Tag Archives | Games

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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Words With Friends: Another Stupid Game – Or An Obsession?

Silly Games NYTThe New York Times Magazine ran a fascinating cover story on April 4, 2012 written with wisdom, humor and insight by Sam Anderson.

Anderson’s basic premise is that the concept of gaming has changed. For decades, a special class of teen or young adult gamer would use specialized systems, to play complex multi-player, multi-level games that might last from a few hours to many days or even weeks. Now, however, anyone can play a quick game — what Anderson terms a “stupid game” — any time of the day or night right there on their smartphone that rests somewhere next to their body 24/7. And this, Anderson argues, has changed the world of gaming to

” . . . not just hard-core gamers, but their mothers, their mailmen and their college professors. Consumers who never would have put a quarter into an arcade or even set eyes on an Xbox 360 were now carrying a sophisticated game console with them, all the time, in their pockets or their purses.”

For decades I scrupulously avoided video games even when my four children delighted in playing them.… Read the rest

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An App That You Play With Live Pigs

piggameProvide some kicks for both yourself and a farm animal on a faraway continent. Treehugger writes:

In hopes of staving off boredom in human and swine alike, a team of Dutch designers have created Pig Chase — an app for interspecies entertainment that playfully pits iPad users against real-life pigs, who might otherwise only meet one another on a plate.

Since 2001, law has required pig farmers in the European Union to provide some form of entertainment to their livestock as a way of keeping them in good emotional health, which in turn helps curb aggression and anxiety. Often, toys and other materials are placed inside the sties for animals to interact with, but perhaps unsurprisingly, some farmers have found it quite difficult to turn their pigpens into playpens.

With that in mind, designers from Utrecht School of the Arts and Wageningen University in the Netherlands ventured to create new ways to make swine swoon — resulting in a project called Playing with Pigs.

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Can AI-Powered Games Create Super-Intelligent Humans?

EinsteinA technology CEO sees game artificial intelligence as the key to a revolution in education, predicting a synergy where games create smarter humans who then create smarter games.

Citing lessons drawn from Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age, Alex Peake, founder of Primer Labs, sees the possibility of a self-fueling feedback loop which creates “a Moore’s law for artificial intelligence,” with accelerating returns ultimately generating the best possible education outcomes.

“What the computer taught me was that there was real muggle magic …” writes Peake. And he reaches a startling conclusion.

“Once we begin relying on AI mentors for our children and we get those mentors increasing in sophistication at an exponential rate, we’re dipping our toe into symbiosis between humans and the AI that shape them.

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Virginia Boy Impaled by Bamboo Stick Through Neck Survives (Video)

Ellen Tumposky reports on ABC News:
Dez Heal, 13, of Lynchburg, Va., was rushed to the hospital with a bamboo stick impaled his neck. Dez had been playing a Ninja game with friends and "decided to put the bamboo stick in the back of my shirt," he told ABC affiliate WSET-TV. "I guess when he jumped, the stick must have went forward," Nicholas Blencowe, Dez's friend and Ninja partner, told the station. "And when he hit the ground, the stick went in his neck." Dez's father, David Heal, described to WSET how the stick pierced Dez's neck and came out about about 3 inches behind his ear. Heal called 911.
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Homelessness: The Game

Homeless The Game

Zachary Sniderman writes on Mashabe.com:

It’s one thing to feel bad for homeless people; it’s another to be forced into their shoes. Advertising agency McKinney has teamed up with Urban Ministries of Durham (UMD), a non-profit based in North Carolina, to create SPENT, an online game that guides users through what it feels like to be homeless.

Here’s how it works: If you accept the challenge to play, you enter a simple point-and-click game, navigating multiple choice questions about your livelihood. The site says you have been stripped of your savings and are currently unemployed, asking, “Can you make it through the month?”

You’re given simple choices with varying consequences. Do you want to try working in a restaurant? A factory? If you live far from the city your rent will be cheap, but, as you’re informed through pop-ups, you’ll have to pay more for gas or transportation.

The game’s integration with Facebook is its best feature.

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Sega’s ‘Toylet’ Turns Japanese Bathrooms Into Arcades

Sega-ToyletDiscovery News reports:

Japanese toilets are famed for functions such as posterior shower jets and perfume bursts, but entertainment company Sega has gone a step further by installing urine-controlled games in Tokyo urinals.

Four types of “Toylets” games are available to be played during a test period ending this month at four male bathrooms in pubs and game arcades, in a project aimed at drawing attention to digital adverts.

Each urinal is fitted with a pressure sensor, and a small digital display is placed at eye level. Digital adverts are shown after the games.

Games include “Graffiti Eraser” in which a user tries to aim at the pressure sensor in the urinal to erase virtual graffiti on the display.

Or there’s “Mannekin Pis” — named after a Brussels fountain depicting a urinating boy — which measures the volume of the user’s stream.

Another is called “The North Wind and The Sun and Me,” in which the strength of a urine stream determines the extent to which a virtual girl’s skirt gets blown up by a digital wind.

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Bed Bug Blaster: Get Them Before They Get You

Call it the Summer of Bed Bugs in New York City: seems like they have been popping up everywhere around here from Victoria's Secret to the AMC movie theater in Times Square. If you've or your loved ones have been a victim of our new Bed Bug Overlords, get some virtual payback with this Bed Bug Blaster game: Bed Bug Blaster Don't become a bed bug late-night snack! If they can infect GE executives are any of us safe?
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Indie Game Designers Talk About Their Transhumanist RPG FreeMarket

FreemarketLuke Crane and Jared Sorensen talk about their new science fiction role playing game FreeMarket. Via Technoccult:

It also sounds like it’s a more intellectual game than most – you’ve said you can, for instance, play the role of a philosopher and have that be meaningful within the game.

Luke: Yeah, but don’t think you can’t play Soulshitter Killfuck and have fun, too. But, unlike many other games that I’ve played, you can play an artist and have serious conflict about what you do. It’s impossible to just make a piece of art in this game and have it sit there, inert. Art is controversial.

Jared: And conflicts (especially philosophical, critical and artistic) are both internal and external and can have wide-reaching and unplanned repercussions.

Right. So you could do a more typical hack and slash scenario, or you could do something where you’re dealing with post-scarcity speculation. Or maybe both.

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