How Candy Crush Inspired the Online Slots Industry

Candy Crush Saga (“Candy Crush”) is an online Facebook video game. It was first released in 2012 and meanwhile it’s available as an app for almost all operating systems.

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Classic hockey game from “Swingers”

“I’m going to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed for Superfan number 99 over here.” That’s the classic quote from Trent in “Swingers” as he taunts his friend Sue as they play hockey on the Sega Genesis. It’s one of the great scenes from this amazing movie and probably offers one of the best summaries of gaming in the 90s. Grantland just posted this great oral history of the making of the film and they discussed the making of this scene.

Ludwig: Wayne Gretzky’s head bleeding was the hardest thing to shoot in the whole movie. We finished up and we had the camera for another 72 hours before we had to return it. So we had to shoot an insert of a TV screen where one of them makes Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed. We’re in the editing room with the TV set and we’re playing that game and the editor can’t make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed and then I can’t make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed, Doug can’t make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed. And we’re shooting this for a couple of hours and we can’t do it. So we called up Jon in the middle of the night, it’s like one in the morning, and he comes over and he can’t do it. And finally we had to call Vince and get Vince over there at two in the morning. Four and a half hours after we started, he gets Wayne Gretzky’s head to bleed.

One of the reasons this film became such a huge cult classic on video is that it truly captured the midset of young men, particuarly men in their twenties. It was about chasing girls, cool night spots, slick clothes, video games, gambling in Vegas and so much more. The road trip to Vegas was another critical part of the movie. These were not the kind of guys that be happy to play bingo of course. They wanted action in Las Vegas, even if they were broke and some of them were clueless about the basics of blackjack, which led to another classic scene in the film.

But for many guys, even those who aren’t gamers, the Gretsky video game scene is still one of the most memorable in the film.


Choosing sites for online bingo

In corners of smoky dingy bingo halls of the 1960s to the glitz and glamor of the modern experience, playing bingo is part of our culture in Britain. Today, the game is still going strong, it is undeniable that most of the players have left the bingo halls and are playing in the comfort of their own home. With hundreds of sites like Bingo Port and others emerging every day, playing online bingo is quickly becoming the most popular way to make friends, have fun and win prizes.

If you have never played online bingo before, it is very simple to start.

Choosing the Right Site

Take a look at the wide range of sites that are available and see which one catches your eye. A simple internet search will throw up hundreds of potential sites, to avoid confusion, you can use a bingo comparison site to see who has the best deal and most active community. Sites often offer sign up bonuses, where your initial deposit may be doubled or even tripled to give you more to play with.

Once you have decided which bingo site to try, registering could not be easier. Choose yourself a user name and password that you can remember, and you’re ready to play. Some sites require you to validate your e-mail address in order to combat fraud and a fake sign ups, and most will ask you to include at least the credit card, even if you’re not going to make a deposit immediately. If you want to have a try without investing a penny, some sites sometimes offer free games so that you can try before you buy.

Playing Online

When you’re ready to play have a look in the “lobby” of the game. You will be able to see how many tickets for each game, so it’s a good idea to start playing low stakes and build yourself up once you are in the swing of it. When the game starts, you will see your tickets before you, and will be able to check the numbers as they are called. If you think you get behind and fully enjoy the online bingo games with ‘auto daub’, marking your numbers for you.

Playing bingo online is becoming a community. Sites like Bingoport are active in the community and a lot of friendly banter go on in the room where games are played. You can see the chat window when you’re in the game, but if you do not want to interfere it’s OK. You can find some of the language and terminology is confusing at first, but you will soon pick it up. Do not be afraid to ask other players what they mean when they write abbreviations such as “wdw” or “BRB” … all of which were new to the game again!

Rewards for Playing

Many sites will run games or special promotions for their members on a regular basis.

For sites free bingo games are a way to reward their regular players and encourage new players to get involved. Be aware that the free bingo games, as with many other places, the game is very popular and tickets will sell out fast, so make sure you pre-buy if you can and enter the lobby with plenty of time to ensure your place.

Because playing bingo online is so easy and fun it is easy to attract more than just the blue rinse brigade these days.

Men and women, young and old join in the fun with every day of the week. There is no doubt that if you are interested in participating in a fun, exciting game, that is social and affordable, then online bingo may be something for you.

Image: anankkml /


The E-Sports sportmanship problem

Over the weekend Riot set quite a few E-sports records with its Season One Dreamhack qualifiers, the most notable of which is likely the 60,000+ viewers that tuned in for the qualifying matches. It was a clear marker of the popularity of E-sports in North America, not to mention League of Legends as a game.

There was an ugly side to the proceedings as well. The whole tournament started under the drama umbrella that is Couter Logic Gaming and Team SoloMid. If ever you needed evidence of the age demographic of competitive gamers, just read a few threads between these two teams and their supporters. It won’t be interesting, I promise. It will be full of petty insults and the kind of high-school-grade trash you’re probably reading so often in the Tribunal.

I think I was fortunate to hit my competitive gaming peak before any of these big tournaments got popular. The Halo 1 competitive scene was remarkably friendly, and I spent loads of time on message boards working out reload mechanics and powerup spawn times with the same guys I was playing against. We were all in love with the game and, frankly, stakes were pretty low. I was never up for $100,000. I think the biggest prize package I was ever competing for was a flat CRT TV (yeah, that’s right – like a bulky TV with a flat screen), a new Xbox, and a copy of Halo. Sure, it was nice, but it wasn’t going to make my life dramatically different (and I was playing against the Ogres, so…).

As the competitive scene gains ground, the prizes have ratcheted up, which seems to somehow inversely proportional to player attitudes. Jon Tran at Top Tier Tactics put together an awesome piece about the effect player attitudes is having not only on competitive gaming but on the form’s mainstream acceptance. It is absolutely worth the read, but the basic gist is this: competitive gaming has a mainstream ceiling until players can learn to respect one another.

If you want proof, consider Grackis. He is one of the most infamous LoL players, mostly for his insane fits of rage, but also for his skill. He was recently asked to commentate a competitive match at NESL and the LoL community went batty with indignation. If the very community playing the game doesn’t want this guy casting because of his bad behavior, do you think the gaming community at large wants to hear him rage?

Of course not. In fact, I’m willing to bet the only reason people pay attention to any of the high tier players is because of the desire to be those players. They are the masters of the craft, so people are willing to take a little abuse if it means learning at the feet of people like HotshotGG. Unfortunately, exposure to the kind of “lol ur bad, kid” has infected most competitive gaming communities to the point that they’re nearly unbearable to be a part of. Review a few Tribunal cases and you’ll know what I mean.

I’m hoping things improve, but as long as we continue to offer up celebrity status to players with an attitude, I think it will be quite some time before there’s a shift in tone.


Can videogames be art? The discussion continues

Jackson Pollock.You may recall an article by Roger Ebert this past April in which he claimed video games could never be art. The question has become sort of synonymous with the collision of tech and culture, and it serves as a rallying cry for people trying to justify their gaming addictions. The big problem with Ebert’s stance, though, is that he’s not a gamer. The New Scientist wanted the perspective of people who actually game, but who are still well respected in intellectual circles. The responses the magazine was able to elicit are disappointing, mostly mundane sidesteps of a question that I think people should take a harder stance on.

Here’s what Nick Montfort, a professor of digital media at MIT, had to say:

People tend to mean several things by this question. First, can video games be sold by art dealers, appear in galleries and museums and be an accepted part of the art world? They already are: just look at the creations of Cory Archangel, Mark Essen and Eddo Stern. Second, can video games tackle difficult issues and sensitively present us with different perspectives? They already have: see the work of Terry Cavanaugh, Jason Rohrer, Molleindustria and Tale of Tales, and commercial games such as Bully (also called Canis Canem Edit) and Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit). Finally, can video games present an experience of aesthetic beauty that is particular to the medium? Indeed they do: see Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s Rez, a game dedicated to Kandinsky and which I first discovered and played in the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York. It’s a great time for those interested in this question to see what work is already out there.

I think he gives the best response of the bunch, but he gives it in that snide, I-know-things-that-you-don’t kind of way. Those are the questions people are asking, but why do we want the answers? To justify the amount of time that gets dumped into games and gaming?

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that gaming is a less thoughtful narrative medium that the others we have available to us. Very few games that get made are telling an interesting story or challenging the player’s view of the world in any significant way, likely far fewer of them than books or movies. Games, for the most part, aren’t being designed with story in mind. They are designed directly for a consumer, and they come out of a booming business. If you’ve ever heard the saying “art from adversity” then you know what I’m getting at here. It’s not difficult to throw billions of dollars at a project and market it to expectant masses. There is no struggle, other than the struggle to meet artificial deadlines so you can hopefully keep your job at a top developer instead of packing up and moving your office ten or fifteen miles to the closest competitor. For the most part, video game design is a pretty cushy environment, so it becomes less and less likely as the world gets more and more enchanted by gaming that we will see Sophie’s Choice from someone like Activision.

It’s entirely possible that smaller development houses are turning out some good stuff, but I can’t honestly say that I believe development will reach a point that the smallest, most artistically minded pieces of work will be discernible from the crap like that Columbine game. That game has likely been the most contentious where the art debate is concerned, and I think it’s a good example of why games aren’t art now, and why they might never be. As much as that game wants to be a social commentary, wants to draw the audience in to what the Columbine shooters were feeling, it’s still a game, which is where games will fall short. As long as there is an objective to be met, a quota to reach, a number of infiltrators to be dispatched, games will be no more than a skinner box with an overpriced script, providing gamers with the thrill of objective completion instead of the challenge of a real story. That’s not a slight against games, it’s just the nature of interactive fiction. As soon as the reader has to be pandered to, has to be asked what decision to make, the story has been compromised by the intent of the audience. That’s not what art is about. It’s not about trying to please a viewer, trying to appeal to the artist’s desired protagonist. It is about creating something with which we can can resonate, something that makes us feel about the world that which we may never have felt on our own. The moment a game provides the player a choice, that decision is gone, lost in a player’s desire to “win” the game, to beat the system. Granted, that may change over time, but for now, games can’t be art, because games are designed to be beaten or, even worse, to siphon money out of the consumer. That’s not art. That’s as far from art as we can possibly get.


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