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How a board game can make you cry

The Escapist : TGC 2009: How a Board Game Can Make You Cry

This is amazing. I'm breaking my usual rules of post length for this one.

The first game came about after a discussion with her 10-year-old daughter about her elementary school lesson on the slave trade. While her daughter had the facts memorized, Brathwaite was dismayed to learn that she didn't grasp what the Middle Passage was like for the Africans who were kidnapped and shipped across the Atlantic. So she did what any game designer worth her salt would do: She made a game out of it.

Brathwaite assembled a collection of tiny wooden figures, then had her daughter group them into "families." After her daughter was finished, she picked them up by the handful and placed them on a makeshift boat. Her daughter was confused: Why would she take the parents but leave the baby? Why wouldn't brothers stay with their sisters? "No one wants to go," Brathwaite explained. That's when it started to click.

Then Brathwaite devised a primitive resource management mechanic. It took 10 turns for the boat to cross the Atlantic. The boat had 30 units of food. Each turn, the player had to roll a d6, and reduce their food stores by that number. By the trip's halfway point, it was clear to her daughter that her "cargo" wouldn't make it. It wasn't a "fun" game by any means, but it served a different purpose: It helped her daughter intuitively understand the emotional experience of the slave trade, a lesson that numbers on a chalkboard couldn't provide.

. . .

But no one in the audience was prepared for her third game, unassumingly titled Train.

The object of Train is to get a collection of people from Point A to Point B by placing them in a boxcar and sending them on their merry way. Played among a group of three people, players draw cards from a pile that can impede other players or free them from existing obstacles. The first player to reach the end of the line wins.

The destination? Auschwitz.

The "game" didn't stop there, however. The game board, pictured above, is an allusion to Kristallnacht - Brathwaite explained that she needed to break a fresh piece of glass each time she "installed" her work in a new location to properly evoke the violence of the experience. She even typed the game's instructions on an actual SS typewriter, which she purchased solely for that purpose.

There were audible gasps in the audience when Brathwaite revealed Train's shocking conclusion; one attendee was so moved by the experience that she left the conference room in tears.

April 30, 2009

New Video Game Technology Finally Allows Rendering Of Smaller Breasts

New Video Game Technology Finally Allows Rendering Of Smaller Breasts | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

LAS VEGAS—The buzz at this month's Consumer Electronics Show was all about a new breakthrough in the field of high-resolution 3-D graphics that has made it possible to render average-sized breasts on female video game characters. "For too long, game designers have been creatively stymied by a mammary-imaging technology only capable of rendering one type of breast—a heaving pair of massive, gravity-defying, torpedo-shaped bosoms," said Warren Hood, developer of the new Vex9 graphics card, which has finally enabled video game wire-frame artists to digitally sculpt breasts as small as B-cups. "At long last, we can give die-hard gamers the level of realism they've been looking for." . . .

This is what a heroin dealer looks like these days

'Two old ladies' called Poconos heroin dealers -- themorningcall.com

To most people, Elizabeth Marie Grube, 70, and her sister, Elaine Volkert, 65, seemed to be nice, friendly women who lived modest lives in their mobile home park just outside Stroudsburg.

But on Wednesday, authorities said each sister sold about $10,000 of heroin a week from their trailers tucked off Route 611 in Stroud Township. Investigators believe an Allentown man, Julio Cesar Checo, 28, of 33 S. 17th St., recruited them to sell the heroin and split the profits.

Their arrests should shatter most people's stereotypes of what a drug dealer looks like, Monroe County District Attorney E. David Christine Jr. said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference.