bnewman: (explorer)

I can't recommend this game enough. It hits a sweet spot between open-ended creativity and goal-directed challenge. The basic idea is that you build factories out of blocks (as many as you need, although you can compete to use as few as possible), and the factories receive input materials (which are blocks) and produce products (which are made of blocks), in order to serve our alien overlords. There's more than one way to complete every challenge, and figuring out the physics of the game is delightful. If this sounds at all intriguing to you, it's definitely worth a look.
bnewman: (explorer)
Lately I have been buying a lot of video games from the Humble Bundle store — a website which started as a one-time deal (and co-created by a friend of a friend from Swarthmore) and has grown into an excellent retail outlet for Indie games. They often have sales (including right now), a portion of your purchase goes to charity, and a lot of the games are really good, so it's worth checking out.

There are a few games I've gotten recently that stand out enough to be worth a mention/recommendation.

Games that are on sale right now and for the next ~35 hours:

FEIST is an action game where you play a small furry creature in a quest to rescue another of your kind from troll-like beasts who have taken it captive. more )

PixelJunk Shooter is an exploratory 2d shooter with a rich materials simulation — water and lava flow, water plus lava turns to steam plus stone, icicles drip, lava melts ice, etc. more )

Last Horizon is a sweet little minimalist space adventure game where you maneuver a spaceship around and land on planets, lunar lander style. more )

Games that are not on sale right now:

Mushroom 11 is not really like anything else. It's a platform game where you play as a sort of blob, and your only control is an eraser tool stolen from a painting program — more )

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a (local) 2-player cooperative space shooter that reminds me a little of the board game Space Alertmore )
bnewman: (explorer)
The other day, the following songs came up consecutively on party shuffle: "Danger and Desire" (track 10 on the linked album) and "Hardware Store". And this seemed perfect, because it perfectly captured the essence of what I was doing at the time:

MineCraft is an indie computer game that places you in a world of giant voxels and leaves you to survive with nothing but your wits and what you can wrest from the low-resolution earth. It's currently in open alpha testing, and thus feature-unstable but mostly perfectly playable. There is multiplayer support for both public and private servers which will eventually actually work. It's clever and addictive and really, really nifty, and it's become something of a viral hit. Well, consider yourselves sneezed on. (Wait, that didn't come out how I meant it to...)

I don't know what the timeframe is on MineCraft going from alpha to beta (and from half-price to full-price), but I'd love for people I know to get the game and create community servers where we can build Castle SWIL, or the Mines of Moria, or whatever, and work together to defend our holdings from the creatures of the night... oh, yeah, there are zombies.

MineCraft currently costs 10 euros.
bnewman: (explorer)
One of these things is not like the others.

bnewman: (Default)
a singer-songwriter who is currently living, loves some people, and expects at some point to die. She hopes her music will appeal to those with similar experiences.

I shared some of her music (via iTunes — I haven't worked any of it up yet, although I will soon) at Boskone — about which more later. She's a sophisticated lyric-smith who writes really deep but totally accessible songs about life. And, while it's not new, there's a wonderful story about how I met her...

It was at a Swarthmore alumni weekend, I think. We were having a roundsing in the Meetinghouse, when some people who were having a birthday party in another room in the Meetinghouse overheard us and came in to find out what was going on. The birthday person was a Mrs. Mulford, one of the pillars of Swarthmore Meeting, and her adult daughter Zoe, a singer-songwriter, was there to celebrate and perform.

We sang the birthday round, and mingled a little with the other group at their invitation, and I talked a bit with Zoe, and mentioned my own songwriting. And she, hearing my description, dropped the word "filk". I don't think she's ever been to a filk event, but she expressed some interest. She's in Rockville, MD, so the next time the FNEFC is Contata...
bnewman: (damselfly)
Thanks to [ profile] batshua for showing me this.

[ profile] velveteenrabbi reviews Megillat Esther, a graphic novelization of the scroll that is apparently very faithful and very good. If you're any combination of Jewish and a comics fan, you should definitely check it out. And, if you're sold on it, there's an purchase link at the bottom of the linked review.

[ Edit: Linked blog post expired from LJ-syndicated feed. Try here and here. ]
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