Flappy Bird in a Box is one very cool DIY project

Mar 24, 2014

Cultural phenomenon? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean it’s complex. Flappy Bird is endearing because of its simplicity. And in keeping the game simple, it remains easily adaptable. Take Flappy Bird in a Box for instance – a real-world rendering of the game that’s now available as a DIY kit on Kickstarter.

Created by Fawn Qiu, a Harvard alumni who co-developed teacher curriculum for the kids-can-code program Scratch, Flappy Box is just the latest in her “anyone can make anything” approach to STEM culture. Qiu is also the founder of MakeAnything – a technology kit community that promotes STEM learning through accessible, user-friendly project kits and workshops.

Qiu’s Flappy Bird project really took flight after an appearance on BuzzFeed in February. But while cool, it was also pricey to build. “The motors and Arduino board alone would cost $70!,” reads the project’s Kickstarter page. But with so much interest, Qiu knew there had to be a way to bring the cost down. Her team has sourced raw materials and streamlined the design to help bring the price to a consumer-friendly level. Also, ordering in bulk helps. “We want to raise money in order to put in a large order and to make the Flappy Box Kit more affordable.”

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Smash Hit Review

Mar 24, 2014

The problem with breaking windows is that you can only do it once. The second your projectile hits the pane with its shattering kiss, you have to cheese it or else risk getting caught by cops, guard dogs, or some guy that keeps his gun handy. There's never enough time to admire your handiwork.

Smash Hit by Mediocre is a first-person shooting / throwing game that really lets you absorb the sights, sounds, and sheer pleasure of shattering glass. You can do it over and over - in fact, you must do it over and over if you want to survive - and the sensation never gets old.

Smash Hit

As soon as you hit "Start," you automatically glide down a series of crystalline hallways. You have but one mission: Wreck everything. 

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Smash Hit Walkthrough

Mar 23, 2014

Smash Hit is an arcade shooting game from Mediocre. In this game, you progress through levels by throwing metal balls and smashing everything in sight.  Gamezebo’s walkthrough will provide you with some tips and hints that will help you get a good start on committing soothing acts of vandalism.

Smash Hit

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The #FirstTweet of your favorite game developers

Mar 21, 2014

Every now and then, the internet gets a funky little oddity that provides a surprising amount of amusement for what it is. Today, Twitter rolled out once such oddity. By visiting discover.twitter.com/first-tweet, you can see the very first tweet you posted to your account.

In fact, you can see anyone’s first tweet. (tee-hee)

And so, like any good citizen of the internet, I felt it was my responsibility to comb through the first tweets of every game developer worth following on Twitter to find the ones that really stuck out. As you’d expect, 99% of them are people saying “I’m on Twitter now” or “let’s see what this Twitter thing is about.” In an effort to represent the 99% (Occupy Twitter, people!), here’s what Jonathan Blow, the creator of Braid and the upcoming The Witness first tweeted: 

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Now that we have that out of the way, let’s see what those who weren’t ready to just greet their newfound Twitter friends had to say.

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This Week in China: Max Axe Goes East

Mar 21, 2014

After making a big splash earlier this year as Apple’s Free Game of the Week, Max Axe’s creators have entered into a partnership to bring the game to one of the world’s biggest mobile markets: China. Details on that, funding announcements, and what happens when your games violate Chinese regulations below!

Thanks as always to our partners at the Beijing-based Laohu.com for sharing this weekly roundup. For a deeper understanding of the Chinese mobile games market, be sure to bookmark Laohu.com.

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Brave Frontier Walkthrough

Mar 21, 2014

Brave Frontier is a free to play RPG from Gumi Inc, where it's up to you summon different heroes and beasts to defy the fallen god Maxwell. Gamezebo's quick start strategy guide will provide you with detailed images, tips, information, and hints on how to play your best game.

Brave Frontier

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Card Hunter, the ultimate faux-tabletop experience, is coming to tablets

Mar 20, 2014

Blue Manchu’s Card Hunter, the browser-based, RPG-meets-CCG-meets-tabletop game with a sense of humor and a Richard Garfield pedigree, is really good. So good, in fact, that I sometimes wish I could take it with me when I’m not by my laptop.

DropForge Games must have read my mind. The relatively new Seattle studio funded by Wargaming.net (yes, the World of Tanks folks) is helping Blue Manchu by developing and publishing a mobile version of Card Hunter made with tablets in mind.

“The number one request from the Card Hunter community has been ‘when will this be on my tablet?’” Blue Manchu founder and CEO Jon Chey said in a press release announcing the deal. “The game’s design screams out for a tablet experience.”

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Indeed it does, as the turn-based, tactical battles feel like they’d transfer to touchscreens without too much trouble. It’s also already built on a free-to-play model, enhanced with a sensible option to pay for more content.

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This 2004 Tetris documentary is the best thing you’ll watch all day

Mar 20, 2014

Few games have a story behind them quite as riveting as Tetris. I first learned about the strange and storied history of the game when reading Game Over, David Sheff’s insanely detailed book on the history of Nintendo.

The story of Tetris is really the story of the end of the Soviet Era, Cold War Politics, and dirty business. For years I’ve said that it would make a brilliant HBO miniseries, and while we don’t have that, this BBC documentary from 2004 is the next best thing.

Sit back, make some popcorn, and spend the next 59 minutes of your day with Tetris: From Russia With Love.

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Flappy Bird is coming back, “but not soon”

Mar 19, 2014

Well that didn’t take long. It was only last week that Rolling Stone published an interview with Dong Ngyuen, the creator of Flappy Bird, that led to a fury of “will he/won’t he?” speculation about the game being returned to the App Store. When asked by Peter Travers if he Flappy Bird would ever take flight again, Nguyen responded “I’m considering it.”

But where Peter Travers failed to get a concrete answer, Twitter has now succeeded.

In response to a similar question by tweeter @painfullpacman, Nguyen has confirmed that Flappy Bird is indeed heading back to the App Store: “Yes. But not soon.”

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Mines of Mars Review

Mar 19, 2014

Mines of Mars is a genre-bending journey to the Red Planet that starts off like a cross between Minecraft and Metroid, but slowly morphs into something far more intriguing. It could stand a little more polish, but even with the occasional bump in the road, it's the kind of thing I can see myself playing for a long, long time to come.

Mines of Mars describes itself as a "procedural atmospheric mining game" inspired by games like Metroid and Motherload. It actually gives off a rather dark sci-fi adventure vibe at first, as the cinematic opening follows a grizzled miner forced to take work on Mars for reasons unknown. But things take a turn for the lighter following a rough landing on the planet, as he – that is, you – makes contact with the oddball commander of the Mars mining installation and a peppy robot who's eager to please.

Mines of Mars

It's an unexpected and rather sharp turn in direction, although it has very little impact on the gameplay, which very quickly struck me as a sort of 2D Minecraft – although in hindsight a comparison with Rust might be just as apt. You take a portal from the base to the mines below the surface, excavate dirt, minerals and gems, bring them up top, use the resources to craft better equipment and weapons, then head back down to do it all again. 

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