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Dikembe Mutombo's 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World is genius.

A series of 4 episodic arcade games each created in just one week based on something from that week's news, the game feels like an entirely new art form, the newsgame.  But it's news by way of The Daily Show, because it's hilarious.  The quality of the games themselves are quite impressive given the insanely short development schedule, but it's the very funny cutscenes that really make the game shine.  If this is what product placement of the future looks like, I'll take a dozen.

You can read more about how this product got made here,  But do that later.  Go play now.
The New York Times Magazine published a great profile of Cook's Illustrated publisher Christopher Kimball this weekend.  I'd read similar pieces in the past, and it always amazes me to see just how successful C.I. and the other tentacles of Kimball's empire are, with over $50 million in annual revenue and over a million subscribers to the flagship magazine, 75% of whom renew each year.

My Geeky Pony

Not a new link, but it made the rounds at work lately and is worth sharing.  Some really terrific artistically-modified My Little Pony figures for geeks.  

Fun / Not Fun

Chris Dickson sent me down some rabbit holes today.  I'll start by reproducing some links:

Clavis Cryptica: "A forgotten letter.  A secret code.  A treasure map.  An overgrown path.  A rusted lock.  A door, long unopened. If these are the kinds of things that make your heart race, then welcome to Clavis Cryptica;  a place for puzzle-lovers and mystery-solvers to find and share new adventures."

Ludocity: "A collection of pervasive games, street games and new sports - social forms of play that take place in public spaces, such as city streets, parks and public buildings."

I wound up at a thread discussing what is and isn't fun about live game (or if you prefer, Game) events.  To summarize:

Fun:
  • Feeling like a hero
  • Pushing past what you thought were your limits
  • Seeing your actions affect the game world
  • Coming up with a creative solution and having it work
  • Making decisions
  • Being afraid (momentarily)
  • Winning
  • Getting respect from other players after doing something cool
  • Having a story to tell afterward
  • Seeing a familiar environment in a different light
  • Camaraderie and friendly rivalry with other players
  • Having a sense of how well you did compared to others
  • Outwitting another human (player or NPC)
Not fun:
  • Waiting
  • Listening to rules
  • Rule ambiguity
  • Feeling like you can't win
  • Winning or losing too easily
  • Not knowing what actions are permissible
  • Worrying about your safety
  • Being lost
  • Feeling like you're missing out
  • Technical failures
  • Repetition
Though written about live events, much of these lists applies equally to other game forms.  What would you add?
Comment (1) | last by Steve, Sep 27, 12:04 PM

Best Craigslist Ads

This Quora thread about the best Craigslist ads is epic.  Great stuff.

Clockwork Empires

Want.  Want want want want want want want!

Movie Poster Tropes

Ever feel like you've seen that movie poster before?  Maybe you have.  This site offers a bunch of terrific collages of movie posters grouped by theme, revealing how difficult it is to market a movie in a fresh new way. The site is in French, so load it in a browser that will translate for you. I particularly like the "loner hero seen from the back" motif:


Games People Play

Those little things you do to amuse yourself?  The ones you think nobody else does?  We all do them.

This video illustrates it brilliantly:


Some terrific examples there of spontaneous solitaire gameplay in our everyday lives.  What other little games do we play?  I'm going to think about this some more, but other things I do:

  • Time my use of the gas pedal when approaching a red light so that I don't need to press the brake pedal.
  • Similar to the stopwatch in the video, but with the gas pump.
  • Gauge distances as I'm walking, predicting how many steps or seconds it will take me to get to an arbitrary waypoint like a curb or mailbox.
  • Predict my total dollar amount at the supermarket.
  • Get to the microwave as the timer expires, opening the door just as it starts to beep.
Got any more?  Post 'em in comments.
Comments (3) | last by Peter, Aug 25, 7:44 PM

Drawing Blanks

Stefan Fatsis, sports writer and author of Word Freak, reports in Slate about the cheating scandal that hit the National Scrabble Championship this week.

Charisma

This article from Inc. magazine is really terrific.  Great advice about how to be more charismatic-- which in many cases really means how to be less of a jerk.

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