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Antoinette J. Citizen
Antoinette J. Citizen

When Gamers Decorate: 7 Awesome Video Game Rooms

Antoinette J. Citizen
Antoinette J. Citizen

When I say "video game rooms," I'm not talking about arcades or basement rec rooms, but each is a room in a home that is decorated around the theme of one video game. The attention to detail in these rooms is fantastic; in fact they involved so much more than buying stickers or printed bedding and accessories. They are all labors of love.

1. Yoshi's Island Nursery

Wes decorated his daughter's nursery in the theme of the game Yoshi's Island. The walls were covered in murals, which took four months to accomplish, and the awesome mobile took another few months.

The mobile is a real labor of love.

The Mobile consists of a Lakitu made from Sculpey brand modeling clay with wire/foil armature and then painted using acrylic paints. The circuitry is comprised of an Arduino Duemilanove, wave shield with a LCD screen, re-purposed SNES controller (the shoulder buttons where already bad), and a small motor to drive the baby Yoshis.

2. Legend of Zelda Nursery

Cole Bradburn and his friend Wes (who did the above nursery) spent three months creating the perfect nursery for his son with a Legend of Zelda theme. Murals with scenes from the game were painted on all the walls! Take a video tour of the finished nursery, plus a making-of sequence at his blog. Yes, they got it done before the baby arrived!

3. Super Mario Room

This room doesn't just have Mario decorations and accessories, no, this room puts you inside Super Mario World! It's a creation of artist Antoinette J. Citizen, who designed it as the game itself from the perspective of not the player, but the operative character. Jump for your own coins and boxes -there are even sound effects!

4. Donkey Kong Game Room

Maximus_Clean has a dedicated room for playing video games -the kind everyone would like to have. To organize the library, an entire wall is dedicated to not only storage, but to the game Donkey Kong (the design of which lends itself well to shelving). See Mario climb the multi-level shelves to rescue Princess Peach!

5. Super Mario Bros. Nursery

Jessica is a self-described nerd. When her first child was on the way, she and her husband designed a nursery around a Super Mario Bros. theme. Here you see the changing table and supply cabinet in the colors of a piranha plant. At her website, you'll see the other side with the baby's crib and other murals and decorations.

6. Zelda Toddler Room

When Jessica found out baby number two was on the way, they decided to put him in their existing Mario-themed nursery. So the family moved their 18-month-old daughter to a new "big girl" bedroom all made up as the Legend of Zelda! There are stairs to the upper bunk level you see here, and murals all around. There are plenty more pictures at Jessica's post about the room, with explanations of the many details.

7. Portal Bedroom

Lauren is an accountant, a gamer, and a decorator. Her Portal Bedroom was such a sensation that she dedicated an entire website to it. She was initially inspired by an infinity mirror, which she assumed she could not afford. She filled the room with appropriate artwork, purchased Portal guns, and painted motifs from the game. Then for the portals, she made her own custom oval-shaped infinity mirrors!

The effect is especially cool at night. Lauren's site takes you through the process of building the mirrors and decorating the room.

See also: 10 Ways to Game Up Your Home, Video Game Furnishings for Your Home, The Retro Fun and Games House, 8 Awesome Videogame Quilts, and 11 Housewarming Gifts for the Dedicated Gamer.

Can you out-fact the Facts Machine? Go to this post and leave a comment with your own amazing video game fact. If your fact is deemed sufficiently Amazing, you could win the mental_floss t-shirt of your choice.

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Cell Free Technology
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technology
This Pixel Kit Will Let You Play Tetris With Jellyfish DNA
Cell Free Technology
Cell Free Technology

Forget playing Tetris on your phone. Now you can play it with jellyfish DNA. Bixels is a DIY game kit that lets you code your own games using synthetic biology, lighting up a digital display with the help of DNA.

Its 8-by-8 pixel grid is programmed to turn on with the help of the same protein that makes jellyfish glow, called green fluorescent protein (GFP). But you can program it to do more than just passively shine. You can use your phone and the associated app to excite Bixels' fluorescent proteins and make them glow at different frequencies, producing red, blue, and green colors. Essentially, you can program it like you would any computer, but instead of electronics powering the system, it's DNA.

Two blue boxes hold Bixel pixel grids.

Researchers use green fluorescent protein all the time in lab experiments as an imaging agent to illuminate biological processes for study. With Bixels, all you need is a little programming to turn the colorful lights (tubes filled with GFP) into custom images or interactive games like Tetris or Snake. You can also use it to develop your own scientific experiments. (For experiment ideas, Bixels' creator, the Irish company Cell-Free Technology, suggests the curricula from BioBuilder.)

A screenshot shows a user assembling a Bixel kit on video.

A pixel kit is housed in a cardboard box that looks like a Game Boy.

Bixels is designed to be used by people with all levels of scientific knowledge, helping make the world of biotechnology more accessible to the public. Eventually, Cell-Free Technology wants to create a bio-computer even more advanced than Bixels. "Our ultimate goal is to build a personal bio-computer which, unlike current wearable devices, truly interacts with our bodies," co-founder Helene Steiner said in a press release.

Bixels - Play tetris with DNA from Cell-Free Technology on Vimeo.

You can buy your own Bixel kit on Kickstarter for roughly $118. It's expected to ship in May 2018.

All images courtesy Cell-Free Technology

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Habibou Kouyate, Stringer, Getty Images
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science
Play a Game to Help Scientists Defeat a Cancer-Causing Toxin
Habibou Kouyate, Stringer, Getty Images
Habibou Kouyate, Stringer, Getty Images

If you're used to fighting virtual zombies or flying spaceships on your computer, a new series of games available on Foldit may sound a little unconventional. The object of the Aflatoxin Challenge is to rearrange protein structures and create new enzymes. But its impact on the real world could make it the most important game you've ever played: The scientists behind it hope it will lead to a new way to fight one of the most ruthless causes of liver cancer.

As Fast Company reports, the citizen science project is a collaboration between Mars, Inc. and U.C. Davis, the University of Washington, the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa, and Thermo Fisher Scientific. The team's online puzzles, which debuted on Foldit earlier this month, invite the public to create a new enzyme capable of finding and destroying carcinogens known as aflatoxins.

Aflatoxins form when certain fungi grow on crops like corn, nuts, and grains. Developing countries often don't have the resources to detect it in food, leaving around 4.5 billion people vulnerable to it. When people do eat food with high aflatoxin levels unknowingly, they can contract liver cancer. Roughly a quarter of all liver cancer cases around the world can be traced back to aflatoxin exposure.

The toxin's connection to agriculture is why the food giant Mars is so interested in fighting it. By working on a way to stop aflatoxins on a molecular level, the company could prevent its spread more efficiently than they would with less direct methods like planting drought-resistant crops or removing mold by hand.

The easiest way for scientists to eradicate an aflatoxin before it causes real harm is by making an enzyme that does the work for them. With the Aflatoxin Challenge, the hope is that by manipulating protein structures, online players will come up with an enzyme that attacks aflatoxins at a susceptible portion of their molecular structure called a lactone ring. Destroying the lactone ring makes aflatoxin much less toxic and essentially safe to eat.

The University of Washington launched Foldit in 2008. Since then, the online puzzle platform has been used to study a wide range of diseases including AIDS and Chikungunya. Everyone is welcome to contribute to the Foldit's new aflatoxin project for the next several weeks or so, after which scientists will synthesize genes based on the most impressive results to be used in future studies.

[h/t Fast Company]

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