• "In Space Alert you and your friends make up the intrepid (doomed) crew of a Sitting Duck class exploration vessel. The way these ships work is that they’ll jump into a comedically hostile sector of space, spend 10 minutes scanning their surroundings, and then automatically jump you back out again. A game of Space Alert only ever lasts 10 real-life minutes, and during that time it’s the job of the players to listen to the ship’s hateful computer (a CD which comes bundled with the game) as it reels off what threats are approaching and from where, and then prevent these threats from destroying you in an orderly and professional manner. Surviving isn’t necessarily that hard, but the professionalism part? Impossible." Space Alert is brilliant. Even if most of our missions involved us falling over a lot, because we forgot about the screensaver. Quintin summarises it nicely.
  • So, I began nodding my head a tad, but then halfway through it became clear that this is born out of a somewhat large chip on a shoulder, and that chip is primarily about "social games" (as they are commonly described), and that really, I don't agree with much of this. The "you" in question is quite narrow, and cheap shots like the notion that the title 'games consultant' has "an inherent tragic quality" don't help. Experienced, outside eyes often make things better. Does that mean there's going to be a cavalcade of barely-qualified games consultants in the impending gameificationpocalypse? Of course. Does that mean McCrae's point is true? Not really. Obvious disclaimer: I know several games consultants. They are all very good at what they do. They also bear no resemblance to what McCrae describes.
  • Lovely trailer from BBC America for Law & Order UK. Sadly, it illustrates roughly what the British trying to make American-style procedural drama looks like. Lots of slamming things down. And tea. (Although: they don't know what "knackers" means, clearly.)
    (tags: culture tv bbc )
  • "The iPad is an intensely personal device. In its design intent it is, truly, much more like a "big iPhone" than a "small laptop". The iPad isn't something you pass around. It's not really designed to be a "resource" that many people take advantage of. It's designed to be owned, configured to your taste, invested in and curated." On the assumptions built into devices, and what understanding them requires.
  • "Ships will subscribe to the service through a third party, and receive the latest copy of the book when they dock at port. They tear out each page, and apply the relevant changes to their paper maps with a pencil and transfer paper. They’re paper map diffs, if you like." Awesome. And, as Tom said, it's a beautiful book.
  • "Here at the Cow Clicker ranch, we've learned an important lesson about cow clicking: people don't just want one chance to click a cow every six hours. They want as many opportunities as possible to click a cow every six hours." And then Ian launches the API. And Connect. And everything else. And wins again.