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BLEEP BLOOP: Check out this chiptunes synthesizer made with arcade console buttons.

Where does 8-bit music come from, and where does it go? Known scientifically as monophonic square-waves, the audio synthesizers of the NES and Gameboy have been channeled into a new, custom-built instrument called Pianocade built by Canadian tinkerer Jonathan Guberman. Guberman had already created the Automatypewriter text-adventure typewriter, the Pactuator clockwork Pac-man, and the interactive Portal turret plushie. Now, there’s the Pianocade. – – – The 8-bit synthesizer is laid out like a piano keyboard, and features the charming, concave buttons usually found on arcade consoles. Pianocade comes in two sizes, a one-octave or two-octave model, which are available for pre-order through the Pianocade website. He…

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Pokémon takes on the typing-tutor game sub genre.

When I was a kid, nobody I knew actually learned anything from Mario Teaches Typing. It was the kind of lazily constructed, “edutainment” game that came pre-loaded on computers in my elementary school’s computer lab. Nobody played it to learn how to type— it wasn’t very useful in that regard, nor did “learning” through a computer game appeal to my elementary school self. Instead, my friends and I would frantically mash the keyboard in hopes that we would hit the correct keys somewhere along the way and advance through the level as though it were a regular Mario game. It felt like playing Super Mario…

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Nintendo linked to Congo-warzone controversy.

When the mobile game Phone Story was banned from Apple’s app store, it raised further awareness about questions of human rights violation that encircled the production of iPhones, from outsourced labor in China to the controversial extraction of precious minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a war zone. Apple isn’t the only technology manufacturer complicit in these heated issues, as many devices require precious minerals linked to funding war in Congo. Recently, the Enough Project, a group dedicated to holding companies accountable to the sources of their manufactured products, ranked Nintendo as the worst company on their list due…

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Ukiyo-e Heroes is Japanese woodblock for the gamer set.

Earlier this year we posted about an awesome series of illustrations  depicting videogame heroes as japanese woodblock illustrations. Now Jed Henry, the man behind these illustrations, is raising money to actually print these illustrations through a traditional woodblock process, with the aid of Tokyo-based woodblock-master David Bull. By donating to their Kickstarter fund, you can receive copies of coloring books, digital prints, woodblock prints and so on, depending on how much you contribute. Check it out here.

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Brian Ulrich’s dystopian photography reminds us of Fallout 3.

After the zombie infection spreads, after the atomic bomb drops, after the alien invasion: the auteur directors and game developers behind post-apocalyptic narratives often focus their attention to detail towards public and commercial spaces, rendering them vacant and decaying. Think of the establishing outdoor shots in 28 Days Later; think of the dilapidated supermarkets and convenience stores of Fallout 3; think of the ravaged city squares of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. Photographer Brian Ulrich may or may not have drawn from these references when he created his series of photographs, Dark Stores, but his work undoubtedly shares with them in…

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GaymerCon promises a fun and inclusive space for geeks of all types.

“Gaming is a common shared experience that helps us escape, educates us and helps to define who we are and want to be.”  According to their official website, Gaymercon is a new and upcoming videogame and geek-culture convention for LGBTQ and allied communities, which will be hosted on August 3rd and 4th, 2013, in San Francisco. GaymerCon’s Kickstarter, which launched on August 1st, seeks to raise money to secure a great venue and fund the two-day convention, filling it with with panels, booths, competitions, tabletop games, cosplay, live music and more.  By helping to fund the event, contributors can receive…