100 ARCADE GAMES FROM THE OLD DAYS

This Spring, thanks to Atari, 100 arcade games from the old days will be available for playing online through the website Steampowered.com. The games include Asteroids, Centipede, Missile Command, Tempest and Warlord. We got a wee bit excited when we read that many of these classic games are already available on Atari’s “Flashback” console, now out in version 6. But when we checked the reviews on Amazon, nearly half the reviewers give it only one star. The machine gets confused if your hand actions are too animated and the joystick is difficult to use. Missile Command is described as virtually unplayable. Some kids like it because they didn’t know how these games worked in the old days. And by the […]

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NEW YEAR REFLECTIONS ON THE CHANGING UNIVERSE OF GAMES

December 2015 was the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s lecture on the “General Theory of Relativity,” changing forever the way we see the Universe. On a somewhat lesser level, it was the 40th anniversary of “Colossal Cave Adventure,” usually called simply “Adventure.”

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GOLF WHEREVER YOU ARE

“Optishot Golf” is a $500 simulator that fits in a briefcase and connects with a computer to analyze your swing. Videos and still shots from world-famous courses are projected onto whatever wall you happen to have handy. You can play alone or with two to four companions.

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BATTLE FOR THE OLDIES

Avast mateys! You scurvy dogs! Playing games like “Monkey Island” back in the 1990s was the most fun we’ve had playing video games. But some of those old games won’t play on new machines — unless you can get new versions.

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FREE GAMES, REALLY

Many computers come with a “games” file on board from their first startup; our Hewlett Packard has at least a couple hundred.

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LEARNING SPANISH THROUGH GAMES

pbskids.org/noah has a new scavenger hunt game where players must decipher Spanish words and locate objects. Through videos, the site tells the story of a kid called Noah and his grandmother, who live in an area where everyone but them speaks Spanish (sort of like Miami).

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GET MOVING

We read about a guy who lost 140 pounds playing “Ingress,” a free Android/iPhone game that gets you moving about in the real world (whatever that is). You the player can choose to be on the side of the “Enlightened” or the “Resistance” as you search for power nodes that connect with another universe.

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LEARN CHESS

ChessCademy.comĀ is an awesome site for learning chess. It’s also free.

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GAME MUSIC

You can create a musical score made up of the kind of music and sound effects you hear in adventure games and save it to any application you wish, even making weird sounds for your cellphone. This is free for the month of February from Syrinscape.com if you feel like trying out their new beta version (pre-market release) of the Syrinscape Fantasy Player.

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GAMES CAN MAKE YOU SMARTER

According to researchers at Florida State University, playing the video game “Portal 2” makes you smarter than training your brain with the well-known Lumosity system.

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