We’ve all wanted to design and name our own squid; now we can, thanks to Te Papa. Mine is named Tom! (After Tom Sawyer, not Tom Cruise.) He just passed the research ship, Tongaroa.
Update: He just had a fight with a diver! Oh, Tom.
Update: He passed a vampire squid – no fighting this time though. (Tom would’ve won.)
Update: Tom’s now 22-days-old, and just passes a leaking submersible. Will he help it? Like heck!
It will probably be sunny all weekend, but that’s no reason not to stay indoors and play these great online flash games.
Fold – you’re an ant with the ability to create gravity wells so as to avoid … well, death. It’s a bit tricky to get the hang of it, but not too difficult.
99 Bricks – It’s the opposite of Tetris. Frustrating!
QWOP – I was terrible at this incredibly difficult racing game.
Run – Great fun! And addictive too, in the good way that some games are.
Amorphous Plus – Kill the gloobies with a big sword! (Not as violent as that sounds.) We liked this one – it’s very satisfying.
Physics Invader – Old-school Invader, but with physics!
Wooden Paths – Build wooden bridges across rivers – curiously engaging and relaxing.
Aether – once you’re sorted (it’s quite hard to get off the planet) this game is kind of serene.
The previously-mentioned online game, Wizard101, is now up and running. Your character is studying to be a wizard at Ravenwood School of Magical Arts. You can level your character, choose a school of magic and cast spells, duel other wizards, explore far-off worlds, and collect magic cards. The trial is free (and doesn’t expire); otherwise, the monthly subscription is US$9.99.
Young Bond is a free online game that will run until the 8th of October. It was started by Charlie Higson, the author of the Young Bond books (they’re in the children’s fiction section, but are also good for teens), to encourage reading. You can choose to be a British spy or a Soviet agent - although I think we know how that turned out. And the site has free downloads!
Our Olympic medal tally mightn’t be too wonderful, but NZ has done very well at the World Cyber Games Asian Championship in Singapore, winning a gold medal in Guitar Hero III and a silver medal in DotA All Stars - and so earning them the Asian Championship Trophy. NZ’s top gamers are represented by the eBlacks (you can listen to an interview with an eBlack that aired on National Radio this morning here). Nice one!
The 100 most common words in the English language – how many do you think you know? You have five minutes to find out! I got 44/100, which was quite reasonable. (There are some words that are more common than you‘d think.)
A few clues for you.
An ‘MMO’ is a Massive Multiplayer Online game. These are, as the name suggests, computer games that utilise persistent worlds whose inhabitants can interact with one another in any number of ways. Here are a couple of new MMOs – so new that they’re not even launched. You can sign up for the beta testing!
Kiwi Heroes is ‘complete with character advancement, special powers and abilities, extensive social and community features, and a world full of dynamic solo and group-based adventures and wondrous places to explore’ – and who could say no to playing a kiwi?
Wizard101 is set in a school for wizards (a la Hogwarts); you can level your character, choose a school of magic and cast spells, duel other wizards, explore far-off worlds, collect magic cards, and so on – it looks very cool. Wizard101 is currently in open beta too.
TypeRacer is a Flash game in which you race a car against others. Your typing speed determines the speed of your car. My measley 50 words per minutes seems to let me lead most races (though the current champion can type 219 wpm).
Not only is this game fun, it also qualifies as typing practice.
Some libraries in Los Angeles are having gaming nights - Guitar Hero, Wii Sports, and other console games. While we don’t have anything like that here – yet! – there will be a gaming night during this year’s SubText08. Wicked.
Otago Museum’s SciCity is an interactive website that is laden with games. What’s notable is that you can create your own avatar, earn SciCity dollars that you can spend on technology, and chat with other users! It’s pretty addictive, but in the good, educational way. Otago Museum also produces the Cosmix Comic books, which are all online. We often have free copies in the library as well.