Clue Makers Have Killed Off Mrs. White, Replaced Her With Dr. Orchid

by Kirsten Howard

Who killed Mrs. White? It wasn’t Colonel Mustard in the Billiard Room—it was the marketing team over at Hasbro HQ.

Yes, after almost 70 years of planning, committing, and helping to foil gruesome murders in Clue’s Tudor Mansion, original character Mrs. White is being killed off once and for all in August. The housekeeper will be replaced with Dr. Orchid who, according to Hasbro, "is a biologist with a PhD in plant toxicology, privately schooled in Switzerland until her expulsion following a near-fatal daffodil poisoning incident. She was then home-schooled by the very woman she would go on to replace, the late housekeeper, Mrs. White."

The classic game was launched in 1949 after being invented five years earlier by Birmingham, England-born musician Anthony E. Pratt as a fun way to pass the time in bomb shelters. Hasbro has been manufacturing Clue sets since the early 1990s, when the company bought Parker Brothers and Waddingtons, which were both producing their own editions. Although the game recently underwent a full revamp, this is the first time a major change has been made to the character lineup.

Hasbro has released a bio on Mrs. White’s replacement, Dr. Orchid, explaining that she is the adoptive daughter of Tudor Mansion’s rightful owner, Samuel Black. Dr. Orchid will be joining original characters Miss Scarlet, Professor Plum, Mrs. Peacock, Mr. Green, and Colonel Mustard in new Clue sets beginning in August.

“It was a difficult decision to say goodbye to Mrs. White—but after 70 years of suspicious activity, we decided that one of the characters had to go," Jonathan Berkowitz, Hasbro Gaming's senior vice president of global marketing, said in a statement. “Dr. Orchid is a brilliant new character with a rich backstory and links to the Black fortune. We’re sure families around the world will continue to create thrilling murder mysteries with all six suspects inside of the iconic Tudor Mansion. ”

Farewell, Mrs White. Gone, but not forgotten.

All images courtesy of Hasbro.

"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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