Archive for the ‘Games/Play’ Category

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The 21st Century Will Be Defined By Games, a Manifesto.

September 10, 2013

Previous centuries have been defined by novels and cinema. In a bold manifesto we’re proud to debut here on Kotaku, game designer Eric Zimmerman states that this century will be defined by games.ore

Below is Zimmerman’s manifesto, which will also appear in the upcoming book The Gameful World from MIT press. We invite you to read it, to think about it and even to annotate it. Zimmerman’s manifesto is followed by an exploration of the ideas behind it, in an essay by author and professor Heather Chaplin. In the days to come, we’ll be expanding the discussion even further with perspectives from other gamers and game-thinkers. But let’s start with the big ideas. Let’s start with a manifesto by gamers, about games, for the world we live in…

Games are ancient.

Digital technology has given games a new relevance.

The 20th Century was the century of information.

In our Ludic Century, information has been put at play.

In the 20th Century, the moving image was the dominant cultural form.

The Ludic Century is an era of games.

We live in a world of systems.

There is a need to be playful.

We should think like designers.

Games are a literacy.

Gaming literacy can address our problems.

In the Ludic Century, everyone will be a game designer.

Games are beautiful. They do not need to be justified.

Expand on each of these claims HERE

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NFB International Women’s Day: A curated selection of films about women

March 8, 2013

In celebration of International Women’s Day, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is streaming the full Karen Cho’s award-winning NFB feature documentary Status Quo? The Unfinished Business of Feminism in Canada, and many others until Sunday, 10 March. Click HERE to see them.

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Architektur für Kinder

December 30, 2012

Architektur für Kinder is an ongoing research project about the history of playgrounds and will transform into an international show in the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh PA (June 2013).

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Hollywood Joystick and Google Earth Movies

November 25, 2012

Somewhere between film and video-game, in the interactive installation Hold On, you can go your way through famous movie’s sequences like those from The Shining, Way of the Dragon or Jurassic Park.
Thanks to an arcade-type device, you can choose and control sequences from those video-ludic style movies. Paradoxically using both the very contemporary interactivity process and the old recording practice, the spectator can control the movements of the main actor turned into an avatar. The spectator can break the logical rhythm of the movie and lengthens the action using his joystick. He can delay the inescapable course of the sequence unit its end, both playing with and against time.
When machinimas are currently exploring video games to reproduce cinematics, Hold On, on the contrary, develops a playful and dynamic experience based on cinema.

Google Earth Movies project consists in a series of interactive adaptations of emblematic sequences extracted from famous movies, recreated and played in Google Earth. In this visualization software, which allows exploring the 3D world from many satellite sources – topographical and weather satellites – the original video camera movements are precisely transcribed in the original filming location and with the original soundtrack synchronized. Moreover, the software being interactive, a joystick may be used to manipulate the camera during the reading to observe the whole screen out landscape. Thus, it is a striking cinematographic experience that is given to us: the “objectivation” operated by Google Earth, presenting ghostly worlds emptied from any characters, allows to be focused on the framing and the editing of these well-known movies haunting our imagination. Putting these narrative sequences back in context establishes a true bridge between these cinematographic, physical and virtual spaces. The spectator is freed from the frame and from the territory; he is given a new space of time, a sort of intimate screen out, interrogating its link to the real and to fiction.

All the works above by Émilie Brout & Maxime Marion. Text and Images taken from their website.

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The Universal Tea Machine

August 30, 2012

“Universal Tea Machine” is a gargantuan cross between a tea-making device, a primitive computer and a pinball machine. As tall as a giraffe, as long as a double-decker bus and as colourful as a fun fair, the UTM is a playful new way to engage with London’s rich and vibrant history.

The UTM is a computer that relies on teamwork and calculation to produce the perfect cup of tea. By pulling a sequence of handles, you release a series of balls from their caddies at the top of the UTM. Through a simple set of commands, engaging the binary calculation of an adding machine, you then instruct the making of your ideal cuppa.

Silly and serious, interactive and spectacular, modern and historic, calculating and fantastical, the UTM encourages kids of all ages – from 1 to 100 – to engage with London’s dynamic history of trade, calculation and tea-drinking.

Text and Images via The Bartlett School of Architecture

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Played By Humans, Scored By Nature. EteRNA, an online game, helps build a new RNA warehouse

August 29, 2012

According to EteRNA: By playing EteRNA, you will participate in creating the first large-scale library of synthetic RNA designs. Your efforts will help reveal new principles for designing RNA-based switches and nanomachines — new systems for seeking and eventually controlling living cells and disease-causing viruses. By interacting with thousands of players and learning from real experimental feedback, you will be pioneering a completely new way to do science. Join the global laboratory!

EteRNA is starting with simple shapes like “the finger” and “the cross” to make sure you can nail the fundamentals. And then we’ll be moving on to elaborate shapes like trees. And then molecules that switch folds when they sense a specific other piece of RNA. This might take a few weeks, or it might take a year — we want to make sure we can ace these exercises.
After that, we will embark on one of a few epic projects – perhaps we’ll make the first RNA random-access memory for a computer. Or switches that enables cells to fluoresce if they start expressing cancer genes. Or how about a nanomotor? Or a nanoLED display? There are lots of options, and we’ll let you propose your own and choose.

Finally, you’ll start seeing a few other kinds of puzzles popping up in later stages: The ability to play with RNAs in three dimensions. The ability to see natural RNAs from bacteria, viruses, and humans; and challenges to predict their properties. Stay tuned.

Play EteRNA

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Zineth

August 14, 2012

Developed by The Arcane Kids as a student project, this Free game combines a colorful low polygon world with game elements of Tony Hawks Skateboarding and Prince Of Persia. Download HERE

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On Benjamin’s Public (Oeuvre)

July 30, 2012

On the run from the Nazis in 1940, the philosopher, literary critic and essayist Walter Benjamin committed suicide in the Spanish border town of Portbou. In 2011, over 70 years later, his writings enter the public domain in many countries around the world. Anca Pusca, author of Walter Benjamin: The Aesthetics of Change, reflects on the relevance of Benjamin’s oeuvre in a digital age, and the implications of his work becoming freely available online.

Via The Public Domain Review. Continue HERE

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Fabric (soccer) Balls

July 28, 2012



Fabric Balls
by Klas Herbert

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Night hikes/runs. NVA’s Speed of Light

July 9, 2012

Through a mass choreographed act of walking and endurance running, NVA’s Speed of Light will illuminate the iconic mountain, which rises dramatically from the heart of the city. A mesmerizing visual display unfolds on the ascent to the summit as hundreds of runners wearing specially commissioned light suits take to the intricate path networks below. As a member of the walking audience, you become part of the work, with portable light sources set against the dark features of the mountainside.

Text and Image via Edinburgh International Festival.

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Mouth Factory

June 28, 2012

Chewing drill

“Mouth Factory”, by Cheng Guo, is a series of functional machines specifically designed to be operated by the mouth of the user. It explores the capabilities and versatility of this wondrous organ and correlating facial expressions, re-contextualized within the realm of production. As a comment on human enhancement, the project aims to explore the aesthetic of production through a series of performative devices. By focusing on the mouth, the production devices acquire a fantastic quality that amplifies and render visible the reciprocal relationship and effects between our body and our tools.

Inhaling vacuum form machine

Blowing rotational molding machine

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Molleindustria: the persuasive potentials of subverting mainstream video gaming

May 15, 2012

Molleindustria aims to reappropriate video games as a popular form of mass communication. Our objective is to investigate the persuasive potentials of the medium by subverting mainstream video gaming clichè (and possibly have fun in the process).

According to founder Paolo Pedercini:

We can no longer consider videogaming as a marginal element of our everyday lives. In recent years, the turnover of the videogame industry has exceeded that of cinema, and there are a growing number of adult and female players. There are more frequent overlaps with other media: there are videogames for advertisements (advergames), for educational purposes and for electoral propaganda. space invadersHow did videogames become such a central element of the mediascape? During the second half of the nineties, major entertainment corporations extended their activities in this sector and extinguished or absorbed small producers.
Now videogames are an integral part of the global cultural industry, and they are in a strategic position in the ongoing processes of media convergence. These developments inhibit the political and artistic emancipation of this medium: every code line is written for the profit of a big corporation.

All text via Molleindustria


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The Politics of Competitive Board Gaming Amongst Friends

May 8, 2012

Jay Cheel: “Here’s a new short that I filmed with some friends over the past month. It’s a 10 minute documentary called “The Politics of Competitive Board Gaming Amongst Friends”; a title that pretty much sums up the content.

From a technical standpoint, I wanted to shoot this short as a sort of dry run for the recreations in my upcoming feature documentary, How to Build a Time Machine. Although the content and approach will be pretty different than what’s presented here, I just wanted to take on a small project that would allow me to play around with re-enactments. I shot this with the Panasonic AF100, using the following lenses: Nikon 50mm, Nikon 35mm, Panasonic Lumix 14mm. I didn’t do a whole lot for lighting aside from assisting some of the practical lights in Matt’s apartment (a 650 bounced off the ceiling), and stringing some coloured Christmas lights in the background for some visual points of interest. For the interviews, it was simply a single bulb cool light hung directly overhead the subjects.”

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Photo/Nykto

April 26, 2012

Photo/Nykto is an experimental game conceived by Annelore Schneider and Douglas Edric Stanley as part of the « Unterplay » project at the Master Media Design —HEAD, Genève. It is a game for nyktophobes and photophobes. It is played by switching on and off the lights in order to avoid reaching the edge of the screen. The score increases exponentially near the edges, and speeds up with each change from light to dark and back.

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Meet Arvind Gupta and his Toys from “Trash”

April 25, 2012

Arvind Gupta is an Indian toy inventor that popularizes science. His series of films by Arvind Gupta Toys is absolutely wonderful.

FILMS and PHOTOS





Books on Education from Arvind Gupta

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Angry Birds, Farmville and Other Hyperaddictive ‘Stupid Games’

April 6, 2012

In 1989, as communism was beginning to crumble across Eastern Europe, just a few months before protesters started pecking away at the Berlin Wall, the Japanese game-making giant Nintendo reached across the world to unleash upon America its own version of freedom. The new product was the Game Boy — a hand-held, battery-powered plastic slab that promised to set gamers loose, after all those decades of sweaty bondage, from the tyranny of rec rooms and pizza parlors and arcades.

And so a tradition was born: a tradition I am going to call (half descriptively, half out of revenge for all the hours I’ve lost to them) “stupid games.” In the nearly 30 years since Tetris’s invention — and especially over the last five, with the rise of smartphones — Tetris and its offspring (Angry Birds, Bejeweled, Fruit Ninja, etc.) have colonized our pockets and our brains and shifted the entire economic model of the video-game industry. Today we are living, for better and worse, in a world of stupid games.

Game-studies scholars (there are such things) like to point out that games tend to reflect the societies in which they are created and played. Monopoly, for instance, makes perfect sense as a product of the 1930s — it allowed anyone, in the middle of the Depression, to play at being a tycoon. Risk, released in the 1950s, is a stunningly literal expression of cold-war realpolitik. Twister is the translation, onto a game board, of the mid-1960s sexual revolution. One critic called it “sex in a box.”

Continue article by SAM ANDERSON at NYT HERE

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8-bit Google Maps

March 31, 2012

Google Maps is now available for 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment Systems (NES). Availability in Google Store is TBD but you can try it on your browser by going to http://maps.google.com and clicking “Quest” in the upper right hand corner of the map.

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Museum of Talking Boards

March 28, 2012

“Ouija knows all the answers. Weird and mysterious. Surpasses, in its unique results, mind reading, clairvoyance and second sight. It furnishes never failing amusement and recreation for the entire family. As unexplainable as Hindu magic—more intense and absorbingly interesting than a mystery story. Ouija gives you entertainment you have never experienced. It draws the two people using it into close companionship and weaves about them a feeling of mysterious isolation. Unquestionably the most fascinating entertainment for modern people and modern life.”

With these words, William Fuld (businessman, designer, toy maker, with no branch factories or offices) invites you, the American people, to enter the strange, twilight world of Ouija, the Wonderful Talking Board.

Visit the gallery of the Museum of Talking Boards

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The Digit

March 11, 2012

The Digit is a giant chrome double-finger that looms over unwitting passers-by in Union Square, NYC. More precisely, it is a double-sided finger, with a second appendage extending out of where the rest of the hand would be. The two fingertips methodically double-tap and swipe, while reflecting the surrounding architecture on their bulbous surface.

The Digit is a virtual (augmented-reality) sculpture that can be viewed with an iPhone application available for free at the App Store. Simply launch the app when you are on the southern tip of Union Square and look up through the iPhone’s camera.

The sculpture is a response to two public art works located in Union Square – the statue of George Washington (one of the first public sculptures in New York) and Metronome – a recent installation about time that occupies 3 building facades just south of the square. Incidentally, Metronome includes an enlarged replica of GW statue’s hand (located just above the smoking hole). The Digit follows this trajectory by isolating the index digit of George Washington and appropriating it as an emblem of the digital condition.

The Digit also exist as an interactive web experience and in the form of physical souvenirs. WebGL compatible Browser Required (Firefox 4 or Chrome 9 and up) or you may need to update your graphics card driver.

Project designed by Slava Balasanov
All text via The Digit

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Why Mass Effect is the Most Important Science Fiction Universe of Our Generation

March 1, 2012

Kyle Munkittrick: Mass Effect is epic. It’s the product of the best parts of Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and more with a protagonist who could be the love-child of Picard, Skywalker, and Starbuck. It’s one of the most important pieces of science fiction narrative of our generation. Mass Effect goes so far beyond other fictional universes in ways that you may not have yet realized. It is cosmic in scope and scale.

Sci-fi nerds have long debated over which fictional universe is the best. The Star Trek vs Star Wars contest is infamous into banality, with lesser skirmishes among fans of shows and books like Battlestar Galactica, Enders Game, Xenogenesis, Farscape, Dune, Firefly, Stargate, and others fleshing out the field. Don’t mistake this piece as another pointless kerfuffle among obsessive basement dwellers. Mass Effect matters because of its ability to reflect on our society as a whole.

Science fiction is one of the best forms of social satire and critique. Want to sneak in some absolutely scandalous social more, like, say, oh, I don’t know, a black woman into a position of power in the ‘60s? Put her on a starship command deck.

Most science fiction, even the epic universes in Star Wars and Star Trek, pick only two or three issues to investigate in depth. Sure, an episode here or a character there might nod to other concepts worthy of investigation, but the scope of the series often prevents the narrative from mining the idea for what it’s worth.

Mass Effect can and does take ideas to a new plane of existence. Think of the Big Issues in your favorite series. Whether it is realistic science explaining humanoid life throughout the galaxy, or dealing with FTL travel, or the ethical ambiguity of progress, or even the very purpose of the human race in our universe, Mass Effect has got it. By virtue of three simple traits – its medium, its message, and its philosophy – Mass Effect eclipses and engulfs all of science fiction’s greatest universes. Let me show you how.

Read Full Article at PopBioethics

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The Vinyl Rally

February 19, 2012

Devised and Constructed by Lucas Abela, The Vinyl Rally is an immersive participatory play-set playing off vinyl fetishism, video arcade mystique and the machismo of motor sports in a video game played within a real world setting.

Classic first person video racing is simulated as remote control cars with styli attached, race across a track constructed from a mass of disused vinyl records. Transmitting sound (produced as the styli skim along the vinyl surface) and vision (from wireless spy cameras mounted to the front of each car) to re-engineered old school racing consoles with immersive 50” flat screens. Here players navigate the course from the vehicles point of view, not only controlling the cars movements, but also the parameters of the resulting sounds they create via a series of unique audio effects mounted onto the dashboard (by Last Gasp Laboratories) giving each car its own distinct aural flavor. These sounds are emitted from speakers built into the seats causing them to vibrate in correspondence with the movements on screen, producing a personally immersive experience aurally, visually and physically that can only be truly appreciated seated at the controls.

Text and Images via Dualplover

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The Scale of the Universe

February 14, 2012

The Scale of the Universe is a visualization created by Cary Huang. This interactive scale of the universe shows the relative sizes of “everything” from the micro to the macro.

http://htwins.net/

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How professional football might end due to the increasing visibility of head injuries

February 14, 2012

The NFL is done for the year, but it is not pure fantasy to suggest that it may be done for good in the not-too-distant future. How might such a doomsday scenario play out and what would be the economic and social consequences?

By now we’re all familiar with the growing phenomenon of head injuries and cognitive problems among football players, even at the high school level. In 2009, Malcolm Gladwell asked whether football might someday come to an end, a concern seconded recently by Jonah Lehrer.

Before you say that football is far too big to ever disappear, consider the history: If you look at the stocks in the Fortune 500 from 1983, for example, 40 percent of those companies no longer exist. The original version of Napster no longer exists, largely because of lawsuits. No matter how well a business matches economic conditions at one point in time, it’s not a lock to be a leader in the future, and that is true for the NFL too. Sports are not immune to these pressures. In the first half of the 20th century, the three big sports were baseball, boxing, and horse racing, and today only one of those is still a marquee attraction.

Written by Tyler Cowen and Kevin Grier, GRANTLAND. Continue HERE

Soccer’s concussion problem

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The World’s Largest Dodgeball Game

February 10, 2012

From University of Alberta — The University of Alberta’s ownership of the Guinness dodgeball record has been much like a yoyo game—now you have it, now you don’t. And so on Feb. 3, U of A students, staff and faculty were back at it for a third attempt to reclaim the Guinness World Record for the largest number of players in a game.

After more than an hour-long of pushing, running and throwing by players, the Guinness World Record adjudicator, Philip Robertson, who flew in from New York for the game, took to the stage.

“What can I say,” he says. “I’ve never seen so many people throw dodge balls against each other before. It was tremendous to watch, really good fun. The guidelines were all followed. And with that, I’m happy to announce that University of Alberta, Canada, has a new Guinness World Record.”

Via msnbc

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A new Lego line for girls is offensive, critics say.

January 25, 2012

Lego toys have always seemed pleasantly gender-neutral. Perhaps that’s why the new Lego Friends line for girls has triggered a fair bit of protest from some health and equal-rights organizations.

The new line, whose characters sport slim figures and stylish clothes, will contribute to gender stereotyping that promotes body dissatisfaction in girls, said Carolyn Costin, an eating disorders specialist and founder of the Monte Nido Treatment Center in Malibu.

Online petitions have been started to protest the line, which includes a Butterfly Beauty Shop and a Your Fashion Designer Workshop. The International Assn. of Eating Disorder Professionals said the toys were “devoid of imagination and promote overt forms of sexism.”

Written by Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times. Continue HERE

LEGO Group commentary on attracting more girls to construction play

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OTERP: A Prototype for a Musical Geolocative Game

January 24, 2012

Oterp is a mobile phone game project using a GPS sensor to manipulate music in real time, depending on the player’s position on Earth. It generates new melodies when traveling. The objective of Oterp is to mix the reality of our everyday environment with a video game. This is a new way to imagine our movements in a society increasingly on the move and dependent on mobile interfaces.

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Cubelets! Cubelets! Cubelets!

January 8, 2012

Cubelets are magnetic blocks that can be snapped together to make an endless variety of robots with no programming and no wires. You can build robots that drive around on a tabletop, respond to light, sound, and temperature, and have surprisingly lifelike behavior. But instead of programming that behavior, you snap the cubelets together and watch the behavior emerge like with a flock of birds or a swarm of bees.

Each cubelet in the kit has different equipment on board and a different default behavior. There are Sense Blocks that act like our eyes and ears, Action blocks, and Think blocks. Just like with people, the senses are the inputs to the system.

Get your Cubelets HERE

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Massage your Mind (abstractly and geometrically) with Zen Magnets

January 5, 2012


Recommendation: Mute the video above and play the track below.


Satory in Atlantis by Cory Allen. Released on Test Tube

Zen Magnets are small but curiously strong rare earth super-magnets, 5mm in diameter. How powerful? 8 Times more powerful than the ceramic magnets driving your speakers. 30 Times more powerful than the average fridge magnet.

Pull them into a chain, fold them into a fabric, and meld them into limitless shapes: both abstract and geometric, flat or 3D. Use them when you need to massage your mind, practice your patience, relieve some boredom or alleviate some stress.

Head feeling a bit dull? Maybe your brain just needs to get up and stretch a bit. You know, give it some exercise, get the blood flowing; make that gray matter in your skull stronger, faster. If allowed, Zen magnets can be a great workout for both hemispheres of your brain: The left brain – directing the right hand – that is responsible for logic, math and language. The right brain – controlling the left hand – that is responsible for spatial abilities, creativity and visualization. With total creative control, Zen magnets are more than the average puzzle advent, they are an enjoyable means to actual mental development.

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Kinetic toys from Marta Bakowski

January 4, 2012



Marta Bakowski: This self-initiated project comes from a primary research on “Emotional Design” or the emotional relationships we hold with objects. My main focus was on the power of movement and how it can affect our mood or perception of things when applied to an object.

Employing inherently playful materials such as springs, feathers, motors and gears, I created a series of small abstract, often geometrical constructions that I animated with a distinct rhythm and endearing characteristics, almost bringing each ‘creature’ to life.

This series of experiments resulted in a collection of colorful mechanical wooden toys, desirable to children and adults alike, which prove that fantasy is not necessarily a “stage one grows out of”.

This video is part of a research about movement. In this three dimensional brainstorming, each object is animated with a distinct rhythm and endearing characteristics which provide each ‘creature’ with a different personality.

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Get your Pixelated Fireplace for Those Cold Nights

December 30, 2011


Fireplace by Ted Martens is an interactive pixelated fireplace for Mac or PC. Type marshmallow, hotdog, eat, water, photo, or fireworks to enhance the interactive fireplace experience. The digital log burns down to ash in about 30 minutes.