Games + Leisure

Games + Leisure

When comic book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick got the opportunity to reimagine Captain Marvel as a blond, blue-eyed fighter pilot named Carol, she made changes to the character that some fans didn't like.

Carol now wears a flight suit — not the sexy dominatrix outfit she used to wear back when she was Ms. Marvel. For that, DeConnick was accused of having a feminist agenda.

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Before she hit it big with her first album, Pieces of You in 1995, Jewel was living out of her car. Her big break came at Inner Change, a struggling San Diego coffee shop where she played a weekly show. She's written a memoir called Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story.

We've invited Jewel to play a game called "We hope you sleep in a safe" — because when you're named Jewel, you have to watch out for jewel thieves.

After an absence of 17 years, Karin Kanzuki, the Goldilocks lookalike who became an unlikely hit in the long-running Street Fighter video game series in the late '90s, is returning to the game.

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If summer is for Hollywood blockbusters, fall is when the video game industry brings out its big guns, and big swords and even gods.


UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR: All actions have consequences...

The world's most famous plumber reached a milestone over the weekend as Nintendo's Super Mario Bros celebrated the 30th anniversary of its release Sunday.

The celebration came a day before the video game company named executive Tatsumi Kimishima as its new president.

For a kid, moving can be hard — even if it's just from one town to another. But when Michael W. Clune was a young boy, his family made a much more drastic move: from Ireland to the U.S.

It was rough. Clune had a hard time fitting in because of his Irish accent and Irish clothes. At school, there were cliques and bullies.

"Learning to deal with other people was a real challenge," Clune tells NPR's Arun Rath, "one that left me feeling isolated quite a bit."

Home was a refuge, for a while — until his parents started fighting. They divorced when he was 12.

Lighter Than Air: An End-Of-Summer Comics Collection

Sep 6, 2015

As summer winds up, everything seems to slow down. The last of the hot days seem to demand you take it easy before fall really kicks in. These three works — two collections of comics and one graphic novel — are perfect to pore over in a patch of muggy sunlight. They deliver adventure, heroism and romance, but nothing too taxing in the way of themes. Some have their problems, but tolerant readers will find that all offer ample rewards. And while the stories are absorbing, you won't lose the thread if you abandon them for an impromptu nap.

We recorded the show in Louisville, Ky., this week — where Edward Lee is the chef and owner of the restaurant 610 Magnolia. (He says he moved to Louisville from Brooklyn in search of bourbon.) Lee has appeared on Iron Chef America, Top Chef and Mind of a Chef, and he is the author of Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen.

Louisville is the capital of horse racing, so we've invited Lee to play a game called "It's just like horse racing, if you pretend they're tiny horses." Three questions about dog racing.

'Dragon Heart' Is Epic Fantasy With A Gothic Air

Sep 5, 2015

At first glance, Cecelia Holland's new novel Dragon Heart is a straight-down-the-middle work of fantasy. (The dragon depicted on the cover might just be the dead giveaway.) But there's another genre lurking beneath the book's mythic, majestic surface, one that's equally as intriguing and far less expected: The Gothic romance.

Ever heard of a tengu? How about a jorōgumo? You'll know them after you read Wayward, Image Comics' action-packed romp featuring Tokyo teenagers fighting the supernatural. It's been likened to a Japanese version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and its emphasis on epically battling the Big Bad (to use the Buffy term) is coupled with a determination to get its monsters right.

Songwriter Dwight Yoakam was raised in Ohio — a big disadvantage for a country singer. But he overcame that handicap to become a country star, with multiple platinum albums and hit songs over the past few decades.

And as a country singer, he has shared many stories of woe with his fans. So we invited him to play a game we're calling "You're the happiest man in the world" — three questions about Matthieu Ricard, a French-born Buddhist Monk who's reputed to be happier than all the rest of us.

If you thought that professional video game competitions would be the one sport immune to a doping scandal, you'd be wrong.

Starlee Kine is the creator and host of the Mystery Show podcast, which takes on — and solves — a mystery every week. (Not to be confused with last fall's hit podcast Serial, in which they explored a mystery without ever solving it.)

We invited Kine to play a game we're calling "What's up, Doc?" This last week marked the 75th anniversary of the debut of Bugs Bunny. We'll ask Kine three questions about the beloved cartoon character.

The story of hitchBOT — the robot that had visited Europe and New York City, but couldn't make it out of Philadelphia in one piece — may not be over. A Philadelphia tech group is offering to rebuild the robot and hoping to repair their city's reputation.

A kid-sized robot that's built around a plastic bucket and sports a friendly LED face, hitchBOT had been on a mission to travel from Massachusetts to San Francisco, relying on the kindness of humans it meets along the way.

After a bunch of really nice humans helped a hitchhiking robot traverse the length of Canada and most of Germany, the robot was going to try to make it from Massachusetts all the way to California.

HitchBOT is the brainchild of two Canadian social scientists. As Frauke Zeller and David Harris Smith explained it in a piece for the Harvard Business Review, it was an experiment meant to spark a discussion "about trust, notions of safety, and about our attitude towards technology."

A new skydiving record was set Friday in Ottawa, Ill., at speeds up to 240 mph.

Chicago hip-hop superstar Chance the Rapper got his name because nobody believed a guy named Chancelor Bennett could rap.

We've invited him to our free show in Millennium Park in Chicago to play a game called "Chance the Rapper, meet Saran the Wrapper." Three questions about using Saran wrap on everything other than leftovers.

Women's Comics Are Surfing The Crowd

Jul 26, 2015

If you're in any doubt whether women are having a Moment in the comics world, take a look at the new incarnation of superhero Black Canary. DC Comics' Annie Wu has taken the character's platinum hair and fishnets from kittenish to riot grrrl by way of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Glowering from the cover of the first issue, she seems to be saying, "Put your eyeballs back in your head and let me save you."

Archie Comics Cartoonist Tom Moore Dies At 86

Jul 22, 2015

Artist Tom Moore, who gave life to the teen angst of Archie and his Riverdale pals from 1953 to the late 1980s, has died of lung cancer in El Paso, Texas.