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How Twitter bots could sway the outcome of the presidential election

n the midst of the most unprecedented election season in recent history, questioning the political power of technology is now more important than ever. Over on Wired, Samuel Wooley and Phil Howard investigated how social platform’s could be changing the course of history with propaganda bots. Elsewhere, Twitter was recently accused of purposefully pulling a trending hashtag that critiqued presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Facebook is being investigated for political bias in its trending topics. People now see that these are not just platforms, but curated and published media. And, like all published media, they come with a bias, be it…

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NES hack brings your old Nintendo online, complete with Twitter

Despite being over 30-years-old, and therefore predating public internet access, it turns out that the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) has actually been capable of connecting to the internet the whole time. All it takes is a “modem” and a little bit of hacking, courtesy of Femicom Museum founder and serial videogame tinkerer Rachel Simone Weil. Dubbed ConnectedNes, Weil’s hack brings the NES online in three easy steps. First, it takes a Particle Photon Wifi development kit and hacks it together with bits of a NES controller, then plugs it into a standard NES controller port. Because the kit (which Weil has nicknamed…

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Glaciers writes poetry using Google’s most popular searches

Currently wrapping up its first weekend on display at New York’s Postmasters art gallery, Glaciers is the latest art project from Sage Solitaire (2015) creator and Tharsis systems designer Zach Gage, as well as several billion unknowing co-authors. The exhibit features a collection of small e-ink screens, each displaying a digital poem generated using the top three Google autocomplete results to a specific prompt, such as “how much,” “does he want,” and “should I save.” The poems refresh once per day, meaning that like their namesake, they have the potential to change shape and meaning over time. Though Gage is well known for his…

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Japanese hashtag reimagines videogame covers using adorable clip-art

#いらすとやさんでゲームパッケージを再現する, or as Google Translate tells me, “#To reproduce the game package in Irasutoya’s,” is a hashtag currently making its way around Japanese Twitter. It’s dedicated to taking videogame covers and recreating them with royalty free clip-art, specifically from the Japanese illustration blog Irasutoya. With its soft pastel colors and cute, cartoonish proportions, Irasutoya’s art challenges the hashtag’s participants to take titles such as Dark Souls (2011) and look at them through the candy-colored lens of Hello Kitty. While the idea of recreating images from games and movies using clip art isn’t entirely new—there’s already subreddits and Tumblrs dedicated to doing…

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Let’s Play Snake brings the classic arcade hit to Twitter

With visuals that can be easily represented using only a line and a dot, and rules no more complex than “get to point b without hitting anything along the way,” classic arcade game Snake has become renowned for its simplicity and elegant design. This, in turn, has lead to its prevalence among a number of platforms, especially those that struggle for visual fidelity, such as graphing calculators and early cell phones. There’s even a version of it that can be played over your favorite YouTube videos. Now, thanks to web developer Yannick Rochat, Snake has been adapted for Twitter. Rochat’s…

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An obituary for God… the Twitter personality

God is dead. He had a good run. He quietly passed away on Saturday afternoon, surrounded by close friends, family, and Twitter followers. God died as he lived: sending out not-at-all cryptic missives to his 2.29 million followers. He will be remembered as the leader of a major theistic cult, albeit a smaller one than the legion of Beliebers. I come here to bury God, not to praise him. The evil that novelty Twitter accounts do lives on after them; The good is oft interred with their bones. So it is with God, who spent his final hours retweeting a…

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New exhibit hints at a future for low-poly art outside of games

The unfortunate thing about low-poly art, the aesthetic of simple shapes and abstract images seen in games like Final Fantasy VII, is that it never got much of a chance to take off as a legitimate art style all its own. In a medium where big companies are constantly competing over realistic graphics, low-poly art has been quickly phased out for more and more detailed visuals as technology has become increasingly powerful. And while the similarly retro-born pixel art has had a resurgence with the rise of independent game development, low poly-art has yet to see the same sort of…

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Die, die, and die again in this Twitter-based adventure game

When I scroll through my Twitter feed, I’m never hard-pressed to find selfies, silly jokes, personal anecdotes, opinions on whatever dumb, ignorant thing Donald Trump said recently—but what I don’t expect to find is a Choose Your Own Adventure game, complete with pixel art gifs and a seemingly infinite number of choice-related deaths. Pixel artist Leon Chang “launched” (or rather “tweeted out”) his social media-based Choose Your Own Adventure game Leon on October 21st. While not the first to make such a game, Chang’s Leon is the first to combine both gifs of original pixel art and hundreds of burnout…

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A Twitter bot turns old Sierra games into beautiful glitches

There’s a narrator who routinely mutters random, bewildering sentences to Adam Mathes on his Twitter feed. He’s fine with it. He put the narrator there himself. It’s actually somewhat of a comfort. This narrator exists under the Twitter handle @quest_ebooks but started out life in Sierra Entertainment’s many classic adventure games. Mathes grew up playing those adventure games, he loved them, and so he wanted to bring their “omniscient, antagonistic, baffling” narrators through his life with him. This is why he created a Twitter bot for them to exist within. Mathes was inspired by Andrew Vestal’s “YouAreCarrying” bot. That one tweets…