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Gamification – do we need to make common sense fun?

The Guardian has some interesting coverage of SXSW this last week. Contrary to popular geek belief I frequently find mainstream reaction to events and ideas just as fascinating as specialist coverage – although that may be due to my science fiction projects, which deal with the public and cultural acceptance of bleeding edge technology.

In particular, this bit on ‘gamification’ caught my eye:

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Pac-Man cupcakes

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A bit off-topic, but I know lots of you got a kick out of the Totoro cupcakes my better half made earlier in the year. Well, she’s been at it again. My birthday is Christmas Eve, but we tend to celebrate with friends a few days early for obvious reasons – so this weekend she magically produced these amazing looking Pac-Man cupcakes. Enjoy the photos – and yeah, they did taste as good as they looked.

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Retro Nintendo stuff

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We stumbled across a true gem on the main Akihabara drag today; a store that sold only old Nintendo products and emulators. In amongst the Famicom and N64 carts my girlfriend spotted what’s pictured above: this beautifully formed Bomberman multi-tap. I’ve never seen a video-game peripheral evoke such nostalgic glee in a 28 year old woman before. The whole place was fanboy(and girl) heaven.

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Early 21st Century rubbish

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I was procrastinating preparing to do some work today by clearing out my office/studio/spare room, when I found myself taking the above photo. I was emptying a drawer of the usual flotsam of modern life, when I realised it was subtly different. Maybe it’s because I’m weird, but instead of the usual collection of random badges, elastic bands, paperclips and the tops off lost biros, this little pile included:

  • An old 3rd party Playstation memory card
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CGI Links > Anime & Manga movies reviews science fiction the singularity video games

Vexille (2007): Review

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I’d been sat on Vexille for a while before watching it, to be honest. After the disappointment I felt from seeing the last Appleseed movie, I wasn’t sure if I could face another cold looking, mecha based, entrely CGI anime. But there’s an important fact that kept slipping my mind about Vexille, and that revitalised my interest every time I remembered it – that its the second movie from director Fumihiko Sori.

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Denno Coil 1 – 12 (2007): Review

NOTE: also sometimes spelled ‘Dennou Coil’

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Produced by cult animation studio Madhouse and directed by relative newcomer Mitsuo Iso, Denno Coil first started airing in Japan in May of last year, which is when I first started watching it, courtesy of Ureshii’s sublime fansubs. In fact, I watched the first 8 episodes just days after each one was first broadcast, but with other commitments and time conspiring against me, I criminally left the rest of the series untouched on my hard drive for months, until last week when I had a chance to sit down and try and catch up. I got as far as episode 12, still leaving me with another 14 to watch, and believe me, I’m going to be doing whatever I can to get through them. That new short story I’m working on may just have to wait a little bit longer.

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Appleseed Ex Machina (2007): Review

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It was with some slight trepidation that I sat down to watch Appleseed Ex Machina this weekend; the completely CGI anime is a sequel to the 2004 Appleseed, with both being based on Masamune Shirow‘s classic 1985 manga. Being a fan of the original printed version (and Shirow’s work in general), I found little in the first film beyond it’s impressive visuals to get me excited, sadly.

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Technology finally catching up with me

Heh.

If any of you have read the extract from my short story Paparazzi, you’ll remember a couple of the characters communicating with each other using something called a ‘Voice-Free Choker’ – a neck band that picks up nerve signals to the larynx and converts them into text or speech. Well, this morning I stumbled across this video at New Scientist of someone demonstrating what appears to be exactly that technology:

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