The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'games'
The latest from the people behind Smoke: a London Peculiar, a periodic zine inspired by the city: Soho: A Most Peculiar Game, a board game set in the Soho area of London and inspired by two things: its pubs and its one-way system:
Each player is the editor of a small literary magazine. Before the next issue can be printed, six pieces of rashly commissioned copy need to be retrieved from a somewhat motley bunch of recalcitrant writers:
Travel blogger and author of "Leicester: City of Crisps", Toby D’Azure.
Girl-about-town and sparkly-heeled chick-lit tyro Sophie Blush.
Postmodern goremeister and connoisseur of noir Justin Slick.
Aga-endorsing barbour-clad romantic novelist Lavinia Snowe.
Former Para turned lad-mag agony uncle David “Dave” Green.
Otherworldly and oddly androgynous sci-fi bod CT Vermillion.
And, being writers, all six are currently holed up in six Soho pubs, cadging free drinks, chatting up people half their age (but with, oddly, twice their looks), and complaining vociferously about their agents, about dumbing down in the publishing industry, and about how they didn’t want that Eastenders gig anyway as it would have compromised their artistic integrity and also possibly involved buying a TV licence.
The noble editors’ thankless task is to contact all six writers and extricate their beer/sauvignon-stained prose from whichever unwholesome pocket or handbag it’s been stuffed in. The first to do so scores a small moral victory or, to borrow a phrase from Monopoly, wins.
A Scrabble enthusiast has found what is believed to be the highest-scoring move found so far, possibly the highest-scoring possible: "SESQUIOXIDIZING", for 2,044 points.
Of course, actually having the board in a state where this can fall into place would require quite a bit of luck, to say the least.
Hasbro take legal action to shut down Scrabulous. I'm surprised it took them this long. I wonder whether they'll be smart enough to come to a deal, either acquiring Scrabulous or licensing it in return for a share of the (considerable) ad revenue, or whether they'll just sue it into oblivion to teach them a lesson, undoubtedly cheered on by the Ayn Rand fanboys loudly defending anything they may choose to do in the comments.
The Scrabulous servers are in India, which may be hard to shut down, though Facebook could block the application immediately. And the authors should probably avoid any country with an extradition treaty with the US unless this is settled.
The next version of SimCity will include global warming, brought in in collaboration with oil company BP. Players will be able to choose how to power their cities; if they choose cheap, dirty, carbon-intensive forms of energy, their carbon ratings will rise, and eventually bring about natural disasters. However, players can avoid that by using various BP Alternative Energy-branded low-carbon power options. Nice bit of greenwash there.
Rumour has it that the subsequent version of SimCity will tackle the obesity crisis, by causing your city's obesity levels to rise and health costs to spiral unless you build McDonalds Healthy Eating™ restaurants.
(via Boing Boing)
McDonald's: The Videogame. A simulation of running a fast-food corporation that's like Sim City, had it been written by anti-globalisation activists. Bulldoze rainforests and villages, brainwash children and corrupt officials or go bankrupt. Play it before the lawyers kill it.
(via Boing Boing)
Nolan Bushnell, the founder of pioneering video game company Atari (of little relation to anything named "Atari" after about 1982 or so), talks about the state of videogaming, his new casual video-game bistro concept and why Sony's PS3 is (in his view) doomed to failure:
I saw a very large and untapped market, which is the entrepreneur's dream. There was no real venue for social games. Games got violent in the mid 1980s... that lost women. Then they got long-form and complex. That lost the casual gamer.
I think Sony shot themselves in the foot... there is a high probability [they] will fail. The price point is probably unsustainable. For years and years Sony has been a very difficult company to deal with from a developer standpoint. They could get away with their arrogance and capriciousness because they had an installed base. They have also historically had horrible software tools. You compare that to the Xbox 360 with really great authoring tools [and] additional revenue streams from Xbox live... a first party developer would be an idiot to develop for Sony first and not the 360. People don't buy hardware, they buy software.
A Break In The Road is a fairly nifty Flash game. It involves going around an urban street scene (somewhere in south/east London, by the look of it) with a MiniDisc recorder, recording various sounds (which include the Mike Skinner-esque cadences of a geezer talking with his china in a pub, soulful scat vocals from a girl at a railway station, electronic melody lines from video-game arcade machines and a klezmer loop filtering from the window of a kosher deli, amongst the usual percussive noises and urban sound effects) and then assembling them into a track in a vaguely Garageband-esque timeline to play at a club. If your track is good, the crowd will go wild. (via MeFi)
The strange, intensely paranoid world of Mafia, a former psychology experiment turned parlour game popular amongst writers and the like.
Here's how Mafia works: The party gathers in a room. Everyone is instructed to close his or her eyes, and three people are secretly selected to be in the "mafia" by the game leader, known as "God" or "the Mayor," whose job is to manage the action. No one knows who the mafia are except the mafia themselves, who are allowed to identify one another by opening their eyes. Later, when the whole groupcalled "the village"collectively opens its eyes, they are launched into the game: Through conversation, argument, questioning and accusation, a freewheeling group inquisition takes place to root out the mafia and kill them before the mafia kills the villagers.
(via bOING bOING)
Game and puzzle designer Bob Abbott on why video games have become incredibly stupid; mainly due to advances in technology, the fallacy that graphic realism makes for a good game and/or the Big Yellow Shorts factor:
Not only are they incredibly stupid, they arent even game designers. They are computer programmers and graphic artists. Video game companies cant even comprehend the concept of a game inventor. To them, a game or a puzzle is of no consequence.
I think the main reason for the failure of the new video games is simply this switch from the top-down view to the 3-D view. The top-down view just gives you more information. You see where all the monsters are, you see what is travelling into your area, you see where the barriers are, and you can plan ahead. In the 3-D view, you only see what is directly ahead of you. And about all youre given to do is shoot at what you see.
Damn right. IMHO, some of the most interesting computer games were developed on ancient 8-bit computers and the like back in the distant past before the invention of the first-person shooter genre, and the confinement of the market to the carefully researched demographic of overweight teenage boys with 15-second attention spans. (via Plastic)