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The 100 Games Cupcakes… Game!

This is just a little piece of internet wonderfulness that was emailed to me by a friend.  The web page begins:

Every year, we throw a big, game party to ring in the new year. This year (2010) is our house’s 100-year birthday, so we celebrated with cupcakes…
…and the cupcakes were a game.

Here they are in random order – see how many you can guess!

Indeed, it is 100 cupcakes, each themed after a popular [board | video] game.  Most anyone who will read this blog will recognize quite a few of these.  I did well except for a couple of video games and board games from the last decade.  I guess I need to catch up to the present.

Enjoy.

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HRSFAN achievement: Rush or Relax?

Jessica Hammer ’99 and her research team recently won a grant to design iPhone games that will help people stop smoking.  The grant speaks for itself:

The game is intended to be an alternative to smoking with the goal of reducing or eliminating tobacco use in players’ lives. The game involves breathing into a microphone to control gameplay, and is coupled with sound, color, images, challenges and feedback to mimic the stimulant and relaxant effects of smoking. The design elements within the game result in two modes of play (“Rush” and “Relax”). These will be tested for their stimulant and relaxation effects through emotional response and physiological (EEG, heart rate, galvanic skin response) measures, and compared to subjects after smoking or who play the game in lieu of smoking. If successful, the game will emulate the effects of smoking as a replacement therapy for smokers who want to quit. It will do so by allowing smokers who crave the physiological effects of smoking to reach for this five-minute game rather than for a cigarette.

I think it’s a great idea.  Although I also thought about this, and it creeped me out.  (Spoiler alert for that link, if you read beyond the first page or so.)

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Mirror’s Edge

I’m not much of a videogamer, but I’m intrigued by what I’ve read about the new video game Mirror’s Edge. The game is a “first person runner” based on parkour, the art of running, jumping, climbing, and otherwise moving quickly through urban environments. Amusingly, the game’s main selling point seems to be that playing it might make you vomit, due to the intensely realistic first-person perspective.

Clive Thompson of wired.com attributes the game’s nausea-inducing realism to the fact that it successfully hacks into our proprioception, our sense of the position and movement of our own bodies. It is well established in psychology research that carefully controlled visual and tactile stimuli can subvert our proprioception, even to the point of inducing minor out-of-body experiences. But it’s impressive to see that translated into something we can all do at home with a TV and a video game controller.

(For more information, see Thompson’s review and Tom Stafford’s follow-up on Mind Hacks.)

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