Vacationing without your favorite game by brent

A few months ago my good friend Ien Cheng introduced me to the card game Anomia. It quickly rocketed to one of my favorite games and became staple entertainment at our Bushnell family dinners. We recently went on a family vacation and realized at the airport that we'd forgotten to bring a copy! With no access to a replacement, we spent a few dinners creating our own second edition. We happened by a Parisian game store and found a few decks of BLANK Bicycle playing cards and a stationary store with colored permanent markers and voila! Our game was complete. 104 phrase cards and 8 wildcards. Photos below and a Google Doc of our terms. We added a new mechanic we're not certain exists in the current edition; since card phrases have varying difficulties we ensured that symbols and their wildcards matched difficulty.
If you haven't already, purchase a game of Anomia today! You won't regret it.
A huge thanks to Andrew Innes & Jody Burr for creating such a ridiculously awesome game. We love it!! [nggallery id=28]

The Biggest Trackball by brent

After unending frustration calibrating an FTIR multitouch device Eric and I decided to take a different tack for a navigation game we were building. We took his giant circus ball and mounted it on casters, then pushed an optical mouse up against the bottom of it and voila! a giant trackball. So simple, but the increased size makes navigating gigapixel images much more fun than sitting at your computer. We paired the device with a few jumbo Happ Control buttons and a large projection to let players navigate around huge images. Thanks to the folks at Gigapan for use of some of their super high quality images!YouTube video [nggallery id=26]

Puck Hunt by brent

Eric Gradman, Tyler Bushnell, and I have been collaborating on a platform for social gaming that uses a handheld wireless RFID reader and a bunch of RFID tags scattered around a venue. We tested an early prototype at the H+ conference the beginning of December and will bring the next revision to Mindshare this week. My favorite aspect is the flexibility. The number of sensors and outputs we put on the puck allows for a broad array of possible games including various scavenger hunts, puzzles and competitions. A video and more technical breakdown is available here.
Update: We were covered on Makezine, Hackaday and Engadget! [nggallery id=19]

Party Table by brent

The party table has been a pet project and passion of mine for a few years now. It's a six player game table that consists of a screen (either LCD or projection) surrounded by trackballs and arcade buttons. The device is more of a game platform than just another arcade unit. So far, it has a few simple games including a 6 player ping-pong, a light cycle game similar to Tron, and a game where players race through a maze. A bunch of other games are in the development pipeline including a race car game, a tank defense game and shuffleboard. An important aspect of the unit is that it accommodates 6 players. Six is an interesting number socially. People will usually go out to bars and restaurants in groups of 2-4 so a game that allows 6 players usually means that the players are meeting someone new around the table. Stimulating social interaction and making new friends is a focal point of the table. [nggallery id=14]

Laser Maze by brent

Tyler, Dan, dad and I exhibited our laser maze (for the first time to the public!) last night at the February Mindshare. The object was to traverse the room without breaking any of the beams, ring a bell, and then navigate back to the start. Attendees pretended to be [take your pick of cinema's security-breaching thieves] employing everything from commando crawls to acrobatics to get across. Thanks to Seth Margolin for an excellent filming and editing job on the video!

Laser Maze at the Firehouse from Brent Bushnell on Vimeo.

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