Summary of “These Architects Are Using Video Games to Rethink Modern Living”

Tasked with designing something without precedent, principal landscape architect David Fletcher, 50, approached the design like he does most projects now: by using video-game development software.
Fletcher’s preference for designing in a game engine, as the software is called, was cultivated two years ago when he worked on “The Witness,” an “Open world” role-playing video game.
The opportunity to design the landscape for “The Witness” was a dream come true for Fletcher, who’s played video games since childhood.
The video game “The Witness” takes place on this island, which was designed over the course of several years by a team of architects, including David Fletcher.
The architects were able to experience the park from their office computers by walking through their virtual designs and judging from the ground whether they worked or not.
“We don’t design two-dimensionally; we always design three-dimensionally,” he says.
Fletcher made a rare choice, but how rare is hard to say; neither video game companies nor professional organizations like the American Institute of Architects keep records of how many architects have similar experiences to Fletcher.
“It’s more of a design tool.” Similar to the blank slate Fletcher faced as he began designing “The Witness,” Minecraft gives players a blank slate every time they decide to build something new, which works for Delaney, who has always loved building things.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Mario Maker II is a whole language.”

It’s the latest in a long line of creativity tools from the Mario multiverse, dating back all the way to Mario Paint for the Super NES. In Super Mario Maker 2, as in original Super Mario Maker for the Wii U, players create and share their own levels based off classic Mario games.
Released on June 28, Mario Maker 2 has now gives players new ways to make levels in the style of classic Mario titles.
Mario Maker always prominently featured a list of the most popular user-made levels, but a new addition to Mario Maker 2, tags, help narrow things down to the types of levels an individual wants to play.
Another tag is for music levels, which are similarly easy and visually busy, but instead of moving Mario through dangers, there’s a space to walk serenely along the bottom of the screen while the level puts on a music-accompanied show for the ears and eyes.
As you gain experience in Mario Maker, it becomes easier to tell at a glance a good level from the many terrible ones that exist.
Poorly created levels tend to use less of the screen-having Mario move in either the bottom or middle third with the remaining space unused.
Whether you’re watching an auto-Mario play itself or attempting a crazy-hard Kaizo level, the most exciting thing about the language of Mario Maker 2’s makers is that the creator’s actual language doesn’t seem to matter at all.
Unlike any other multiplayer, creative, or collaborative game I can think of, there’s no point in a Mario level when you’re called upon to read or converse in the language the level creator speaks.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Meet the Gamer Grandpas: The Seniors Who Spend Retirement Playing ‘Fortnite'”

“I had an online friend who I knew was a serious gamer – she’d even reviewed games for a magazine for a time – and I asked her to recommend a game and teach me how to play it,” he tells me.
“If I’m really into a game, I’ll play during weekdays as well.” And while Star Wars: The Old Republic is still his favorite – “It’s like comfort food; I’ve played all factions, characters and expansions, sometimes several times” – he also enjoys trying new games.
Obviously, it’s probably inevitable that younger generations who have grown up with video games will wheel a cart full of controllers and game systems into retirement homes.
In retirement Michael plays almost every night, “After supper and time with the wife, for about two hours. I try to limit it to that so it won’t get out of hand. It’s a great way to spend time, and it’s fundamentally good to challenge your brain with puzzles and hand-eye difficulties. People, especially us males, need archetypal hero stories and the means to strive to be that hero. Games are a safe place to achieve those needs.”
“It always bugged me that people will sit and watch eight hours of television, but then say playing video games is a waste of time,” adds John, a 60-year-old in San Francisco who dedicates roughly three hours a day to gaming.
“Loneliness is a growing issue with seniors, but gaming grandpas are able to find community in their favorite video games – whether that’s literally in video games, or simply having something in common with younger generations. John, for example,”spent a lot of time playing World of Warcraft and was in a guild, had a real-life meetup with all of the members in San Francisco to see the Warcraft movie.
“I plan to game for as long as I can,” Michael responds when I ask him if he’ll eventually bring his games to a retirement home.
“Well, my generation invented the internet and all the technologies that go along with it. So for those of us seniors who have been using computers for years, gaming provides a wonderful way to structure our time and to have fun. Honestly, gaming has been nothing less than a great boon to seniors.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “The hottest new board games from Gen Con 2019”

INDIANAPOLIS-If it’s early August, you can count on one thing: we’re gonna be in downtown Indianapolis with 70,000 other board gamers, forgoing sleep, food, and general wellbeing to play a truly ridiculous amount of new tabletop games at Gen Con, the self-described “Best Four Days in Gaming.” Gen Con is America’s largest and longest-running tabletop games convention.
Then there are the games-more games than you could play in a lifetime, all being released at once.
Roleplaying games were sadly outside the scope of this article, so be sure to check out our coverage of perhaps the most anticipated roleplaying title at this year’s Gen Con: Pathfinder.
Pandemic: Rapid Response, a new Target-exclusive game, puts a “Real-time” spin on the co-op classic, trading Pandemic’s globetrotting card collecting for frantic, desperate dice rolling.
When I first heard that Fantasy Flight Games was releasing a new Marvel living card game, I was instantly bored.
Co-op CCG-type games are few and far between, and the ones that FFG has released in the past have been generally excellent and a nice change of pace from the countless two-player card battlers choking the market.
Marvel Champions seems to take inspiration from both of those earlier FFG games while injecting some Marvel thematic flair into the mix.
The game looks like it might be a bit lighter than some of the other FFG card games we’re used to but we’re hoping it will still be a fun, continuously updated co-op romp.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Frustrating History of the Claw Machine”

What bugs me is that scene where Sid catches Woody and Buzz from the claw machine.
As a guy who loves the claw machine, I can tell you that no claw machine has ever.
Well, that’s possible, I guess, but if you knew how a claw machine worked, you’d realize just how stacked against you the odds of winning really are.
In other words, that crafty claw only has full strength every once in a while – most of the time, the machine hampers the claw by sending less voltage to it.
If a game costs 50 cents to play and the prize costs $7, the machine will only send full strength to the claw approximately every 21 games.
An amusement historian who began operating claw machines back in 1959, admits to me that, “All carnival games are historically suspect of being rigged – and sometimes with good reason,” but adds that when it comes to claw strength, adjusting this can help an operator adjust for heavier or lighter prizes.
While I understand Roller’s point that, instead of it being a game of skill, the claw machine is more a game of chance, I find it hard to accept that 95 percent of the time I put my money in, I almost definitely cannot.
Then there’s my newfound knowledge that it’s designed to pay out some of the time, and maybe I’ll get lucky! I may catch the machine at just the right win interval, or I may find a machine where the claw strength is accidentally too strong.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Escape rooms are very big business”

Brands like HBO and Ford have been creating promotional escape rooms for years now; Red Bull runs a whole Escape Room World Championship.
Pop culture is so saturated with escape rooms that this past January, Columbia Pictures released the pulpy horror flick Escape Room, which should not be confused with either of the other two recent horror movies about escape rooms also called Escape Room.
That’s a common misconception, Scott Nicholson, a professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario and the world’s leading scholar of escape rooms, tells me, “Not all escape rooms are about escaping a room.” The name, he agrees, is a problem, mostly because it does not connote “Collaborative adventure!” so much as “Claustrophobia!” or “Panic!” and that’s just such a limited understanding of what an escape room can be.
The Spiras, who are in their early 30s and live in Weehawken, New Jersey, write Room Escape Artist, the blog of record for escape rooms.
For Nicholson, the escape room scholar, that was part of what drew him in: Creating escape rooms requires a wide-ranging skill set, and so does playing them.
“The Unbelievably Lucrative Business of Escape Rooms” didn’t exactly say you should open an escape room, but it did suggest that maybe you could open an escape room, and maybe, if you did, it wouldn’t be that hard to get rich quick.
“We wouldn’t be able to make such a game for that anymore. Now that’s around half of what you’d need.” As the line between immersive theater performance and escape room gets blurrier, more escape rooms are hiring actors, and the trouble with actors is they have to be paid.
“The future of escape rooms,” says Chris Lattner bluntly, “Will be that only the very good escape room companies will survive. And the others will just die out.” Which, from his perspective, is just fine, because he is bored.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A game room of one’s own”

Now you can find servers small enough for a single group of friends, like internet personas hosting their own servers, or large enough for thousands of people interested in a game like Overwatch or Fortnite.
The online harassment women gamers face has been widely reported; in one study of gaming communities, 38 percent of women and 35 percent of LGBTQ+ players claimed they’d experienced harassment because of their gender or sexual orientation.
The women I talked to for this story all had their own striking stories at the hands of male gamers.
Recently, they’ve banned alt-right groups, Nazi supporter servers, and groups promoting an app that undresses photos of women without their consent.
Below a note reads, “All women are welcome here, regardless of their background, and no discrimination or disrespect based on race, religion, gender identity, or anything else is tolerated. We are not the kind of community that accepts ‘it was just a joke’ as an excuse.” Rebecca said they rarely need to enforce these rules since the community is already very tight knit and dedicated to inclusion.
“There has been a surge in demand for women’s communities in gaming in recent years,” Byeuji said.
“I would say since 2016, the demand has been booming, particularly on Reddit… I’ve seen all of my woman-centric communities move from near flat-line growth post-Gamergate to solid incremental growth – between 10 and 20 percent annually.” The technology industry is vastly dominated by men, but as we see apps and services grow that are developed by women for women, it’s hard not to wonder what the internet could’ve been like if, from the beginning, women had been included in the process of creating major platforms.
For now, commiserating with women they trust is enough for these users, and many others in their community.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘Europa Universalis IV’ Grandest LAN: Game Strategy, Muskets and Falcons Inside a Polish Castle”

These dignitaries for the day, some dressed in costumes redolent of a Renaissance Faire, are warring their way through 400 years of world history, from the middle of the 15th century to the beginning of the 19th. They’re doing so by playing a game called Europa Universalis IV – the signature product of a Swedish software company called Paradox Interactive.
In an effort to push the diplomatic intrigue to 11, the sub rosa negotiations have moved from chat windows and Discord conversations to a 17th-century Polish castle, where several of the world’s top Europa players, including the legendary Florryworry, have gathered to settle their grievances in person.
Officially, it’s Paradox Interactive’s second “Grandest LAN party.” Unofficially, it’s yet another kind of Geek Olympics, in which players will don the tricorne hats, clerical collars and heavy metal breastplates representative of the countries they’ve chosen to play.
Although Europa Universalis games can be “Broken” for one player or another with a bad move in the early going, the actual game itself is extremely long, and not for the faint of heart.
“It’s the same thing with the castle. It’s like a scenic backdrop to the game itself. When the Twitch streamer Pavel built up the Manchus a bit, forming Qing China, and went on Twitch wearing tribal furs and threatened to burn all the capitals of the world’s nations to the ground, he found himself on the receiving end of a massive anti-Qing coalition war. The mise en scène really heightened the excitement, because that couldn’t really work in an anonymous multiplayer game, although we still probably would’ve banded together to silence an arrogant or dangerous player who posed a threat to us.”
I ask Nathan, are the best Europa Universalis players? After all, the gap between top competitive StarCraft and Smash Bros.
“I’d say that I’m as strong on tactical controls used in real time as any player, since I cut my teeth on real-time strategy games and was briefly a world-class Warcraft III player. But Europa offers players a different type of experience: You can make one or two great strategic decisions and somehow survive a lot of bad clicks. Or you can make one bad strategic decision and ruin hours or days of patient, smart planning.”
As well as for some other players at Moszna Castle, the real point of the Grandest LAN was about playing alongside other people and experiencing how unusual their decisions can be.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Are Baseball Games Nine Innings Long?”

Prior to 1857, games were not just of indeterminate time length but also an indeterminate number of innings.
According the 8th Rule in the Knickerbockers’ handbook-largely considered to be the first rule book from which modern baseball stems-“The game to consist of twenty-one counts, or aces; but at the conclusion an equal number of hands must be played.”
The decision to limit the number of innings gave way to the issue of exactly how many innings should make up each regulation-length game.
In an 1856 Knickerbocker meeting, [Louis F.] Wadsworth, along with Doc Adams, backed a motion to permit nonmembers to take part in Knickerbocker intramural games at the Elysian Fields if fewer than eighteen Knicks were present.
Since the number of innings was not yet set, they opted for a seven-inning game simply for the sake of consistency: Seven men, seven innings.
The Knickerbockers had been playing matches against other clubs for about a decade by that point and decided that, since the issue had been so divisive on their own team, a committee should standardize the number of men and innings games played between clubs would feature.
“[Wadsworth] worked behind the scenes with other clubs to overwhelm the Knickerbockers’ position and go to nine innings and nine men,” Thorn says of that fateful Convention from which we get many of our modern rules.
It passed, and from then on, baseball games in America were played with nine men per side and for a regulation length of nine innings.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Gardening games are blossoming in turbulent times”

In Rosa’s Garden, the recent iOS and Android game by Charlotte Madelon, soft shades of red, pink, and yellow fill the screen as roses emerge gracefully from the game’s digital earth.
The past few years have been host to a flurry of gardening video games, most of which foreground growth and cultivation over the industry’s more traditional subjects of conflict and challenge.
At this year’s E3, it was announced that the next game in the Animal Crossing series – arguably the progenitor of such gardening video games alongside Harvest Moon – will be released in March 2020, arriving a full seven years since the last mainline entry in the franchise, Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
Often these games emphasize the methodical processes of the IRL pastime over the explicit advancement of a narrative or the mastery of game systems.
You won’t find the sprawling, seemingly unending open worlds of mainstream games in these titles either.
What the Animal Crossing games, Stardew Valley, and Ooblets all do is mix free-form play with a relaxed atmosphere, elements which seem to have resonated with players keen for a change of pace from the barrage of stimuli and hyper-kineticism video games are best known for.
As well as work-related anxiety, gardening games are also responding to our own increasingly claustrophobic urban environments.
Our ongoing moment of eco-crisis might be a latent influence on some of these gardening games, but survival game Among Trees seems to be taking video game gardening into the resource scarcity crisis, which might occur in the event of the worst possible climate catastrophe.

The orginal article.