The hidden gems of game platform Steam

Steam 250 lists the best-rated games ever on Steam, but its hidden gems page lists uses an absolute weighting that exposes little-played titles with few negative votes. First impression: bullet hell shooter fans know what they want, and they get it. Pictured here is Yorkshire Gubbins, the 25th-best-rated game on Steam, "a collection of incomprehensibly daft comedy adventures" set in the climate-challenged English county of that name. Read the rest

Snakes and Ladders can be analyzed by converting it to a Markov Chain

University of Washington data scientist Jake Vanderplas found himself trapped in an interminable series of Snakes and Ladders (AKA Chutes and Ladders) with his four-year-old and found himself thinking of how he could write a Python program to simulate and solve the game. Read the rest

The Polak Game: an exercise to help reveal your theories of the future

Dutch sociologist and Holocaust survivor Frederik Lodewijk Polak's massive future studies text The Image of the Future makes a bold statement about optimism and pessimism, creating four categories of belief about the future, divided on two axes: things are improving/worsening; and people can/can't do something about the future. Read the rest

The internal economics of a popular Minecraft server are an object lesson in everything great and terrible about markets

Alice Maz was part of a small group of players who came to have near-total mastery over the internal economy of a popular Minecraft; Maz describes how her early fascination with the mechanics of complex multiplayer games carried over into an interest in economics and games, and that let her become a virtuoso player, and brilliant thinker, about games and economics. Read the rest

"Gaming disorder" to be recognized

The New Scientist reports that the World Health Organization is to include "gaming disorder" in its International Classification of Diseases (Amazon). The wording is yet to be finalized, but will encompass gaming “to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests” and meets various criteria of adverse effects such as anxiety, antisocial conduct and withdrawal symptoms. The Independent:

Last year, researchers from the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute undertook a study to investigate the percentage of gamers who are addicted to video games.

The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, found that only 2 to 3 per cent of the 19,000 men and women surveyed from the UK, the US, Canada and Germany admitted that they experienced five or more of the symptoms from the American Psychiatric Association checklist of health symptoms.

In the past, game addiction has generally been pooh-poohed. But public perception is changing, not least due to the widespread introduction of gambling mechanisms into mainstream games and hardcore Gamers' growing reputation for bug-eyed tweaky behavior in general. Read the rest

Mod turns Quake into a lovely walking simulator

Quake, the 1996 classic game set in a grim and hellish world of stone, fire and blood, pulsed with danger and violence. But a new mod from JP LeBreton turns it into a calm walking simulator, complete with a soundtrack based on Nine Inch Nails' chilly 2008 album Ghosts I-IV, which is available under the Creative Commons. Alice O'Connor:

In short, it’s a Quake that’s retooled to be nice to potter about. Quake as a whole is incoherent and largely brown (I quite like its exploration of browns and blues), sure, but it does have some interesting places and architecture. ... LeBreton has previously released tourism mods for games including Unreal, Deus Ex, and Thief, as well as a simpler one for Quake. He also keeps a game tourism page listing mods and instructions to make other 90s FPSs–and their modern descendants–safe to wander around.

Or if you’d rather Ghosts I-IV were paired with all the fragging and gibbing of Quake’s original campaign, hey, LeBreton explains how to disable tourism too. He also details how to change which song plays on which level, if you fancy a fiddle.

Download Ghosts I-IV For Quake from Itch. You’ll need the data files from a full copy of Quake to play, along with the Quakespasm fan-updated engine. The readme explains how to make it work.

Read the rest

The new Portal is a bridge-building puzzle game, and it looks AMAZING

Portal was one of the best games of this century: originally a fan-mod of Half-Life, it used a clever-as-fuck game mechanic and outstanding game writing to tell a story and pose riddles that were fun to solve, play and watch. Read the rest

The Quantum Game: like Laser Maze, but built on real principles of quantum mechanics

Laser Maze is a super-fun electronic board game that challenges players to arrange angled mirrors to route a laser beam from an emitter to a sensor, avoiding obstacles; in The Quantum Game, you undertake the same fundamental task, but with a virtual laser that only emits one photon, and virtual beam-splitters, absorbtive polarizers, quarter-wave plates, polarizing beam splitters, Faraday rotators, and other exotic apparatus. Read the rest

Mirai's creators plead guilty, reveal that they created a DDoS superweapon to get a competitive edge in the Minecraft server industry

Last year, the Mirai botnet harnessed a legion of badly secured internet of things devices and turned them into a denial of service superweapon that brought down critical pieces of internet infrastructure (and even a country), and now its creators have entered guilty pleas to a Computer Fraud and Abuse Act federal case, and explained that they created the whole thing to knock down Minecraft servers that competed with their nascent Minecraft hosting business. Read the rest

Simklept: Kleptocrat is a mobile game that uses real-world financial crimes to simulate being a tax-dodging one percenter

Kleptocrat is an Ios-only mobile game that challenges players to play as billionaire tax-dodgers, who construct ruses to hide their money from the tax authorities in the countries where the state guards their wealth, educates the workforce, and keeps everyone from dropping dead of infectious diseases. Read the rest

Goodbye LDB game, Hello Whamageddon

For the past five holiday seasons or so, a group of my friends and I have been (somewhat reluctantly at this point) playing the LDB game.

"LDB" stands for "Little Drummer Boy."

To win, you must survive the holiday season without hearing any version of "Little Drummer Boy." There are no prizes, just bragging rights that you successfully dodged another year of "Pa rum pum pum pum."

Now I've learned there's a new game in town. It's called Whamageddon.

To play this game, you just have to avoid hearing Wham!'s 1984 Christmas hit "Last Christmas" from December 1 to midnight on December 24. If you hear it, you're out. Grab the hashtag #whamageddon and enter "Whamhalla" by admitting your defeat on social media.

Want to win? Do NOT watch this video:

The good news? It's finally ok to watch Pee-wee's 1988 Christmas special during the holiday season. Go ahead, click on Grace Jones' "Little Drummer Boy": (Lifehacker)

Thanks, Timmmii! Read the rest

Minimalist playing cards

MINIM (Amazon) is a standard, regulation deck of cards that come in white or black and feature an absolute bare mininum of detail.

Designed by Joe Doucet, they're made from PVC and abstract the classic suits into geometric symbols: "While it is necessary to mark the backs of regulation cards, we’ve done so with minimal diagonal lines instead of the typical ornamental graphics."

The dark set looks very 1970s sci-fi and would be a perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite gambler, magician, or me. Read the rest

Kickstarting an antifascist cyberpunk RPG

Game designer Chad Walker is crowdfunding his latest game: SIGMATA: This Signal Kills Fascists, shooting for USD10,000 in pre-orders to produce "a cyberpunk tabletop role-playing game about ethical insurgency against a fascist regime, taking place in a dystopian vision of 1980's America." Read the rest

You are a horrifying amorphous alien blob in this gruesome game

In most examples of sci-fi horror, a desperate human protagonist must evade, hunt and vanquish the unspeakable alien creature. But what if you were a horrific amorphous nightmare blob, crawling around the red-cast darkness of a failing space colony in search of prey to devour?

This is the premise of Sebastian Krośkiewicz's "Carrion", and it looks amazing. Part John Carpenter's Katamari Damacy, part Shoggoth simulator, all gore, the prototype animations depict a claustrophobic industrial scenario with our hero sliming and slorping around its terrified human victims.

It's early days, by the looks of it; Krośkiewicz's BUTCHER, a more traditional bug hunt, is already on offer for $10. Read the rest

Epic Games is suing a 14 year old for making a cheat tutorial and his brilliant mother is PISSED

Epic Games makes the wildly successful multiplayer free-to-play game Fortnite, which is the locus of a pitched battle between players and publisher over game-mods, especially cheat-hacks that give unfair advantage to some players. Read the rest

Infinitown: endless 3D-animated city in your browser

Infinitown is a three-dimensional city that lives in your browser, complete with folks going about their business and clouds drifting lazily overhead. It goes on forever, as the name suggests, in endless procedurally-generated loveliness. [via] There's something perfect about it: just enough suggestive detail to get the mind rolling, not so much that its shallows become too obvious, and a clean and colorful animation style. There's no game to it, but the creator, Little Workshop, published a traditional grid-based dungeon crawler with the same random map trickery and visual polish: Keepout. Read the rest

Explore an infinite, procedurally-generated Ikea

Ikea is a Swedish furniture retailer famous for its vast and disorienting store layouts. SCP is fictional universe depicted exclusively as reports filed with a secret government agency whose job is to secure and contain supernatural objects, entities and places — think Torchwood meets the OSHA Hazardous Materials Specifications Committee and you're all set. One of my favorite SCP stories is SCP-3008, concerning the discovery of a nascent civilization formed by shoppers lost in an infinite Ikea.

And now it is a game!

SCP-3008

A game set in the SCP universe based on SCP-3008 - an endless Ikea.

The good thing is: Food stores get restocked every now and then. You won't starve.

The bad thing is that the staff tries to kill you as soon as the lights go out.

Barricade yourself with furniture, battle the staff and survive as many days as you can.

You can already download a basic prototype. Lights out!

Keep an eye on developer N00MKRAD's YouTube Channel and Patreon page for updates. Read the rest

More posts