Nov 262008

Cooking Mama, The Unauthorized PETA Edition: Mama Kills Animals |

Given my kids’ reaction to it (glee), I am not sure that it will actually accomplish its purpose, but it is interesting to see games used as advocacy this way.

Although, once you get to the point that the eggs are bleeding, maybe it’s more accurate to call it propaganda.

Play it:

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Nov 232008

I am in Kannapolis, North Carolina, on vacation. My dad recently moved here. Naturally we are exploring the area — did you know that Salisbury steak comes from the time a train’s chef didn’t have a T-Bone for a passenger, so he made him two burger patties mashed together as they pulled into the Salisbury station here?

In fact, the area’s history is heavy on the trains. And hence the poem (and pics) here today, which resulted from our visit to the North Carolina Transportation Museum.

The Spencer Wheelhouse

Enough’s been written now about old 97,
The way she rushed downhill to reach the Spencer Yards,
How she ran the rails ragged off the Stillhouse Trestle
And died a steamer’s death, splinters all afire.

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Game talkAir Guitar Hero

 Posted by (Visited 6827 times)  Game talk
Nov 222008

The latest addition to the Wii-hab phenomenon is perhaps its coolest—Air Guitar Hero. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have made the popular Guitar Hero game into a tool for amputees who are being fitted with the next generation of artificial arms. With a few electrodes and some very powerful algorithms, amputees can hit all the notes of Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” using only the electrical signals from their residual muscles.

IEEE Spectrum: For those without hands, there’s Air Guitar Hero.

Game talkFrom the Mailbag: hacking DDO

 Posted by (Visited 12674 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , ,
Nov 212008

Got this via the website’s mail form:

Hi, Sorry to bother you, I was wondering if you would be able to help me. I play an online MMO Dungeons & Dragons Online and a program called windows packet editor recently came to my attention 🙂 I was wondering if you’d be able to spare a few moments to give me a better understanding of WPE and how it can be used to *ahem* alter packets of data so I might be able to say duplicate items or alter certain in game values in DDO. Kindest regards, [name redacted]

Sure, here’s the answer:

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GamemakingMetaplace is looking for a lead designer!

 Posted by (Visited 4572 times)  Gamemaking  Tagged with:
Nov 202008

Are you a veteran lead designer with a strong interest in the webby side of the gaming world? Because we’re looking.

Basically, we want someone to own the user experience top to bottom. Ideally, this person is someone who has both good system design chops and also a strong ability to craft user experiences. The full description is at the link!

Game talkD&D as a racist tract

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Nov 202008

Well, here’s a barnburner of an essay and Powerpoint!

To quote Steve Sumner’s essay again, “Unless played very carefully, Dungeons & Dragons could easily become a proxy race war, with your group filling the shoes of the noble white power crusaders seeking to extinguish any orc war bands or goblin villages they happened across.” I would argue with/ Sumner’s use of the phrase “could become,” and say that unless played very carefully, D&D usually becomes a proxy race war. Any adventurer knows that if you see an orc, you kill it. You don’t talk to it, you don’t ask what it’s doing there – you kill it, since it’s life is worth less than the treasure it carries and the experience points you’ll get from the kill. If filmed, your average D&D campaign would look something like Birth of a Nation set in Greyhawk.

–Race in D&D.

It’s “just a game” you say? Check out this quote: Continue reading »

Game talkGoogle Lively is shutting down

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Nov 192008

Google Kills Lively, says TechCrunch, and speculates that it is because it never drove sufficient traffic. Lively did get moderately bad reviews around the Net when it launched, but even the traffic that TechCrunch shows on its graph would be a respectable daily user number, if the product could monetize.

Google’s statement is here.

…we’ve also always accepted that when you take these kinds of risks not every bet is going to pay off.

That’s why, despite all the virtual high fives and creative rooms everyone has enjoyed in the last four and a half months, we’ve decided to shut Lively down at the end of the year. It has been a tough decision, but we want to ensure that we prioritize our resources and focus more on our core search, ads and apps business.

They also encourage users to “capture” their hard work in building their rooms “by taking videos and screenshots.” Ouch. Meanwhile, users are gathering in rooms with names like “Lively is Murdered.”

A bad sign for virtual spaces? Nah — look at the latest figures for investment that Jussi Laakkonen gathered. There’s a very bright future ahead still, for the right products.

Game talkVWs go to Washington

 Posted by (Visited 5573 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , ,
Nov 192008

As several game news sites are reporting, having connected the dots, virtual worlds are starting a new level of integration with Washington — with the naming of Susan Crawford and Kevin Werbach to lead Obama’s FCC transition team, there are now two knowledgeable denizens of the virtual world helping set some policy.

I first met Kevin at a social policy conference that was themed in part around virtual worlds; I first met Susan at State of Play, the wonderful legal conferences around VW issues. Both are associated with Terra Nova. Kevin is also a Tauren Shaman & a Night Elf Rogue, and Susan is a Second Lifer, plus she has me on her blogroll (hey now…!).

What will this mean for VWs and MMOs? Nothing right now, I am sure — net neutrality is sure to be a bigger issue. But it’s sure not going to hurt to have people who know the field in the governmental mix.