Tag Archives | Games

A Game for the Deterred

habitrpg_pixelAs an avid procrastinator with big plans, I often found myself going to bed every night unsatisfied with what I did, or rather didn’t, accomplish that day. I had tried everything from writing daily to-do lists, leaving sticky notes all over my apartment and desk at work, and even setting alarms on my phone reminding me to stay on track. Nothing worked and I kept living on with my half-motivated, mostly unproductive self.

That is until I found this game: HabitRPG. It’s a rather typical RPG game: you level up and earn gold for completing tasks. Only they aren’t tasks within the game, they’re tasks you complete yourself. I know you might be scoffing at the idea, laughing at how easy it is to cheat, or just snickering because it’s an open-source RPG that still has a long way to go. But hear me out: It’s insanely rewarding.

There’s something to be said about crossing an item off your to-do list, especially if the task is difficult or particularly involved.… Read the rest

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The Anarchist-Marxist Sport Of The Future: Three-Sided Football

threeAmerican football it will be played in the Super Bowl is clearly a metaphor for the conquering of territory by force, a reenactment of the nation's creation. Is it time for a national sport with different theoretical meaning? Wikipedia on three-sided football:
Played on a hexagonal pitch with three teams instead of two, it was devised by the Danish Situationist Asger Jorn to explain his notion of triolectics, his refinement on the Marxian concept of dialectics, as well as to disrupt one's everyday idea of football. The game deconstructs the confrontational and bi-polar nature of conventional football as an analogy of class struggle in which the referee stands as a signifier of the state and media apparatus, posturing as a neutral arbitrator in the political process of ongoing class struggle. The first known game was organized by the London Psychogeographical Association as part of the Glasgow Anarchist Summer School.  
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Documents Reveal NSA Targets “Leaky” Apps Such As Angry Birds To Spy On Smartphone Users

Are virally popular, addictive phone games nothing more than a fiendish plot to get us to install spyware on our devices?The latest from the Snowden document trove via the Guardian:

The National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have been developing capabilities to take advantage of “leaky” smartphone apps, such as the wildly popular Angry Birds game, that transmit users’ private information across the internet.

The data ranges from phone model to personal details such as age, gender, current location (through geolocation), education level, sexual orientation – one app recorded even specific sexual preferences such as whether or not the user may be a swinger.

One mobile ad platform, Millennial Media, appeared to offer particularly rich information. Millennial Media’s has partnered with Rovio on a special edition of Angry Birds; with Farmville maker Zynga; with Call of Duty developer Activision, and many other major franchises.

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The NSA Isn’t The Only One Playing Games: Enter Xylem

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 9.44.55 AM

“Shall we play a game?”

Via Computer World:

The U.S. Department of Defense may have found a new way to scan millions of lines of software code for vulnerabilities, by turning the practice into a set of video games and puzzles and having volunteers do the work.

Having gamers identify potentially problematic chunks of code could help lower the work load of trained vulnerability analysts by “an order of magnitude or more,” said John Murray, a program director in SRI International’s computer science laboratory who helped create one of the games, called Xylem.

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The Return of Dungeons & Dragons

Black Dungeons and DragonsOf course for some of you D&D never went away, but all of a sudden there’s a resurgence of interest from ad agencies and design firms. Sam Grobart reports for BusinessWeek:

Bust out your graph paper and dodecahedron die, because Dungeons & Dragons is back—and in business. Literally.

In a video that may seem a parody at first, but really isn’t, ad agency DDB demonstrates how using the role-playing game from the 1970s and ’80s can help people understand and design user experiences (UX) for websites.

Vincent Higgins, DDB’s executive director for UX, explains in the video how “Dungeons & Dragons taught me everything about user experience design.” Higgins, who will clearly be played by Fred Armisen in the movie version of this story, says he was “heavily involved” with the role-playing game and its hit points and half-elves while growing up. As a designer of choices and paths a person may take when visiting a website, he realized that his old days as a chaotic-evil gnome (or perhaps he was a lawful-neutral paladin?) could inform the work he is doing today.

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‘The World of Pokemon is a World of the Demonic!’


via True Slant

I’ve become used to various religions bashing various games based on their inclusion of extremely brutal violence, or god forbid, even worse, sex, but this is a new one, even for me.

This video shows a TV pastor (anyone know his name) educating his flock on the demonic powers of Pokemon and the choking evil grip it has over our nation’s children. In one fell swoop he manages to express his complete lack of understanding over not only Pokemon, but also his own religion.

Keep reading.

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Game Of Surveillance Camera Destruction Hits The United States

The previously discussed trend of making a game out of breaking as many public surveillance cameras as possible, known as Camover, appears to have crossed the Atlantic, with a team calling themselves the Barefoot Bandit Brigade claiming a score of 17 in Washington state:

17 Security Cameras Disabled and Destroyed in Puget Sound Region — In the opening weeks of February, 2013, we have removed and destroyed 17 security cameras throughout the Puget Sound region. This act is concrete sabotage against the system of surveillance and control. It is also a message of solidarity and a wish of strength to the Seattle Grand Jury Resisters, those currently incarcerated and those not. Finally, this act announces our participation in the game of CAMOVER, called for by comrades in Germany.

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Big Business Is Gaming You

Your world is being gamed, reports Nick Wingfield in the New York Times:

Congratulations. Reading the first paragraph of this article has earned you a badge.

If this made-up award makes you feel good about yourself, then you are on your way to understanding gamification, a business trend — some would say fad — that aims to infuse otherwise mundane activities with the excitement and instant feedback of video games.

Many businesses are using these game tricks to try to get people hooked on their products and services — and it is working, thanks to smartphones and the Internet.

Buying a cup of coffee? Foursquare, the social networking app that helped popularize the gamification idea, gives people virtual badges for checking in at a local cafe or restaurant.

Conserving energy? More than 75 utilities have begun using a service from a company called Opower that awards badges to customers when they reduce their energy consumption.

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How Consumer Brainwashed Are You? The Game

Via Salon, Andrew Leonard on a smash-success smartphone game which tests and hones one’s recognition of corporate symbols:

I was a little taken aback last Sunday when I saw my 15-year-old son playing Logos Quiz, a game that is based on the ability to identify corporate logos, [and which] rocketed to the top of the most popular free download apps lists this spring. Imagine a brand being able to compare recognition rates of their logo by age, by zip code or by “likes.” Imagine a brand being able to insert alternate versions of their logo to test. We’re all test subjects for the future of advertising, all the time. Logos Quiz just makes it explicit.

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