Geekly Roundup December 13th

Geekly Roundup, December 13th: The Human Condition Edition

While there’s no podcast this week (as we circle ever closer to the holiday season), there are some great stories, including long-ago, far-away economic crises, rebuttals to addictive “freemium” games, and using gaming to cope with cancer and even death. Read on for some of the best we’ve found this week!

The story of Crashlands, a game built while its creator recovered from cancer (Polygon)

Just as Sam Coster and his brother Seth were in the midst of creating an endless runner game, Sam was diagnosed with Stage 4b Lymphoma. The change of plans, added clarity, and struggle to work that ensued were some of the most painful, and some of the most rewarding, of Sam’s life, and he tells his incredibly engaging story here. If you read one article from this week’s Roundup, we strongly recommend it be this one.

Destroying Death Star would trigger economic crisis (Time)

Professor Zachary Feinstein of Washington University in St. Louis has argued in a new academic paper that the destruction of Star Wars’ Death Star, based upon the premise that the Empire must have borrowed money to finance such a construction so quickly and would have controlled the banking sector of the galaxy, posits that the destruction of such an organization by a plucky, underdog, poorly-financially-funded group like the Rebel Alliance means that the costs left due to the banks would go unpaid, resulting in a massive galactic economic crisis. Intelligent commentary from a professor of financial engineering, or clever Imperial propaganda?

Star Billions: an iOS game that insists you leave it alone once in a while (Polygon)

In the age of freemium, free-to-play gaming, and micro-transactions, every game wants you to pay for “energy”, bonuses, extra time — to spend real-world money to squeeze more out of a game meant to reel you in to play constantly. Taking an interesting and possibly inadvertent stand against this is Star Billions, a game that tells you to leave it alone every so often. As the primary decision-maker on the last hope of a hopelessly lost starship, you must help four very disparate AIs decide what actions to take next — and then allow them time to act and learn about the repercussions. This could be a great game for decision-making and storytelling, but if you’re hoping for something you can lose yourself in for hours at a time, you may need to look (or supplement this one) elsewhere.

In this RPG about decline and death, you lose powers as you level (Polygon)

In this homemade RPG Maker project, To Ash, the main character is growing old and reaching the end of their life. As a result, as you play the game, you actually lose abilities and strength, requiring you to think harder, rely on companions for assistance, and consider new ways of looking at growing towards acceptance of death and decline.

Gear up for The Force Awakens with these “anti-cheese” edits of the prequel episodes (Polygon)

Midichlorians got you down? Is the prospect of re-watching all of the Star Wars movies in advance of its seventh installment made so much harder by feeling that the prequels have to play into it somewhere? Try out these “anti-cheese” edits by YouTube contributor JeremyMWest-Esquire, which remove some of the most painful moments, references, and acting (as determined by their editor). If you’ve already seen them once — or you want a pared down Episode I to tie up the loose ends of a friend’s Machete Order play-through — this could be an excellent way to review the prequels without reviewing all of the prequels, if you feel so inclined.

Virtuix Omni Treadmill lets man literally walk across Fallout 4’s wasteland on foot (The Nerdist)

While Fallout 4 isn’t optimized for VR, the game’s massively detailed and incredibly immersive world lends itself well to the idea of virtual reality. Virtuix, combining their 360-degree virtual-reality treadmill with an Oculus Rift and a little third-party support software, has presented a video of a man (limited edition wrist-mounted Pip Boy in hand, er, on wrist) traipsing through the wastelands of the Commonwealth on literal foot.

Elsewhere on the Internet:

Free Electric stationary bike can turn one hour of pedaling into 24 hours of free, clean energy (Interesting Engineering)

Peter Jackson announces he will direct Doctor Who (The Nerdist)

Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn first trailer (Gamnesia)

Stephen King’s The Gunslinger could make Idris Elba the world’s last cowboy (Polygon)

Shawn Ashmore wants to play X-Men’s Iceman again now that character has come out (Gay Star News)

Testing out Fallout 4’s range of pronounceable names (Polygon)

New footage of XCOM 2 in action (Polygon)

You could wait for another space-and-planet game, or you could just play Elite: Dangerous Horizons (Polygon)

The underrated house of Hogwarts comes to the stage in ”Puffs” (Hypable)

The work of box art specialists (Kotaku)

Sequel announced for Marvel: Avengers Alliance (Newsarama)

Star Citizen Alpha 2.0 is now available (Polygon)

Now that we’ve got Yakuza 5, time to start drooling over Yakuza 6 (Kotaku)

The Geekly Roundup is a weekly Ace of Geeks feature that brings together all the interesting things we’ve encountered across the Internet this week.  Contributions for this week’s Roundup were submitted by MalKontent and Ben.

Ben Lee
With a wide variety of interests ranging from baseball to theater and dance to technology to writing, Ben has given up on being good at any one thing and settled for being not half bad at a handful of things instead. He can usually be found cleaning up paperwork after a motley but wonderful crew of retail technicians; failing that, you can generally find him on the RP_OK Podcast at the Ace of Geeks, or on the San Francisco Giants-centric TortureCast. His Steam shame list is quickly growing legendary, and it's quite rare he's playing or watching anything made in the last five years.

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