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PicaPic

Play Vintage LCD Games in Your Browser

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PicaPic

Growing up, I never owned a Game & Watch game, though my friends sure did. When I went to camp, the cool kids had them, and they'd hang out madly mashing buttons, trying to score more points in some food-flipping game, or the coveted pretty-good Donkey Kong game. But when I'd get to play them, most of the games were baffling -- either based on sports I didn't fully understand, or simply really hard to play due to the fast-moving (and hard to see) LCD action. Given my brief sessions with the weird LCD game thingies, I never became an expert.

Now, Pica Pic has put emulated versions of these LCD games online, for free. The controls are mapped to keyboard keys (and you can re-map them to other keys if you like). The games are still crazy-hard, but at least they're free! Go to Pica Pic to play. If you get a high score, you can even join the high score leaderboard on their site!

If you're not into the whole "playing the games" part, check out this Japanese TV ad for the multi-screen variants of Game & Watch games. Clearly, design inspiration for the later Nintendo DS:

(Via Kottke, specifically the excellent Sarah Pavis!)

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Bryn Dunbar
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Pop Culture
Can You Spot Fake News? A New Game Puts Your Knowledge to the Test
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Bryn Dunbar

In 2017, misinformation is easier than ever to access. During the 2016 election, scammers—including hordes of Macedonian teens—raked in serious money by churning out deliberately fake stories about U.S. politics, with a very real impact. In a December 2016 Pew Research Center survey, 64 percent of U.S. adults said that fabricated news was sowing "a great deal of confusion" about current events.

It can be hard to determine what’s real and what’s fake in the viral news world. A new game—expected to launch for iPhone on July 10—will test your skills. Fake News, designed by the creative agency ISL, asks players to distinguish between headlines found on true stories and headlines drawn from fake news sites (as determined by fact-checking sites like Snopes, Politifact, FactCheck.org).

The simple, arcade-style game for iPhone asks you to swipe left on fake headlines and swipe right on true ones. You have 100 seconds to sort through as many headlines as you can, competing for the highest score with other users. For instance, did Arby’s really get its name because “RB” is another way of saying roast beef? (No, RB stands for Raffel Brothers, the founders.) Does Jeff Goldblum really have a food truck named Chef Goldblum’s? (Kind of. It was a film promotion stunt.)

Fake News also exists as a physical arcade game. The creators installed a table-top arcade game in a D.C. bar on July 5, and may install it elsewhere depending on demand.

The game is harder than you’d expect, even if you think of yourself as fairly well-informed. As research has found, viral stories require two things: limited attention spans and a network already overwhelmed with information. In other words, our daily Internet lives. The more information we try to handle at one time, the more likely it is that we’ll fall for fake news.

Scientists found in a recent study that warning people that political groups try to spread misinformation about certain issues (like climate change) can help people sort through dubious claims. While that’s good to remember, it’s not always useful in real-life situations. It certainly won’t help you win this game.

One of the reasons Fake News is so hard, even if you keep abreast of everyday news, is that it doesn’t tell you where the headlines are from. Checking the source is often the easiest way to determine the veracity of a story—although it’s not a foolproof system.

Need help finding those sources? This Chrome plug-in will flag news from troublesome sources in your Facebook feed.

Update: The game is available for iOS here.

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What's the Kennection? #152
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