Games + Leisure

Games + Leisure
12:51 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

The Science Of 'Collected Fiction' Is Pure Magic

Courtesy of Tachyon Publications

I have just finished Hannu Rajaniemi's Collected Fiction and I am still recovering.

My mind feels constellated. I am keenly, weirdly, expansively aware of explosions still taking place inside my head. The world has shifted while I read, and the quartz in the necklace I wear is full of super computers breathing sentience against my skin. There are eyes threaded through scarves over the windowsill. I want to learn everything.

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Games + Leisure
10:54 am
Sat May 16, 2015

Not My Job: Tony Robbins Gets Quizzed On Laziness

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins, shown in California in 2010, is the author of numerous self-help books. His latest is Money.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 5:12 pm

Tony Robbins has been traveling the world for decades giving his intensive three-day seminars on improving your life, and he's written a number of best-selling books.

The life coach is famous as a go-getter. So we invited him to answer three questions about stay-putters — incredibly lazy people.

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Games + Leisure
4:41 am
Fri May 8, 2015

The Unlikely Stars Of Americans' Favorite Video Games

Ellen McLain (standing fourth from left) and John Lowrie (standing in center) are unlikely celebrities in gaming culture. But they are the voices behind some of the video game world's most popular characters.
Courtesy of John Patrick Lowrie and Ellen McLain

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 11:14 am

Ellen McLain had a long career as an opera singer. But now her voice is most famous for something entirely different: video games. McLain is the voice of GLaDOS, the passive-aggressive computer in the games Portal and Portal 2.

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Games + Leisure
5:34 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Edison's Talking Dolls Can Now Provide The Soundtrack To Your Nightmares

Thomas Edison's talking dolls were reportedly pretty robust, but their miniature phonographs were another story.
Collection of Robin and Joan Rolfs Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 12:47 pm

Back in 1890, Thomas Edison gave us some of the world's first talking dolls. Today, the glassy-eyed cherubs that are still around stand about 2 feet tall; they have wooden limbs and a metal body; and they sound supercreepy. (If you're looking for a soundtrack to your nightmares, listen to the audio story above.) Edison built and sold about 500 of them back in 1890. Now, new technology has made hearing them possible for the first time in decades.

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Games + Leisure
10:05 am
Mon May 4, 2015

Not My Job: Designer Jonathan Adler Gets Quizzed On New Coke

Brad Barket Getty Images for Bing

Back when he was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, Jonathan Adler was told that he'd never make it as an artist, and he should go be a lawyer. But Adler continued making his pottery, and today his design empire includes 26 stores named for him all over the world.

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Games + Leisure
10:50 am
Sun May 3, 2015

A Puzzle With Everything, Including The Kitchen Sink

NPR

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 2:09 pm

On-air challenge: Each word provided is an anagram of something you might see in a kitchen. For example, "skin" is an anagram of "sink."

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Games + Leisure
11:45 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Historical Figure, Sci-Fi Villain Or Tech Startup?

LA Johnson NPR

There's no shortage of tech startups in Silicon Valley, and since these companies are founded by people who can identify every Star Wars character at the drop of a hat, their names tend to sound pretty weird. Is Zurg a new app that analyzes your dreams, Doctor Who's nemesis, or a 12th-century warlord? For our show at San Francisco Sketchfest, we make contestants earn their nerd cred by telling us — is it a historical figure, a sci-fi villain or a tech company?

See if you measure up with our quiz!

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Games + Leisure
9:38 am
Sun March 15, 2015

Haunted Dolls Are A Thing, And They're Not Cheap, Either

Some dolls just don't seem quite right.
Jak Hutchcraft

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 12:56 pm

Some childhood symbols straddle the line between adorable and terrifying. Like clowns. Or Furbys.

Some dolls fit the category, too, with spooky eyes that seem to move or a porcelain pallor. They're not all Chucky, but some of them just don't seem quite right.

Listener Anne McLaughlin grew up with a cabinet full of dolls — including a pretty dancer doll and a set of wooden nesting dolls. But one, she says, stood out.

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Games + Leisure
11:35 pm
Sat March 14, 2015

The 'Math Guy' Presents 5 Facts About 3.14

Paul Almasy Getty Images

People across the world are eating pies and celebrating the circle this Saturday — and this year's Pi Day is particularly special. The full date, 3/14/15, is pi to the first four places. At 9:26 a.m. and 53 seconds, you can even celebrate pi to nine places: 3.141592653.

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Games + Leisure
6:44 pm
Sun February 22, 2015

The Woman Behind Marvel's Newest Team Of Heroines

She-Hulk, Dazzler, Medusa and Nico Minoru are some of the characters that make up Marvel's A-Force.
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 2:02 pm

Fasten your seat belts, true believers. If you haven't flipped through a comic book in a while, you might be in for quite a surprise come May. The entire Marvel multiverse is collapsing.

Forget about seeing the Wolverine we knew any time soon. And the current Ghost Rider? Before long, his current story line will be gone like, well, a ghost. In the new Marvel universe, coming in May, characters and continuities will be reimagined.

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Games + Leisure
12:36 pm
Sun February 22, 2015

And The Oscar Goes To ...

NPR

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 9:04 am

On-air challenge: Every answer today is the name of an Academy Award winner or nominee for best picture. Using the given anagram, decipher the title of the film. The films will go from oldest to newest. Example: OUTWORN (1940) (2 words). Answer: OUR TOWN

Last week's challenge: Name a major U.S. city in two syllables. Reverse the syllables phonetically to get the cost of attending a certain NBA game. What is it?

Answer: Phoenix, Knicks fee

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Games + Leisure
10:08 am
Wed February 11, 2015

Little League Strips Chicago's Jackie Robinson West Of U.S. Title

In this Aug. 27 photo, members of the Jackie Robinson West Little League baseball team participate in a rally in Chicago celebrating the team's U.S. Little League Championship. Little League International has stripped the team of its national title after finding the team falsified its boundary map.
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 11:29 am

Updated at 11:24 a.m.

Chicago's Jackie Robinson West team, the first all-African-American team to win the U.S. championship, has been stripped of its title after Little League International said today that the team had violated residency rules.

Patrick Smith from member station WBEZ tells our Newscast unit that Little League International says the team illegally used players from outside its geographic area.

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Games + Leisure
12:12 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Graphic Novelist Adrian Tomine Takes On The Notorious Long Duk Dong

In 2001, graphic novelist Adrian Tomine (Shortcomings) published a pungent one-page comic describing his own history with the legacy of Long Duk Dong.
Adrian Tomine

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 3:35 pm

On Friday, I explained what's "cringeworthy" about Sixteen Candles' Long Duk Dong, whose broken English and social ineptitude left a painful stamp on many Asian-American children of the '80s.

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Games + Leisure
11:39 am
Sun February 1, 2015

The Ol' Puzzle Switcheroo

Sunday Puzzle
NPR

On-air challenge: Every answer is a made-up two-word phrase, where the second and third letters of the first word are switched to get the second word. Example: Serene bivalve would be calm clam

Last week's challenge: This challenge came from listener Ben Bass of Chicago. Name someone who welcomes you in. Insert the letter U somewhere inside this, and you'll name something that warns you to stay away. Who is this person, and what is this thing?

Answer: Bell boy, bell buoy.

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Games + Leisure
11:29 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Low-Key, Real-Life Heroism In 'March: Book Two'

Some media are custom-made for heroes. Ava DuVernay's gripping film Selma gains much of its drama from the beauty — physical and metaphysical — of David Oyelowo's portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Oyelowo's incredible voice gives practically everything King says the compelling force of a sermon, and his physical presence — strangely small and economical of motion — is as unique as it is potent.

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Games + Leisure
12:43 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Exclusive First Read: Scott McCloud's 'The Sculptor'

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 2:35 pm

Cartoonist and theorist Scott McCloud is sometimes called the "Aristotle of Comics" because of his three landmark nonfiction works: Understanding Comics, Reinventing Comics and Making Comics. He's a man who's spent a lot of time thinking about making art — and that's reflected in The Sculptor, his first full-length graphic novel.

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Games + Leisure
12:57 pm
Sun January 18, 2015

Sunday Puzzle: S.V. You

Sunday Puzzle
NPR

On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name with the initials S.V. For example, given "noted Idaho ski resort," you would say "Sun Valley."

Last week's challenge: From listener Steve Baggish of Arlington, Mass. Think of a U.S. city whose name has nine letters. Remove three letters from the start of the name and three letters from the end. Only two will remain. How is this possible, and what city is it?

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Games + Leisure
1:37 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

You Can Create A Hit Video Game About Anything. Even Making Toast

Screen shot of the mobile game Candy Crush Saga.
Screen shot of Candy Crush Saga

Originally published on Sat November 1, 2014 9:53 pm

Flinging birds at pigs and moving jelly beans around a little screen are not human instincts. Game designers create the urge to do those things for hours at a time.

"From the way the games are designed to help us start playing the game, to the way they keep us coming back to the game, to how they involve our friends in the game — all of these things have underpinnings in consumer psychology," says game consultant Nir Eyal.

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Games + Leisure
1:36 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Can Losing Weight In Your 'Second Life' Help In Your First?

A player avatar runs on a treadmill in the virtual world of Second Life. Researchers used the online game to see if it could help people maintain weight loss habits in the real world.
Courtesy of Univeristy of Kansas Medical Center

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 2:11 pm

There is no shortage of diet programs available to those that seek to lose weight. But for many, taking those initial steps into a weight loss and exercise program can be an intimidating leap.

A new study from the University of Kansas Medical Center, however, shows that the online game Second Life helped some people lose weight — and keep it off — in real life.

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Games + Leisure
10:46 am
Mon January 12, 2015

Your Online Avatar May Reveal More About You Than You'd Think

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 10:49 am

My Nintendo Wii character, my Mii, looks a lot like me. She has the same haircut, the same skin tone and even the same eyebrow shape. And while my Mii plays tennis slightly better than I do, I designed her to be a real, virtual me (albeit with balls for hands).

But it turns out I might not have needed to mimic my appearance to let people know what I'm like.

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