Turn your screen into a playable Super Mario level

Desktop application Screentendo allows you to capture an image of your screen, and export the image as a playable Super Mario level.

Created by Aaron Randall.

It’s a Cocoa app, so Mac only unless you have a virtual machine to emulate OS X on your Windows or linux box.

The source code is available at GitHub.

Via BoingBoing.

This is cool. I like it. More like this, please.

I never got into Mario Brothers, haven’t touched it in many years. But I love the idea of making a level from a screenshot.

Deep: a video game for calm, deep breathing

“New methods for treating anxiety, trauma and mental illness are emerging at the intersection of games and therapy.” – Laura Hudson

Deep (video game) @ http://owenllharris.com/deep/

Deep, a virtual reality game developed for the Oculus Rift, has set out to do just that. It’s based on the same sort of deep breathing exercises that many anxiety sufferers—and meditation/yoga enthusiasts—are already familiar with, coupled with immersive visuals and audio that make you feel like you’re suspended in a dreamy, underwater world. A belt secured around your body senses when you inhale and exhale, causing you to “rise” and “fall” rhythmically within the water as you explore a “zen garden” of coral and colored lights.

Developer Owen Harris had been using breathing exercises to manage his own anxiety for years, and “when VR arrived… I knew exactly what I wanted to do: I wanted to build something where at the end of a stressful day I could just go to, and it’d become my own little isolation tank,” Harris told Vice. “I was building this thing for myself; it never really occurred to me to be showing it to other people.”

[Source: Laura Hudson @ Boing Boing]

More likes this, please. The world could use more tranquility games, peace games, do-good-deeds games.

Ben Heck’s Raspberry Pi Gaming Console

This looks like fun:

Ben Heck Show: Portable Raspberry Pi Part 1

Via Revision 3

Via YouTube

Turn this:

Ben Heck Raspberry Pi Console project overview

Into this:

Ben Heck's Raspberry Pi Handheld Console

Using little more than a 3D printer and a £25 Raspberry Pi computer, he’s crafted the ultimate gaming handheld, a GameGear-style computer with gaming controls and an LCD screen which plays all of the classic arcade games from yesteryear, like Metal Slug and Contra.

“The Pi was fun, it’s a two sided 3D printed case, the 3D printer was great for it as it used different depths for different things,” he says. “The 3D printer helped me make a professionally looking case, and it only took around two hours to print each side.”

[Red Bull UK]

Via Slashdot:

Ben Heck makes a pointLegendary DIY gaming guru Ben Heck has given a new interview in which he talks about the Access Controller, his modular controller for consoles that lets disabled gamers play with one hand, and how he plans to update it for the next generation of consoles: ‘I’m sure I will. At the very least people are going to want the accessibility controllers I build … People have already asked about them for the next-gen consoles, and that was at E3. When I was there, the thing I looked at the most was the controllers. The Xbox One looks pretty similar to what we have at the moment, but they finally fixed the D-pad.’

[Slashdot]

See also Digital Trends:

Over the course of two 20-minutes episodes, Heckendorn shows us how to turn the 512MB Pi into a kick-ass, Linux-running portable computer that looks a bit like the GameBoy Advance. In Part One, he takes us along as he figures out how to combine the mini-computer that is the Raspberry Pi with a USB-powered Logitech gaming controller, as well as find a large enough battery pack to power both the Pi and an LCD screen that he pried from a backup camera from Amazon. He even maps the joystick controls to the Pi by using the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, so that Pi will understand all your button combos in addition to your keyboard strokes.

Ben Heck with Raspberry Pi project components

But that’s not all. Heckendorn actually takes each device apart to save the components he needs inside a handheld console. For example, he removes the Ethernet adapter from the Raspberry Pi, but keeps the rumble pack from the controller before soldering all the disparate parts back together. At the same time, he’s also thinking about the shape of the device depending on the location of the batteries and buttons. By the end of this episode, we can already see a rough sketch of this Pi-powered console taking shape, right down to the locations of the screws.

[Gloria Sin @ Digital Trends]

What’s a Raspberry Pi?

Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming.

The Model A will cost $25 USD and the Model B $35 USD, plus local taxes and shipping/handling fees.

Model A has 256MB RAM, one USB port and no Ethernet (network connection). Model B has 512MB RAM, 2 USB port and an Ethernet port.

[Raspberry Pi Frequently Asked Questions]

Buy Raspberry Pi

Gameduino: an Arduino game adapter

Very intriguing … I’ll bet people do some cool stuff with this technology!
Gameduino

Gameduino connects your Arduino to a VGA monitor and speakers, so anyone who can write an Arduino sketch can create video games. It’s packed full of 8-bit game goodness: hundreds of sprites, smooth scrolling, multi-channel stereo sound.

Gameduino is designed, tested, documented and the prototype is built. The videos were all taken from the real hardware — all the demos are on the Gameduino project page.

What needs to happen next is a manufacturing run. Because the board uses a fairly fancy chip, a short production run is the only way to keep the cost reasonable. Your pledge gets you a Gameduino from this first run.

With a horde of Gameduinos in kitchens, garages and classrooms, the resulting old-school 2D mayhem should be considerable.

Gameduino is open-source hardware (BSD license) and all its code is GPL licensed.

kickstarter.com

So are you that kind of person? Does the Gameduino look insanely cool, and you’re already daydreaming about the games you’ll create? Then go make a pledge!

Via Slashdot.

Mechanical computer uses matchboxes and beans to learn Tic-Tac-Toe

James Bridle reports:
“I just completed a working build of Donald Michie’s MENACE (Matchbox Educable Noughts And Crosses Engine), an early (1960) example of machine learning. MENACE uses 304 matchboxes to play Matchbox ComputerNoughts and Crosses (or Tic Tac Toe in the US) — and learns over time to play it better.”

MENACE is a machine that plays noughts and crosses, built out of 304 matchboxes. Each matchbox corresponds to one of the 304 board layouts that the opening player might face (there are actually 19,683 possible board layouts, but we only need to calculate the opening player’s first four moves, and many are rotationally or reflectively identical). In turn, each matchbox contains a number of glass beads corresponding to each possible next move. When it is MENACE’s turn to play, the operator simply selects the matchbox corresponding to the current state of play, shakes it, and opens it to see which move has been chosen. Each matchbox contains a small nook into which one bead falls–and MENACE plays in the square corresponding to that bead.

But what’s really clever is that MENACE learns. Every time it wins a game, an additional bead is added to each matchbox played, corresponding to each winning move. Likewise, every time it loses, a bead corresponding to each losing move is removed. As a result, over time, MENACE becomes more likely to play moves that have previously resulted in wins and less likely to play moves that have resulted in losses.

James Bridle: A New THEORY of AWESOMENESS and MIRACLES: Being NOTES and SLIDES on a talk given at PLAYFUL 09, concerning CHARLES BABBAGE, HEATH ROBINSON, MENACE and MAGE
– via Boing Boing