Rally, an old-school top-down racing game echoing Super Sprint and Carmageddon, but I like the look of its procedurally-generated tracks. Read the rest

New game played using sensor that you swallow

As part of their research on the future of play, RMIT University's Exertion Games Lab demonstrated a game based around an ingestible sensor pill that measures internal body temperature and transmits the data in real-time to your smartphone as the sensors travels through your gut. You can guess what marks the end of the game. (This is the same group that explored the use of chest-mounted robot arms for "playful eating.") From their research paper (PDF):

In the Guts Game, a chocolate bar is given to each player initially. Then the researchers, who dress up like medical doctors, tell the players that they have been infected by a parasite, which is sensitive to its environment’s temperature, i.e. the body temperature of the player as measured by the sensor. If the environment’s temperature reaches a certain value, the parasite will be hurt. The crafty parasite may adapt to the environment so the target temperature might change once reached. The more often the player reaches the target temperature, the bigger possibility he/she will survive. To aid the treatment, the “doctors” developed an application called the Guts Game. Players need to swallow the sensor to measure their body temperature and the application will guide players. Players need to come back to the “doctors” after the game ends to check if the parasite is still there.

The Guts Game ends when one of the players excretes the sensor.

The Guts Game (Exertion Games Lab)

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Remember the Vectrex videogame system from the 1980s? It had a little brother

For those who don't know, the Vectrex was Milton Bradley's videogame console with an integrated vector graphics display that was introduced in 1982. As cool and unique as Vectrex was, it was only on the market for two years before succumbing to the video game crash of 1983. A few years ago, photos turned up revealing that Milton Bradley had apparently prototyped a more portable version of the console. Other than what was seen in those images though, there was little-to-no information about the actual system, like whether it actually worked or was just a mock-up. Until now. The National Videogame Museum has actually acquired one of the working prototypes!

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Before Youtube nukes annotations, take one last look at these amazing, creative projects that showed how much annotations could do

On January 15th, Google will disappear all Youtube annotations, which have lots of structural problems (spammy, don't work well on mobile or big screens), but which have been a font of creative inspiration that spawned whole genres of interactive Youtube projects, from games to interactive films to branching narrative adventures to musical experiments, to collaborative art projects to deep context and annotation. Read the rest

Man arrested for rape after his Playstation mic allegedly broadcast audio from the crime to other players

Last June, 18-year-old Daniel Fabian of Pasco County, Florida was playing Grand Theft Auto Online, when he informed the other players in his team chat that he was going to take a break to "smash" (have sex with) a 15-year-old girl. Read the rest

What Mobile Diablo is going to be like

The announcement of Diablo: Immortal was met by howling dismay. That the ultimate PC nerd action RPG would end up looking like a reskin of the mobile-industry monogame is illustrative of changing times, though it's hard to care much when the anger at corporate greed seems inseparable from the other hatreds. But this funny video makes the basic point rather well: Diablo was always about loot, and in 2018, the loot isn't going to be on someone else's marketplace. Read the rest

Why humans are suddenly getting better at Tetris

In this video [via Kottke], John Green explains why competitive players are suddenly getting much better at Tetris despite the number of players being much smaller than in its heydey: "a group of enthusiasts built spaces both online and off that allowed people to connect with each other over what is usually a very solitary hobby and because small groups of deeply passionate people can often be more productive than large groups of casually interested people."

The improvements apply to a specific implementation of Tetris (8-bit Nintendo) and reflect deep awareness of the technical environment. Read the rest

Tiny Emus: play old games online without hassle

Tiny Emus has in-browser emulators for all the classic 8-bit systems, but also ready links for specific games so you don't have to spend ages tracking them down and configuring them.

Creator Andre Weissflog, via Hacker News:

The emulators are written in C(99), with some platform-specific bits written in Objective-C and Javascript, and in C++ for the UI parts (since Dear ImGui is implemented in C++). Apart from the WebAssembly version, Win32, Linux, OSX and iOS is also supported, but you need to compile those yourself

The selection's limited but Weissflog's really nailed the "just let me play" UI, so hopefully more's to come. Read the rest

GPU-accelerated dismemberment demo: 10,000 zombies in a giant blender

Brilliant Game Studios follows up on their 2016 video that showed off a crowd-renderer by pitting 11,000 penguins against 4,000 Santas with a new video demoing "our new GPU accelerated dismemberment and procedural wounding system. Limbs can be cut off on a massive scale. Wound from getting hit appear as deep gouges which warp their mesh." I'm really glad that we're using GPUs to do sensible things again, rather than computing virtual Beanie Babies. (via JWZ) Read the rest

Taiwan's "Pokemon Grandpa" has 15 phones arrayed around his bike handlebars

70 year old Taipei fengshui master Chen San-yuan is known locally as "Pokemon Grandpa," and is a viral sensation thanks to the 15 phones he's mounted on his handlebars to help him play the 2016 augmented reality game Pokemon Go; his rig cost about $4,000 and he spends another $300/month on virtual currency to help him level up in the game. He says that playing the game keeps him socially connected and delays the onset of Alzheimer's. (Image: Reuters) (via Kottke) Read the rest

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