Female coder’s inspirational letter to 8-year-old niece warms the heart

I’ve written a fair amount on the ever-evolving conversation taking place regarding women in the game/tech industry. It’s fair to say that the topic basically blew up in the past year – from Women vs. Tropes to the controversies of E3 to the more recent #objectify – a Twitter campaign meant to subject male writers to the same scrutiny female writers have to deal with. It’s genuinely exciting – and I personally feel that it’s a very positive thing that the larger culture is taking the conversation seriously, but there’s also backlash and anger awash in the topic. Recently, there’s…


The Theorizing the Web conference offers academic thrills and chills this weekend

Since you’re reading Kill Screen, your conference-going mind is surely tuned in to Twofivesix. However, if you’re in NYC and interested in the art and science of theorizing the web, the aptly named Theorizing The Web conference is going on Friday and Saturday (March 1st and 2nd, 2013), at the CUNY Graduate Center. The conference description reads like catnip to art/tech/culture geeks: – – – Society has been infiltrated by new digital technologies with potentially profound consequences. It makes sense to ask what’s changed? How has it changed? How much? Researchers and companies have gathered enormous amounts of data to…


Solve the Outbreak lets you play disease detective for a day

What could be more fun than disease puzzles? Solve the Outbreak is a new (and free) iPad app/game that allows players to live out their Contagion or even Outbreak fantasies and play the part of a CDC disease detective, solving clues to get a sense of what nasty illness each scenario presents. I’m going to admit this right now – I am a total sucker for this stuff. Playing detective is fun, sure, and I enjoy games that let me play as a crime fighter as much as the next girl, but stick me in the role of a disease…


Scientists figure out the optimal speed for living life

It’s one of the most tired clichés in modern life – that thanks in large part to the always-on, always-connected paradigm enabled by modern technology, American lives are busy, crazy, and unhealthy. That may well be true. But it has less to do with technology than we might think – and more interestingly, scientists are starting to get traction in uncovering the optimal speed settings for a happy life. – – – “Everybody knows” that the pace of daily life is speeding up, accelerated by the proliferation of mobile phones, tablets, WiFi and other communication technologies and by fallout from…

Enduring Freedom

Play enough games and you may win a shiny drone-piloting award from the military

Recent news from the American military has been all about modernization lately. The US will soon allow women in combat roles (roles they’re already playing in the current conflicts, thanks to the reality that the front lines are everywhere), LGBT soldiers can serve openly, and their families can receive the appropriate benefits. The latest news may be quite welcome for a generation of service personnel weaned on video games – a new medal is being introduced to honor the very game-y aspects of modern warfare – drone piloting and hacking chief among them. – – – The Distinguished Warfare Medal,…


Drugbound accurately depicts the nightmares of drug policy activists

If you ever wanted to know what the fever dreams of drug policy activists look like after too many long nights working through reams of legislative proposals, try Drugbound. It’s a wildly colorful, 2D side-scrolling endless runner with a hook straight out of High Times. The game is centered around your quest for freedom and your ability to collect the most marijuana possible, while avoiding buzzsaws, rocket-riding demons and the invisible, oppressive hand of the DEA. – – – The first level sees you endlessly running through a sunset desert (which just happens to resemble the Mexican border), collecting herb and…


The Machine of Death is a game of Assassin for the utterly insane

The Machine of Death sounds like quite a hilarious device, despite its morbid name. The core idea behind the card/tabletop “game of creative assassination” offers players the chance to deal death via an insane variety of methods, including bananas, sharks, brain melt, and other fun and exciting elements. Players take the roles of assassin-strategists, who must kill their targets by the means drawn on a card (many… nontraditional means are included), using only the tools they randomly draw from the deck. But there’s a twist. – – – “The GAME is about flinging SHARKS from CATAPULTS in order to kill…


Donkey Kong Country Returns to get 3DS remake, sans control issues

Nintendo has just announced that the truly excellent (and almost ridiculously hardcore) Donkey Kong Country Returns will have a new lease on life, in the form of a 3DS version, due out this summer. It will be in 3D, on a tiny screen, but unless Retro seriously messes with the title, this will also be the definitive version – mostly because it won’t require a Wii-mote to play it on. Let’s talk about controls for a moment. – – – I am the furthest thing from a Wii-hater (or even a motion control hater). I loved all the goofy Wii Sports nonsense, and I…


The end of the (online) world as we know it

The prevailing mood around tech is that there is no limit to the power and size of the Internet. Humanity’s most impactful creation since, well, probably the automobile has spread so far and so wide, that according to a recent piece in Salon, network-enabled gadgets (smartphones, tablets, computers) will outnumber the population of earth by the end of the year. That’s more than 7 billion Internet capable-devices. Obviously, there is still a massive divide between the haves and the have-nots. Many of us have upwards of ten connected devices, and I’m sure that number spikes ever higher the closer one gets…