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The Invisible Hand wants to make trading exciting, but also boring

Working as a trader used to be a glamorous—if also morally dubious—job. Note the use of the past tense in that sentence: Wall Street (1987), with its yelling into phones and power-suits, power-lunches, and power-everything-else is a thing of the past. It’s not for nothing that the most exciting cultural portrayal of traders in recent years, Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), is set in the recent past. What happened? In short: math and computers. The balance of power shifted from those executing trades to those who created the models on which those trades were based. In The Hidden Role…

Football Manager 2017
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Football Manager 2017 simulates the consequences of Brexit on the sport

It’s been a while since Kill Screen checked in on the Brexit fallout. Last time around, David Cameron was still an active Member of Parliament and Nigel Farage was giving awkward interviews about the NHS while looking a bit like Downton Abbey’s gawpy interpretation of Pepe the Frog. How time flies! In the four brief months since a plurality of Britons voted to commit economic and diplomatic harakiri, the venerable Football Manager series has managed to simulate the decision’s effects on the sport in its next entry, Football Manager 2017. And as Miles Jacobson, the man in charge of the videogame series, told The…

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Prepare for the Clinton-Trump debate with a political drinking game

If the current presidential election has not yet driven you to drink, the first of three debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump scheduled for Monday (yes, today) may well prove to be the tipping point. Before it has even begun, it is already infuriating: one candidate is likely to be declared presidential if they manage to avoid a sudden bout of incontinence, whereas the other’s supporters have been preparing for this injustice with their normal reserve. Is it over yet? The desire to drink through debates is oftentimes a purely rhetorical gesture meant to signal just how frustrating the…

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Bjarke Ingels’s new game is everything good and bad about his architecture

Bjarke Ingels’s portfolio can now be viewed as an online game called Arkinoid, which is an updated version of the classic (and similarly-named) arcade game, Arkanoid (1986). Of course it can—it was only ever a matter of time. That is meant as a relatively value-neutral statement, but inevitably it can also serve as a sort of Rorschach test for how you feel about the Danish architect. The whole thing is at once playful, pointless, childlike, simplistic, amusing, and glib, and whatever combination of those things that you see in the game probably also applies to the Bajrke Ingels Group’s work. All of which…

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Epipen Tycoon is angry and wasteful, much like the company it seeks to skewer

Wouldn’t it have been easier to tell Mylan CEO Heather Bresch—whose main claim to fame involves jacking up the price of Epipens in the US—to delete her account? Is The GOP Arcade’s latest release, Epipen Tycoon, a game with which we must reckon simply because Bresch does not currently have a Twitter account to be memed into submission? What a waste. Fair warning: I’m going to spoil the end to Epipen Tycoon in this paragraph because there’s so little to the game that it cannot be discussed otherwise. You play as Bresch. “Your shareholders want results,” the game informs you.…

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Cilvia challenges architects to treat planning as more of a game

Urban planning is a rules-based game. Participants in the planning process have goals they wish to accomplish and constraints governing how their objectives can be achieved. Nowhere is this more the case than in London, where a complex series of regulations and protected sightlines have conspired to create ungainly clusters of misshapen towers. (The Shard, anyone?) Architects are already playing the planning game, but they are playing it clumsily. That, in effect, was the conclusion the Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright and Monica Ulmanu came to in their interactive visualization of the city’s future skyline (come to think of it, that also…

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How to make a good Republican convention drinking game

This American presidential election is deadly serious. Even if one party’s candidate appears to have emerged from a Ronco countertop rotisserie, and his ideas might as well have come from there too, the whole thing is too ugly and scary to really be a joke. The Republican National Convention, however, is a whole other story. When the first item listed on a host committee’s “find a supplier” page is called “The Cool Bus,” at least a few jokes are in order. Before the jokes: Yes, this whole thing is going to be a disaster and hopefully nobody gets hurts in…

The Brexit Game
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Everyone and everything is awful: Notes on the Brexit and the game design of referendum

We have reached the recriminations stage of the United Kingdom’s referendum on continued European Union membership. One might reasonably argue that the whole campaign has taken place in this stage from the start—recrimination is Brexit’s natural state of being. But, in short: everyone’s mad; everyone’s an idiot; everything’s fucked up. Here, then, is Toph Tucker’s The Brexit Game, which is not very good but captures the zeitgeist reasonably well. It is basically an excuse to call other people idiots. The game was coded at a bar and gives you the name of a place in the United Kingdom and the percentage…

Improbable
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Taxis are now being guided by the same tech used in city-building games

A city-building game, no matter how wild it looks, is an economic model. Everything can be mapped. Everything is built on a substrate designed to facilitate bean counting. Everything is fundamentally knowable. There are surprises for the eye, but nothing is truly surprising. The city-building game, in other words, is every business’s dream. A centrally controlled, fully quantifiable universe would grant considerable powers to a large corporation. That is why it’s no big surprise that the British startup Immense Simulations is using a simulation technology called Improbable to solve taxi dispatch problems. These are, in effect, two sides of the…