Why are games fun? In part, because they challenge our ability to think. Even simple games like Tic-Tac-Toe, Nim and Kalah, or puzzles like the Eights Puzzle, are challenging to children. More complex games like checkers, chess, bridge, and Go are difficult enough that it takes years for gifted adults to master them. Nearly all games require seeing patterns, making plans, searching combinations, judging alternative moves, and learning from experience, all being skills which are also involved in many daily tasks.
It's no surprise that Alan Turing proposed chess playing as a good project for studying computers' ability to reason. In many ways, games have provided simple proving grounds for many of AI's powerful ideas.
TL;DR: As of Jan. 28, Nibble(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) -- the educational DIY game console from CircuitMess -- is on sale for $79.95. Parents know the pain of prying away the iPad or video game console after finally giving it in and handing it over. So what if there was an option for screen time that was actually educational, taking out some of the mom and dad guilt? Nibble not only helps kids learn, but it will also get youngsters ages nine and up building their own console and learning how to code their own games. Learning to code will be a vital skill in the future, so why not put your kids on the right path and get them started at a young age?
Hollywood may be taking another stab at a Tomb Raider production, but this time for the small screen. The Hollywood Reporter sources say Amazon is creating a Tomb Raider TV series for Prime Video, with Phoebe Waller-Bridge (of Fleabag fame) set to be an executive producer and write the script. It's not certain who would star, but we wouldn't count on movie stars Angelina Jolie or Alicia Vikander reprising the role of Lara Croft. The show is reportedly still in the development stage. We've asked Amazon for comment.
Life moves pretty slow on a video game magazine when the last pages are being sent to the printer. As a writer on Edge, I'd have to be available in the office to write captions and headlines, but often we were there long into the night as the art team designed pages. So the writers and subs would have nothing to do but wait and play games. And for many months, the game we played was GoldenEye. Released two years after the film, into a market where tie-ins were never exactly epoch-making products, it's fair to say expectations were low for the N64 shooter.
TL;DR: Through Jan. 30, you can learn while you play with the ByteBoi DIY advanced game console(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) while it's on sale for $119.99 -- that's 17% off its usual $144.99. Remember the thrill of sitting down to play your old Game Boy in the '90s? Since technology has certainly improved since then, if you're feeling nostalgic and looking to enjoy a similar feeling while embracing today's advancements, it's time to check out ByteBoi. ByteBoi not only lets you play a retro-inspired game console(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab), but it also allows you to build it from scratch. So not only are you unwinding, tapping into your inner child, and having some fun, but you're also learning about electronics and coding at the same time.
It made you realise how, despite all the sophistication of modern society, we're still reliant on water falling from the sky." Sam Alfred, the lead designer at Cape Town-based video game studio Free Lives, vividly remembers his city nearly running out of water. During 2018, the area surrounding South Africa's second largest city suffered months of dwindling rainfall. Dams were unable to replenish themselves at the rate its inhabitants required. The situation even called for its own grim version of the Doomsday Clock: hour by hour, the city ticked ever closer to Day Zero, marking the end of its fresh water supply. Terra Nil, the video game that Alfred has been developing since 2019, is a response to these terrifying events. Dubbed a "city-builder in reverse", it foregoes the consumption and expansion of genre classics such as Civilisation and SimCity to paint a picture of environmental restoration. At light-speed, and with eye-massaging flushes of emerald green and azure blue, the environment transforms into lush vegetation. Terra Nil's simplicity is as beautiful as its visuals, offering the satisfaction of a colouring book while doling out a clear-eyed critique of environment-wrecking extraction. With Terra Nil's story of "climate positivity", Alfred is part of a burgeoning wave of game makers attempting to both educate players on the dangers of the climate crisis while stretching perceptions of what is possible in response to it. Niantic, the maker of Pokémon GO, has used the real-world setting of its augmented reality game to spearhead a tree-planting initiative. Ubisoft, meanwhile, staged an in-game climate march for Riders Republic players, and is set to unleash a virtual forest fire to demonstrate the devastating real-world effects of such arboreal disasters. The idea with each of these ventures is to use video games as tools of moral instruction. For the past three years, a United Nations project called Playing for the Planet has catalysed these efforts with its annual Green Game Jam. Deborah Mensah-Bonsu, founder of partner organisation Games for Good and organiser of the jams, believes video games are perfectly placed to encourage changes in mindset and behaviour. "The idea of player agency is a really big piece [of the picture]," she says. With games, you get to be part of a story – you have a say in its outcome."
Minecraft Legends, the unique action-strategy spin on Microsoft's block-building franchise, will arrive on Xbox consoles and PCs on April 18th. Announced last June, the game resembles a modern spin on classic Warcraft strategy: Your goal is to protect your base and destroy your enemy's. It'll feature online campaign co-op and competitive multiplayer, as you'd expect. And judging from the most recent trailer, it looks compelling enough to tempt over gamers who could never figure out what to do in the original Minecraft.
More than 280 workers at TCGplayer, a marketplace for trading card games like Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon, are trying to unionize. A supermajority of the workers have filed for a union representation election with the National Labor Relations Board. If their efforts are successful, they'll form the first union at eBay, which bought TCGplayer in 2022 in a deal worth up to $295 million. Employees of several card and tabletop companies have unionized, including Card Kingdom, Bellevue Mox Boarding House, Noble Knight Games and Paizo. The TCGplayer workers are similarly trying to organize with the Communications Workers of America ( CWA), which has also worked with several video game studios in their unionization attempts.
Developers are in the business of building world, so it's easy to understand why the games industry would be excited about generative AI. With computers doing the boring stuff, a small team could whip up a map the size of San Andreas. Crunch becomes a thing of the past; games release in a finished state. There are, at the very least, two interrelated problems with this narrative. First, there's the logic of the hype itself--reminiscent of the frenzied gold rush over crypto/Web3/the metaverse--that, consciously or not, seems to consider automating artists' jobs a form of progress. Back in November, when DALL-E was seemingly everywhere, venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz posted a a long analysis on their website touting a "generative AI revolution in games" that would do everything from shorten development time to change the kinds of titles being made.
In the top 10 list of my favourite-ever video game moments – a list that changes radically every year or so – there are two absolute immovables. And they both involve Star Wars. The first time I sat in the beautifully elaborate arcade cabinet of Atari's 1983 Star Wars game and experienced its thrilling depiction of the Death Star assault was a life-changing moment in an otherwise unremarkable holiday in Blackpool. To a boy who watched the film practically every week on video it was a dream come true. Much later, in 1996, I was a young writer for Edge magazine visiting Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Washington, for a feature on their Direct X graphics technology. After the interviews they took me to a new multiplayer gaming centre in the city; it was a roomful of pods, each housing a state of the art PC and flight controls.
One crisp spring evening, the Wasteland Theatre Company gathered to rehearse Romeo and Juliet. Jonathan "Bram" Thomas was playing Romeo. A self-confessed Shakespeare geek, he'd graduated with a BA in theatre, and this wasn't his first time playing one half of the star-crossed lovers. But it was the first time a mutant scorpion the size of a Jeep had rampaged on to his stage. Panicking, the show's crew rained bullets down on its blackened shell, but not before Juliet fell to its sting.