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

Star Wars in ASCII

This has got to be one of the geekiest things ever: there's a telnet server that broadcasts Star Wars Episode IV in ASCII text. Open a command prompt and type telnet and you will be treated to the entire movie in ASCII art. No joke.

This slice of geek heaven brought to you by the Red Bull by way of Lifehacker. That rocks. Never... ever... underestimate the power of the bored geek.

Labels: , , , , ,

Charlie Rose: The Iraqi Perspective

From "What can and cannot be spoken on television" by Glenn Greenwald:

In that author's words:
The significance of the interview lies as much in what it says about the American occupation of Iraq as it what it illustrates about the American media. In the American media's discussions of Iraq, when are the perspectives expressed here about our ongoing occupation -- views extremely common among Iraqis of all types and grounded in clear, indisputable facts -- ever heard by the average American news consumer? The answer is: "virtually never."
I had never heard this perspective. It's important, and everyone who cares about what happens to Iraq and the Iraqis needs to watch this video.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday Free Game: Shift 2

The Friday Free Game two-hit combo is live and on the scene, administering the beatdown of game goodness for the righteous readers of the Red Bull!

Shift 2 is the sequel to the Armor Games negative-space platformer that I featured as the Friday Free Game for February 15th. This time, they have added a few more new twists for deeper and more varied gameplay. While this robs the game of the simple elegance of the original, it definitely kicks up the challenge level a good two notches, making for a more satisfying experience if you're a gamer with a somewhat harder core.

The basics are all still there: black and white space, key puzzles, shifting, taunting comments, and the big-ol' splash of blood when you fall on the spikes. What's new is two new features: gravity modification and checkered space. By far, the most brain-bending aspect of Shift 2 is the incorporation of gravity redirection as part of the puzzles. Now instead of just flipping the board two different ways, you now have four possibilities. There are four different arrow icons you can touch to rotate the board and all of the sudden, walls become floors, floors become walls, and you're forced to look at things a whole new way. Checkered spaces are really just another kind of door. Hit the lightbulb icon (just like a key) and a set of blocks are removed so you can move on to the next step of the puzzle.

But perhaps the most interesting additions are to the meta-game. Shift 2 rewards players with trophies (a la XBox 360-style achievements) for completing various goals (such as beating the oh-so-annoying crosses level in the specified time limit). It also adds a level editor ("Shift-ed"... get it?), and the designers hint at a future pack of player-designed levels. It's easy to use and outputs a code that you can use to load and share your custom-designed levels. Like this one:

You can play it by clicking "Extras" on the main menu and loading "Shift-Ed", then clicking "Load Level Code", and then paste the code above into the text box. It will load the level in the editor. Click the "Preview" link to play.

Custom levels, deeper puzzles, snarkier narration and monochromatic charm all combine to deliver a solid experience. And with all of these new features, Shift 2 is bound to continue the momentum created by the original. I know you'll agree when you stop procrastinating and start shifting! Play.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


This is the 500th post on the Red Bull Diary, and the blog's three-year anniversary was the first of this month. It's amazing how much has changed since March 1st, 2005. Thanks, everyone, for reading.


Imagine If We Walked the Whole Way

Amazing Quadrupedal Robot

I just found the most amazing video of robot locomotion you have ever seen. It's called "BigDog" and it's a four-legged machine developed by Boston Dynamics, with funding from DARPA. It negotiates slippery and uneven surfaces, even jumps over obstacles, moving in such a lifelike way that you have to see it to believe it. Watch.

Labels: , , ,

Bathroom Cyborg

Via the Dilbert Blog: CNN reports that a woman's agoraphobia caused her to sit on a toilet for 2 years, resulting in her ass fusing to the toilet seat. Literally.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday Free Game: Questionaut

I just finished one of the best trivia games ever, so I'm posting a game for last week now. This is the Friday Free Game for last week, even though I'm posting on a Monday. It's my blog. I can do it if I want to. Anyway, you're gonna get another game on Friday, so this is actually a good thing. For you. Ya ingrates.

Readers of my blog may know that I generally don't like trivia games, but this one is so well put-together, I find it hard not to recommend it. The game is Questionaut.

Created by Amanita Designs (of Samorost 1 and 2 fame), Questionaut has the requisite gorgeous graphics and ambient sound that made their earlier games so intriguing. But this time the interface is exploratory without being frustrating. You feel like your interacting with a strange and interesting world, and you are meeting curious little characters. The questions they ask are all very simple, but you have to pause and think for each one. I got them all right on my first time through but I know there was at least one question where I almost chose the wrong answer. With just a touch of challenge and really impressive visuals, Questionaut is a great way to kill 15 minutes to half an hour. Play it just for the hat.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wired Logos Inspired by D&D

Wired Logos Inspired by D&D in honor of The Hero of the Imagination. And I agree 100% with these people on the White Wolf forums that he deserves a real memorial of some kind.

Labels: , ,

Architect of the Now

Wired editor Adam Rogers wrote an op-ed piece for The New York Times eulogizing Gary Gygax, crediting him with grandfatherhood over all virtual vistas:

Today millions of people are slaves to Gary Gygax. They play EverQuest and World of Warcraft, and someone must still be hanging out in Second Life. (That “massively multiplayer” computer traffic, by the way, also helped drive the development of the sort of huge server clouds that power Google.)

But that’s just gaming culture, more pervasive than it was in 1974 when Dungeons & Dragons was created and certainly more profitable — today it’s estimated to be a $40 billion-a-year business — but still a little bit nerdy. Delete the dragon-slaying, though, and you’re left with something much more mainstream: Facebook, a vast, interconnected universe populated by avatars.

Maybe he's overstating, but he's not far from the point: Dungeons and Dragons changed the world that may not yet be fully appreciated by anyone but the hobby's truest disciples. It influenced an entire generation that is now coming into their own. In a very real way, Gygax was, in Rogers' words, "the architect of the now".

Labels: , , , , , ,

Gary Gygax, R.I.P.

I am nearly speechless at the news I received today (via Damion Schubert): Gary Gygax has passed away at the age of 69. I had the honor of meeting Gary just once many years ago, at I-CON. I wanted to tell him that he had changed my life, that I was in awe of his talent, but all I could manage was a smile as I shook his hand.

Gary Gygax was instrumental in developing and popularizing a revolution in gaming. Dungeons and Dragons was something new: a game about structured stories. A game whose only limits were your imagination. D&D helped at least one lonely nerd escape his terrible childhood home life, make friends even though he didn't really know how, and discover countless hours of joy and camaraderie at the gaming table rolling dice into the wee hours of the morning. Gary Gygax made all of that possible through the sheer power of his imagination.

I know that my words can never repay the debt that I owe to him. I didn't say it when I had the chance, but I will say it now: thank you. Thank you for letting me know that I need not be ashamed of the desire to create strange new worlds. Thank you for letting me know that there are countless others who believe in heroes. Thank you for being instrumental in creating many of the friendships I cherish today. Thank you for creating the greatest game of all time.

The world at large may not realize it, but I, my friends, and millions of gamers around the world will never forget you for being a true hero of the imagination. Rest in peace, Mr. Gygax.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

It's a Bird... It's a Plane...

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.