Be mesmerized by the juggling skills of Rudy Cárdenas

sanedracydurgnilgguj.jpg
 
It’s been said that Mexican juggler Rudy Cárdenas rehearsed 9-5 everyday, then went on and performed his act in the evening. Now that’s dedication.

During his long career, Cárdenas was a major star of stage and TV variety shows, from the 1950s-1980s, and he was regularly considered the world’s greatest juggler. But don’t take my word for it, judge for yourself.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Inner Vision: The suicide prevention video game
02.27.2013
05:14 am

Topics:
Activism
Art
Games

Tags:
suicide
Inner Vision

Inner Vision
The narrator, Yama, named for the Hindu god of death, berates your attempts to help the suicidal
 
Sunil Rao is studying Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago; he’s also as self-described “Gonzo game developer.” In the space of four weeks, Rao created “Inner Vision,” a game/art project/social statement that manages to defy all three categories. From his website:

The main goal of the game is to convince three people not to commit suicide. Each person has a personality, set of problems, and issues that are specific to their character. You, as the player, get to interact with each person, and need to extract information about the character through conversation. Here’s the catch: These people are on the verge of suicide. If you say the wrong things to them while talking, they will kill themselves right there on the spot.

It’s a simple game with crude graphics and a completely psychological game-play, but it’s undeniably engaging, and somehow… reassuring? We have a tendency to blame technology for our feelings of isolation, so while it’s initially unsettling to play a “game” about suicide, especially a video game, the empathy and humanity that the Inner Vision forces you to engage with are disarmingly heartfelt.

Sunil is quick to point out that his game isn’t really supposed to be a teaching tool, but a mode of self-expression and communication with players/audience.

Inner Vision wasn’t supposed to become popular. I created it for myself to express some dying thoughts I’ve had for the past several months. I had a message I was trying to portray with the game, but didn’t think anybody would understand it due to the poor script I had written. Well, I guess I was wrong. Although I personally think the script is weak, a lot of people thought it was quite good, and they connected with the characters.

As self-critical as Rao is, I think the simplicity of the dialogue and graphics actually keeps the gaming experience starkly penetrant. The only refined adornment the game has is a dreamy string score.

You can play here.

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
Toys’ Story: Selling Christmas to Children in 1975/76
12.25.2012
05:46 pm

Topics:
Advertising
Amusing
Games

Tags:
Christmas
Capitalism
Toys

christmas_toys_1975
 
What toys would the 3 Wise Men bring the infant Jesus today? Certainly not the body lotion, jewelry or cologne they gave upon that first Christmas night.

According to this short film report, from 1975, toy manufacturers would have a pretty good idea what to give, as they already know the kinds of gifts they will be foisting onto kiddies as Xmas presents years in advance.

But before we get too cynical, a newly published survey of British children has revealed that not all children are so predictable in their wishes. Top of UK children’s Christmas list was a baby brother or sister, next a reindeer, followed by a horse, and a car (ambitious little things aren’t they?). While a ‘Dad’ was number 10, and a ‘Mum’ was 23rd. It would seem for some children that good relationships with humans or animals are far more important than owning a ‘Gangnam’ Furby or a Doc McStuffin’s Time for Your Check-Up Doll, which let’s be honest can only be good for us all.
 

 
With thanks to NellyM
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
All I want for Christmas is ‘Class Struggle’... the board game
12.04.2012
06:47 am

Topics:
Class War
Games

Tags:
Marxism
Class Struggle

class struggle
 
I’ve been looking for a full set of the 1978 board game, Class Struggle, for years. While I hear it’s actually really boring to play, the camp value is undeniable. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find one with nothing missing, and we cannot stand for a piecemeal revolution! From the box:

To prepare for life in capitalist America - An educational game for kids from 8 to 80.

This game is a vehicle for instructing students (there is a classroom section in the rules) on why Marxism is superior. The Workers move around a board while trying to survive against the Capitalist who control everything. As the Workers unite they take power from the Capitalist players but if they do not succeed in uniting the Capitalist will win.

Class Struggle reflects the real struggle between the classes in our society.

THE OBJECT OF THE GAME IS TO WIN THE REVOLUTION . . .
ULTIMATELY.

Until then, classes—represented by different players—advance around the board, making and breaking alliances, and picking up strengths and weaknesses that determine the outcome of the elections and general strikes which occur along the way.

 

 
class struggle
A workers’ political party, you say?!?
 
German Class Struggle
An ad for the German version
 
Italisn Class struggle
Italian version of the game, with deceptively kind-looking capitalist / imperialist pig-dog, Jimmy Carter

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines: I got a pocket full of rubles and my comrades do, too
12.03.2012
04:52 am

Topics:
Games

Tags:
Russia
Soviet Union

morskoi boy
 
Despite the perception of the USSR as a colorless model of utilitarianism, when we get a peek at some of the stuff it produced, we find all sorts of innovative artifacts. The Museum of Soviet Arcade Games resides in the basement of an engineering school in Moscow. Run by Maxim Pinigin and Alexander Stakhanov, it contains about 20 working machines, with 20 more under repair. The pair run the museum as a functioning arcade, open to the public, seven days a week.

The game above is called Morskoi Boy, literally “Sea Battle.” Of course, being Soviet, it was was government-produced, making use of national manufacturing. So, it was actually made in a submarine factory, and the periscope is an actual submarine periscope. While presumptuous American minds frequently ask if this was some sort of Cold War training machine, Pinigin and Stakhanov insist that the game was just for fun and entertainment.

In fact, like a lot of Soviet arcade games, Morskoi Boy is a direct knock-off of a (decadent) American console, (though with a heaping helping of Soviet charm). This is all the more surreal when you consider the omnipresence of The Cold War; the kids who played Sea Battle in the U.S. could have very well been imagining Russians manning the ships they torpedoed, all the while Russian kids were playing the exact same game, perhaps fantasizing Americans as their targets. 

If you can’t make it out to Moscow, the video below shows the game in action, and the website has a fun (and addictive) flash facsimile. So go shoot some battleships! Just try not to think too hard about who you’re shooting at.
 

 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
Happy 40th Birthday Atari!
11.29.2012
06:47 am

Topics:
Games

Tags:
Atari

Atari
You’ll always be #1 in my heart, Atari…

40 years ago today, with only a $500 out-of-pocket investment, engineers Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney introduced Pong to the market on the Atari game system. From those two humble lines and a single, noble dot came a great pioneer in computer, arcade, and console gaming. Atari is even where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak of Apple got their start.

If you have a moment, I highly recommend the documentary below. Even if you aren’t into games, the ads and moral panic (the kids’ brains will turn to mush!) are incredibly entertaining. (It does not, however, make a much-needed apology for that Sisyphean E.T. the Extraterrestrial game, but we can only hope to live through certain catastrophes.)
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
Timothy Leary’s video game paraphernalia discovered
11.29.2012
05:24 am

Topics:
Drugs
Games

Tags:
Timothy Leary
Nintendo

power glove
And he was an Adidas man, to boot
 
So the New York Public Library is archiving a giant cache of Timothy Leary’s possessions, and before you think it’s all ceramics and glass:

The Timothy Leary papers amount to 412 linear feet of letters, manuscripts, research documents, notes, legal and financial records, printed materials, photographs, video and audio tapes, CDs and DVDs, posters and flyers, and artifacts, dating from Leary’s youth in the 1920s until his death in 1997.

What’s even cooler, however, is that they just came across a little-known Nintendo component called a Power Glove. You may remember it from the movie, The Wizard, which I watched at least 5,000 times as a kid.

Power Glove was a fairly esoteric, expensive, and rare precursor to the Wii, so not a lot of people had one. This is probably a good thing, because I understand the technology wasn’t quite developed yet to make it any more than a cumbersome bother to use. Regardless, it’s fun (though not surprising) to know that Leary jumped on the video game gadgetry bandwagon early.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
Mr. Pötatöhead Lemmy Kilmister
11.26.2012
09:24 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Games
Music

Tags:
Lemmy Kilmister
Mr. Potato Head


 
Last week I blogged about the Dee Dee Ramone Mr. Potato Head. This week it’s a Mr. Pötatöhead Lemmy Kilmister by self-proclaimed “Potato Head Master” and artist, Jason D. Johnson.


 

 
With thanks to Cherrybombed

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Parents send kids to therapy for Super Nintendo addiction, 1991
11.14.2012
06:15 am

Topics:
Amusing
Games
History

Tags:
Super Nintendo


 
An eye-opening news report from Kent Shocknek exposing parents anger over their children’s obsession with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. And yes, therapy may be required.

“But no matter how you play the game, or which game you play, things have definitely come a long way since Pac-Man.”

 

 
Via BuzzFeed

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Maine elects first open World of Warcraft gamer to state senate
11.08.2012
06:29 am

Topics:
Games
Politics

Tags:
Maine
World of Warcraft

Colleen Lachowicz
Would you trust this woman to public office?
 
Did you guys know that this election cycle brought us the first openly gay Senator, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin? Did you also hear about Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu in Congress, or Mazie Hirono the first Asian-American woman Senator, both from Hawaii? Well who the hell cares?!?

We all know the real civil rights issue of our time is not race, religion, gender, or sexuality; the greatest victims of our society are our noble nerds. Have you ever been on Kotaku or a particularly esoteric sub-reddit? Nerds live under oppression you couldn’t even imagine!

Colleen Lachowicz, a Democrat from Maine, was recently elected to the state senate amidst a fury of anti-nerd controversy. Her opponents created a really, really terrible website hellbent on admonishing her using the harshest accusations possible.

Colleen Lachowicz is a Democrat candidate for Maine State Senate. In Colleen’s online fantasy world, she gets away with crude, vicious and violent comments like the ones below. Maine needs a State Senator that lives in the real world, not in Colleen’s fantasy world.

Daaaaaaaammmnm dude! Harsh! And what quote do they use to expose her unnatural predilections?

So I’m a level 68 orc rogue girl. That means I stab things … a lot.  Who would have thought that a peace-lovin’, social worker and democrat would enjoy that?!

So she admits it?!? For shame!

Luckily, in the grown-up world, no one really gives a shit, and Lachowicz won. I mean, if I were a Mainer, I’d be impressed, but demand to know her stance on Zelda, obviously.

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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