"The term of choice for its practitioners is BLARPing—business live action role play."
Just like every year for at least the past half-decade, 2013 was the GREATEST YEAR EVER for games: the graphics more realistic, the worlds bigger, the narratives more cinematic. Bioshock Infinite and Grand Theft Auto V, the year's two highest-profile releases, won near-universal acclaim from the major games reviewers, and no wonder: with their intricately-detailed worlds and epic, violent stories full of tortured characters and twisting plots, they perfectly fulfilled the current standards for Quality Games.
But for perhaps the first time, much of the criticism these so-called AAA games inevitably received came not from the usual arbiters of moral decay, but from dedicated, engaged gamers. Bioshock was [...]
As a rule, I don’t download time-sucking games onto my phone. Tinder is the exception. Back in May, when I first made space on my screen for that little red flame icon, I didn’t realize the latest online dating app craze was a game. But now I know. Last night my roommate, who met his boyfriend on Tinder, perched beside me for some vicarious swiping. “I miss this!” he said, as we watched the weirdos fly by.
That’s right: they’ve finally made an online dating service that is fun—nay, addictive—to use.
Like Zuckerberg’s original, verboten pleasure, FaceSmash, which asked Harvard douchebags to choose the hotter classmate between two [...]
I met Joel Clark and Tavit Geudelekian in Joel's Bushwick loft. They were talking, as people so often do in these situations, about a work of great literature. Joel's well-worn copy of Moby Dick was on the coffee table, next to an Apple laptop. The computer was displaying images from the card game that they have developed based on the novel. It is called "Moby Dick, or, The Card Game."
They created the project with Andy Kopas, Mark Perloff, and John Kauderer. Today it went live for fundraising on Kickstarter, with a goal of $25,000. The game mechanics combine luck and skill, much like a 19th century whaling [...]
Back in the early 80s, the boom in arcades and entertainment made icons of the likes of Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Q*Bert. The popularity and novelty of video games was great enough to produce a fair amount of peculiar cultural runoff. If you grew up then, you may or may not remember watching cartoon series based on the likes of Kangaroo and Space Ace, or raunchy arcade-set comedies like Hollywood Zap and Joysticks ("More Fun Than Games!"). Some dubious efforts to translate the excitement of playing video games into different mediums also happened, as seen with the ill-conceived board game above.
There was even a game show [...]
And here is something completely useless: a search engine for all 432,205 New York Times crossword clues since 1996.
How stupid are magazines? So stupid that the writers of the pieces for those magazines now tend to take to Twitter to denounce the packaging, headlining and illustration. (The illustration—Michael Vick whiteface—ESPN promptly removed; you can see it here.)
In any event, if you read the actual ESPN piece by Touré, [...]
Crossword puzzle from April 25, 1965, found by David Prasad.
The crossword puzzle, which turns one hundred years old this Saturday, is a native New Yorker. Contrary to popular belief, it was not born in the virtuous, cosmopolitan New York Times but in the back pages of the now long-defunct yellow-journalism daily The New York World, among the ads for breast-augmentation serums. In 1913, The World was one of scores of city papers grabbing at readers with sensational and morbid hooks, high-contrast photos of men in hats standing over fresh corpses, headlines about the secret lechers and killers of the grim urban anonymous. These were the [...]
"The rubber duck has squeaked out a win for a place in the National Toy Hall of Fame. The bath toy joins the ancient game of chess in the class of 2013 inducted Thursday. The pair beat out 10 other finalists for a spot in the 15-year-old hall. The finalists that didn't make the cut include bubbles, the board game Clue, the arcade game Pac-Man and little green Army men."
The always-brutal Morning News Tournament of Books has begun. Blood will be spilled.
I finally read the Olbermann filing against his former employer, Current TV, because it's Friday and I needed a laugh. (PDF.) It's pretty dramatic and overly aggrieved and not that damning, but then all he's claiming is that contracts were breached; it's not like anyone punched him. On the plus side, at least Olbermann is represented by real lawyers—Patricia Glaser (who did well for Conan!) and litigator Jill Basinger. Among Olbermann's complaints: Olbermann was treated as if he was hired to be a puppet! Not literally, I guess, or this would be a much better read.
Remember Magic: The Gathering? It was a game very popular in the '90s, and if you were like me, you may have spent hours in your bedroom, the sounds of Nirvana or Soundgarden bouncing off the walls around you, flipping through your cards. But then it might have gotten too expensive (a pack of 15 cards went for something like five bucks then, which doesn't sound like much except you were 16, had virtually no income and always needed more, more, more cards to compete)—or maybe you just moved on. But if you didn't know, the game has been enjoying a recent resurgence, and if you need proof, you [...]
"In the 8-bit days, death meant losing all your character's attributes, all his jewels, coins, weapons and experiences. It was in some ways like real-life death (or maybe the Buddhist version of it.) You were forced to start over absolutely, from nothing. There was a certain Puritanical satisfaction in this hard reality, I must say. You must learn your lesson, the game's underlying message seemed to suggest. There is no free ride for you, not ever. (Human ingenuity being what it is, there were, and are, a number of ways to foil the unpleasant consequences of total 8-bit doom. For example, there's this gang of modern NES enthusiasts I [...]
Last year, a videogame creator named Tim Schafer, who was best known for a handful of games back in the 90s, got about a bazillion dollars on Kickstarter to make another one of those games. And now the game is here! I've been playing it and it is GREAT. Oh man.
So the game is called Broken Age. It is a point-and-click adventure, a very old and now-basically-extinct genre which is more like an interactive comic book than anything else. You click on a spot to make your character go there, you click on another character to talk with them, you click on objects to interact [...]
Every family has its fair share of lunatics, alcoholics, weirdos, smug hippies, right wingers, racists and garden variety assholes (to paraphrase Tolstoy). And nothing exacerbates everybody’s awfulness and passive aggressive—and aggressive aggressive—behavior like a family gathering. With Thanksgiving just a few Xanax away, and in the the spirit of the holiday season, I’d like to share a secret family recipe that has nothing to do with food.
Fingo—that’s Family Bingo, of course—is a game that’ll save your next family function. Or, at the very least, it will make things a lot more interesting. Here’s what you’ll need in order to play it.1. At least two other members of your [...]
"Lune is a game about reflection and solitude which lets you control the Moon." —Can you CRASH IT INTO THE EARTH? Because that is the only way I might be interested.
Diablo 3, a hack-and-slash role-playing game for the PC published by Blizzard (which also makes World of Warcraft), was released a month and a half ago. There was about a decade’s worth of anticipation from fans of the series who had profoundly nostalgic memories of late nights with Domino’s Pizza and cans of soda and Diablo 1 or 2 and a depressingly short AOL Instant Messenger buddy list.
Within 24 hours of Diablo 3’s May 15 release, about 3.5 million people had bought it, either that day or as a preorder. Many of them have been playing it obsessively since the release. But all is not well, because, [...]
I would like to use a stun gun on anyone who pronounces the word "expescially."
Professional Internet troll Katie Roiphe has been on a tear! (If you missed her pre-Christmas salvo, "We Like Rapey Movies Because They Help All of Us to Keep Thinking Of Ourselves as Victims Even Though None of Us Actually Are, Because Rape Is So Vanishingly Rare," well, enjoy!) Now for the new year she's back, with a column called "Turning Off the Internet Is Impossible but Even Though We Actually Can, Thanks to Cool Tools, But Really It Is Illusory, Because Our Very Minds Are Different Now, and We Will Live Only Inside the Internet Forever"! It's actually a weird plea about human helplessness, or her own [...]