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.

"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]

Live Smarter
Why the Soundtracks to Games Like 'Mario' or 'The Sims' Can Help You Work

When I sat down to write this article, I was feeling a little distracted. My desk salad was calling me. I had new emails in my inbox to read. I had three different articles on my to-do list, and I couldn't decide which to start first. And then, I jumped over to Spotify and hit play on the theme to The Sims. As I listened to the upbeat, fast-paced, wordless music, my writing became faster and more fluid. I felt more “in the zone,” so to speak, than I had all morning. There's a perfectly good explanation: Video games provide the ideal productivity soundtrack. At Popular Science, Sara Chodosh explains why video game music can get you motivated and keep you focused while you work, especially if you're doing relatively menial tasks. It's baked into their composition.

There are several reasons to choose video game music over your favorite pop album. For one, they tend not to have lyrics. A 2012 study of more than 100 people found that playing background music with lyrics tended to distract participants while studying. The research suggested that lyric-less music would be more conducive to attention and performance in the workplace. Another study conducted in open-plan offices in Finland found that people were better at proofreading if there was some kind of continuous, speechless noise going on in the background. Video game music would fit that bill.

Plus, video game music is specifically made not to distract from the task at hand. The songs are meant to be listened to over and over again, fading into the background as you navigate Mario through the Mushroom Kingdom or help Link save Zelda. My friend Josie Brechner, a composer who has scored the music for video games like the recently released Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King, says that game music is definitely written with this in mind.

"Basically, successful video game music straddles the balance between being engaging and exciting, but also not wanting to make you tear your ears off after the 10th or 100th listen," Brechner says. Game music often has a lot of repetition, along with variation on musical themes, to keep the player engaged but still focused on what they're playing, "and that translates well to doing other work that requires focus and concentration."

If you're a particularly high-strung worker, you might want to tune into some relaxing classical music or turn on a song specifically designed to calm you. But if you want to finish those expense reports on a Monday morning, you're better off choosing a fast-tempo ditty designed for seemingly pointless activities like making your Sims eat and go to the toilet regularly. (It can help you with more exciting work responsibilities, too: Other research has found that moderate background noise can increase performance on creative tasks.)

These types of songs work so well that there are entire playlists online devoted just to songs from video game soundtracks that work well for studying. One, for instance, includes songs written for The Legend of Zelda, Skyrim, Super Smash Bros., and other popular games.

The effect of certain theme songs on your productivity may, however, depend on your particular preferences. A 2010 study of elementary school students found that while calming music could improve performance on math and memory tests, music perceived as aggressive or unpleasant distracted them. I was distracted by the deep-voiced chanting of the "Dragonborn Theme" from Skyrim, but felt charged up by the theme from Street Fighter II. There's plenty of variety in video game scores—after all, a battle scene doesn't call for the same type of music as a puzzle game. Not all of them are going to work for you, but by their nature, you probably don't need a lot of variation in your work music if you're using video game soundtracks. If you can play a game for days on end, you can surely listen to the same game soundtrack over and over again.

[h/t Popular Science]


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