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]

When Mark Hamill Pitched George Lucas on Boba Fett Being Luke Skywalker's Mom

We've all had some over-the-top ideas when thinking about what we would do if we could helm a Star Wars movie. There are basically endless possibilities on where a franchise like that could go. And it seems even Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, has pitched a few ideas to George Lucas over the years.

For Return of the Jedi, Hamill apparently had a major idea for Boba Fett: He wanted the bounty hunter to be Luke's mom.

Hamill, who loves to engage with his fans via social media, confirmed that it was indeed true—and shared a lengthy explanation on how it all went down:

Hamill clearly envisioned Boba Fett being more central to the franchise, but ultimately (and understandably) couldn't sway Lucas with his admittedly not-so-great idea The fan-favorite character was recently believed to be getting his own standalone film, however Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy ​reportedly declared the project "100 percent dead" last month.

Although Luke Skywalker met his demise in The Last Jedi, Hamill has confirmed that he will be returning for Episode IX. We just hope he continues to pitch more ideas.

How Are Balloons Chosen for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?

iStock/RoBeDeRo
iStock/RoBeDeRo

The balloons for this year's Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade range from the classics like Charlie Brown to more modern characters who have debuted in the past few years, including The Elf On The Shelf. New to the parade this year are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But how does the retail giant choose which characters will appear in the lineup?

Balloon characters are chosen in different ways. For example, in 2011, Macy’s requested B. Boy after parade organizers saw the Tim Burton retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. (The company had been adding a series of art balloons to the parade lineup since 2005, which it called the Blue Sky Gallery.) When it comes to commercial balloons, though, it appears to be all about the Benjamins.

First-time balloons cost at least $190,000—this covers admission into the parade and the cost of balloon construction. After the initial year, companies can expect to pay Macy’s about $90,000 to get a character into the parade lineup. If you consider that the balloons are out for only an hour or so, that’s about $1500 a minute.

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