The first Star Wars film may have been released 37 years ago, but its hold on the popular imagination remains as strong as Darth Vader’s death-grip. On today’s show, a look at the role fandom has played in the success of the Star Wars franchise.
Plus, from data collection to the latest internet tracking technology, online advertisers go to great lengths to find out who we are and what we like. We’ll enter the world of intelligent marketing to find out just how much, or little, they really know about us.
10.20.14: The Star Wars Universe & What Your Browser History Says About You
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Welcome to the show, and come on down! Wait. Rewind. This isn't that kind of game show - but it is a show all about games. From video games, to board games, to game culture, we spoke with the industry game changers. Our adventurous host Virginia Prescott even took a dive into the virtual world of gaming with a Skyrim sesh for better ("I just swiped at someone pretty mightily!") or worse ("I'm getting slaughtered!"). Check out her experience and gaming pointers here. Is she now a self-proclaimed gamer? Find out on today's show - join us for the fun and games here and on our Twitter and Facebook!
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We reached out on Facebook to find out what video game youwanted Word of Mouth host Virginia Prescott to play for our game show. Options were limited to Producer Taylor Quimby's Xbox games, which include Call of Duty, Skyrim, Portal 2, BioShock Infinite and Halo 4. The masses ultimately chose Skyrim, drawn to its "Game of Thrones-ness" and option to "pretend to be a stabby turn-of-the-century street urchin." With virtual mace in hand, Virginia bravely took on the world of Skyrimand learned a few lessons along the way.
Whether scoping out plasma-screen HDTV’s, or picking up a PlayStation 4, consumers upgrading their entertainment systems this Christmas are generally looking for products promising a better picture, superior sound, or next-generation graphics. We’ve come a very long way since the VHS and Atari 2600. So far, in fact, that one may wonder how much better the visuals, sound and graphics on entertainment systems can get – and would the casual user even be able to tell the difference?
Joining the conversation about where entertainment technology can go from here is Jamin Warren – founder and editor-in-chief at Killscreen, a videogame arts and culture magazine, Slate music columnist Carl Wilson, and, David Ewalt, contributing editor at Forbes.
The Saturday show is jam-packed jelly-tight with the best from the Word of Mouth archives. Sit back, relax and let the sweet sounds of this public radio audio sandwich be your weekend treat. On this week's show:
Would a mirror change your shopping habits?Michael Moss is investigative reporter for the New York Times and winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. He told us about some interesting new tactics supermarkets are using to influence shoppers.
This Soylent is NOT made of people. A new 'food' product is meant to be the perfect replacment for all your daily nutrients. Lee Hutchinson is senior reviews editor at Ars Technica. He lived on Soylent for a full week, and blogged about the experience.
Recounting his relationship with Dungeons and Dragons, David Ewalt writes, “I don’t know if I played D&D because other kids my age thought I was a nerd, or if they thought I was a nerd because I played D&D.” The progenitor of many of today’s role-playing games has gained a reputation for attracting social outcasts and misfits and as a gateway for teenage boys to consider Satan and suicide. Like millions of kids who played twenty-side die in basements and game rooms across the country, Ewalt grew up…and had less time for a game that could suck up the idle hours of youth. He’s among those picking up the old dice bag for a D&D revival. David Ewalt is now an editor for Forbes, and author of the new book Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons and Dragons and the People Who Play It. It hits stores August 20th.
This past weekend, Funspot arcade in Laconia, New Hampshire, played host to the International Classic Video Game Tournament. Gamers from all over the world have been traveling to Funspot for the past 15 years to compete against each other, sometimes on video games that were born long before they were. For many, it's a chance to play rare games that they've only heard about. For others it's a great chance to connect with like-minded friends over a friendly, albeit competitive, game of Tapper.
The competition runs for four days as participants try to post the high score on each of the tournament games. Outside the cordoned-off area reserved for the tournament, the rest of Funspot's American Classic Arcade Museum is open to the public. Mixed in amongst the novice players, you're likely to see world record holders trying to beat their high scores in between their tournament play. I spoke to three gamers who have made the nostalgic trip to Funspot repeatedly, enticed by the pristine machines and the sense of camaraderie among the players.
Special thanks to Derek Janiak for his help wrangling the elusive video gamers in theirnatural habitat.
In February of 2011, Jon Lynch visited the newly opened Pinball Wizard Arcade in Pelham, New Hampshire, where more than 200 impeccably restored pinball and vintage 80's video games are still luring gamers looking for big-time nostalgia.
Create your own game in a day and a half. That's the challenge awaiting participants in this weekend's New Hampshire Game Jam in Manchester.
Glenn Given and Michael Taylor are organizing the Jam; they sit down with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson to discuss how it works, the gaming scene in the region and what you can learn from trying to create your own games.
I hate Monopoly. Always have. The reason is simple: it's impossible to play the game and feel good, even if you win. Monopoly, simply put, is all about crushing your fellow players through bankruptcy, even if they're your own kids. Turns out, there might be a reason for my hatred of Monopoly.
The most popular game in the world, according to this amazing article in Harpers, is, simply put, theft. And it has an incredible, almost unbelievable history:
Games have emerged from the rec room and found a place in the classroom, onto cellphones, advertising, and as we’ll hear, into activism, relationships, and the way we view the world. Colleen Macklin is working to make us more game-literate. She designs games based not on winning or losing, but on learning and experiencing the creative, social and political universe outside the screen.
There's a new kind of technology that may be able to beat you at your own game — at least if your game is a crossword puzzle. Its name is "Dr. Fill," but unlike the TV psychologist, this doctor solves less complicated problems. Its solutions only go down and across.
The computer program will be an unofficial competitor at the 35th annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in New York this week. It was created by Matt Ginsberg's software company, On Time Systems, which specializes in optimization algorithms.
Every since I was a young boy, I played the... gumball? The Gumball Pinball Machine is a real-life mashup of two iconic machines - turn the gumball machine handle and three candies roll onto a baseball-themed pinball board.
Sadly, losing a ball doesn't mean snack time - it goes back into the rotation.
On a slightly related note, I found what may be the world's greatest pinball dance while writing this column. If the lighting had been better, total meme fodder. Dancing Pinball Player never tilts!