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Current Topic: Games

Let's play "airport security"
Topic: Games 7:03 am EST, Feb 27, 2008

"Scan It" is an educational and creative play toy that helps children become acclimated with airport and public spaces security. The device is both a fun toy and an educational tool. It detects metal objects and simulates an X-ray scan via a functioning conveyor belt that glides articles over its metal detector path. When metallic items are present the unit beeps and lights up.

Let's play "airport security"

Games for Programmers: Zendo
Topic: Games 3:06 pm EST, Feb 16, 2008

Zendo is a game about debugging. Ok, it's not really about debugging, but you'll see what I mean in a moment.

About Zendo:

Zendo is a game of inductive logic in which one player, the Master, creates a rule that the rest of the players, as Students, try to figure out by building and studying configurations of Icehouse pieces. The first student to correctly guess the rule wins.

Games for Programmers: Zendo

The Driver: My Dangerous Pursuit of Speed and Truth in the Outlaw Racing World
Topic: Games 11:45 am EST, Dec 22, 2007

If you liked the Wired story about Alexander Roy, you might like his book.

With his M5 armed with a myriad of radar detectors, laser jammers, and police scanners, and his trunk crammed with a variety of fake uniforms, the obsessively prepared Roy evades arrest at almost every turn, wreaking havoc on his fiercest rivals, and gaining the admiration of police forces around the globe.

LA Times has a review.

The Driver: My Dangerous Pursuit of Speed and Truth in the Outlaw Racing World

Crazy Questions at Google Job Interview
Topic: Games 10:29 pm EDT, Sep 19, 2007

A friend of mine had an interview a couple weeks ago with Google Inc. He provided me a list of just some of the questions he was asked. I’ve added a few more from others I have talked to who had interviews with the internet giant, Google, as well. See if you can answer them. Many are open ended with several right answers, therefore I did not provide the answers.

Crazy Questions at Google Job Interview

PicoCricket, Out to Prove Computer Toys Aren’t Just for Boys
Topic: Games 4:46 pm EDT, Sep 15, 2007

A cynical observer might dismiss the PicoCricket Kit as “Mindstorms meets Martha Stewart”—a mere repackaging of the programmable brick idea with cuddlier accessories. But that would miss the point. Silverman argues that the Mindstorms kits, and most other Lego kits, are configured largely to allow customers to build the specific models shown on the boxes. PicoCricket, on the other hand, is about giving kids a chance to build objects out of their imaginations, then program them with interesting behaviors. One example suggested on the activity cards that come with the kit: a cardboard cat equipped with a light sensor that triggers a meowing sound when the user strokes the cat’s back.

“Lego doesn’t see themselves as a brick company; they see themselves as a model company, in that the units they sell are the models, rather than the elements,” Silverman says. “We are more of an elements company. We’re not even really trying to teach kids about programming —— it’s about allowing them to use their imaginations.”

PicoCricket, Out to Prove Computer Toys Aren’t Just for Boys

Topic: Games 6:41 am EDT, Aug 31, 2007

Echochrome is a videogame adaptation of the drawings of MC Escher. When it's released for the PlayStation Portable later this year, you'll be taking care of a tireless little marionette as he trudges through a series of paradoxical staircases and impossible corridors. At the end of the last level, the camera will no doubt zoom in on the marionette's hands and you'll realise that he is actually playing you.

Although Echochrome looks like it might be one of the most infuriating games ever devised, it does make you wonder why more video games don't plunder the world of visual arts.

This news is a few months old now. The game won't be out until March 2008, according to reports. See the trailer from E3 and other videos.


Forza 2, the Greatest Car Sim Ever
Topic: Games 11:22 pm EDT, Jun 11, 2007

Has anyone played this?

What’s extraordinary about Forza 2 is how realistically these cars feel to drive—and as a result, how intimidating it is to try to control something like an Enzo Ferrari, which screams down the track like it wants to leave you behind. Fortunately, the game's 300-plus cars are also novice-friendly, with an optional “driving line” that shows where your car should be, when you should brake, and when you should floor it.

But the most distinct difference between Forza and the competition is that your car can get damaged. This isn’t merely cosmetic: Screwing up your alignment or engine is a quick ticket to last place (and expensive repairs). This will prompt some players to turn the damage feature off, but reconsider: It adds a heart-stopping level of tension when six cars are jockeying for position in a narrow turn, knowing one false move will leave you sitting by the side of the road, looking for your AAA card.

Forza 2 also boasts the richest, most fully-featured online experience ever seen in a car sim. This goes far beyond racing online: Let’s say you notice an especially pretty view while driving your Porsche Carrera down the Nürburgring. Snap a photo with the in-game camera and it appears online for all to see. Forza 2 even has its own auction house, where players can buy or sell cars. Buy a VW Bug, paint a purple Yoda and boobs on the side of it, and start the bidding at a million (virtual) dollars—hey, nobody else is catering to the Star Wars/pervert crowd.

Bonus: Heikki Kovalainen on F1

The Spanish Grand Prix was the best race of my short Formula One career - and Renault's most competitive this season.

So this is a good time to give you an insight into what a driver goes through during a race.

Forza 2, the Greatest Car Sim Ever

Much Ado About Apple’s iPhone
Topic: Games 6:18 am EDT, May 21, 2007

T-Mobile has abandoned the “walled garden” approach to selling services that requires customers to use proprietary products, choosing instead to use the Internet itself and Google as service and content providers.

Much Ado About Apple’s iPhone

Welcome to Flow in Games
Topic: Games 11:36 pm EST, Feb 26, 2007

This thesis provides a unique game design methodology to realize player-centric Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment (DDA) in video games, which creates optimized video game experiences for different types of players.

Rather than offering player a passive DDA experience by analyzing incomplete in-game data, this thesis uses Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow theory and provides players with subconscious choices to help them actively customize their optimal video game experiences. It treats active DDA as a new parameter for analyzing video games and seeks to address why certain video games had a wider appeal than others

See also here.

Welcome to Flow in Games

Topic: Games 10:55 pm EST, Feb 26, 2007

Abalone is a thinking board game, sold up to 4 millions pieces in 30 countries. Ranked "Game of the decade" at the "Festival international des jeux" (International Game Festival) in 1998, it is easy to understand, and universal.


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