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
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
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
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
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:
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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.
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
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
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
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:
Thanks, Timmmii! Read the rest
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."
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
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.
Tweaking level graphics (still WIP) and gameplay mechanics (still WIP). Also, what do you think of Carrion as the game's title? #screenshotsaturday #carriongame #gamedev #indiedev #monogame pic.twitter.com/lRZS9gf2hR— Sebastian Krośkiewicz (@gynecomaster) November 18, 2017
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
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.
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!