April 2004 Archives


Rating: 4.4/5 (38 votes)
| Comments (32) | Views (27)

avatar.gif

Similar to South Park Studio's Create-A-Character, this little Flash avatar creator (from an unknown author) is a bit more versatile and has a few more options. Create a face of your own that fits your unique personality, then do a PrintScrn and paste into your favorite bitmap graphics program. For a larger face...

Play Create-a-face

Update: Thanks to Dave for reminding me about Mr. Picasso Head, another fine interactive Flash art 'game'.

Note: If you know who created this little gem, please let me know so I can give proper credit and also contact the author. Cheers!


(3 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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Flight of the AlbatrossChris Hilgert has finally made the fourth game in his YetiSports series available online, this one featuring a flock of Albatross. The object of the game is to fly the penguin as far as you can along the Australian beach. "Get close to the wind, Luke". Play Yeti Sports.


  • Currently 4.4/5
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Rating: 4.4/5 (21 votes)
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Here's a great little Flash game of mini-golf that is very well done if you can overlook the rather simplistic and plain looking graphics. After all, it's all about the gameplay, isn't it?

Mini-Putt is from an unknown developer and features 18 holes of simple, straightforward mini-golf. Just click to drop the ball on the tee pad where you want it, and then move the mouse to aim and select power. Click to swing. That's all there is to it. Oh, that and you actually have to get the ball in the cup before you can move on to the next hole.

Play Mini-Putt


(10 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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Blob LanderFrom the BBC show featuring the same Blobs comes this cute little Flash game that is actually a bit of a challenge. Similar to the classic Lunar Lander game, the objective of Blob Lander is to fly and land your spaceship gracefully.

Also on the BBC Blobs site, you can even play a QBert game with Blobs.

Play Blob Lander


Rating: 4.8/5 (38 votes)
| Comments (28) | Views (14)

Here's a beautifully crafted Flash multimedia piece by Drew Cope and Sam Lanyon Jones from their multi-award winning site called TokyoPlastic where they will be rolling out version two in May. Not new, I just think it's cool. Enjoy.

Play Drum machine


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Metroid Prime: Echoes

“Become the bounty hunter behind the visor once more and travel to a planet torn into light and darkness. Hunted by a mysterious entity and a warring race called the Ing, Samus Aran must explore the light and dark worlds of this doomed planet to discover secrets and augment her suit's weapons and abilities.”

Nintendo just released screen shots from its upcoming sequel to one of the best video games ever: Metroid Prime. This time out, Metroid will have multiplayer support and contain more third person gameplay elements than the first Prime did. We are very likely to see much more of this classic-in-the-making at E3 in a couple of weeks, and I can't wait!


(16 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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Gene Sequencer

Here's a Flash game about gene sequencing from the UK which is surprisingly fun to play. The controls took me a couple of games to get used to, then I caught on to it quickly. It's all about constructing genes by piecing amino acids together in the proper sequence. A very odd premise on which to build a game, but it works quite well actually. Be sure to press the [M] key to mute the music, as it gets a bit repetitious.

Play Gene Sequencer


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Gamesindustry.biz is reporting that Square Enix producer, Takashi Tokita, has announced a brand new Final Fantasy game to be released for the GameBoy Advance. In addition, GBA conversions of Final Fantasy I & II are also scheduled for Nintendo's handheld, and possibly Final Fantasy III if reception of the first two are favorable.

There are also rumors circulating the net about a new Square Enix Gamecube title to be announced at the upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in May.


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Klaus Nomi. A name I hadn't heard nor seen in quite some time, until I was out gallivanting around the blogosphere and ran into Mr.HappySad via a visit to the ToasterOven. Turns out, we were both visiting and posting to each other's blogs simultaneously, and for the first time ever. What are the odds?

What compelled me to post was his visible admiration of the late Nomi as evidenced by the spiffy Nomi T-shirt he made. Then I found this link to a song, and then another one pointing to a recent film produced in his honor... well, it all just pushed me over the top.

Thanks, Robert, for all the Nomi recognition. We have much in common, and I'll be sure to stop by again to visit.


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Happy Birthday, GameBoy. Since it's launch in 1989, Nintendo has sold over 100 million units worldwide, which includes all GameBoy devices—not including software(!) Thanks to Video Fenky for a nice piece describing some of the background behind Nintendo's decision to release the Gameboy 15 years ago today in Japan.


(8 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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squidsnake.jpg

Another favorite of mine is this game by Squid S O U P. Snake delivers classic-style gameplay in a 3D Shockwave implementation. Very nice indeed.

If the above link fills your browser window and runs poorly as a result, try this one.

Play Snake


| Comments (22) | Views (15)

Ferry Halim's Orisinal games

For those who appreciate games as an art form, Ferry Halim, creator of all things Orisinal (as well as the previously posted Cats), has created a site full of games that are not only fun to play, they're also beautiful to behold. In fact, with so many to choose from, you can literally get lost there for hours.

Chalk up another site worthy of a frequent visit, and yet another example of Flash making a big splash with a very talented and creative artist/game designer.


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Rating: 4.7/5 (219 votes)
| Comments (111) | Views (5,649)

Grow

From Eyezmaze in Japan comes this fascinating Flash game called Grow. Such attention to detail went into every aspect of its animation, sound, graphics and gameplay. It's very simple to play: you drag and drop the "materials" icons over top of the GROW symbol, and then the magic begins to happen. It's truly a delightful little game.

Play Grow

Also from the same creator, check out Vanilla and Tontie. All three games are remarkably easy to play and possess a richness of gameplay and excellence in design that together make them accessible, challenging, and rewarding.

Still want more Grow? Play the entire Grow series of games (in order of release)...


  • Currently 4.6/5
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Rating: 4.6/5 (25 votes)
| Comments (27) | Views (172)

Bubbels is a strangely addictive Flash game, like Bust-a-Move, from the Netherlands. There are actually five (5) different versions to choose from.

Cheers to Lodrelhai for the info about the other versions. =)


  • Currently 4.6/5
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(2 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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DroploadHave you ever wanted to transfer a file to someone but couldn't because the file was too big to send through email, and FTP was out of the question? Now a site aims to solve your problem as long as the file is no more than 50MB: Dropload. Using an elegantly simple user interface, Dropload notifies the recipient via email that a 'package' is waiting for them at the site, immediately after uploading the file. The only drawback that I noticed was that it took about 7 minutes to upload a 16MB file (about 39KB/sec)... but the service is free, so who can complain?!


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Yesterday I had lunch with Howard Rheingold, author and visionary. It was a small and intimate gathering of students and faculty from the IT department, organized by Professor Liz Lawley, prior to his lecture that evening as part of the Liberal Arts department's Gannett series of lectures: Globalization, Human Rights, and Citizenship.

Thought provoking and stimulating, Howard is a fascinating person to listen to because much of what he says has to do with emerging technological trends and their impact on sociological behavior. Although I have very little knowledge of sociology and of the many terms and concepts he brought up, it is still intriguing to hear what he has to say simply because what he observes and writes about affects us all.

In particular, he is currently gathering his thoughts and ideas for his next book which will be on the topic of emergent collective action: tendencies towards acting in cooperation with others even though motivation is generally self-preservationistic. And while sitting in the Webb Auditorium last evening listening to his talk, I couldn't help but feel that I was participating in a form of collective action even while he was talking about it:

Several minutes into Howard's speech, a woman entered the auditorium late and chose to sit in the only available seat in the row in which I was sitting, right next to me. I found it difficult to pay attention to Howard as she removed her coat and adjusted it behind her so that she was comfortable. For what seemed like several minutes, questions popped into my head like: "Why did she decide to sit in the middle of the auditorium knowing the lecturer's talk had already begun?" and "Wasn't she cognizant that it was likely she would be disrupting those around her?" and "Why did she continue to be disruptive by adjusting herself once she sat down?" She was evidently oblivious to the impact she was having on others.

Furthermore, after she was settled it became apparent that she was suffering from a nasty persistent cough. Another reason, I thought, not to plop one's self in the middle of a group of people already engaged in an activity. It became so distracting, this cough of hers, that I began wishing I had brought with me one of the many cough drops I keep in a little basket on my desk at home. How selfish of me to begin thinking of ways to quiet her down, I thought.

Then it dawned on me: I did have some spearmint lifesavers in my coat pocket that would be quite suitable for quieting her nasty cough. So, I reached into my coat and offered one to the woman who was then very appreciative and thankful for the offer while taking one from the roll.

That was virtually the end to her cough and an epiphany for me: through my rather simple display of collective action, I was able to improve the immediate situation for myself and those around me. Motivated by selfish desire to engage in Howard's talk uninterrupted, I removed myself from my irritation long enough to see that by helping the woman, I was also helping myself.

I plan to ponder more on the topic of collective action, of which I'm also seeing via the flocking and schooling simulations in the Muti-User Media Spaces class, and also follow Howard Rheingold's progress towards the publication of his next book.


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Tyson is the most amazing Bulldog I've ever seen. Click and he'll make a believer out of you as well. Make sure you watch the video of him on the site.


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GizmodoI just stumbled upon a hot new weblog by the Gawker folks: Gizmodo, dubbed "the gadgets weblog." I could spend hours there (and probably will).


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Lesbian GNU/LinuxPossibly the next craze in Linux distros? Announcing Version 2.2 of Lesbian GNU/Linux. What will they think of next?


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Wired is running an article about the turnaround in music sales occurring in the U.S. recording industry, with sales rising 9.1 percent in just the first three months of the year over the same period in 2003:

“In 2001, sales were down 3 percent. The next year, sales dropped 11 percent. Last year, until September, sales were down 8.5 percent, but the pickup in sales at the end of the year narrowed the total decline for 2003 to less than 4 percent.

The burgeoning online music market accounted for the sale of more than 25 million tracks between January and March, eclipsing the 19.2 million tracks purchased in the last six months of 2003, according to Nielsen SoundScan.”

The RIAA will no doubt be praising itself for its efforts against file-sharers as being the reason for the turnabout, all the while using that to justify their litigation all the more. And to some degree I'll even go along with the fact that their campaign was indeed successful in raising awareness that file-sharing is theft. In the early days of Napster and with so many peers engaging in peer-to-peer file-sharing, peer pressure to participate was surely enough for many to turn a blind eye to the moral implications of their actions.

“Stealing is wrong. But biting the hand that feeds you is both wrong and stupid.”

As I've said here before, if the recording industry had spent their time and energy creating a viable preview and delivery system, like that of Apple's iTunes Music Store, instead of price-fixing, litigating, and otherwise acting unawares to the changing market around them—it is unlikely there would have been any drop in sales at all, and file-sharing would be moot.

The recording industry needs to offer products and services that consumers want to purchase or they will find other ways of obtaining what they want. It's just that simple.

As for me, having been a DJ for many years, I've purchased thousands of CDs and vinyl records at their inflated retail prices only to turn around and promote those artists and labels by playing them in clubs and other venues. The recording industry owes me, big time. So, when I'm interested in finding some new music, I think nothing of logging onto the file-sharing networks, or Apple's iTunes Music Store, to do a little “browsing” first. Then, if I really like the song or artist, I'll make the purchase: Just this week I picked up Coldplay's “Live 2003” combination CD/DVD. Long-gone are the days when I purchased a shrink-wrapped CD only to get it home and become disappointed with it. Never again.


(12 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (1) | Views (32)

Penguin SportsIn January, 2004, Chris Hilgert created a Flash game called Pingu Throw, which spread across the Internet like wildfire and spawned an entire new genre of Flash game. The gameplay mechanics were simple and surprisingly fun: Bat a penguin with a Yeti to see how far you could throw him. Since then, Chris has created a trio of games featuring penguins, a yeti and other arctic mammals, and a fourth one is on the way.

Be sure to check out all the variations it spawned.

Play Pingu Throw


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A revelation and suddenly so much is explained.


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Flash Math Creativity

Yesterday afternoon, while out enjoying the sunshine, I went down to Borders to shop around for some cool books and found more than a couple. One in particular is a book titled "Flash Math Creativity" which looks very promising for getting up to speed with some very cool Flash math projects. The book is the culmination of contributions from about a dozen artists, thereby providing a rich diversity of interest and approach. The book was more money than I had on me, though I found the web site referenced in the book with all the source code. =)

The web site has all of the examples from the book, and most of them are really spectacular and interactive. And if you get bored with those, there are links to each of the contributors' web sites offering even more to explore.

One contributor, Manuel Tan, keeps a personal site that is especially impressive in interactive design, uncontrol. There he offers everything open source for anyone wishing to learn about the underlying code.


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The latest worm/trojan annoyance to come along is browser hijacking. If you haven't yet been stung by this insidious genre of computer virus yet, then consider yourself lucky. I just spent the better part of my evening tracking down those little germs and wiping my OS clean after clicking the wrong link in a Google search.

For the uninitiated, browser hijacking is the term for malicious software which is loaded into your browser when visiting a web site which hosts the program. It ‘hijacks' your browser settings by modifying your default start and search pages. The purpose, of course, is to redirect traffic to a site of the hijacker's choice.

The real problem is that registry settings can be changed by these hijacking programs which makes it extremely difficult to get rid of them. By launching watcher threads, these malicious programs keep track of your settings, so if you change them—they change them back! If you delete the process—there's another one running which replaces the one you deleted! It's unnerving and frustrating, and certainly not how anyone might like to spend an evening.

I found most of the information I needed to return my computer to normal by visiting spywareinfo.com and reading this article. The article made reference to a program called HijackThis which I found very helpful. HijackThis lets you remove entries from your registry put there by malicious programs, but it doesn't know which ones should be there and which ones shouldn't… that part is up to you to determine, so it is no ‘magic bullet'. Furthermore, I had to boot my computer to SafeMode before I was finally able to delete the programs which were causing all the trouble. What a pain in the arse it was.

I wouldn't wish the problem on anyone; but if you do get stung, check out HijackThis.


  • Currently 4.1/5
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Rating: 4.1/5 (29 votes)
| Comments (11) | Views (9)

Cats

Another game for you to try, this one written entirely in Flash. Its presentation and gameplay are both simple and elegant. And the cats are so darn cute.

The control in this game is very simple: just mouse over a cat to change its behavior. If a cat is walking, it will sit down. If sitting, it will begin walking. The object is to make all cats copy what the currently highlighted cat is doing.

Cats was created by Ferry Halim and they live on Ferry's Orisinal games site with so many other beautiful games. It's a treasure trove for the casual game lover, and especially for kids. It is clear that Ferry puts his heart into the games he makes, and does so with exceptionally talented and loving care.

Play Cats


(12 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (39) | Views (97)

Why is this game so addictive?

WEBoggle

Is it because it's easy to find at least a couple of words? It certainly can't be because I always end up at the bottom of the scoring list.

Play WEBoggle


  • Currently 4.7/5
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Rating: 4.7/5 (26 votes)
| Comments (11) | Views (31)

Ascii art

Thanks to WeezBlog for the link to a very cool site, Typorganism, where I played with all sorts of interesting type-related interactivity in an elegant Flash presentation. There is a visual composer feature which allows you to play with various palettes of sounds, organizing them as you might use a sequencer. If you like what you hear you can even submit it for others to hear. Look for a couple of compositions by 'jaydub'. That's me. =)

There is even a feature where you can upload an image and generate an ascii representation of it, hence the text above. If only I knew Flash well enough to come up with something as brilliant as that site. So very cool.

Play with Typorganism

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