Donut Age: America's Donut Magazine


Mrh? Bra!nz

As it turns out, Nation States did not hold my interest very long (the dopiness of the daily "issues", the tediousness of the UN Resolution process, and my reluctance to get involved in any of the many meta-games orbiting the game conspired to quash that for me). However, I stumbled across another low-commitment online game that seems to hold promise: Urban Dead, a "zombie apocalypse" MMORPG. The premise is pretty simple: you're in a quarantined, zombie-infested city; you can be either a survivor or a zombie. If the former, you try to stay alive, find supplies, and kill zombies (zeds). If the latter, you kill humans (and turn them into more zombies). Game play is non-graphical and fairly rudimentary, though there does seem to be some active development going on to create more interesting and diversified playing options, as well as several sets of helpful Firefox extensions to provide enhanced interface features. ...

Games without frontiers, war without tears

Jill has World of Warcraft and Mark has City of Heroes, so if nothing else, peer pressure demanded that I start playing a MMORPG. I dabbled a little with SecondLife, which finally has a Mac client as well as free basic accounts, but I didn't find it very compelling and my poor little Powerbook was struggling with the graphics. But a random web-trawl turned up something that may have me hooked: NationStates. ...

The ultimate iPod?

All the world seems to be a-twitter about Apple's iPod nano. The press is using words like "marvel" and "perfect" to describe the ultra-thin music player (I'm impressed, too, but I have to say that one of my first thoughts looking at the promotional pictures was "I wonder if it breaks as easily as a Number 2 pencil, too?"). In that light, let me nominate this ad for the "iPod Flea" (which was forwarded to me by a colleague a few days before the nano launch) as the logical extension of the product line.

Atari Fever!

MAME -- the software emulator for classic arcade consoles -- has been around for a while now (Mac version at, but until very recently, you had to actually own the consoles to have a legal right to the ROMs that actually contained the games. That posed a problem for fans of arcade games who were too timid to traffic in pirated ROMs but lacked the disposable income and living room space for dozens of arcade boxes. In steps StarROMs, which sells legal copies of ROM code for use in MAME and similar emulators. Right now they have about 50 titles from Atari, which run a rather reasonable $2-$6 per game. In fact, the fifteen free "credits" you get just for signing up are enough to download a copy of Lunar Lander, an idiosyncratic favorite of mine from back in the day (I still suck at it, by the way). ...


SecondLife, which looks like a cross between The Sims and MMORPGs, is supposed to come out with a Mac version by the end of the year. Although I never got hooked on either of the game's apparent inspirations, I might at least try it out. What looks intriguing about Second Life is that it enables players to build objects in the virtual world, which can be given scripted behaviors, can be traded or sold to other players, etc. If the environment works as advertised, this could be to MMORPGs what TinyMUD and the first MOOs were to MUDs — a sea-change from hack-and-slash treasure-hunt to player-constructed virtual world. The only downside seems to be that this is a commercial product (free trial and then a $15/month subscription). It remains to be seen if a new Pavel Curtis will step forward to create an open-source, user-empowering version of the core technology that could be used by educators like MOO was and still is.

Good old Rock, nothing beats it.

Found via WaterCoolerGames (which found it via an NPR story I also heard a snippet of): The World Rock Paper Scissors Society website, complete with history, rules, strategy, and merchandise. In college, I advocated RPS as a drinking game, a position bolstered by the assurances of my Chinese-American girlfriend of the time that RPS was frequently used by old Chinese men for exactly that purpose. Sadly, I see little acknowledgment of this important facet of RPS history at the site.