Three Video Game Links

1. Have you played Ingress yet if you own an Android mobile device? I haven’t. But I’ve heard it’s a highly addictive, augmented reality science fiction game from many people that can’t stop playing and raving about it. The gist is: there are two teams trying to capture territory and open/close energy portals on a map that overlays the real world. What’s particularly interesting to me, is that Google also found a sneaky way to harvest all sorts of real-world mapping data.

2. Ian Bogost, who in my mind is the foremost gaming expert on the planet (I’ve interviewed him and he strikes me as fiercely intelligent and deeply passionate about what games can and should be), goes long on the history of Nintendo in the context of its new gaming platform, the Wii U. I won’t excerpt from it in the hopes that you’ll just go read the entire thing. It’s that good.

Okay, never mind, because: “If earlier Nintendo systems made video games safe for homes and families, the Wii U turns the tables: it attempts to make the current trends in the internet and consumer electronics safe for video games. It’s the first earnest, sustained, hardware-invested example of such an effort, and it’s full of risk and danger.”

3. ‘The Inside Story of Pong‘ is an exceptional bit of historical profile through the lens of perhaps the most important video game ever made.

Pong is the reason that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 can make more than three times as much in its first five days on sale as The Avengers can in its first five days in theaters. But while today’s blockbuster games are largely created by hundred-strong teams at bankrolled developers, the men who created and crafted Pong embodied the bootstrap start-up culture that typifies the most exciting edges of today’s tech landscape. They were knocked back by old men in drab suits who said games weren’t going to be big business. But games were going to be big business, even those started in unassuming surroundings. And nothing was going to stop them.

“Nolan Bushnell’s personality established an important paradigm for Silicon Valley entrepreneurs: willful, daring, imaginative, hypercompetitive,” says Henry Lowood, curator of the history of science and technology collection and media collection at Stanford. “It’s difficult to imagine Steve Jobs without Bushnell before him.”

But before these culture-defining pioneers could establish a paradigm, they had to first be very bored.

Bonus: MoMA has acquired 14 video games for their permanent collection. The games include Tetris, Myst, Pac-Man, Portal, Canabalt, The Sims, and Katamari Damacy. No Nintendo games on that list, but the museum said they are trying to add the aforementioned Pong, Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Brothers (original and SMB64 flavors), and Donkey Kong, plus many others to the exhibit.

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