Accessibility Arcade for disabled gamers opens April 26 at the University of Toronto

The University of Toronto will open its Accessibility Arcade April 26 to showcase technology that allows disabled gamers to play, The Globe and Mail reports. Created in cooperation with the AbleGamers Foundation, the Accessibility Arcade's opening celebration will take place at the Semaphore Research Cluster, and potential attendees can register for tickets at Eventbrite. The grand opening will include an open house with demonstrations and "a master class on digital games and accessibility" by AbleGamers founder Mark Barlet. Staff will also be available to advise visitors on the best equipment to purchase. Thereafter, the arcade will be open to the public by appointment only. "This is a testament to the university's commitment to people with disabilities in Canada," Barlet said. The...

Cookie Clicker creator's 'Game Generator' spits out the next great — or insane — idea

A god game where you lead hell before the end of the world. A tycoon game where you train monsters to make money. A sim game where you make timelines ad nauseam. It's the Game Generator, a word randomizer that spits out video game concepts, can sound reasonable, especially if its "sanity" option is checked. It's the work of Orteil, who is perhaps best known as the creator of Cookie Clicker, an avant garde "non-game" that caught the attention of many in the games development community late last summer.But even with the sanity filter engaged, Game Generator can still go off the rails, if not come up with something completely derivative, like: Play with Game Generator either by refreshing the browser or changing the seed at the top of the page. The sanity filter defaults to on. Who...

Children are using Minecraft to redesign the real world

Minecraft is at the center of real-world re-design initiative Block by Block: a partnership between the United Nations Human Settlements Program and game developer Mojang that currently aims to construct a new design at Plaza Tlaxcoaque in Mexico City. Block by Block is a four year program that aims to allow young people to design and upgrade 300 public spaces by 2016. The initiative, which began in 2012, has resulted in a number of pilot projects across the globe, with the first pilot project in Kibera — an informal settlement in Nairobi — already underway. Other projects are taking place in Tikok, one of the poorest slums in Haiti, as well as Rwanda, India, Kenya and Ethipia. "For the Aldea Digital competition we have created 500 versions of Plaza Tlaxcoaque on a server," writes...

A look back on Harvest Moon, the unlikely console farming simulator

Long, long before there was FarmVille, there was Harvest Moon, which overcame a troubled development and skepticism of its appeal to become an enduring series, mostly on Nintendo platforms. Did You Know Gaming presents a comprehensive history of the origins of the series and what Yasuhiro Wada strove to create back in 1996. Wada wished to create a nonviolent role-playing game that reminded him of childhood memories of the countryside, and felt that despite giving players approximations of real-world chores, he still could find a level of engagement that kept them interested and involved. Evidently he did, as Harvest Moon's format spawned 17 successors, three of them on PlayStation platforms. Harvest Moon 64, launched in 1999, is said to be the closest to what Wada envisioned when he...
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Easter eggs? Here are two in Garden Warfare — including the Slender Man

In the spirit of today's holiday, here are a couple of Easter eggs in Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, including a cameo by that loathsome ghoul Slender Man. There also is an Easter egg, building on an earlier one discovered, that references Outset Island from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Slender Man is found on the Zomboss Estate map. This video, by YouTuber StrangeLuv, shows you how to find both. Polygon scored Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare an 8.5 when it launched in late February, saying it "takes the best parts of PVZ to make an experimental shooter that feels freed from tired conventions or compromise." The game launched a free expansion, "Zomboss Down," last Tuesday.

A list of every video game ever made: 43,806 names, and counting

It's 43,806 names long, and it's not even close to being finished. It's a project to name every single video game, ever made, for every platform. Pastebin user Data_Baser is leading the project, with help from 4chan's /vr/ retro games board. And it aims to be comprehensive, including not just arcade, console or PC releases, but video games made for mobile platforms, browser-based games, and visual novels. So far, the oldest entries are for Computer Space and Galaxy Game (pictured), both class of 1971. Early examples of video games, such as Spacewar! (developed in 1962 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) or Tennis for Two (1958, at Brookhaven National Laboratory) are not in the roll call. Nor, curiously, is Pong. Though Computer Space is accepted as the first commercially...

Art exhibit blends video games with religious iconography

An art exhibit currently showing in New York imagines video game scenes as if they were religious frescoes from the late Middle Ages. The one shown here is "Defenders of Ataros," by Dan Hernandez, plainly referencing Atari's Missile Command. It's part of "Genesis 2014," showing now at the Kim Foster Gallery in Chelsea. Hernandez, notes the Gallery, mixes religion, mythology and pop culture in his work. "Hernandez blurs boundaries, rearranges hierarchies, and calls into question our notions of iconography, collectibles, violence and devotion," the gallery says. The show is running until next Saturday. Other paintings in the collection reference Street Fighter 2 and Space Invaders. See them at this link.

See The Fifth Element imagined as a 16-bit video game

YouTube satirists CineFix have done about two dozen interpretations of popular movies as old-school video games, and their latest endeavor is delivering all the key scenes of The Fifth Element in 8-bit — "and a little 16-bit," they say — style. CineFix has a robust series of these movies, including adaptations of Fight Club, Inception and Pulp Fiction (though its recent Happy Gilmore parody was removed from YouTube on a copyright claim by NBC Universal.) Incidentally, The Fifth Element, which was released in 1997, did have a video game adaptation, for the PlayStation, and it was a critical failure.

Here's a picture of Rupert Murdoch trying Oculus Rift, he loved it

Business and media mogul Rupert Murdoch, head of News Corp. and 21st Century Fox, tried out an Oculus Rift headset this week, according to the Murdoch Here Tumblr site. According to Murdoch Here, where 21st Century Fox chief of staff Natalie Ravitz posts behind-the-scenes dispatches from Murdoch's daily adventures, Murdoch visited the New York branch of design and graphics studio Framestore on April 16. Joining him were Ravitz; Paul Cheesbrough, chief technology officer of News Corp.; and Joel Klein, former chancellor of the New York City Department of Education. Framestore is the firm behind the "Ascend the Wall" Oculus Rift demo. In the virtual reality experience, players climb the Wall from Game of Thrones, the HBO TV series based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire...

Oculus Rift helps dying woman experience the outside world virtually

Game artist Priscilla Firstenberg used an Oculus Rift dev kit to help her grandmother experience the outside world before passing away, The Rift Arcade reports. Cancer patient Roberta Firstenberg had become too weak to enjoy her favorite pastimes or walk around her yard. At the time, Priscilla — who worked on stealth survivor game République at Camouflaj — had a discussion with her co-workers about next-gen systems. After their talk, she got the idea to contact Oculus VR and request a kit. Customer service lead Kevin Crawford responded to her shortly with kind words, telling her that the decision to send her a kit was unanimous. "Unfortunately, we can't send you out a brand new unit as we're still trying to fulfill our backlog queue of existing orders, but, we have just received a...

Coachella brings in arcade machines to save nature

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Annual Festival has partnered with Global Inheritance to create an arcade that encourages visitors to earn game tokens by performing nature-saving tasks. The Nature Saving Arcade is a solar-powered video game arcade full of classic titles. Visitors can win prizes like tickets to see The Arcade Fire if they play in the arcade, but to do so they'll need to earn tokens. Some of the nature-saving tasks visitors can do to earn tokens include recycling three bottles or cans while at the festival, showing a photo of themselves carpooling to Coachella with three or more friends, photographing themselves composting, charging their phone using the energy seesaw or showing the organizers their refillable water bottle. Weekend one of Coachella took place from...

EB Games Expo 2014 to take place in Sydney, Oct. 3-5, ticket sales begin April 24

EB Games Expo 2014 will kick off in Sydney, Australia on Oct. 3-5 at the Sydney Olympic Park, the company announced today, confirming the attendance major publishers Activision, Electronic Arts, Nintendo, Sony, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Microsoft. This year's expo will see the addition of a new pavilion, expanding event's space to 35,000 sqm, which will hold demonstration sessions from U.K. television series Robot Wars. Sessions will feature Q&As, photo opportunities and allow visitors to "get up close" with the robots. As well as giving attendees the opportunity to get hands-on with the latest releases from the publishers, the event will offer Tumbletown playground area, Family Zone Café, the Lovesac Handheld Lounge & Stage, Free Play City, Retro Central...

Animation hack in Telltale games is hilarious and terrifying

Telltale's games have gotten a little saucy, thanks to a fan-made hack that manipulates characters into moving outside of their usual range. A video of the mod first appeared as part of Telltale's Fables-based episodic game, The Wolf Among Us. The clip features protagonist Bigby dancing without a care as his companions continue on with business as usual. Another gif, posted by Telltale director and senior cinematic artist Nick Herman on Twitter, features characters from The Walking Dead with similar intentions. Someone figured out how to play animations in our shipped titles. The results are glorious. — Nick Herman (@ItsMeNickHerman) April 14, 2014 A Telltale representative told Kotaku that the modification was made using...

Half-Life record breaking speedrun clocks in under 21 minutes

Quadrazoid, a speedrunner group, has set a record Half-Life run time with 20 minutes and 41 seconds, shaving minutes off the previous record of 29 minutes and 41 seconds. The run was completed on the hard setting with seven team members doing runs: quadrazid, CRASH FORT, coolkid, pineapple, YaLTeR, Spider-Waffle and FELip. The run is composed of 317, 249 segments and 107 saves/segments were made "only to cause and abuse save glitches." "Starting back in the summer of 2010, the estimated time for this run was thought to be roughly 27 minutes," quadrazoid wrote on the YouTube video. "However, after almost four years of painstaking planning, theory crafting and execution, we have arrived at our final time, smashing all of our wildest expectations. Not only do we owe this new world-record...

Swedish politicians compete in StarCraft 2 tournament ahead of election

A group of politicians in Sweden took part on a StarCraft 2 tournament this past weekend to "raise awareness about eSports in politics, and politics among gamers," The Daily Dot reports. The tournament, called Politikerstarcraft, was created by Jonathan Rider Lundkvist in 2010. Lundkvist was a member of the Swedish Pirate Party, which formed in 2006 to focus on issues like net neutrality, censorship, copyright and patent reform. Politikerstarcraft is held just for fun, but the 2010 winner Mathias Sundin coincidentally won the tournament for his party, which ended up winning the election that year. This year's tournament was the second Politikerstarcraft held, and featured commentary from Swedish StarCraft 2 casting duo Living on the Ladder. Participants included candidates for local...

Snoop Dogg voice pack coming to Call of Duty: Ghosts April 22

A Call of Duty: Ghosts Snoop Dogg Voice Pack will be available on Xbox Live on April 22, according to a video developer Infinity Ward released. The video shows snippets of voice-over work the rapper provided, including lines like "Rack up points by reaching the enemy portal, you dig," "Squad member active — my brother from another mother," and "Homies out the joint, it's party time." "What interested me most about the project is my voice can be connected with a game that's so hip and so hood," Snoop Dogg said. "It says a lot. It's associated with greatness." The voice pack will be released for other platforms at a later date.
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