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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Jeremy Freeman, TruTV
A New Game Show Helps Contestants Pay Off Their Student Loans
Jeremy Freeman, TruTV
Jeremy Freeman, TruTV

Most game shows offer flashy prizes—a trip to Maui, a million dollars, or a brand new car—but TruTV’s latest venture is giving away something much more practical: the opportunity to get out of student loan debt. Set to premiere July 10 on TruTV, Paid Off is designed to help contestants with college degrees win hard cash to put towards their loan payments, MarketWatch reports.

The show gives college graduates with student loan debt "the chance to test the depth of their degrees in a fun, fast-paced trivia game show,” according to TruTV’s description. In each episode, three contestants compete in rounds of trivia, with one contestant eliminated each round.

One Family Feud-style segment asks contestants to guess the most popular answer to college-related poll questions like “What’s the best job you can have while in college?” (Answer: Server.) Other segments test contestants' general trivia knowledge. In one, for example, a contestant is given 20 seconds to guess whether certain characters are from Goodfellas or the children’s show Thomas & Friends. Some segments also give them the chance to answer questions related to their college major.

Game show host Michael Torpey behind a podium
TruTV

Based on the number of questions they answer correctly, the last contestant standing can win enough money to pay off the entirety of their student debt. (However, like most game shows, all prizes are taxable, so they won't take home the full amount they win.)

Paid Off was created by actor Michael Torpey, who is best known for his portrayal of the sadistic corrections officer Thomas Humphrey in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. Torpey, who also hosts the show, says the cause is personal to him.

“My wife and I struggled with student debt and could only pay it off because—true story—I booked an underpants commercial,” Torpey says in the show’s pilot episode. “But what about the other 45 million Americans with student loans? Sadly, there just aren’t that many underpants commercials. That is why I made this game show.”

The show is likely to draw some criticism for its seemingly flippant handling of a serious issue that affects roughly one in four Americans. But according to Torpey, that’s all part of the plan. The host told MarketWatch that the show is designed “to be so stupid that the people in power look at it and say, ‘That guy is making us look like a bunch of dum dums, we’ve got to do something about this.’”

Paid Off will premiere on Tuesday, July 10 at 10 p.m. Eastern time (9 p.m. Central time).

[h/t MarketWatch]

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Kena Betancur, AFP/Getty Images
Want to Live as Long as an Olympian? Become a Chess Grandmaster
Kena Betancur, AFP/Getty Images
Kena Betancur, AFP/Getty Images

It’s well known that physical fitness can help prolong your life, so it’s not surprising that elite athletes, like Olympians, tend to have longer lifespans than your average couch potato. But it seems that “mind sports” can help keep you alive longer, too. According to BPS Research Digest, a recent study suggests that international chess grandmasters have lifespans comparable to Olympic athletes.

The study, published in PLOS ONE, examined the survival rates of 1208 mostly male chess grandmasters and 15,157 Olympic medalists from 28 countries, and analyzed their life expectancy at 30 years and 60 years after they attained their grandmaster titles. They found that both grandmasters and Olympic medalists exhibited significant lifespan advantages over the general population. In fact, there was no statistical difference between the relative survival rates of chess champions and athletic champions.

There are several variables that the study couldn’t take into account that may be linked to chess players’ long lifespans, though. Grandmasters often employ nutritionists and physical trainers to keep them at their best, according to the researchers, and exercise regularly. Economic and social status can also influence lifespans, and becoming a world-champion chess player likely results in a boost in both areas.

Some research has shown that keeping your mind sharp can help you in old age. Certain kinds of brain training might lower the risk of developing dementia, and one study found that board game players in particular have slightly lower rates of dementia.

If keeping the mind sharp with chess really does extend lifespans, the same effect might apply as well to elite players of other “mind sports,” like Go, poker, or competitive video games. We’ll need more research to find out.

[h/t BPS Research Digest]

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