Two Video Game Things for You Today

1. G. Christopher Williams runs down his favorite Flash games from 2010

Flash gaming has really grown up in the last few years. Gone are the days when simple ports dominated the scene (though these still exist) as a lot of developers (sometimes as parts of larger commercial teams, but especially of the independent sort) have managed to really create some unique and innovative titles.  Many of these games are sequels, and earlier games in such series may be somewhat simplistic and underdeveloped, but when playing through these series, it becomes clear that the evolution of the form is beginning to result in the refining of some real gems. Flash gaming is looking pretty sophisticated this year, and with that in mind, I wanted to take the opportunity to point out some titles that particularly stood out.

2. Adam Pennenberg examines how video games are infiltrating and improving our everyday lives.

What were American Express points and frequent-flier miles but games that reward loyalty? Weight Watchers? A game. Fantasy football? A game stacked on top of a game that influences the way you watch a game. In the Ford Fusion, a virtual tree is embedded in the dash. The more gas you save, the more the tree grows. They put a virtual pet in your car, he marveled, and it actually changes the way people drive!

Sensors, he said, have gotten so cheap that they are being embedded in all sorts of products. Pretty soon, every soda can and cereal box could have a built-in CPU, screen, and camera, along with Wi-Fi connectivity. And at that point, the gaming of life takes off. “You’ll get up in the morning to brush your teeth and the toothbrush can sense that you’re brushing,” Schell said. “So, ‘Hey, good job for you! Ten points’ ” from the toothpaste maker. You sit down to breakfast and get 10 points from Kellogg’s for eating your Corn Flakes, then grab the bus because you get enviro-points from the government, which can be used as a tax deduction. Get to work on time, your employer gives you points. Drink Dr Pepper at lunch, points from the soda maker. Walk to a meeting instead of grabbing the shuttle, points from your health-insurance provider. Who knows how far this might run?

Scary, fascinating and a bit exciting.  Four Square mimics gaming already.

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