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Current Topic: Games

Deal or no Deal Simulation (UK)
Topic: Games 1:53 pm EDT, Sep 21, 2008

A simulation: play the game by box number or by name or at random with the average value of the deal or no deal board calculated as you play. UK (Channel 4) version, hosted by Noel Edmond's.

Though I didn't watch it when it first started, there's something about the televised game show "Deal or No Deal" that I currently find fascinating, and I'm trying to catch all the repeats that I can. The flow of statistics, the way that some contestants prefer to rely on hunches than logic, the emotional question in myself of when would I press that button to maximize my profit... Plus just the thoughts about what non-monetary "deal" could I be offered that would make me press that button early. :) For me, it would probably be something travel-related, such as access to a relatively inaccessible part of the world. Like an offer of a trip to Mecca to see and touch the Kaaba would have me hit the button at a really low number.

This particular link that I'm recommending has a (British) online simulation so that you can randomly choose cases and watch the average offer change. I haven't found an American one yet, but if someone knows of a good link, let me know!

Elonka :)

Deal or no Deal Simulation (UK)

Lego hobbyist site:
Topic: Games 11:41 am EDT, Aug 19, 2008

Inventoried By: Elonka Dunin

One of my latest obsessions, is Lego. I've been building all kinds of robots and remote-control devices. Also, when sick with the flu or something, I've found that I really enjoy just picking a set at random, and working through the instruction manual, step by step to make something fun.

This site,, is an amazing resource for Lego-enthusiasts. You can:
* Search on any set, and get a list of all the pieces in that set
* Learn all the locations where you can buy the set, new or used
* Search on any piece name or number
* Click on any piece, and see all the sets that contain that piece
* Learn the prices from various resellers (international) if you want to purchase a particular piece, sorted by color
* Maintain a database of every set that you own, which you can customize plus or minus if you lose pieces or add a few here and there
* Download set inventories or your own piece database to your own computer (where you can review it in programs such as partscatalog.exe)
* And, perhaps coolest of all, once you have your own parts database on the site, you can then click on any other Lego set that you're interested in, and then ask, "Do I have the parts already to build this?" and it'll run the compare and tell you what you already have, what you have, but is in the wrong color, and what you still need to obtain.

I've been helping out with the site as a volunteer. For example, one of the "Mars Mission" sets, ETX Alien Infiltrator, didn't have an inventory yet, so I compiled it offline, and then uploaded it to the site. For which I get "inventoried" credit at the bottom of the page. :) Now I just wish I had a camera to take a closeup picture of the unique pieces in that set!

In Legomaniac happiness,

Elonka :)

Lego hobbyist site:

Exclusive: Inside the Lego Factory
Topic: Games 2:22 pm EDT, Jul 22, 2008

This video shows something that very few people have had the opportunity to witness: the inside of the Lego factory, with no barriers or secrets.

For anyone who may be interested in the Lego production process (as I am), this is fascinating.

Elonka :)

Exclusive: Inside the Lego Factory

Mad Number Skillz
Topic: Games 6:24 pm EDT, May  2, 2007


Mad Number Skillz

RE: World of Warcraft.
Topic: Games 7:38 pm EST, Jan  9, 2007

Bob the Great wrote:

I am. I really am. That's the first step, right? It's odd being the person addicted to something; usually you just hear about it. But I am, true and real. Why? Because compared to reality, the other world provided by World of Warcraft (hereinafter refered to as 'WoW') rocks socks.

Would you prefer 'r0xx0r my b0xx0rz'?

Any-hoo, I am trying to wean myself off of this game but I'm finding it hard. I often wonder, actually, if anyone else has these problems or if I'm just a unique little snowfake (shut up).

You are not alone. :) Though sometimes I find it helpful to classify "good" addictions and "bad" addictions. If you're having fun with the game and it's not interfering with the rest of your life, then that's a "good" addiction, like if you really enjoyed playing golf, or sailing. If, however, the WoW habit is interfering with normal activities and relationships, then that can be a problem. For example, if it's causing problems in relationships with friends and family, or causing your school grades to drop or work performance to suffer, then that's straying into the "bad" addiction side of things.

How long have you been playing? I generally find that these games will hold someone's attention for from 6 months to about 2 years, occasionally longer (there are some people who have been customers of my own games for over 15 years). Eventually what will probably happen is that you will find yourself getting unhappy/bored with the game, and then playing more and more trying to make it "fun" again, but with steadily decreasing returns. At that point you will probably either (1) Quit in a very high-profile way; (2) Find something else to play, especially if your friends have moved on to another game and you follow them; (3) Find something in RL that's more intriguing (like a significant other, or school/job).

In short, when I'm addicted to a game, I find it unhelpful to simply try to "quit," since that leaves a vacuum in my life which keeps pulling me back to the original addiction. Better is to try and find something *else* to fill the void (such as another game, be it online or console).

Meanwhile, if you're *enjoying* your time on WoW, by all means, keep playing! If it's not interfering with the rest of your life, there's no reason to feel guilty about playing.

Elonka :)

RE: World of Warcraft. Photo Gallery - Inside the GDC 2006 (Elonka)
Topic: Games 11:47 am EST, Mar 28, 2006

We have a record - 3 passes, all with ribbons (Elonka Dunin, Simutronics)

Well, they chopped off my head, but did get a pic of my badge on the site. ;) Early in the day, that is. Later on I had four ribbons -- "IGDA Member", "IGDA VIP", "Speaker", and "GOD", for Eric Zimmerman's convention-wide gameLab "Pantheon" game. All of the players had different "God" titles. Mine was, "Goddess of Codes and Ribbons." ;)

Elonka Photo Gallery - Inside the GDC 2006 (Elonka)

Mind Candy - PerplexCity
Topic: Games 6:28 pm EST, Mar 27, 2006

Mind Candy is a media and entertainment company that specialises in puzzles - from Su Doku style logic puzzles at one extreme, to global, cross-media, treasure hunts, at the other. Our particular focus at the moment is on the rapidly expanding fields of Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) and Cross Media Entertainment (XME). We are keen to work with brands and media companies that understand the value of these genres and wish to weave them into their products and advertising.

Our first major project is a story/game/puzzle hybrid called Perplex City that is 'played' simultaneously by thousands of people around the world.

I met a couple of the Mind Candy guys at GDC, and was very impressed. They have a "PerplexCity" set of card packs which is selling in stores across the U.S. and UK. Buy a pack, and in each one are several cards, each with a different puzzle or code. On the back of many of the cards, is a piece of a larger city map. First person to figure out the puzzles, and the map, and the map's clues to find their way to a real-life buried treasure, wins $200,000 USD.

Treasure aside, I was just fascinated by the puzzles. They ran the range from simple optical illusion trivia questions, to visual IQ stuff, to even some types of computer ciphers (like one card had a 20-line spaghetti-code BASIC program that you needed to figure out to see what message was spelled out by the print statements). Another card had heat-sensitive ink, so if it was warmed up by a hand or by sunlight, certain letters spelled out a message.

I expect we will be hearing more about PerplexCity in the near future. Lots o' fun.

Elonka :)

Mind Candy - PerplexCity

Fake or Foto?
Topic: Games 2:37 pm EST, Dec 27, 2005

Take a look at the ten images below. Some of them are photographs
of real objects or scenes, others are created by computer graphics
(CG) artists. Test your ability to tell which among the array of
images are real, and which are CG. If you want a closer look, click
the image to see a larger view of the picture. Once you've decided
what's what, click either CG or REAL to begin the tally of your
score. Work through each of the ten images. When you've finished,
you'll be prompted to get your score.

I got 7/10. A couple of the answers definitely surprised me though.


Fake or Foto?

Dragon*Con 2005 - 'Women in Gaming' Panel Review
Topic: Games 8:03 pm EDT, Oct  2, 2005

For the 2:30 panel, I again had to choose between the Phelps twins and the "Women in Gaming" panel; I went with the latter, and had a good time. It was a rather philosophical discussion with the panelists Clair Hoffman, Julianne Keoo, Elonka Dunin, and Mur Lafferty, as well as the audience, ruminating on how the number of female gamers has grown, but you still don't see many of them in the gaming hall. Among the common complaints: male gamers "talk down" to us, and assume we must be "taught" to play (and even when we do, it seems like they are more condescending to us than they would be to newbie male players); male gamers frequently seem to be hitting on us; we're seen as either hangers-on or an unwelcome interruption, rather than possible participants; and there are still gamers who live up to the "hygiene-challenged" stereotype. Some girls even complained that the boys wouldn't let them fight enough, thinking that they weren't into that aspect of the game. Otherwise, there was discussion on how many of us seem to prefer character-and-plot-driven games, which is why many of us turn away from having to deal with dice and prefer storytelling-style games, like what White Wolf offers. One fellow asked how they can get more girls to join in the games in the gaming hall, but frankly, I'm not sure there is a quick answer. Things are getting better, slowly, but there are a lot of preconceptions that have to still be overcome, on both sides, and I think it's going to take time for that to happen

This is sort of a blog site, but it also got picked up by Google News.

Dragon*Con 2005 - 'Women in Gaming' Panel Review

Chess Knight Action Puzzle
Topic: Games 1:10 pm EDT, Sep 28, 2005

Fun little time-waster . . .

Chess Knight Action Puzzle

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