Giapetta's Workshop

New Kickstarter uses crafting, jewelry, and games to get girls coding

A new Kickstarter entitled Giapetta’s Workshop wants to blend coding, crafting, and narrative into a single game that encourages 8-12 year old girls to be interested in STEM. The game begins in the real world, with a necklace and jewelry box that each girl can customize to fit her own style. The necklace then becomes her portal into an animated Adventure-Story app that turns learning how to code into a magical journey. The necklace serves as an input device which reveals hidden spells that, in turn, can only be unlocked by learning a basic coding program. Giapetta’s Workshop stars a…


The original SimCity guide was basically a textbook on urban development

Back when the first SimCity was released in 1989, the editor of Computer Gaming World magazine, Johnny L. Wilson, was commissioned to write a guide for the city management sim called The SimCity Planning Commission Handbook. In a manner befitting the complexity of the original SimCity, Wilson didn’t just want to confine his explanations of the game’s mechanics to the context of the game itself, but expand on those theories beyond the simulation, shedding light on the real-life parallels SimCity is built on. A city is a machine with many moving parts  Richard Moss has a long, detailed post on…


UCLA and Kinect just made sandboxes so much cooler

When I was a kid, I had a small plastic sandbox on my patio in the shape of a turtle. It came with a little turtle shell cover to keep the sand clean and safe when I wasn’t playing with it, but looking back on it as an adult, that stuff still probably wasn’t all that sanitary. Still, it was always one of my favorite things to play with as a child, even if it annoyed my parents, and I’m guessing I wasn’t alone in that. It could never quite replace the joy I got from videogames, but sometimes you…


The weird abandoned spaces of virtual worlds

I went to college in a rolling campus up on a forested hill, where the woods served as a playground on bored Sunday evenings, and frequent late-night power outages meant sneaking into empty administrative buildings, or finally searching for that deserted amphitheater tucked away in the forest, resigned to wood rot in its abandonment. There were days I would walk across campus and not see a single other student anywhere on the winding roads, dirt trails, or cement plazas of the school. But even then, the emptiness of these real, physical spaces rarely felt as eerie as that of the…


Think you’re good at rhythm games? Try mastering Steve Reich’s Clapping Music then

Welcome to life after Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, where every music game feels incomplete without J.K. Simmons’ Fletcher yelling, “are you rushing or are you dragging?” While Whiplash does not yet exist in game form, at least there’s Clapping Music, which may induce similar levels of angst in players.  The game, which was made by Touchpress, London Sinfonietta, and Queen Mary University of London, challenges players to learn Steve Reich’s 1972 composition, “Clapping Music.” This is easier said than done. “Clapping Music,” like much of Reich’s work, uses a technique called phasing in which multiple players play the same sequence at…


You can now experience the pure joy of Metamorphabet in your browser

Today’s kids are digital natives; they have been engaging with technology since they were very young. Many studies have been published about the benefits of interactive learning through technology in early childhood. As a result, educators have adjusted their pedagogy to include digital and interactive learning models. Developer Vector Park’s animated alphabet game Metamorphabet is one such tool for interactive learning. We reviewed it upon its iOS release in March, but now it’s available to play in your browser and to purchase for PC and Mac. “an alphabet for all ages”  Metamorphabet describes itself as “an alphabet for all ages.”…


They still don’t get paid, but student quarterbacks are now trained in virtual reality

It’s NFL draft season again, that magical time of year wherein prognosticators discuss the concussion-riddled future of young athletes for hours on end. One of the questions that invariably comes up during these interminable discussions is whether an athlete can “read the field” when he moves up from the NCAA to the NFL. But how exactly does one go about acquiring that skill? Virtual reality headsets, reports FOX Sports’ Bruce Feldman, are the newest way collegiate programs are preparing athletes to read the field. Stanford University, which is home to the Cardinals and Dr. Jeremy Bailenson’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab,…