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!
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
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)
New footage of XCOM 2 in action (Polygon)
The work of box art specialists (Kotaku)
Sequel announced for Marvel: Avengers Alliance (Newsarama)
Star Citizen Alpha 2.0 is now available (Polygon)
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.