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Wired lets us peer into keyhole of its Underworld

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Since Jan. 31, the Wired blog Decode has been slipping us all tips and puzzles to break the code. What code? Well, the alternate-reality game masters state that in the game’s goal to “revive a lost language” called Nü Shu, a syllabic script based on simplified Chinese characters.

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Daddy-Daughter gaming a win for self-esteem

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If you’re looking for a way to connect with your teenage daughters, try picking up your controller. Researchers from Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life found that girls that share screen time with their fathers have higher self esteem as well as lower levels of depression, anxiety, and aggressive behavior.

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Indie game Techno Kitten Adventure will kill you with cute, and mutilate your body with techno

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Xbox indie developer xMONOx released Techno Kitten Adventure back in September and — amazingly — it has not become Xbox Live’s top selling game in that time. Even more amazing, a cursory search on Google News reveals that the game has NOT caused thousands of seizures in children across Japan. Huh. (Jump to the two minute mark — that’s where things get crazy).

Find it on the XBLIG channel for 80 MS points ($1).

[via DIYGamer]

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Skate 3: Realistic Adventures

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YouTubers ABadFeeling’s Skate 3 video is an excellent example of realism in video games. Gone are the 2 minute grinds, the 1000 feet manuals, and the insane drop-ins. Instead the video highlights those tricks the average person might conceivably master after months of hard work. The final result is a perfect mix of minor achievements and hilarious failures. The fall at 1:42 is a moment that would make even the great Leeroy Jenkins proud.

Check out ABadFeeling’s YouTube channel for more seriously great gamer videos.

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Portal 2 trailer explained in-depth

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Most gamers on Steam are still getting pumped about Portal 2 coming out April 2011. In the above Machinima.com video, a dude breaks down every frame in the E3 Portal 2 trailer. He made some predictions in it that turned out to be correct, including the fact that the red and blue icons indicate a Co-Op mode, which was revealed back in September.

Co-Op mode is not all the good people at Valve have leaked after E3 and Valve’s ARG surrounding Portal 2’s release. If you haven’t already, head over to ThinkwithPortals.com and watch all the great “training videos” that have come, which are all in the game’s wonderfully witty language of course.

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Minecraft now supports simple texture swapping

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Zelda fans, Mario fans, fans of seasons and creepers and Nintendo Game Boy graphics rejoice: Minecraft now supports simple texture swapping. Markus Persson, the game’s creator, announced new features on his blog on Tuesday. And today, the ability to re-skin the game is available to everyone who updates. (Whoa, Bonus: Hitting F4 spawns a portal.)

Previously, the process of changing the look of Minecraft involved downloading textures, uncompressing files, and moving them into adjacent folders. But now it couldn’t be simpler (or kinda the same): Snag the update, grab a texture pack (in .zip form), drop it into the newly-created “texturepacks” folder, hit that fancy new “Mods and Texture Packs” button on the start screen, load the texture packs from the folder, and choose your pack. (Note: You’ll have to make sure all the main folders and .pngs are on the root level of the texture pack, not in any folder. Just zip up the contents. It should look like this before you select it all and zip it up.)

In response to Persson’s update, Handshake has compiled a list of our 5 favorite textures and provided links so you can immediately begin re-discovering Minecraft.

Check them out below:

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Zork comes to Kindle

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Planet Surfer, a coder who apparently lives in Hawaii, has ported over Zork to the Kindle by creating a simple web page.

Zork is a classic, entirely text-based adventure game that had you exploring the “Great Underground Empire,” searching for treasure and battling various baddies, including Grue, “a sinister, lurking presence in the dark places of the earth.”

I never really played Zork myself. I mostly just watched over my brother’s shoulder as he typed ferociously on our original Macintosh. I never really knew what was happening (five years old, mind you) but I did know that the game was genius and, to my (still) simple mind, the level of sophistication in the game’s text parser was mind blowing.

I don’t have a Kindle, but gave the game a shot in my browser anyway. It works, of course, and I’ve already had many wonderful exchanges with my Zork master, including the one below:

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Wednesday Webgame: Asteroids

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Forget spaceships, aliens, nazis, and alien nazi spaceships, today you have been tasked with destroying the most powerful being in all of the Universe: the Internet. Redditor erikperik has hacked together a bookmarklet that allows you to commandeer Asteroids’ isosceles steed and unleash pixel-hell in your browser. Find a site. Launch the bookmarklet. Steer with the arrows keys. And destroy with the spacebar.

This simple javascript game finally allows you to let Berners-Lee know what you think of his quaint HTML: All your block-inline elements belong to us. Destroy your competitor’s site. Destroy Handshake. Destroy your Facebook. Today, you are the greatest Luddite man has ever seen.

Download the bookmarklet from Github to play.

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Chicago soccer fans’ Mario-inspired “tifo” display

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On Saturday, some fans in Chicago showed why watching soccer live is just so $*@ing awesome.  Not only do you get singing and generally lewd behavior, you also now get choreographed Mario action. Beautiful.

The fan group responsible for the display, the Chicago Fire’s Section 8, calls this it a “Tifo” display. At first I assumed this was some acronym. Tubular Infinity Fantastic Ordeal? Tinkle In Fantasy Organism? Neither of those seemed quite right. So then I turned to the Internet.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about Tifo:

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Wednesday Webgame: Every Day the Same Dream

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With a haunting soundtrack and a very quirky reward system, Every Day the Same Dream is exactly the kind of innovative webgame that reminds the user how a simple 10-minute game can evoke a strong response. Molleindustria, the creator of the game, describes Every Day the Same Dream as a an “existential game about alienation and refusal of labaour” or “a playable music video.” Both categorizations work, and yet neither quite captures the melodramatic quest the player performs in the game.

In the end, you simply have to play this game to understand it. But you might want to save this one for after you get off work. If the monotony of the daily turboencabulator jams is wearing on your sanity, the message of this game might just prove to be the breaking point.

Play the game at Molleindustria.

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