The Red Bull Diary   Recent Posts
RSSRSS Friday Free Games
"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von Münchhausen

Cereal Killers

Awesome breakfast boxes: Cereal Killers.

Labels: , ,

The Jaws of Adana

I once met a man named Markus and I didn't need to know him long before I decided that he was one of the most evil individuals to ever pick up a pen. The prose of m.j. euringer is hard-edged and unforgiving; his imagination at once surreal and very human. If you have a love for horror and a strong tolerance for malevolence and depravity, then I highly recommend The Jaws of Adana.

Labels: , , , , ,

Maze Design

I never thought about it, but I guess maze design is a subset of game design. A maze is a sort of game: it's an interactive space governed by rules (no crossing lines) and with variable outcomes (you either make it out or you don't). The University of Waterloo has a collection of papers on maze design and Walter Pullen's "Think Labyrinth!" page has a host of maze-related resources, including software to create and solve mazes. He also includes links to some truly bad-ass mazes featured, such as a link to the largest maze on the Internet (ZIP file).

Labels: , , , ,

The Story of Stuff

Ms. Angel has sent me a pretty brilliant link: "The Story of Stuff" with Annie Leonard. I am impressed that anyone has been able to so succinctly and persuasively summed up the problem of consumer society once and for all. Everyone should have to watch it. It's 20 minutes long but everyone who's ever been to a mall needs to see this movie. America's story isn't written yet. We can save ourselves from the Corporate Cabal.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Hulking Out

Here is a list of every reason Dr. David Banner ever became The Incredible Hulk on the classic T.V. show. Some highlights:

  • #47: Being stuck in a cab in New York rush hour traffic - "You don't understand, I have to be there by 4:00!" - "Hey, mac, it's rush hour, we ain't gettin' there til five, so relax." - "BUT I HAVE TO BE THERE BY FOUR!!!"
  • #17: Receiving a lethal injection, and then having the person say, "Oh. I just gave you a lethal injection. Sorry, David."
  • #20: Dealing with a pesky operator in a phone booth ("I DON'T HAVE TWENTY-FIVE CENTS!!!")
  • #106: Being fed poisoned sushi
My dad used to tell us that he was the Hulk. I never saw him turn green, but I can attest to him having anger management issues. Poisoned sushi woulda really pissed him off, too.

Labels: , ,

The Obama Escape Hatch

In the words of Barbara Ehrenreich in this AlterNet article:

So yes, there's a powerful emotional component to Obama-mania, and not just because he's a far more inspiring speaker than his rival. We, perhaps white people especially, look to him for atonement and redemption. All of us, of whatever race, want a fresh start. That's what "change" means right now: Get us out of here!
—Barbara Ehrenreich, "Obama's Campaign: An Emotional Escape Hatch from the Bush Era"
The end is in sight.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday Free Game: Shift

Ever hear of the Three Hundred? Webcomic writer Sean Howard is attempting to come up with three hundred game ideas in three hundred days. It's ambitious even if you realize that an "idea" is rather ambiguous. For example, some of his ideas are derivations of one another. But he has produced a large amount of content, complete with screenshots and thorough explanations. I actually stumbled upon his link some time back, but didn't blog about it, so I don't know when. Turns out the guy has gotten all kinds of press – Kotaku, Boing Boing (proof they will cover anything), other obscure game design blogs other than mine, and rightfully so – he's written some cool stuff. Well, one of the things he wrote about (in fact, his mechanic #1) is this idea of a platformer that takes place in two worlds simultaneously on the same screen. The negative space for the one one becomes the positive space for the other. Cool idea, right?

Well, sometime later, Nitrome produces a game called Yin Yang, a negative-space platformer. Jay Bibby gave it a write-up this past September. I played it back then (based on Jay's recommendation) while on the lookout for new candidates for the Friday Free Game. But while the concept is neat, I didn't particularly love the execution. Like many Nitrome games, I feel like it's lacking some of that special sauce that makes a game feel like a well-tuned machine. Maybe they need more playtesting. Anyway, rumors fly about whose idea it was. Nitrome, of course, claims it's purely original.

Well, proof that a great idea seeks out great execution, behold a negative-space platformer done right: a game called Shift, by Armor Games. Here, the concept works flawlessly. It's a small-scale adventure, self-referentially riffing on Portal, complete with distracting messages on the screen (sometimes written upside-down). The controls are über-intutive to anyone who's heard of Mario – run, jump and shift, don't touch the spikes, get keys to change the board. It's fun, it's well-paced, it's got an excellent tutorial, the soundtrack is good, and it's got the sauce. Play. Play now.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

A Junior High School Sense of Humor

Apparently, my sense of humor never advanced beyond junior high school because I laughed when I saw this:

I'll bet Jay understands.

Labels: , ,

Friday Free Game: Bomb Chain

Bomb Chain is a fun little puzzler that I have recently revisited. The idea is to start a chain reaction of explosions that clears all of the bombs off of the grid. Bombs come in several varieties: some explode diagonally, some orthogonally, some both, and they can be either weak or strong, meaning their range is either 1 or 2 spaces.

Each level presents a different arrangement of bombs already on the board and then gives you a small number to place yourself. Combine two weak diagonal bombs to create a strong one; you can combine a diagonal and a straight to create a combined bomb that explodes in all directions.

I'm happy to report that I'm playing this game again after being stuck on Stage 22. There are 40 levels to play, and they're all pretty interesting. Good level design and a sound if simple core mechanic makes Bomb Chain a great game to obsess you over the weekend. Try it out. I know you'll like it.

Labels: , , ,

Torturous Election

Dilbert creator Scott Adams took the words right out of my mouth when he said: "I predict Obama will win the Democratic nomination. In the general election he will lead in the polls but lose to John McCain because the Republicans will do a better job of rigging the election."

I made almost the same prediction 3 months ago. Of course, it's not exactly what I said; when I made my prediction I thought Hillary would win the primary. My reasoning went that the Clinton Democratic Party Machine would ensure that she won the primary, but nobody was going to actually vote for Hillary for president because – I don't care what you say – nobody likes Hillary Clinton.

But now it looks like Barack Obama is gaining traction, and it's a good thing. As far as I'm concerned, Clinton is a member of the Democrat wing of the Corporate Party, the same party nearly every other major candidate ultimately works for. That's the party we need to keep out of office in November, my friends. I don't know enough about Barack Obama to know if he's a member of the Corporate Party, but he was able to raise a lot of money, so that makes me very suspicious. Look at what happened to John Edwards, the man who would not take money from corporate lobbyists, who was unabashedly pro-union and ran a campaign focused on real domestic issues. He was crushed. Obama may just be that rare individual who can successfully operate in the cutthroat world of politics and remain untainted. I certainly hope he is.

If the 2000 and 2004 elections taught us anything it's that the elections are not fair. I'm with Scott Adams on this one: the Republicans play this game much better than the Democrats. They're going to win this election if they want it. I'm actually more frightened by the idea that they don't want to be in office when the reverberations of Bush's policies start disrupting America's economy.

One thing has made me very happy at the turn of events away from Hillary/Giuliani (man, that makes me shudder) and towards Obama/McCain. Both vehemently oppose the pro-torture policies of the Bush administration. As a matter of fact, Senator Obama's statement on the Military Commissions Act of 2006 should be read by everyone:

In the five years that the President's system of military tribunals has existed, not one terrorist has been tried. Not one has been convicted. And in the end, the Supreme Court of the United found the whole thing unconstitutional, which is why we're here today.

We could have fixed all of this in a way that allows us to detain and interrogate and try suspected terrorists while still protecting the accidentally accused from spending their lives locked away in Guantanamo Bay. Easily. This was not an either-or question.

Instead of allowing this President - or any President - to decide what does and does not constitute torture, we could have left the definition up to our own laws and to the Geneva Conventions, as we would have if we passed the bill that the Armed Services committee originally offered.

Instead of detainees arriving at Guantanamo and facing a Combatant Status Review Tribunal that allows them no real chance to prove their innocence with evidence or a lawyer, we could have developed a real military system of justice that would sort out the suspected terrorists from the accidentally accused.

And instead of not just suspending, but eliminating, the right of habeas corpus - the seven century-old right of individuals to challenge the terms of their own detention, we could have given the accused one chance - one single chance - to ask the government why they are being held and what they are being charged with.

But politics won today. Politics won. The Administration got its vote, and now it will have its victory lap, and now they will be able to go out on the campaign trail and tell the American people that they were the ones who were tough on the terrorists.

And yet, we have a bill that gives the terrorist mastermind of 9/11 his day in court, but not the innocent people we may have accidentally rounded up and mistaken for terrorists - people who may stay in prison for the rest of their lives.

And yet, we have a report authored by sixteen of our own government's intelligence agencies, a previous draft of which described, and I quote, "...actions by the United States government that were determined to have stoked the jihad movement, like the indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay..."

And yet, we have Al Qaeda and the Taliban regrouping in Afghanistan while we look the other way. We have a war in Iraq that our own government's intelligence says is serving as Al Qaeda's best recruitment tool. And we have recommendations from the bipartisan 9/11 commission that we still refuse to implement five years after the fact.

Sen. Barack Obama Reacts to US Bill Approving Torture
As everyone who has read my blog in the past several years knows, I think this is the most egregious of all the crimes of this administration. And it looks like we will finally have a chance of fixing it.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Bulletball is a game by inventor Marc Griffin. Griffin gained notoriety by appearing on a Reality TV show called American Inventor. When Griffin told the judges he had sold his wife's wedding ring, was now living out of his car and had dedicated 26 years of his life to promoting his game, the judges were harsh in their judgment: "You told us that you’ve given twenty-six years of your life to this game. I think that’s more of a life than a man can give to a dream. Please get your life back." I almost cried watching this.

Griffin's website sells Bulletball tables for $399.99.

Labels: , , ,

Pandora: My Favorite New Songs
LibraryThing: What I'm Currently Reading
Archive Links
Friends of the Red Bull

Sinfest by Tatsuya Ishida

Order of the Stick by Rich Burlew
The Red Bull Diary Is
The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.