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DIY gamer’s isolation tank is too disturbing to cruelly mock
05.30.2013
06:46 am

Topics:
Games
Idiocracy
Kooks

Tags:

Gamer Module
 
A Craigslist ad from the infamously post-industrial city of Youngstown, Ohio advertises a sad DIY gamer’s “Personal Gaming Module” for $2,500, with the following specs:

Personal Gaming Module. aka “The Box”
Weatherproof Camo Exterior
Solid construction.
Custom seating for one or two adults.
900 watts 5.1 Dolby Digital surround with fiber optic connections.
100 watt powered subwoofer.
HD LCD TV on adjustable Omnimount
XBox 360 with protective enclosure.
Rubber lined spill proof floor.
Black fleece inner wall lining.
A/C and Heat.
Steel casters for easy moving, around garage, driveway, etc.
Original Model available. One of a kind Military Theme.
Serious inquiries only.
$2500 delivered within 100 miles of Youngstown.

 
I want to rag on this thing as the nadir of a gormless gamer culture, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Maybe it’s the fact that I admire ambitious utopian projects, and this feels akin to one. It could be the opus of a dreamer, someone with tenacity and a resourceful mind.

Maybe it’s the solidarity I felt with gamers ever since that year of unemployment after college, spent doing virtually nothing but applying for jobs, accruing mass, and playing “Twilight Princess.”

Maybe the idea of sequestering technological entertainment in a creepy fallout shelter leaves me concerned for the socialization of its would-be inhabitants. The ”Custom seating for one or two adults“ feels like some sort of tragic Waiting for Godot optimism. And don’t even want to speculate on why they might need a “Rubber lined spill proof floor.”

Or maybe it’s the fact that it’s in Youngstown, Ohio—a city so depressing its latest survival technique (in addition to hydrofracking) is bulldozing its abandoned houses like the amputation of gangrenous limbs.

I don’t really know, but the thing leaves me with an uneasy melancholy, so I’m just going to hope that whoever ends up with this creation, this audiovisual womb, is soothed and entertained to the fullest extent.

Take it away, Boss.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Be mesmerized by the juggling skills of Rudy Cárdenas
03.10.2013
05:51 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Games
Sports
Television

Tags:

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 | Leave a comment
Inner Vision: The suicide prevention video game
02.27.2013
05:14 am

Topics:
Activism
Art
Games

Tags:

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 | Leave a comment
Toys’ Story: Selling Christmas to Children in 1975/76
12.25.2012
05:46 pm

Topics:
Advertising
Amusing
Games

Tags:

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 | Leave a comment
All I want for Christmas is ‘Class Struggle’... the board game
12.04.2012
06:47 am

Topics:
Class War
Games

Tags:

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 | Leave a comment
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:

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 | Leave a comment
Happy 40th Birthday Atari!
11.29.2012
06:47 am

Topics:
Games

Tags:

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 | Leave a comment
Timothy Leary’s video game paraphernalia discovered
11.29.2012
05:24 am

Topics:
Drugs
Games

Tags:

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 | Leave a comment
Mr. Pötatöhead Lemmy Kilmister
11.26.2012
09:24 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Games
Music

Tags:


 
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 | Leave a comment
Parents send kids to therapy for Super Nintendo addiction, 1991
11.14.2012
06:15 am

Topics:
Amusing
Games
History

Tags:


 
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 | Leave a comment
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