Tag Archives: games

Sexy Companion Cube

Kotaku’s sexy videogame costume contest is complete, and the winner is “sexy companion cube.”

I think the outfit seems a bit too boxy. If this was a real costume, it would probably feature a grey bikini top with pink hearts over the nipples for adults, and a grey princess dress with foil pink hearts vomited all over it with a pink tiara for girls. Goddamn I hate Halloween costumes.

For Your Chinese Room

Tic-Tac-Tome is a 1400 page policy for playing tic-tac-toe. Like a giant Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, the reader chooses a location to move to, and turns to the appropriate page to see the counter move. Of course, the book plays optimally, and so “the only winning move is not to play.

The book fits perfectly the Chinese Room argument. In the thought experiment, a Chinese speaker writes messages in chinese and slips them under the door to a locked room. Responses, also written in Chinese get passed back under the door. The responses are so convincing, that the Chinese speaker is convinced he/she is conversing with an intelligence that understands Chinese. Unbeknownst to those outside, a person that does not speak Chinese collects the papers as they slide under the door, consults a giant lookup table of inputs to outputs and then copies the prescribed response to another piece of paper and slides it back, never understanding the inputs or the outputs. The question is then, whether Chinese speaker is conversing with an intelligence or nor, and if so where does the intelligence lie?

Personally, I find the whole “Is it live, or is it Memorex?” argument rather quaint and tiresome. Something that’s only worth discussing while riding in my atomic powered self-driving car while smoking a bowl of the finest hashish. AI always struck me a bit like a magic trick. From the outside, it looks amazing (Wow! You made an orange float in the air! Amazing!), then you find out how it is actually done, and then you’re disappointed because your fantasy has been dashed (You just shoved your thumb in it! You suck!). Personally, I think this says more about us, and our willingness to be misled than anything else.

Blood Wars

Blood Wars by the Vampire Study Group is an art game where players have a sample of their blood drawn to determine who has the toughest immune system. In each battle, the the players’ white blood cells are extracted and stained different colors and then mixed together. Whoever has the most surviving cells after a period of time, advances to the next round, until there’s a champion.

Blood Wars is currently showing as part of the Visceral exhibition of living art at the the Dublin Science Gallery. This art show feature work that use living cells as part of their art. Bioreactors and living tissue samples are in legion. It’s


Evan Miller‘s (Pixelante Studios) art game ImmorTall is an poignent game about an alien that crashes to earth, befriends a family, and then must protect them from the military.

What I found most interesting about this game was the comments on Kongregate that sprung up around it. Predictably, there were those that got it, and those that didn’t (my favorite comments are after the jump), but that here was a game that didn’t have an explicit backstory, yet a common one kept reappearing: the military was there to attack the alien.

I thought that was interesting, since I didn’t get that at all. Looking at the backgrounds, I imagine that the alien was that after a quiet time, war came to the countryside, and the alien was helping the family escape Von Trapp style (or so Rodgers and Hammerstein would have you think). The alien, was just caught in the middle like everyone else.

I guess it’s just the effect of too many B-movies.

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You Only Live Once

only live once

I play more than my share of flash games, most of which are only okay. Occasionally, there’ll be one that’s actually original, rarer yet, one that’s clever. Last year, John Cooney (JMBT02 Studios) released Achievement Unlocked, a commentary on the trend of creating dubious “achievements” in games. (Hell, even /. got into the act.) Which, judging by the comments on Kongregate, sadly, I believe flew over the heads of the majority of the players.

Now Raitendo has released You Only Live Once. A game that lives, up to it’s title, and unsurprisingly, has pissed off the majority of the Kongregation.

Via MeFi.

Unfinished Swan

“Unfinished Swan” is an interactive project from Ian Dallas. The player exists in an all white world, which is slowly revealed as the player shoots black paint over the walls.

Ian insists on calling this a “game”, but I don’t think that’s really a good word for something like this. Games have goals and rewards. This doesn’t. There’s no story, no goals, no explicit reward. It’s an experience, an interesting experience to be sure, but it’s a paradoxically a passive one.

During his talk at TGS 2008 he says he’s surprised that “players” universally became bored within 20 seconds. The reason seems obvious, the lack of goals. I enjoyed watching the demo, but at the same time, I can’t imagine actually playing this for very long.

It seems like he’s going for sublime enjoyment, sort of like Katamari Damacy, but he’s forgotten that Katamari had goals and rewards. Yes, Katamari was a very stylish and simple game, but it was fun because of the challenges. Without challenges there’s nothing to motivate the player, and so he/she quickly becomes bored. Since Unfinished Swan doesn’t have goals, it’s much more of an interactive video rather than a “game”. Not that that’s a bad thing per se, but they should not be confused. If Swan had a story, not even really challenges, I could see it working more as a game. Judging from the demo above, there’s potentially one there, but from his all too brief talk, I wonder if he’s trying to make it too open ended and free form.

Thanks Paul.