CLOSE

11 Housewarming Gifts for the Dedicated Gamer

Since we brought you The Retro Fun and Games House, I've found a lot more products that will make serious gamers feel right at home in their own homes. Some are for sale; others are handcrafted, so you may have to plan ahead for a special occasion.

1. Space Invaders Bath Towels

These Space Invaders bath towels come in two colors and three designs to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the game (which was last year). Don't worry about whether it will match your bathroom's decor; the colors are black and white. The same outlet also has a Space Invaders Pillow.

2. Gamer Soap

445_soap

DigitalSoaps makes bars of soap in the shape of game controllers! Xbox, NES, and PlayStation contoller-shaped soaps are available, as well as soaps shaped like cell phones, calculators, and Space Invaders. They even have Mountain Dew shampoo for the diehard geek.

3. Iceblox

445iceblox

Iceblox is an ice cube tray that gives you ice in the shape of game pieces we all know and love. You can amplify the effect of serving drinks by using Koolade to make your ice in bright colors. Designed by Martin Zampach. If you prefer, another ice tray called Ice Invaders gives you the shape of yet more familiar game icons.

4. PacMan Oven Mitt

445_pac-manovenmitt

Every kitchen needs oven mitts and pot holders. Only a special kitchen has one shaped like Pac-Man!

5. Mario Table

445mariotable

This Mario tabletop is a one-of-a-kind, so you can't go buy one, but you could make your own. Aaron used ceramic tiles to cover a stained table with an 8-bit Mario design.

6. Tic Tac Toast

445toast

No need to stop playing games just because you're eating breakfast! Just $3.99 will get you a stamp that puts a tic-tac-toe grid on your toast. It can also be used on your lunch sandwich.

7. Rubik's Cube Salt and Pepper Mills

450saltpepper

These Rubik's cube salt and pepper mills are the exact size of a playable Rubik's cube, except that only one row rotates, and that row will grind salt or pepper. One cube of the set comes with a white turning row, the other with a red turning row. If that's too hard to keep straight, remember the pepper mill is the one that pepper comes out of. Add a real Rubik's cube to your table setting to further confuse your guests.

8. Rubik's Cube Clock

445clock

Like the salt and pepper mills, you can only turn the top row on this Rubik's cube clock. When you do, the display shifts from time to date to alarm, and even temperature! Also like the salt and pepper mills, it is the same size as a standard Rubik's cube.

9. Red Ring of Death Coasters

445coasters

With Red Ring of Death coasters, your gamer friends familiar with the Xbox 360 warning will laugh, while your other guests will think they are just nice coasters. I believe these were handmade, though I can see how a manufacturer could be inspired.

10. Mario Quilt

445_marioquilt

This Mario quilt was handcrafted by Brian's wife out of two-inch squares (or pixels, if you will) in 16 colors. See more pictures here. See more gamer quilts in a previous post.

11. Crocheted Nintendo Blanket

445_NintendoBlanket

Craftster member NerdyCrochetGal made this awesome Nintendo blanket out of crocheted squares featuring various Nintendo game icons. Even the border between the pictures is made of Tetris blocks!

See also: 8 Awesome Video Game Quilts and The Retro Fun and Games House.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Cahoots Malone
arrow
fun
Revisit Your Favorite '90s Screensaver With This Free Game
Cahoots Malone
Cahoots Malone

In the '90s, a significant amount of computing power was devoted to generating endless brick mazes on Windows 95. The screensaver has since become iconic, and now nostalgic Microsoft fans can relive it in a whole new way. As Motherboard reports, the animation has been re-imagined into a video game called Screensaver Subterfuge.

Instead of watching passively as your computer weaves through the maze, you’re leading the journey this time around. You play as a kid hacker who’s been charged with retrieving sensitive data hidden in the screensaver of Windows 95 before devious infomancers can get to it first. The gameplay is pretty simple: Use the arrow keys to navigate the halls and press Q and click the mouse to change their design. Finding a giant smiley face takes you to level two, and finding the briefcase icon ends the game. There are also lots of giant rats in this version of the screensaver.

Screensaver Subterfuge was designed by Cahoots Malone as part of the PROCJAM 2017 generative software showcase. You can download it for free for Windows, macOS, and Linux from his website, or if playing a game sounds like too much work, you can always watch videos of the old screensaver on a loop.

[h/t Motherboard]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
technology
Brain Training Could Help Combat Hearing Loss, Study Suggests
iStock
iStock

Contrary to what you might think, the hearing loss that accompanies getting older isn't entirely about your ears. Studies have found that as people get older, the parts of their brain that process speech slow down, and it becomes especially difficult to isolate one voice in a noisy environment. New research suggests there may be a way to help older people hear better: brain training.

The Verge reports that a new double-blind study published in Current Biology suggests that a video game could help older people improve their hearing ability. Though the study was too small to be conclusive, the results are notable in the wake of several large studies in the past few years that found that the brain-training games on apps like Luminosity don't improve cognitive skills in the real world. Most research on brain training games has found that while you might get better at the game, you probably won't be able to translate that skill to your real life.

In the current study, the researchers recruited 24 older adults, all of whom were long-term hearing-aid users, for eight weeks of video game training. The average age was 70. Musical training has been associated with stronger audio perception, so half of the participants were asked to play a game that asked them to identify subtle changes in tones—like you would hear in a piece of music—in order to piece together a puzzle, and the other half played a placebo game designed to test their memory. In the former, as the levels got more difficult, the background noise got louder. The researchers compare the task to a violinist tuning out the rest of the orchestra in order to listen to just their own instrument.

After eight weeks of playing their respective games around three-and-a-half hours a week, the group that played the placebo memory game didn't perform any better on a speech perception test that asked participants to identify sentences or words amid competing voices. But those who played the tone-changing puzzle game saw significant improvement in their ability to process speech in noise conditions close to what you'd hear in an average restaurant. The tone puzzle group were able to accurately identify 25 percent more words against loud background noise than before their training.

The training was more successful for some participants than others, and since this is only one small study, it's possible that as this kind of research progresses, researchers might find a more effective game design for this purpose. But the study shows that in specific instances, brain training games can benefit users. This kind of game can't eliminate the need for hearing aids, but it can help improve speech recognition in situations where hearing aids often fail (e.g., when there is more than one voice speaking). However, once the participants stopped playing the game for a few months, their gains disappeared, indicating that it would have to be a regular practice.

[h/t The Verge]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios