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Feature

The problem with empathy games

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. A niche genre of videogames hopes to inspire players to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, leading to an important discussion about how players experience empathy. Biofeedback videogames feed off players’ physiological responses, impacting gameplay in new and interesting ways. But what happens when developers create games designed to evoke a specific emotional or psychological response? Empathy games attempt to answer that question. These videogames aspire to enhance a player’s understanding of an outside perspective, particularly those pertaining to real-world struggles and inequalities, through interactive experiences. “You have to…

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News

A videogame that teaches you the basics of CPR

“You know all this shit,” shouts Conan O’Brien, “but you don’t know who our second president was!” This outburst happened during Conan’s early look at Super Smash Bros. last year. He’s amazed that his partner for the video, Aaron Blair, knows who all of the 50-plus characters in the game are, but doesn’t know what most would consider basic American history. It’s exemplary of the kind of information some videogame fans so easily absorb while struggling to retain knowledge belonging to the world we live in.  These people only have a 20 percent chance of living  Blair isn’t an exception here.…

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There is now a high tech gadget exclusively for women’s health

You know how I know its the future? Because “smart” technology is trying to literally get in my pants. Let me explain: the Looncup, recently Kickstarted, is a bluetooth-enabled menstrual cup designed to help women “redefine” their “special time of the month.” If those words sound like gibberish to you, join the club, because either your first reaction is “what the hell is a menstrual cup?” or “why the hell is the Internet of Things trying to get inside me?” But beyond these instinctual responses lies something much more important. First of all, technology—that shiny stuff produced in Silicon Valley…

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The deformed, lonely bodies of Kyttenjanae’s colorful worlds

Kyttenjanae depicts loneliness and sickness in an unusual way. It’s almost always as a rainbow-flavored mix of gross-out and grace. The signature animated art that she shares on her Tumblr page is recognizable for the eyeless humanoids that ebb and flow as if made of pink and polychromatic liquids. They strangle themselves and puke out their sherbert innards from mouths and arse, some hang limp out of computer monitors, or see their bodies morphed by a technological ripple of neon lacquer paint. Whatever the case, they’re all forever trapped in endless torture by the looping gif format. sick with consumerism  Her…

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A new exhibit asks if we’re more than just the sum of our data

“Oh cold, cold, rigid, dreadful Death, set up thine altar here, and dress it with such terrors as thou hast at thy command,” says Ebenezer Scrooge near the end of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. That’s exactly what Karl Toomey did for the Lifelogging exhibit at the Science Gallery Dublin. In a show concerned with “exploring new ways to track everything,” the piece that has so far garnered the most attention is a gravestone belonging to the fictional Kurt Mark O’Neill.    Born at the turn of the century and dead sixty five years later, O’Neill had 672 Twitter followers,…

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A glimpse into the low-poly future, where no one sits and everyone is attractive

This sprawling polygonal blot is the work of the architecture firm RAAAF and the visual artist Barbara Visser, and, while it sort of looks like a laser-tag course or the Aggro Crag or something, it is in fact a vision of a healthier, happier future. We all know that sitting down all day is unhealthy—“worse than smoking,” we hear; leads rather directly to obesity, cancer, and heart disease—but the issue remains that making the switch to standing all day, for people who are able to, still isn’t easy. We have decades of office construction built around the seated desk, and…

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News

This asteroid-zapping game might cure cancer

The free mobile game Play to Cure: Genes in Space was created at a madcap game jam hosted by Cancer Research UK to do just that: research cancer. You can get it for Android here and iPhone there and start blasting your way towards a cure. But listen how it works first. The human genome is teeny tiny, but has generated a ton of data, and that’s where this game comes in. By flying through hoops and shooting down space debris, you’re actually helping researchers analyze which sections of the genome cause cancer. I gave it a whirl, and frankly, Starfox…