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March 20, 2008 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-03-20

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6B - Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

games are looking the same way.
The thing is, I don't care. "Scrabulous" is my
most frequent online distraction. I just can't get
enough of the mental grind. Granted, it's obvi-
ously aping "Scrabble," and it was documented on
the front page of The New York Times on March 2
(below the fold, but still) with due cause. You can't
deny it looks like a copyright violation all the way
to the hilt.
Regardless,' it's an all-consuming addiction.
(Scene: four apartment mates, four laptops, a lot
ofswearing and whooping and outcries of "triple-
word score motherfuckers.") Remember "Snood,"
with all those smiling faces and endless hours on
"Pentagon City"? And there's "Minesweeper,"
"Solitaire" and "Hearts" for you PC pagans, chess
for Macsters and beer pong (as opposed to double
martinis) and pinball for you analog types.
The point is, simplicity matters - and it's
addicting. Facebook applications are milking this
adage for all it's worth: "Scrabulous," "The New
York Times News Quiz," "Chess Pro," that geogra-
phy game/vacuum of time and relevance, etc., ad
nauseum. If a game is familiar and/or easy to mas-
ter, then it's nearly set to go viral - regardless of
whether it's on Facebook or not. When the basics
of gaming fascination are tapped into, who knows
what to expect.
Case in point (for the time being): "Crayon
Physics Deluxe." At February's Game Develop-
ers Conference in San Francisco, Petri Purho, a
24-year-old Helsinki Polytechnic Stadia student
in Finland, received a good chunk of positive
feedback for his low-fi, low-intensity creation.
Designed for tablet laptops, the program has the

Wars" and "Racer." Simple codes, simple prem- Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carn-
ises, hours of entertainment. Rumors of "Doom" egieMellon University, has a bunch of YouTube
on the TI-83 Plus were never verified, but, much videos that are step-by-step, DIY Nintendo Wii
like the lost gold of El Dorado, it was a rumor you modifications. Using the Wiimote technology
wanted to believe in. (those magical sensors that simulate bowling,
It's a question of evolution. golf and other "physical" pursuits), Lee's projects
While the modern gaming industry is mostly include a low-cost, multi-point interactive white-
involved ina perpetual questto recreate reality as board (mmm, so geeky) and a head-tracking, vir-
a means for survival and relevance (the humans, tual reality setup. Innovative, simple stuff that
dinosaurs and the flu of the animal kingdom sounds complex but is made for laymen.
- some thrive, some don't), the tried and true The gaming industry might feel like CGI-satu-
are the simplest of organisms (the cockroaches, rated Hollywood sometimes, but it's important to
sharks and amoeba) that happilythrive at the bot- remember the bread and butter of computer-based
tom rung of the hierarchy. distraction. Take a second and wax nostalgic over
Game Boy will always hold a special place in "Chip's Challenge," "Termo Super Bowl" for Nin-
our hearts. Game Gear won't. Nintendo over Sega tendo, "Spider Solitaire," "SkiFree" and
Genesis; "Mortal Combat" over "Tekken." When Don't deny it. We all have a personal favorite tod
the goal is to be as complicated as pos- slip into that blank spot.
sible there is an inevitably higher Long live the cockroaches.
failure rate. You can't fail with DIGITAL
the ubiquitous. It's already "SKI FREE" ROOTS
entrenched and familiar.
"Halo 3" and "Bio- that graystickfigureAbsminable Snow- "RODENT'S PCs, for all their bugs and failings, have
Shock" will eventually man hustled out of nowhere and devoured REVENGE" always dominated Macs on the gaming
look like "GoldenEye" your blue sweater-clad skier, incidentally
and "Sid Meier's Coloni- scaring the shit out of you. "SkiFree" gave Youguided your rattothe tront. That was especially true in the mid-
yaathree options: slalom,tree slalom and cheese while avoiding '90s, which witnessed the birth of dozens
free style. And that's all you needed the cats. Bada bing of mind-numbingly awesome games
to suck the life out of countless Bada boom. that, thankfully, can still be found
hours in middle school with a little Googling.
computer labs.
"MICROSOFT BOB"
"nir "~tAAVU'

"TET-
RAVEX"
stard son
tqav-oth use-

catching as
wasn't well
ed within a
build walls
"mofa

Before GoogleReader and Windows Vista, Little, geeky Chiptgathered coi
S E E 33 S it St t Liert 734761-667 You d think the name "Pipe Dream" "Microsoft Bob" was the desktop organizer of choice doors in a puzzle world, Apparentl)
w H E CO EN B ROT H E R S' would elicit more pottyhumorthan it tar, Ithinknoone. Itconsistedoftaguide(withyour choiceof story irvolvintlove, butwe didatca
did (an mayhethat'sast s, hat rea a dog, a robot or whatever - a total precursor of thataannoying and pixilated fire - that wasenough.E
twasall aboat caaneclintpipes i Microsoft Word paperclip) and an interactive house in which each room game. No one. Don't even try totellus t
Twsar u nken Inesathe namelessgreen held groups of programs for your enjoyment. Yes, ittfailed. No, it wasn't colored keys to make it through the1001
sludge made it tothe exit - to the actually agame you played. Yes, it was closer tothetBerenstein Bears then jotted down every new level code on a po
AtanicOcanLinnux. But it went nobly into that desktop organizer sunset. RIP resume in level8 after spending seven ho
GB1didn'tget past it. But itsstill the best origi
ILLUSTRATION AND DEsGNBY ALLiSON GHAMAN/Daily
BIG LEBOWSKI __ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _

JEFF BRIDGES JOHN GOODMAN

h i- r -itof

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