Desktop Tower Defense

Desktop Defense Screen shot

I think Desktop Tower Defense is the most fun and addicting flash game I’ve ever played. It’s awesome, but be warned, don’t even start if you have work to do, because the addictiveness is off the charts.


3 Way Tie on Jeopardy

I’ve been interested in learning more about Game Theory (wikipedia) lately and in particular The Prisoner’s Dilemma. One very interesting example happened on the Jeopardy show last Friday (March 16th 2007)—for the first time in 23 years, Jeopardy had a three way tie.

The tie was an anomaly in large part because one player didn’t play the game to win. Going into Final Jeopardy!, here’s how the totals stood…

  • Scott: $13,400
  • James: $8,000
  • Anders: $8,000

So if you were playing the game, how much would you have bet? If you’re James or Anders, you can’t win by betting nothing and hoping for Scott to wager more than $5,400 and then get the question wrong because he won’t risk that much. In order for either James or Anders to win, you would have to bet everything, get the answer right and have Scott answer incorrectly.

If you’re Scott you have to wager at least $2,601 to win. It’s unlikely that you would get the question wrong and the other two get it right, so even with a really difficult question, chances are you’d still be left with between $10,799 or $8,001 depending on how aggressive you were—either way enough to beat either of your opponents who didn’t bet anything.

Scott probably assumed that one or both of his opponents would wind up with $16,000. What Scott did next is kind of like The Prisoner’s Dilemma (wikipedia) except that Scott was safe from either James or Anders “defecting”.

Scott decided to wager exactly $2,600 creating a three-way tie. He didn’t really lose anything because now he will return on Monday with the same two opponents that he’s already beaten and by not taking the extra $1 (or extra $2399 the most additional money he could have won with a “safe” wager) he allowed both James and Anders to also collect $1600 in winnings.

Scott has a Livejournal entry about the game:

Oh, you want to know about the Final Jeopardy! wager? It was an intentional bet. I counted on Anders and Jamey betting rationally and wagering everything. I thought it would be really cool to be a part of Jeopardy history. I knew that meant I’d be playing seasoned opponents, but it didn’t matter to me. I had already won a couple of games myself, and I thought it would be neat to share the money. (See my post about Jennifer from a couple of days; that’s what the literary people call foreshadowing. :-)). Now there’ll be a notation next to one of my games in the J! Archive. How cool is that?

(via Kottke)



More than just a simple puzzle game, Sprout features beautiful charcoal drawings as the basis for its graphics and style—a flash game that thinks it’s a children’s storybook.


You Don’t Know Jack

You Don't Know Jack

I was first introduced to the game “You Don’t Know Jack” by my high school physics teacher almost ten years ago. On the last day of classes he let us chill out and play the addictive flash based game where high culture and pop culture collide; I’ve been a fan ever since.

Now you can play a single player version of You Don’t Know Jack online. You can also browse their older “Dis or Dat” games via their blog or after you finish the 7 question game.


Name Games

I’ve come up with a few more versions of the “name the provinces/states/countries” game. I’ll list them all here (new additions marked):

Have fun, and don’t be shy, let us know what you think and how well you did.

documentary games

Nintendo Entertainment System Documentary

It’s hard to believe that the Nintendo Entertainment System was released 21 years ago. Last year, GameSpot sponsored a documentary celebrating the early years of Nintendo.

I particularly enjoyed the demonstrations of how to make your Nintendo cartridges run. I recall that for the first few years of Nintendo playing at our house we never had to blow on the games, I guess it was only in the later years (early 90’s) when games weren’t babied so much that dust was allowed to collect on the exposed circuit boards, and the ritual of blowing on games before you loaded them began.

Here it is, Flashback NES:

Hit play or watch fullscreen at Google Video.


Name 50 States in 10 Minutes or 13 Provinces and Territories in 2

Can you name 50 US states in 10 Minutes? Here’s a hint, if you get stuck think about the property names in Monopoly. I got 32 out of 50 on my first try.

I hope no one minds, but I converted the 50 States in 10 minutes game into a Canadian version: 13 Provinces and Territories in 2 minutes.

Update: See my list of other versions of the game.


Julian Dibbell’s Book Play Money is Now Out

Play Money: Or, How I Quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading Virtual Loot, the new book by Julian Dibbell is now available.

Julian’s goal was to earn more money selling imaginary goods (ie. online gaming goods) than from his “real job” as a professional writer. He came up short of his goal by only a few hundred dollars and, though I haven’t read it yet, I understand the book documents the entire endevour from day 1.

In addition to bookstores selling his book, Play Money will also be available in the virtual world of Second Life (in the currency of that world—Linden dollars).

From the press release:

In-game versions of Play Money designed by Second Life coder/publisher Falk Bergman are available for L$750. These copies can be signed by Dibbell at his in-Second Life interview with journalist Wagner James Au on July 27th. For the Second Life resident who needs something a bit more tactile, L$6250 buys a real-life copy of Play Money, shipped with care to the buyer’s real life address, in addition to the standard in-game version.

(At the time of this press release, Linden dollars are trading at approximately L$300.00 to the US$1.00. Adjusted to US dollars, an online copy costs US$2.50, and the price of a real-life copy bought in-game is around US$20.85.)

I’ve previously written about Julian’s professional game-playing.

ethics games

Columbine Massacre Video Game

Super Columbine Massacre RPG screenshot

I just finished reading an interesting piece on about the Super Columbine Massacre RPG, a video game in which you take the role of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the Columbine killers, on that fateful day in the Denver suburb of Littleton. How many people they kill is ultimately up to the player.

Judging from some of the harsh comments and some of the news articles written about the game from journalists that never even bothered to play the game it seems to me that a lot of people can’t comprehend the possibility that a video game could be a potential medium for provoking thought or education. Not that playing the game is a particularly enjoyable endeavour, but as compared with the documentary, the movie, or the multiple number of books written on the subject, why is it assumed that “the game” would automatically be something that condones their behavior whereas these other mediums get a pass?

One commenter had the nerve to go so far as to say,

“If your purpose in this game is to ‘understand’, my question is why do we need to understand? Understanding evil is not important—knowledge is not power. Evil is present and does great harm in our world. A better choice is to empower through ministry that heals. It’s my thought that your game doesn’t minister or provoke healing discussion—rather, it fuels the negative impact, divides people from Truth rather than lead them toward it.”

To me, a comment like this is so out-of-touch that it’s shocking. I can understand that at first appearance the idea of making that fateful day’s events into a game may seem trivilizing, but after having taken a few minutes to try it myself, I can say it allows for an interesting perspective that isn’t exactly possible in other forms.

If you’re not convinced, then I recommend checking out the fascinating interview about the game with a Columbine survivor and another one with the game’s creator which, after reading, may cause you to adjust your preconceived notions about the game.


Don’t Shoot the Puppy

Don't Shoot the Puppy

Don’t Shoot the Puppy is a clever flash game that made me laugh. The instructions are simple: don’t shoot the puppy. Just don’t do it.