A First-Person Elevator Simulator (FINALLY)

What's the best setting for drama, awkwardness, and first-person online video games? Yes, an elevator. If you don't have a real elevator available, why not play Elevator: Source, a "co-op elevator experience" in which a group of players hang out in an elevator as it travels between floors in a surreal building, stopping periodically to show players what's on the floor outside the elevator. Some floors contain kittens in space, others are infested with dinosaurs, and still others do unexpected things like drop you down the elevator shaft. The future of elevator gaming is now!

The game features dedicated buttons for checking your watch and coughing. While I haven't played it, I watched a good chunk of this 45-minute gameplay video. It's kind of amazing -- the game perfectly captures the strange pacing of enforced elevator waiting, the awkwardness of unwanted passengers (a man with a shotgun gets on at the first stop and nervously twitches for a few floors), and the banality of listening to lame music as you wait.

Note: this gameplay video contains NSFW language -- it's a group of dudes playing a multiplayer game, you can expect a fair bit of swearing and crudeness. Skip ahead to 1:45 for the beginning of the actual elevator journey.

If you want to actually play the game, check out this site -- you'll need Half-Life 2: Episode 2, some mods, and various other prerequisites. The video is probably enough to give you an idea of what gameplay is like.

(Via Waxy, via Rock, Paper, Shotgun.)

Barbie Is Now Giving Coding Lessons

Mattel wants to help 10 million kids learn to code by 2020, and the toy giant is enlisting one of its most career-focused assets: Barbie. According to Engadget, Mattel is working with the coding education company Tynker to make seven Barbie-themed computer programming lessons.

Barbie has been a pilot, an architect, the president, and a computer engineer, so there may be no better character to teach kids the joys of coding. The lessons, arriving in summer 2018, will be designed for youngsters in kindergarten and up, and will teach Barbie-lovers more than just how to make apps. They’ll use Barbie’s many careers—which also included veterinarian, robotics engineer, and astronaut—as a way to guide kids through programming concepts.

An illustration depicts Barbie and her friends surrounded by cats and dogs and reads 'Barbie: Pet Vet.'

A screenshot of a Barbie coding lesson features a vet's office full of pets.

There are plenty of new initiatives that aim to teach kids how to code, from a Fisher-Price caterpillar toy to online games featuring Rey from Star Wars. This is the third partnership between Mattel and Tynker, who have already produced programming lessons using Hot Wheels and Monster High.

Kindergarten may seem a little soon to set kids on a career path as a computer programmer, but coding has been called “the most important job skill of the future,” and you don’t need to work for Google or Facebook to make learning it worthwhile. Coding can give you a leg up in applying for jobs in healthcare, finance, and other careers outside of Silicon Valley. More importantly for kids, coding games are fun. Who wouldn’t want to play Robotics Engineer Barbie?

[h/t Engadget]

All images by Tynker

"American Mall," Bloomberg
Unwinnable Video Game Challenges You to Keep a Shopping Mall in Business
"American Mall," Bloomberg
"American Mall," Bloomberg

Shopping malls, once the cultural hub of every suburb in America, have become a punchline in the e-commerce era. There are plenty of malls around today, but they tend to be money pits, considering the hundreds of "dead malls" haunting the landscape. Just how hard is it to keep a mall afloat in the current economy? American Mall, a new video game from Bloomberg, attempts to give an answer.

After choosing which tycoon character you want as your stand-in, you're thrown into a mall—rendered in 1980s-style graphics—already struggling to stay in business. The building is filled with rats and garbage you have to clean up if you want to keep shoppers happy. Every few seconds you're contacted by another store owner begging you to lower their rent, and you must either take the loss or risk them packing up for good. When stores are vacated, it's your job to fill them, but it turns out there aren't too many businesses interested in setting up shop in a dying mall.

You can try gimmicks like food trucks and indoor playgrounds to keep customers interested, but in the end your mall will bleed too much money to support itself. You can try playing the bleak game for yourself here—maybe it will put some of the retail casualties of the last decade into perspective.

[h/t Co.Design]


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