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« Video Games: April 2006 | Main | Video Games: June 2006 »

Video Games

Evolution of a Shmoo

The ancient ancestors of the the Shmoo lived on the planet Quasar and were a member of the Herculoids, the coolest Hanna-Barbera cartoon ever. They were Gleep and Gloop. They were weird. I never knew anything about Shmoos; i just figured that Gleep and Gloop had somehow jumped shows and joined the Flintstones.

And just to totally outgeek everyone, it turns out that the NES videogame A Boy And His Blob was inspired by The Herculoids, but not the Shmoos:

I got word straight from A Boy and His Blob creator David Crane on the origins of Blobert:

"The fact is that Blobert was inspired by a cartoon show from my childhood - way before the Shmoo - called The Herculoids. This was a humanoid family that lived on a planet with several alien friends, including a flying dragon and a rock monster. Two of their more talented friends were Gloop and Gleep, who were shape-changing blobs.

To a fertile pre-pubescent mind there would be no better companion than a shape-changer. What mischief you could cause! I remembered these blobs fondly when creating A Boy and His Blob. And the idea of using a shape-changing companion as a tool to help you to navigate a platform adventure was quite unique for its day."

If this weren't a family blog, i might have mentioned something about how a fertile post-pubescent mind also might find a few uses for a shape-changing companion. Instead let's just end with a nice Herculoids group shot:


By fnord12 | May 16, 2006, 12:54 PM | TeeVee & Video Games | Comments (1)| Link



The Brain Game

Nintendo has come out with a game designed to stimulate the brain with puzzles and arithmetic. It's being marketed to older people, or "grey gamers," as a way to offset dementia and Alzheimers. The game was scheduled for U.S. release on April 17th.

Designed by a prominent neuroscientist, Brain Training for Adults, a package of cerebral workouts aimed at the over-45s by the Japanese game console and software maker Nintendo, is said to improve mental agility and even slow the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Players have to complete puzzles as quickly and accurately as possible, including reading literary classics aloud, doing simple arithmetic, drawing, and responding rapidly to deceptively easy teasers using voice-recognition software. The player's "brain age" is then determined. A physically fit, yet cerebrally past-it 30-year-old might be told after his first few attempts that his brain is into its 50s; a retired woman could, over time, end up with a brain age 20 years her junior.

The challenge, to reduce one's brain age, is proving addictive among Japan's baby boomers, many of whom say their only contact with game consoles was limited to bemused glances over the shoulders of grandchildren.

Not everyone's convinced that this sort of brain stimulation will actually do anything for you.

"You might get better at sudoku, but you don't get better at much else," said Guy Claxton, a learning expert at Bristol University.

The kewl part is that some Japanese hospitals actually have the game and the consoles in their waiting rooms and wards. Not only don't they have the PMRC and other crazy orgs trying to sell the "video games breed violence" meme, but they're actually providing access to video games to their sick people. And the older generation is actually interested in playing the games. It's like an alternate reality over there.

If puzzles help at all with slowing down the occurrence of dementia, i wish i could get a Chinese language version of it and get some of my family members interested. It would make the holidays more interesting, too.


By min | May 12, 2006, 8:54 AM | Science & Video Games | Comments (1)| Link



Buck! Buck! you with my shotgun

I'm starting to get excited about the new nintendo console (wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!). The emulation is a nice little thing, but i really like this:

And what they say about it:

As you can see, the controller is amazingly basic, but allows for an entirely new breed of Wii gaming. The shell takes the simplicity of the main controller, and adds an additional analog stick, which could make a new FPS/Light Gun hybrid the next big thing.

There's also some demo movies (Duck Hunt WII)

Link credit: Joshua.


By fnord12 | May 11, 2006, 1:34 PM | Video Games | Comments (3)| Link



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