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.
Silicon Valley has made the case to itself (and to the users of its software) that we are voting with our clicks. [...] Of course, that completely elides the role the company itself plays in shaping user behavior to [...]
When you play nine cards, there is still downtime—you hear the number, you stamp what needs to be stamped, and you look up and wait a moment to hear the next number—but double that and there's no time to wait and barely any to look up. You become less of a bingo player than a bingo machine, entering a trance of B-11's and O-72's that isn't broken until someone finally shouts bingo and the room lets out a collective moan. Often, the calls are premature or incorrect, but many people trash their cards regardless, as if the game ends not when a bingo is confirmed but when the [...]
By definition, being a quizmaster is about asking questions. As host of a live trivia game show, the Big Quiz Thing, I’ve spent the past eight years asking thousands of them—many good, some lousy. And in that time, countless others have approached me with questions and comments of their own—many good, some really, really stupid. Now that you’ve met the different types of people who play trivia, learn about some of the more amusing things people say to your esteemed host:
1. "I don’t know any trivia." Assuming you’re not a moron, this is nigh impossible. Everyone knows trivia, or at least a good quizmaster’s definition of trivia, which [...]
It's rare when we bring you news from the casual game world, so you know it's important when we do: Robot Wants Kitty is now an iPhone game. And really quite well done! It's a little short overall, but, you know, it's 99 cents! I would pay that much to help a robot find a kitten. (The original flash game series begins here.)
"The blue ghost is nicknamed Inky, and remains inside the ghost house for a short time on the first level, not joining the chase until Pac-Man has managed to consume at least 30 of the dots. His English personality description is bashful, while in Japanese he is referred to as 気紛れ, kimagure, or 'whimsical.' Inky is difficult to predict, because he is the only one of the ghosts that uses a factor other than Pac-Man’s position/orientation when determining his target tile." —Games is maths!
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 [...]
The first time you hear a very clear Chinese woman's voice say "Sou Sou!" in your living room while you are supposedly alone, it is natural to brush it off. There are so many things making noises all the time! The second time, weeks later, when you're sitting alone by the fireplace reading at midnight, is terrifying. At this point, it is natural to wonder if this is how Moses or Allah or Jesus or Neale Donald Walsch or Oral Roberts or Ted Nugent or Charles Manson felt, when they first heard voices telling them what to do. But what did "Sou Sou!" even mean? It seemed less like [...]
And here is an iPhone/iPad game called Hipster City Cycle, in which you ride your fixie through Philadelphia streets, eating cheesesteaks and being groovy, man. It's like a Farmville for the barely-employed set! But it addresses an important question in gaming now: do we really want to play games that so closely resemble our real lives? (Kidding.)
If you think that Sims and FarmVille are evil tools to acclimate people into capitalist tedium and corporate consumption and a life of low expectations, then you'll love KidZania—"a multinational chain of family entertainment centers, where kids try out professions that have been downsized, simplified, and made fun." And it is dark! It's a nation-state of "trying on adult jobs" while consuming McNuggets and Chevrolets. "Children do not create their own stories at KidZania. The story that some children are tasked with writing for the journalism activity at many franchises is a report on the how great the police are. Meanwhile, in the painting activity at KidZania Dubai, [...]
Maybe you saw this New York Times gossip blogger profile? It mentions the "tight-knit – some might say incestuous – New York online-gossip subculture." Well, here's a home quiz: it's the "HOW INCESTUOUS ARE YOU: NEW YORK ONLINE GOSSIP MATCH" game! Print at home, draw a line between each heralded blogger's name, photo and notable scoop!
Today's the day that Thunderclap releases its first mass tweet into the wild. Late this morning, almost 2000 people are going to simultaneously Tweet a message from Matt Taibbi. If you don't know of it, Thunderclap is like Kickstarter for mass tweets: if enough people sign on to a message, it goes live. (This particular tweet now counts its total reach at "3,793,447 people.") I have mixed feelings about this project! It's sort of genius? And yet I also dislike shilling and intrusiveness on Twitter. (And FYI, we "signed on" to this tweet as an experiment, because we wanted to see what would happen. In other disclaimer news, [...]
A new iteration of our favorite casual game has just been released for Apple devices. (The original web version is here.) They've been working on this for some time, and to my mind, it suffers a bit from over-building. (They've crammed a lot into it! And in a sense there's too much but also too little: too many tricks to learn, and not even levels to try them out on.) But that being said, it's still pretty genius as straight-up puzzle activity, and it's also extremely handsome. And since there's nothing more shameful than playing Angry Birds on the subway—that's the cultural equivalent of blasting Huey Lewis on [...]
"This is a love story. It began on a hot summer night in Santa Barbara, Calif., when Tamara Langman helped kill the yellow-eyed demon known as Prince Malchezaar. She was logged into World of Warcraft, the multiplayer fantasy game, and her avatar—Arixi Fizzlebolt, a busty gnome with three blond pigtails—had also managed to pique the interest of John Bentley, a k a Weulfgar McDoal." Are you ready to have your world rocked? Happily ever after, those two! (Also a hetero-fellow met a lady World of Warcraft avatar and she actually turned out to be IRL biofemale!) So we encourage you to go out and meet that person/troll/furry that [...]
The human mind, for whatever reason, is built for challenges and puzzles. (What are running and jumping and fighting games but a great use for the part of our brain that used to have to hide from and hunt mammoths and tigers?) At their best, they get to engage the front of your mind while the back focuses on thinking through bigger life challenges. Worst case scenario? Mobile and flash games let you tear up a few idle hours and set aside the worries of the day.
The casual game market is divided into a few distinct types. And most people will really only love one or two genres [...]