Twitch Plays (And Somehow Beats) Pokémon

Remember that single-player video game you loved as a kid but could never play together with friends because that would mean taking turns passing the controller? And remember how you never did that, because that would be, well…lame?

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“I’m a robot playing Pokémon, I don’t know what I’m doing, tell me which buttons to press”

Well, the internet found a way to do it, and the results were expectedly laggy (and spastic) but surprisingly successful. In mid-February, an anonymous Australian programmer coded a custom online version of Pokémon Red, the classic Gameboy single-player game from 1998, and set it up on Twitch, the popular live gaming streaming site. The game channel was aptly titled TwitchPlaysPokemon (TPP).

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6.00x: Intro to CS and Programming Week 1

This post is part of the 6.00x Intro to Computer Science and Programming series

As many of you know, last year I took Harvard’s online CS50x class offered through the edX program.  The course was both challenging and rewarding (and free!) and after several long nights and brain-wracking moments, I could say that I was proud of the hard work that culminated into my final project – a functional platform/shooter zombie survival game programmed using Python.

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“6.00.1x is an introduction to computer science as a tool to solve real-world analytical problems.”

I loved the freedom and creativity that I could exercise through programming in the past.  So it was a no brainer for me to build upon what I learned and take another computer science class in 2014.

So that’s what I did.

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The Resistance: Prepare Your Brain for this Board Game

The follow up to last week’s Play More Games post

The Resistance 2nd EditionDon Eskridge’s The Resistance board game has quickly become one of my favorite games…ever. I hesitate to even call it a board game, because nearly the entirety of it is just one tremendous mind game (or headache, depending on who you ask). I discovered The Resistance roughly a month ago and have about 25 games or so under my belt playing with different variants/house rules, sets of players (the game allows 5-10 players), and promo/expansion sets. One of the biggest appeals of the game is that it’s one of the easiest I’ve found to learn, and I’ve never been in a game session where new players didn’t immediately want play another game after being introduced to it.

It’s that good. Here’s a lowdown.

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My Only 2014 New Year’s Resolution: Play More Games

Before 2013 officially ends, I thought I’d join in on the wonderful tradition of putting together stretch goal resolutions and other general false promises by coming up with my own list of resolutions for the year. Fortunately, after a December of stuffing my face with chili and bacon (call that whatever holiday you’d like), I knew better than to start 2014 off with a lie about healthier eating. Nope. Instead, my resolutions list has only one item: play more games.

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I’ve been on a recent run of playing and immersing myself in a bunch of different types of games. Video game titles ranged from NBA 2K11 on the PS3 (yes, I still play a three-year old sports game) to Skyrim on the PC, to Monster Hunter Freedom Unite on the PSP (still both the most frustrating and rewarding game I’ve ever played in my life). I also enjoyed riddles and challenges including having to physically solve and open a locked puzzle box containing a Secret Santa gift (this actually happened) and doing my daily newspaper’s Sudoku, KenKen, and crossword puzzles. I’m very competitive, and I love the way games can be a social catalyst for friends, acquaintances, or even complete strangers.

So…why play even more games?

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George Takei and Felicia Day on Gaming the Brain

Ohhh my!  Check out this short online episode from “Takei’s Take”, George Takei’s new YouTube channel where he takes on topics in the realm of social media and technology.  In this episode, George covers some real world benefits of gaming, especially among senior citizens, and later sits down with fellow internet royalty, Felicia Day for a one on one chat.

Gaming, specifically the measurable benefits of gaming, is a hot topic in some very “serious” fields such as education and cognitive science and it’s good to see more conversation around the potential good that’s possible.  The video is worth watching either way, if just to hear George Takei speak the words, “let’s start pwning these n00bs.”

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Escape the Room!

Here’s what I did this weekend in New York City:

Escape The Room

The description was simple and exactly accurate for what went down. Our session was made up of a full group of ten would-be escapees. I came with a group of friends that were curious enough to try it along with me and we were joined shortly after by two couples. We were met in the office lobby by the “Cluemaster” (and Miss Cluemaster) who had orchestrated our entire game. They got to chatting with us as we waited for everyone to arrive; providing a bit of background on creating the game. (I think we were all just relieved that we weren’t greeted by the Jigsaw puppet cycling down the hallway.)

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My First Comic Con Experience!

The follow-up to My Top 10 Favorite Cosplays of NY Comic Con 2013:

My first foray into the “Con” world was at last week’s New York Comic Con held at the Jacob K. Javits Center. I was lucky enough to secure a 4-Day Pro Pass for the weekend which gave me plenty of time to enjoy all the things I was interested in.

nycc_supermancostumeWhat was I interested in? Now is probably a good time for some background info: I’m not what most people would classify as a “fanboy” of any one thing. I don’t read comics in their panel forms, but I do very much enjoy comic book heroes/stories portrayed in animated series and movies. I like anime (more so when I was younger), but I don’t have any wall scrolls or figurines to show it. I still like cartoons and love video games, even though I only tend to really invest myself into a couple every year.

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