Games + Leisure

Games + Leisure
2:32 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Cuteness Alert: Christmas Cats TV Is Streaming Live

A still image taken from Christmas Cat TV, which features an eight-hour streaming video of a "cat lady" and an elf hanging out with cats — some of them in holiday sweaters.
Christmas Cat TV

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 6:27 am

If you love cats and adore Christmas, do we ever have the website for you. It takes the concept of "reality TV" in new directions — eight solid hours a day of streaming video of cats in a holiday setting.

The scene you'll find at Christmas Cats TV is a unique one. A woman sits in a den that includes a Christmas tree, a hearth and some presents — and a whole lot of cats, some of which have been cajoled into wearing Christmas sweaters.

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Games + Leisure
4:52 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Video Game Creators Are Using Apps To Teach Empathy

A screenshot of the iPad game If, which aims to teach kids how to navigate interpersonal challenges and failures.
NPR

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 9:06 am

Much of the modern education reform movement has centered around the drive for data. Standardized tests now gauge whether children are at grade level seemingly every few months. Kids are observed, measured and sorted almost constantly.

In Silicon Valley, a $20 billion industry does much the same thing — but for a different purpose.

Video game design has become a data-driven industry where games evolve depending on how they are played.

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Games + Leisure
1:04 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Not My Job: What Does John Lithgow Know About Flops?

Boneau Bryan-Brown AP

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 6:49 pm

Actor John Lithgow has won awards for performances ranging from the goofy alien patriarch in 3rd Rock from the Sun to a demonic serial killer on Dexter to dramatic and musical roles on Broadway. (And if that weren't enough, he's written best-selling children's books, too.)

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Games + Leisure
2:54 am
Tue October 29, 2013

How Video Games Are Getting Inside Your Head — And Wallet

Austin Newman, 10, of Menlo Park, Calif., is not allowed to play video games during the school week. His mother, Michelle DeWolf, says she had to take that step to keep her son focused on his homework during the week.
Michelle DeWolf

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 12:21 pm

This week on All Tech, we're exploring kids and technology with posts and radio pieces about raising digital natives. Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments, by email or tweet.

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Games + Leisure
10:09 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Find The Rhyme And The Reason

NPR

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 3:05 pm

On-air challenge: For each given category, name things in the category starting with the letters R, H, Y, M, E. For example, if the category were "chemical elements with names ending in -ium," you might say: radium, helium, yttrium, magnesium and einsteinium. You can give the answers in any order, and any answer that works is fine.

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Games + Leisure
4:51 pm
Sun October 6, 2013

Composing Game Soundtracks That Move 'Faster Than Light'

Composer Ben Prunty creates soundtracks and sound effects for video games.
Courtesy of Ben Prunty

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 5:06 pm

This weekend, independent video game developers and fans gathered for the international IndieCade Festival in Los Angeles.

One of the featured speakers Saturday was sound designer Ben Prunty, who integrates audio into some of the most popular independent video games. Prunty composed the soundtrack to the computer game Faster Than Light, which was nominated for IGN's Best Overall Music and Best PC Sound of 2012.

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Games + Leisure
4:34 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Female Fans Love New Grand Theft Auto Despite Demeaning Content

A close view of the packaging of Grand Theft Auto V at the midnight opening at the HMV music store in London on Tuesday. It made history with a record $800 million in sales on its first day. This version continues to generate controversy over its glorification of violence, drugs and its demeaning portraits of women.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 2:02 pm

Grand Theft Auto made video game history this week: The latest version of the game had a record $800 million in sales on its first day. As with past versions, the game is generating controversy over its glorification of violence and drugs and its demeaning portrayal of women.

But around 15 percent of its fans are women, who find much to like about the game, even if they do have some ambivalence about it.

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Games + Leisure
10:04 am
Thu September 19, 2013

This Board Game Aims To Teach Preschoolers How To Code

Robot Turtles is for future programmers ages 3 to 8.
Courtesy of Robot Turtles

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 1:01 pm

In our "Weekly Innovation" blog series, we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.

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Games + Leisure
12:30 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Close, But No Cigar

NPR

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 2:09 pm

On-air challenge: Each of the following answers is a made-up, two-word phrase in which the two words are homophones, and both words start with the letter C.

Last week's challenge from listener Henry Hook of Brooklyn: Think of a well-known celebrity who goes by a single name — the last two letters of which are alphabetically separated by only one letter (like A and C, or B and D). Replace this pair of letters with the one that separates them, and you'll have a common, everyday word. What is it?

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Games + Leisure
7:55 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Shh! Listen Carefully

NPR

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 2:42 pm

On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase with the consecutive letters of S-H-H. Specifically, the first word in the answer will end in SH, and the second will start with H.

Last week's challenge: Think of a business that's found in most towns. Its name consists of two words, each starting with a consonant. Interchange the consonants and you'll get two new words — neither of which rhymes with the original words. What business is it?

Answer: Car wash

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Games + Leisure
3:28 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Area Man Realizes He's Been Reading Fake News For 25 Years

Jan. 18-24, 2001
The Onion

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 1:47 pm

Before Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert became establishments in news satire, there was The Onion. Thursday, "America's Finest News Source" turns 25.

Two college students founded the fake news organization, which began as a newspaper in Madison, Wis. "It really started as something very local that was intended mainly to ... sell pizza coupons," Editor-in-Chief Will Tracy tells Morning Edition host Renee Montagne..

It still has that Midwestern touch, he says.

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Games + Leisure
12:48 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

It's All Greek To Me

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun August 25, 2013 11:22 am

On-air challenge: You're given some sentences. Each sentence conceals the name of a language in consecutive letters. Name the language. Each answer has five or more letters.

Last week's challenge: The Roman numeral for 38 is XXXVIII. What is special or unusual about this Roman numeral that sets it apart from every other Roman numeral that can be written?

Answer: If every possible Roman numeral were listed in alphabetical order, XXXVIII would be last.

Winner: Joseph Kuperberg of Pittsford, N.Y.

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Games + Leisure
5:08 pm
Sun August 25, 2013

Quitting Your Job For Fantasy Football

Fantasy sports attract an estimated 36+ million players in the U.S. and Canada.
istockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun August 25, 2013 6:04 pm

You may just call it late summer; for many die-hard sports fans, it's called fantasy football drafting season.

Fantasy sports is a huge business, with an estimated 36 million people in the U.S. and Canada picking teams and talkin' trash, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

And now we may be at a tipping point.

One man - Drew Dinkmeyer - actually left his job as an investment analyst to play fantasy sports full-time.

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Games + Leisure
4:43 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

An Adventurer Returns To The Dungeon In 'Dice And Men'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 4:07 pm

Author David Ewalt was in the fourth grade when he got hooked on Dungeons & Dragons.

"I was at one of my friends' houses on a weekend after school. And he broke out this weird game," Ewalt tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "[He] said 'hey, do you guys want to fight some monsters and explore a dungeon?'"

Now a grown man, Ewalt still can't help but spread the good word about the game. He's written a new book about it, called Of Dice and Men.

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Games + Leisure
2:32 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Watch Me Do Something Impossible In Three Totally Easy Steps

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 7:19 pm

Here's what the Swedish artist Oscar Reutersvard did. In 1934, he got himself a pen and paper and drew four cubes, like this.

Then he drew some more, like this.

And, then — and this is where he got mischievous — he drew one more set, like this.

He called this final version "Impossible Triangle of Opus 1 No. 293aa." I don't know what the "293aa" is about, but he was right about "impossible." An arrangement like this cannot take place in the physical universe as we know it.

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Games + Leisure
5:58 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Fear Of Clowns: Yes, It's Real

Tim Curry as Pennywise in a 1990 TV adaptation of Stephen King's It. Come on, tell us you aren't just a little creeped out.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 12:53 am

Warning: The following story may be upsetting to some people.

That's because it's about clowns.

Yes, clowns. Painted white faces, red lips, receding hairlines with tufts of wild hair, and — of course — the red foam nose. Fun for all ages, yet plenty of people are downright scared of them. There's even a word for it: coulrophobia, though that's not an official diagnosis.

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Games + Leisure
8:41 am
Mon August 5, 2013

First Names First

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 1:39 pm

On-air challenge: This week's puzzle is called "What's in a Name?" Every answer consists of the names of two famous people. The last name of the first person is an anagram of the first name of the last person. Given the non-anagram parts of the names, you identify the people. For example, given "Madeleine" and "Aaron," you would say "Kahn" and "Hank."

Last week's challenge: In three words, name a product sold mainly to women that has the initials N-P-R. The answer is a common phrase.

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Games + Leisure
10:59 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Not My Job: Jim Gaffigan Takes A Quiz On Gwyneth Paltrow

Mark Mainz Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 27, 2013 10:41 am

Comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan lives happily with his wife and his five young children in a two-bedroom apartment in lower Manhattan. You read that right: Five kids. Two parents. Two bedrooms. His latest book, Dad Is Fat, reflects on the challenges and triumphs of raising a big family in a small space.

We've invited Gaffigan to answer three questions about the health habits of Gwyneth Paltrow.

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Games + Leisure
9:39 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Psst ... It's Class Time

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun July 28, 2013 12:31 pm

On-air challenge: This puzzle is supersonic. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name that has the consecutive letters S-S-T. Specifically, the first word will end in S-S, and the second word will start with T. For example, given, "A situation in which people speak on top of each other," you would say, "cross talk."

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Games + Leisure
9:07 am
Mon July 22, 2013

The Price Of Fame: A Scrambled Name

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun July 21, 2013 12:41 pm

On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a famous person, past or present, with five letters in the first and last names. One letter in each name is changed to make a new word. You name the people.

Last week's challenge: In the phrase "clothes closet," all the letters of the second word can be found inside the first. Think of another two-word phrase that means a place to keep clothes in which all the letter of the second word are found inside the first. The first word has nine letters, the second has six.

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