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Kooky supernatural puzzle-platformer Ghost Sweeper is coming to Xbox One next week – Gamasutra

[This unedited press release is made available courtesy of Gamasutra and its partnership with notable game PR-related resource GamesPress.]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NOTE TO EDITORS:

Kooky supernatural puzzle-platformerGhost Sweeper is coming to Xbox One next week

Theres something strange in the neighborhood

Venture through more than eight different worlds teeming with secrets. Explore dark forests and the Evil Lord's lair. Face off against bloated ghosts, laughing pumpkins, creaking skeletons and many other strange creatures of the night. Use your agility and speed to tackle your enemy or plan the perfect strategy to avoid confrontation. Its entirely up to you!

Choose between different Ghost Sweepers with their unique abilities. Scrounge around for secret stages and treasure to unlock useful items in the shop and uncover bonus levels. Are you smart and skilled enough to defeat the Dark Lord... and maybe steal all his gold!?

Ghost Sweeper has been a labor of love for us, said said Nrupesh Gajjar of Total Console. We got our start making games as far back as the Commodore 64 era, and have always had a soft spot for 80s puzzle games. Ghost Sweeper takes that design, but applies it with a modern coat of paint to create something that will appeal to gamers of all ages.

About Total Console

Founded in 1996, Total Console is a New York City-based indie game publisher and retailer that specializes in retro gaming. As a retailer, it carries hardware for consoles ranging from the Commodore 64 and Atari, to PS2 and Xbox 360. More recently its begun publishing games, with its latest title, Ghost Sweeper, coming to Xbox One in April 2020.

About 7 Raven Studios

Located in Phuket, Thailand, 7 Raven Studios has been creating various types of games and player experiences since it was founded in 2006. The companys founder started creating games on the Commodore 64 and Amiga home computers and has continued game development from the days of Super Nintendo through current platforms. Its latest game, Ghost Sweeper, was released in March 2020 on Nintendo Switch.

Media Contact

Plan of Attack on behalf of 7 Raven Studios

Vincent Abel (EU & Oceania)

[emailprotected]

Jeffrey Matulef (Americas)

[emailprotected]

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Kooky supernatural puzzle-platformer Ghost Sweeper is coming to Xbox One next week - Gamasutra

Stuck inside? Here are the best games to play over Zoom – Digital Trends

Theres nothing better than playing games with friends, though its not always possible to get a group together physically to play. If youre interested in playing remotely, here are the best games to play over Zoom.

Although there are a lot of excellent co-op and multiplayer games available, we focused this list of games that are inexpensive and easy to learn, focusing primarily on tabletop games and tabletop-like experiences. In short, you dont need a gaming computer to get started with our picks.

Jackbox games are unintentionally perfect for Zoom. Instead of separate game instances for all of your Zoom friends, Jackbox only needs one copy running. Once your group has chosen a game, everyone will receive a URL and code. From there, your friends can use their phones to play, and you can stream your screen to them.

As for which Jackbox game to play, take your pick. You can go for the $100 bundle that includes nearly everything or pick up one of the tailored Party Packs for around $25. Although some games are better than others, there are no truly bad Jackbox games. If youre a newbie, we recommend sticking with one of the You Dont Know Jack games, as well as Quiplash and Drawful.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a VR superstar that just so happens to work great over Zoom. One player will take the role of the bomb defuser, while the others are experts. Experts read from a bomb defusal manual, instructing the defuser on what to do next. The key is that the experts cant see the bomb.

In practice, this setup is perfect for Zoom. One player owns Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, while the others read the bomb defusal manual online. If anything, playing over Zoom enhances the experience, as your group of experts struggles to communicate how to disarm the bomb in time.

Overcooked is a cute cooking game thats all about teamwork. You and three other players play as chefs who must put out high-quality food under increasingly strenuous conditions. The majority of the game revolves around taking this there and putting that over there. As the difficulty ramps up, though, youll have to find out how to traverse the kitchen effectively, put out fires, and deal with the demands of customers.

Its not a very demanding game, so most computers can run it (its available on console, too). However, everyone will need to own a copy to get in on the fun. Overcooked is a great choice if your Zoom group is already on board with buying games and playing their own local instance. If not, stick with one of the above options.

When it comes to value for your dollar, it doesnt get better than Tabletop Simulator. Its a virtual tabletop that allows you to build any game you want. The base package comes with 15 games, including puzzles, poker, chess, and dominoes. However, you can play different games either by creating them yourself or finding a mod online.

If you normally run a game night, Tabletop Simulator is a must-own. Because of its open-ended nature, youre free to add your own house rules and play whatever game you want in the way your group sees fit. Theres a long list of official expansions, too, that add games like Zombicide, Scythe, and The Captain is Dead.

Besiege has been around for a long time, though it was only officially released earlier this year. Its a physics-based building game where your job is to construct the deadliest medieval siege vessel that you can. You spend some time building your weapon of destruction, then unleash it on the map to cause the most mayhem possible.

Theres a single-player campaign, but Besiege is best played with friends. There are two ways you can approach your Zoom call. The first is to load or create a level and see who can rack up the most points. The second, and our favorite, is to pit two players against each other, having the siege vehicles duke it out in an open arena.

Mysterium is Clue for the 21st century. Although its normally a tabletop game, theres a Steam version for only $7, while the tabletop version goes for around $50. Like Clue, players will need to uncover the details of a murder, namely the identity of the murderer, the weapon they used, and the location.

However, one player assumes the role of a ghost, who must guide the psychic investigators towards the correct answer. The ghost cant speak, though, simply offering clues to other players in the form of Vision Cards. These abstract pieces of art can provide hints, but its up to the investigator to uncover the truth.

Scythe is an excellent tabletop game, but its not easy to pick up and play. If Catan is too much for your group to handle, Scythe will be a nightmare. Still, if you and your group are up for learning the rules and spending $20 for the Steam port, its one of the best games to play over Zoom.

Its a strategy game thats all about territory control. You play as the leader of one of five factions in Europa, a 1920s version of Europe that was ravaged after World War I. Youll control fierce mechs as you battle for resources and control over critical game spaces. Be careful, though; being aggressive isnt always the best route to victory.

Mindnight is a secret-role game like One Night Werewolf. You can play with between five and eight players, so its perfect for large Zoom calls. Its also free-to-play, and the rules are dead simple, so you shouldnt have too much trouble getting your group on board.

At the beginning of a round, each player is randomly assigned a role, either a Hacker or an Agent. There are five nodes, and your job is to secure or hack a node based on your role. Whichever team makes it to three first wins. However, the team leader for whatever round youre in, which rotates each round, chooses only three players to secure or hack a node, forcing hackers to keep their identity a secret as they can.

Although were including Cards Against Humanity, this entry is really a shout out to playingcards.io. The site has a range of games, including crazy eights, checkers, and go fish. However, it recently launched Remote Insensitivity, which is an adaptation of Cards Against Humanity for your browser.

Its dead simple to get set up on Zoom, too. The leader goes to the site and starts a game. Once they do, theyll receive a room code to share with the other players. They go to the site, enter the code, and youre off to the races.

Human Fall Flat is the perfect game for hanging out with your friends digitally. It has some loose goals solve the puzzle, reach the exit type but its mostly a physics sandbox for you and your friends to play around in.

The fact that Human Fall Flat is physics-based is what sells the experience. You can interact with everything in the environment, allowing you to solve puzzles and traverse the landscape in any way your group sees fit. Maybe youll get thrown into a catapult and launch across the map, or use boxes and barrels to construct an excuse for a bridge. Funny and charming in equal measures, Human Fall Flat is an easy-going game to play over Zoom.

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Stuck inside? Here are the best games to play over Zoom - Digital Trends

Productivity boosting apps & games: Top 5 selection – Red Bull

Finishing work on time and getting back your work-life balance is a goal that so many people struggle to achieve. Turning off your phone is often seen as a great idea to help you switch off, and while it's important that you don't start answering emails on the commute home, your phone can be a vital tool for work.

Whether you want to play games to get your brain into gear on the morning commute, relax on your lunch break or organise tasks effectively, these five games and apps will help.

1. Ruya

Ruya

Miracle Tea Studios

Match-three tile games are quite an oversaturated market, but Ruya sets itself apart for its relaxing atmosphere, minimalist art, and tranquil escapism. The goal is to match up three creatures of the same colour, with the direction youre swiping dependent on the shape at the top of the screen. This is never too difficult, but it provides just the right amount of challenge to wake you up and help you focus your brain on something productive.

It's all wrapped up in a charming story about same-sex love, acceptance, and adoption, which is told entirely without the use of dialogue. The game is currently available on the app store.

2. Headspace

Being overly-stressed at work has the effect of making every task seem insurmountable. Headspace is an excellent and easy way to limit this. It is a guided meditation app that reminds you to take a break every so often and can be used at your desk, on public transport, or wherever else you may need it. It is great way to get outside the hectic schedule of work and ensure that you can approach a situation with a clear, stress-free mind. You can also customise it to tackle different areas too, such as meditation for sleep, focus, or anxiety.

Headspace basics is free, along with one session from each pack and some of the mini tools, but if you want unlimited access to everything you will have to opt into a paid subscription.

3. Monument Valley 1 & 2

A set of minimalist apps packed with challenging levels and puzzle maps to work through, the Monument Valley games are a must for anyone with a smartphone (so basically everyone).

In the two games, you explore a set of ruins and monuments, controlling the character by tapping the platform ahead or behind to reach the end of the level. Youll need to move obstacles around, stand on platforms, and avoid enemies blocking your path. Theyre two incredibly atmospheric games that you can easily pick up and play on your break or on your way to or from work.

Theres a reason why they always appear on the Best of lists for smartphone games, and thats due to their exceptional quality and unique presentation. While not the cheapest mobile games available, at 4.49 and 5.49 respectively, theyre well worth the cost.

4. Evernote

Evernote

Evernote Corporation

Searching for something a bit more advanced than your smartphones own notetaking app? Look no further than Evernote. It is a useful tool for making notes on the go and sharing them with your friends and co-workers. You can write down ideas, record voice messages, sketch, or add images to notes too, giving you more versatility over how you set yourself reminders.

It also syncs notes across all your devices, so if you happen to be away from your phone, you can continue working without interruption. Its super simple to use and will likely make keeping track of everything a little less of a chore. Evernote is free for up to 60mb of data. Beyond that, the premium subscription is priced at 5.99 a month.

5. Focus Keeper

Focus Keeper

PIXO Incorporation

Another tool that will make your working life significantly easier, Focus Keeper is designed to help you keep your focus for longer and avoid burning out. It essentially works by letting you set a timer of how long you want to work for. When this time is up, you then get a mini-break, before the timer starts all over again.

Its a great studying tool and even lets you see your progress over time in the form of a graph. This means that you can easily make a game out of it, trying to keep a consistent rate of focus or attempting to improve your productivity over time.

Focus Keeper is free, but there is also a premium version of the app available for 2.99. This lets you chart your results over a longer period of time, with the free version only capped at three days. Unfortunately, it is only available for iOS devices.

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Productivity boosting apps & games: Top 5 selection - Red Bull

SwitchArcade Round-Up: ‘Dragon Marked for Death’ Update Arrives, ‘Little Busters!’, ‘Broken Lines’, and Today’s Other New Releases and Sales – Touch…

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for April 23rd, 2020. The bulk of todays article is dedicated to the massive number of new releases that are hitting the eShop today, but we take a brief moment to check some news and sales for a bit of variety. There are a lot of really good games in todays list, so I hope youve hoarded a little money. Lets have a look at everything!

Dragon Marked for Death Update Now Available

While the latest update for the Switch version of Dragon Marked for Death was originally scheduled to hit on April 21st alongside the Steam launch of the game, it ended up being delayed a little due to the staff needing to work from home. It turns out the delay wasnt too long, however, as Version 3.0.0 is now available. It adds two new playable characters, the Oracle and the Bandit, increases level caps across the board, and adds a ton of new items and gear pieces. In conjunction with this massive new content drop, the Empress character has been added to Blaster Master Zero 2 as an add-on.

SwitchArcade Highlight!

Today is visual novel day, apparently. This is a Switch port of KEYs popular 2007 visual novel. Like many of KEYs games, this one ended up getting an anime based on it. It follows the story of a boy named Riki who is invited into a group of friends called the Little Busters. They want to start a baseball team but dont have enough members, and much of the game involves their group seeking out and forming friendships with new people. Of course, this is a KEY game, so basically whatever route your choices end up taking you down, you should prepare some tissues for the inevitable tears. Its very good stuff, provided youre okay with the genre.

SwitchArcade Highlight!

The latest in QUBytes series of cheap chess puzzlers is Hang the Kings, which challenges you to capture all of the matching pieces before taking down the king on each stage. There are 100 levels in all. It starts off very simple but quickly becomes devilishly tricky, putting your logic skills to the test. Youll have an easier time of it if youre familiar with chess, but even if you arent youll probably sort things out before long. For the absurdly low price these go for, Ill never not recommend them. If you like puzzle games, be sure to pick this one up.

SwitchArcade Highlight!

We get a lot of military-themed tactical strategy games, and a lot of fantasy-themed tactical RPGs, but we dont often see military-themed tactical RPGs. Broken Lines makes a solid attempt at that idea, putting you in control of a squad of soldiers behind enemy lines in an alternate-history version of Eastern Europe. You have to keep your team alive while making hard choices about what to do. Your choices and level of performance will lead you to one of multiple endings. A single playthrough isnt a huge commitment, lasting about six or seven hours, but if you want to see all of the endings youll be busy for quite a while. It has a few flaws but if youre looking for a different take on the tactical RPG genre, this is a very well-made one.

SwitchArcade Highlight!

I probably dont need to go on too much about Sunless Sea. Its been out on iPad for ages now, and you dont need me to tell you its pretty darned great. This Switch version gives you both the base game and the rather extensive underwater Zubmariner expansion, all for a very nice price. Described as a gothic horror RPG, this game sees you exploring a bleak world while trying to keep your crew from losing their minds. The story and writing are outstanding and are easily the best parts of the experience, but the gameplay is quite solid as well. Really hard, and often unfairly so, but somehow still compelling. If you havent played Sunless Sea yet, this is a terrific way to do it.

SwitchArcade Highlight!

Okay, just in case you arent aware: this is not a game. Rather, it is a piece of software that will allow you to develop games in SmileBASIC or download and play games created by others. Its as beginner-friendly as this kind of thing is going to be, and its surprisingly versatile in terms of what you can make with it, but dont think youre just going to be dragging and dropping things with the ease that you do in Super Mario Maker. Another heads-up: by default, you wont be able to upload any projects and youll only be able to download a project once every several hours. You can buy Server Tickets in the app that allow you to upload projects and gain access to unlimited downloads. I believe each ticket costs around five dollars, and each added one allows you to upload an additional 10 projects. Youll also probably want to drag out at least a USB keyboard for this, as youll be doing a fair bit of typing.

SwitchArcade Highlight!

Jupiter, stop. Im already dead. The latest in the Picross S series offers up more puzzles than ever, with a grand total of 485 to solve. Those include standard Picross, Mega Picross, Color Picross, Clip Picross, and some Extra puzzles. What are Extra puzzles? Well, if you have save data from the previous games on your system, youll get access to two 3030 and three 4030 puzzles. Each of them can potentially take you literal hours to solve. Unfortunately, Jupiter still hasnt figured out how to do optional touch controls, a problem that is even more vexing now that pretty much every competing Picross title from other developers has support for them. Maybe next time! Probably not, but maybe! Im buying this anyway because I am an utter fool.

This is a very hectic puzzle action game for one or two players. The idea here is that you have two drones who will head in the direction of whatever arrows they touch. You need to guide them safely to the goal by switching the direction of the arrows on the fly. That may sound simple but it gets very complicated very quickly. Send the drones in the wrong direction and theyll almost always end up plunging to their destruction, forcing you to restart the stage. Keeping an eye on both drones and the paths ahead of them takes quite a bit of concentration, and getting past some of the traps will require good timing. If you want to make it even harder, rope in a second player and split the controls between the two of you. Five worlds and 125 levels make this reasonably substantial if not overly so. Ill have a review soon for this one, I just need to test the multiplayer a bit more.

Yeah, theres no way thats a legit screenshot of the Switch version of the game. But its whats in the eShop listing, so thats what weve got. Anyway, this is the third iteration of the MotoGP series on the Switch, and by now were well into the refinement stage of things. Improved graphics and physics, new rider models, new face scans of official team managers, some new animations, and some added historical content make up the bulk of the changes here. Id imagine that, like the previous games, fans of MotoGP racing will be content with what they get here. From a technical standpoint, however, youre almost certainly better off grabbing this on another platform. At least then you might have a hope of the game looking like that image up there.

Lets see slightly vague description, UI clearly designed around touch controls, and text on the screenshots. A-yup, this is a mobile port, and at least from its marketing doesnt appear to be particularly improved or changed from what I can see on the App Store. The one thing that has been souped up is the price, as this costs roughly four times what the iOS version does. Well, if you want to build up and manage a virtual eSports team on your Switch, this is probably better than the other couple of games that let you do that.

If you enjoyed the unusual blend of literary characters, handsome dudes, and romantic drama found in the visual novel Code: Realize, you might enjoy this after-story. It follows up on the story of the original, both adding new scenarios that take place after those events and filling out unseen happenings that were going on during the first games plot. So yeah, not something to buy if you havent already played and enjoyed the original Code: Realize, but if you did, youll probably like this a lot.

Say what you will about the Switch eShop, you cant accuse it of a lack of software diversity. Yumeutsutsu isnt even the first yuri-themed visual novel to be made available on the Switch, but it may be the best of that bunch. It follows a young woman named Ai as she takes on a job at a game studio in a big city. Aside from getting used to her new job and the cast of characters she has to work with, Ai also seeks to mend fences with her younger sister. Naturally, theres a heavy romance component and Ai can end up in some very risque situations with many of the women she meets. Its a bit of a slow burn, but the character development is interesting and the writing is decent enough. Unfortunately, the cost of picking up both parts (which you kind of need to do in order to get the full story) greatly dampens any recommendation I could give Yumeutsutsu. Its in no way worth such a huge asking price.

(North American eShop, US Prices)

Not a whole lot popping up in the old sales feed today so far. As usual, the number of new sales at the time Im writing may be a bit thin, but Im sure by the time you read this there will be a lot more. Well cover those in tomorrows article, like always. The outbox is also quite small, and outside of Alien: Isolation there really isnt anything I feel strongly about in either list. Maybe Yodanji? Oh well. More money for new games, I suppose.

Select New Games on Sale

Alien: Isolation ($24.49 from $34.99 until 5/1)Yodanji ($2.49 from $4.99 until 5/14)Chronus Arc ($6.49 from $12.99 until 5/14)Legend of the Tetrarchs ($8.99 from $14.99 until 5/14)Illusion of LPhalcia ($7.79 from $12.99 until 5/14)Sacred Stones ($7.49 from $14.99 until 5/14)MachiKnights -Blood Bagos- ($8.99 from $14.99 until 5/14)Princess Maker Go! Go! Princess ($11.99 from $14.99 until 5/14)Princess Maker -Faery Tales Come True- ($23.99 from $29.99 until 5/14)Wonder Boy Returns ($8.99 from $14.99 until 5/14)Without Escape ($3.49 from $4.99 until 5/14)Grizzland ($3.49 from $4.99 until 5/14)Fairy Knights ($7.99 from $9.99 until 5/14)Lost Sea ($3.99 from $9.99 until 5/14)Family Tree ($3.19 from $7.99 until 5/14)

Perils of Baking ($1.99 from $4.99 until 5/14)Amazing Brick Breaker ($1.49 from $4.99 until 5/14)Fledgling Heroes ($8.49 from $9.99 until 5/7)Cyber Protocol ($1.29 from $9.99 until 4/30)Deployment ($0.99 from $9.99 until 4/30)A Hole New World ($1.99 from $9.99 until 5/6)Space Ribbon ($0.49 from $4.99 until 5/12)Syberia 3 ($9.99 from $49.99 until 5/6)Santa Tracker ($0.49 from $2.99 until 5/12)Street Basketball ($0.89 from $5.99 until 5/12)Quench ($9.99 from $19.99 until 4/29)Balthazars Dream ($1.60 from $8.00 until 5/6)Story of a Gladiator ($5.49 from $10.99 until 5/12)Crazy Zen Mini Golf ($1.99 from $4.99 until 5/12)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Friday, April 24th

A Duel Hand Disaster: Trackher ($6.99 from $9.99 until 4/24)Chroma Squad ($9.99 from $14.99 until 4/24)Frozen Friends ($5.99 from $9.99 until 4/24)Heroine Anthem Zero Ep.1 ($7.79 from $12.99 until 4/24)Hiragana Pixel Party ($6.29 from $8.99 until 4/24)Knights of Pen & Paper +1 Deluxier ($5.99 from $14.99 until 4/24)Knights of Pen & Paper 2 Deluxiest ($6.49 from $12.99 until 4/24)Knights of Pen & Paper Bundle ($11.24 from $22.49 until 4/24)Life Goes On ($7.79 from $12.99 until 4/24)n Verlore Verstand ($6.99 from $13.99 until 4/24)Nippon Marathon ($6.74 from $14.99 until 4/24)

Nonograms Prophecy ($1.49 from $3.99 until 4/24)Nuclien ($1.99 from $3.99 until 4/24)Old School RPG Bundle ($17.99 from $29.99 until 4/24)Rawr-Off ($0.49 from $2.99 until 4/24)Rise: Race The Future ($12.36 from $16.49 until 4/24)Space Lift Danger Panic! ($0.99 from $4.99 until 4/24)Strike Force Kitty ($1.99 from $4.99 until 4/24)The Legend of Evil ($5.99 from $7.99 until 4/24)Tyd wag vir Niemand ($6.49 from $9.99 until 4/24)Ultra Hyperball ($5.99 from $9.99 until 4/24)

Thats all for today, friends. Well be back tomorrow with the rest of this weeks new releases, including games like Trials of Mana and Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4. Well also cover whatever news comes along, and there will surely be a mighty list of new sales to catalog. I hope you all have a great Thursday, and as always, thanks for reading!

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SwitchArcade Round-Up: 'Dragon Marked for Death' Update Arrives, 'Little Busters!', 'Broken Lines', and Today's Other New Releases and Sales - Touch...

Can You Beat The GOAT Monty Hall Problem? – FiveThirtyEight

Welcome to The Riddler. Every week, I offer up problems related to the things we hold dear around here: math, logic and probability. Two puzzles are presented each week: the Riddler Express for those of you who want something bite-size and the Riddler Classic for those of you in the slow-puzzle movement. Submit a correct answer for either, and you may get a shoutout in next weeks column. If you need a hint or have a favorite puzzle collecting dust in your attic, find me on Twitter.

From Andrew Heairet comes a puzzle that is sure to whet your appetite:

You and a friend are grilling two small square burger patties whose sides are 5 centimeters long. However, you only have one slice of cheese remaining, which is also square and whose sides are 7 centimeters long. You want to cut the slice so that all of the cheese is evenly split between the two patties, and no cheese is spilling over either patty and onto the grill.

What is the smallest number of cuts you need to make? You can only make straight cuts, and you should assume that the cheese is stationary during the cutting process.

Submit your answer

The Monty Hall problem is a classic case of conditional probability. In the original problem, there are three doors, two of which have goats behind them, while the third has a prize. You pick one of the doors, and then Monty (who knows in advance which door has the prize) will always open another door, revealing a goat behind it. Its then up to you to choose whether to stay with your initial guess or to switch to the remaining door. Your best bet is to switch doors, in which case you will win the prize two-thirds of the time.

Now suppose Monty changes the rules. First, he will randomly pick a number of goats to put behind the doors: zero, one, two or three, each with a 25 percent chance. After the number of goats is chosen, they are assigned to the doors at random, and each door has at most one goat. Any doors that dont have a goat behind them have an identical prize behind them.

At this point, you choose a door. If Monty is able to open another door, revealing a goat, he will do so. But if no other doors have goats behind them, he will tell you that is the case.

It just so happens that when you play, Monty is able to open another door, revealing a goat behind it. Should you stay with your original selection or switch? And what are your chances of winning the prize?

Submit your answer

Congratulations to James Goodman of Gttingen, Germany, winner of last weeks Riddler Express.

Last week, you were asked to solve a royal murder mystery:

You were told that the white knight that took the black queen had moved exactly eight times. How was this possible?

At first glance, it appeared that the white knight in question originated from the lower left corner of the board. However, there just didnt seem to be a way for the knight to have reached the black queen in exactly eight moves.

Indeed, with a key insight, you could prove this impossibility. As solver Jeevaka Dassanayake observed, every time a knight moves, it either goes from a white square to a black square or a black square back to a white square. So because this knight started on a white square, then after any even number of moves yes, that means after eight moves it must again be on a white square. However, the black queen was on a black square. So there was no way the white knight from the lower left could have killed the black queen in eight moves.

In submitting this puzzle, Yan Zhang pointed to a particular saying of Sherlock Holmes: When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. If the white knight that took the queen wasnt the one from the lower left, it must have been the one from the lower right.

Sure enough, the white knight in the lower right started on a black square, meaning it could take the black queen in an even number of moves. But what about the knight thats currently occupying that black square in the lower right? Well, that was our old friend the knight that started in the bottom left and it got there in an odd number of moves.

In the end, there were many sequences of moves that met the criteria stated in the puzzle. Here is one such sequence, courtesy of Andrew Heairet (the submitter of this weeks Express):

Lucas Yan, meanwhile, reverse-engineered the game in Python, finding another sequence of moves.

If this chess strategy didnt have a name before, it does now solver Oliver Roeder , my predecessor here at FiveThirtyEight, named it the Drunken Dressage Defense, possibly due to all that horsing around.

Finally, for those of you who are interested in more retrograde analysis of chess games, I recommend the works of Raymond Smullyan.

Congratulations to Matthew Cowen-Green of New York, winner of last weeks Riddler Classic.

Last week, you looked at a version of Conways Game of Life on a square grid with three rows, N columns and periodic boundary conditions that is, squares in the first row (or column) were considered to be neighbors with squares in the last row (or column).

Each square was also either alive or dead and had eight neighbors the eight squares that surrounded it. After every step in time, or tick, all the cells were simultaneously updated according to the following rules:

In the Game of Life, some formations of living squares are known as oscillators, which change form from one tick to the next, ultimately returning back to their original formation. What was the smallest value of N, the number of columns, that could support an oscillator?

Some solvers thought to check the simplest oscillator from the standard Game of Life, known as a blinker, which consists of three squares that alternate between horizontal and vertical arrangements. However, when the three squares were vertically aligned, the topmost square was neighbors with the bottommost square due to the periodic boundary conditions. This meant your everyday blinker simply couldnt exist on our modified grid, and you had to hunt for more complicated oscillators.

The smallest value of N that supported an oscillator turned out to be four, and it had a period of two (i.e., it returned to its original arrangement every two ticks). For this oscillator, two adjacent columns would be alive on one tick, the other two columns would be alive on the next tick, and then the original two columns would be alive again. Heres an animation of this solution, courtesy of Michael Branicky:

But the fun didnt stop there. When hunting for oscillators, if you treated the three squares in a column as a single unit that were either all alive or dead together, a new set of rules emerged:

So what was once a 3 by N grid of squares was now effectively a 1 by N grid of columns, which made the analysis slightly more manageable. It also meant that this game behaved like one of Stephen Wolframs cellular automata rules rule 22 to be precise.

With this in mind, several solvers discovered all sorts of larger oscillators. Michael found that after N = 4, the next smallest value of N that could support an oscillator was N = 7. Nine-year-old (!) Natesh Larkin found a period-4 oscillator when N = 9:

Allen Gu found a period-384 oscillator when N = 24. And Josh Silverman found a period-1215 oscillator when N = 27:

Finally, if youd like to play around some more yourself, check out the applet Gabe Pezanoski-Cohen made, which lets you search for oscillators on grids of varying sizes with periodic boundary conditions.

Oh, and if anyone has figured out the general pattern of what periods are possible for a given value of N, do share!

Well, arent you lucky? Theres a whole book full of the best puzzles from this column and some never-before-seen head-scratchers. Its called The Riddler, and its in stores now!

Email Zach Wissner-Gross at riddlercolumn@gmail.com.

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Can You Beat The GOAT Monty Hall Problem? - FiveThirtyEight

The Procession to Calvary Review: Surrealistically Funny & Odd – Screen Rant

Booting up The Procession to Calvary for the first time will give players several conflicting impressions. While the game's environment is made up of beautiful renaissance era paintings, the humor is so immature that it would not be out of place in an episode of South Park. The combination of classic paintings and grotesque humor is at odds with itself for the entirety of the game, but this conflict makes The Procession to Calvary that much more enjoyable and hilarious.

It is impossible not to find the environment of The Procession to Calvary beautiful, as it is full of some of the most well known paintings in human history. The developer, Joe Richardson (creator of the critically acclaimed Four Last Things), basically cut and pasted people from these paintings to use as characters in his game. This means that all of the movements and actions of characters are erratic and completely two dimensional. This adds to the humor, as the protagonist runs around the environment in an intentionally unnatural way.

Related: Popular Indie Game Rogue Legacy Announces Sequel & Sleek New Art Style

The gameplay of The Procession to Calvary is actually a simple point and click adventure. Those familiar with the genre will find all the traditional actions and mechanics. Players will be tasked with speaking to NPCs and picking up objects to solve puzzles. Some of these objects must be combined with others to solve more complicated scenarios. The Procession to Calvary doesn't alter the formula for point and click adventure games, but the puzzles are satisfying to solve and make sense logically. The puzzles do grow more complicated as time goes on, but it is easy to follow the logic of each quest.

Some mechanics are introduced that shake up the gameplay a little, and the most fun is the protagonist's sword. There are a few puzzles that are only solvable by a quick stab or slash of the sword, but they're few and far between. Where the sword truly shines in The Procession to Calvary is its ability to murder any NPC that the player encounters. If the player finds themselves stuck on a particularly tough puzzle, they can just murder the appropriate character to obtain the object they need. There are serious repercussions to killing anyone, but discovering them is half the fun of The Procession to Calvary.

The humor is the most important aspect of The Procession to Calvary, and for the most part it sticks the landing. All the jokes are dark and/or immature, yet in such a pretty game the absurdity makes them wonderfully silly. Some players may find a few of the jokes in poor taste though or a little too obvious to be funny. For example, a few of the jokes about the Catholic church's history of pedophilia feel outdated. This goes the same with a lot of the fourth wall breaking jokes, in which the developer appears as God. These jokes just wind up falling flat. Most of the time The Procession to Calvary manages to be surrealistically funny by finding a way to make things like crucifixions and other forms of torture seem silly.

The Procession to Calvary is an odd game that caters to a specific audience thanks to thehumor, which while immature, still takesinspiration from surrealist masterpieces like Monty Python's The Holy Grail. These comedy styles combined with the game's unique animation ultimately blend well to create a wonderful, if short, gaming experience. Those who enjoy dark humor and point and click adventure games will surely have a great time with The Procession to Calvary.

Next: Argonus and the Gods of Stone Review - Point & Click Mythology Done Right

The Procession to Calvary can be played on PC. A Steam code was provided for the purposes of this review.

4 out of 5 (Excellent)

Star-Lord's Infinity War Mistake Happened Before (Except He Wasn't Wrong)

Cody Peterson is an avid reader and writer. Graduated from Midwestern State University with a BA in English where he worked as an editor for the University literary journal. Currently a freelancer for Screenrant, where he writes about video games. When he isn't writing he usually spends his time playing video games or editing the podcast he runs with his best friend.

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The Procession to Calvary Review: Surrealistically Funny & Odd - Screen Rant

How the online gaming industry is riding the big data wave – MaltaToday

Whether its a puzzle game on your mobile phone, or a high-tech game beamed to you via a virtual reality headset, online gaming is becoming the mainstream, when it comes to digital entertainment.

The industrys exponential growth is rooted in the fact that by 2024, experts are predicting that more than a billion players around the world will be regularly engaged in online gaming of some form.

The fact that people enjoy playing games is nothing new, so why are tech and computer game developers valued so highly in todays market?

A globalised world is leading to all entertainment going online

As the world becomes more connected and environmental concerns mount, it makes sense that in order to do business, as well as to enjoy oneself, many are heading online.

This trend is clear across many industries, with the film industry perhaps being the best example of this. With traditional production houses and cinemas completely overrun by online streaming services, which deliver infinitely more content for a mere fraction of the price.

In addition, streaming services are also eating into the revenue of sports networks.

Of course, the abundance of online activity indicates that people are tending to stay home or remain connected to their entertainment streams, via their smart phones.

This means that they have more time to spend indulging in things ranging from online battle royal games to 1,000 player-strong poker events, some of which you can even get free tournament tickets to enter with.

A players data is more valuable than their custom

Despite many games companies generating revenue from selling games and in-game add-ons to their loyal customers, this is far from the only way they gain their income.

Over the last decade, there has been a race to mine the personal data of individuals. Companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook quickly worked out that such data would soon become a more valuable commodity than oil or even gold, and with little regulation in place to stem them, they have been storing vast quantities of it.

This, in turn, has been used to create marketing tools that can predict how a person will spend their money, as well as giving clues as to how their behaviour can even be shaped to coerce them into using a certain brand or acting a certain way.

With this in mind, it may come as no surprise that these same tech goliaths want in on the blossoming gaming and Esports industry, where a player makes a thousand decisions on any given day, their online play and interactions a veritable treasure trove of big data for the aforementioned companies to mine.

AR and VR paving new forms of expansion

To put this into context, a good example is Pokmon Go, an AR game developed by one of Googles subsidiary companies Niantic. Not only did the game go viral, but it also managed to herd consumers to exactly the places it wanted them to go, meaning stores and cafes could pay Niantic to have players sent their way. This shows just what an incredibly powerful tool big data can be, when combined with aggressive marketing techniques.

Eyebrows were raised in 2014, when Facebook bought VR start-up Oculus, for a whopping $2 billion. However, when taking into consideration the amount of data that can be accured from a person playing a VR game online, you begin to see that this may turn out to be a wise long-term investment.

With Facebook obtaining the ability to log how players react to decisions, objects and people in an environment that is virtually the same as the ones we encounter in real life, you may realise just how powerful the major players of this industry are set to become.

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How the online gaming industry is riding the big data wave - MaltaToday

Stroke Survivor and Area Stroke Support Group Receive Awards from American Stroke Association – UKNow

HAZARD, Ky. (April 24, 2020) TheHazard and Surrounding Area Stroke Survivor and Caregiver Support Group through the University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health, along with one of the groups founding members, Mark Kincaid, a stroke survivor from Letcher County, were honored this week with Stroke Hero Awards from the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association (AHA).

Stroke Hero Awards are given each year to individuals and groups in the stroke community who have shown resilience and outstanding progress. Kincaid was among eight finalists nationwide for the Voters Choice Award, which honors an individual or group making an outstanding effort to educate, inspire, and bring awareness about stroke on a local or national level. For two weeks, community members and supporters rallied behind Mark to cast their choice in the public vote from March 19 through April 2.

Kincaid received 2,867 votes out of a total of just over 7,000 votes cast for all nominees and AHA honored him with the Voters Choice Award and the following story on their website this week:

Over a decade ago, Mark Kincaid experienced a catastrophic ischemic stroke at age 42 due to undiagnosed high blood pressure. Doctors predicted that Mark might not survive surgery to treat the stroke, and if he did, he would live the rest of his days in a vegetative state.

But Mark defied the predictions as soon as he woke up from surgery. After weeks of intensive inpatient therapy, he began regaining some of his cognitive and physical abilities, and after three months in hospitals, he was finally able to go home.

Mark continued working hard on his recovery, almost always doing double what was recommended. By playing brain games and doing speech therapy activities, Mark continued to improve his cognitive and communication skills, although he still struggles with expressive aphasia and apraxia to this day. His stroke heavily impacted the right side of his body, so his therapy included using a leg brace and electric stimulation units for his leg and arm.

Mark joined his local stroke support group and has been an active member for years. He regularly participates in stroke education activities in schools, helps provide stroke awareness education at local events and works with a rehabilitation center to help patients learn to cope with the aftermath of a stroke. Mark also helps educate graduate students at Eastern Kentucky University on the stroke survivor experience and works to achieve local and national recognition for Stroke Awareness Month and World Stroke Day.

Marks undeniable fighting spirit helps make him a great role model for stroke survivors.

Mark is very grateful and blessed for this opportunity. He hopes he can use this award to further stroke awareness in our community, said Tonya Kincaid, Marks wife, who is also an active member of the support group.

The Hazard and Surrounding Area Stroke Survivor and Caregiver Support Group was also honored by the AHA with the Outstanding Support Group Award. Established in 2015, it was the first stroke support group ever created to serve Perry and surrounding counties. It formed after a need was identified during a UK pilot, Kentucky Care Coordination for Community Transitions Program (KC3T), a program geared toward stroke navigation and community transition. The group offers support not only for stroke survivors but also for their caregivers and family members. Increasing awareness and providing stroke education at the community level is an additional mission of the group. Their passion is palpable, and their commitment is strong. They actively work to raise stroke awareness in under-resourced rural eastern Kentucky a region with one of the highest stroke rates in the nation through outreach efforts, local radio and TV appearances, and stroke screening events.

Since 2018, they have completed over 542 stroke screenings, educated 1007 elementary and high school students, and garnered stroke proclamations in three counties as well as two cities of Eastern Kentucky. Part of those efforts included an event for American Stroke Month last May. The group educated more than 600 elementary, middle, and high school students about the signs and symptoms of stroke, stroke prevention, and how to become advocates within their communities. In October 2019, they hosted their first stroke lunch and learn for World Stroke Day, where they performed 50 stroke risk screenings and were featured in a local news story.

The Hazard Stroke Survivor and Caregiver Support Group works relentlessly to make a positive impact on members lives and their community.

When we developed the Kentucky Care Coordination for Care Transitions program little did we know that one of the lasting impacts within the region would be the development of this amazing support group. This group was a key member of another funded project examining how to empower community members to be active advocates within their community. This national recognition demonstrates how the stroke support group has excelled as advocates for the stroke population within their rural communities, said Pat Kitzman, professor in the UK Physical Therapy Program.

Keisha Hudson, research coordinator at the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health (UK CERH) located in Hazard, has provided dedicated leadership for the group since its inception and said the award could not have come at a better time since the organization will celebrate its five-year anniversary this month.

As the leader of this group, I could not be more grateful, appreciative, and proud of every member of the group and this honor. Our group has worked very hard to make stroke education and awareness a focal point in our rural communities of eastern Kentucky, and I am honored that our efforts have been recognized by the American Stroke Association, Hudson said.

Dr. Fran Feltner, director of the UK CERH, applauded the passion and dedication of the people working on the locally-led initiative to improve the health of their fellow rural Kentuckians.

The support group has developed into a family of people who are survivors, caregivers, family members, local and state leadership, who play a vital role in educating community awareness and support for the people who need access to care and healing,Feltner said.

To watch the Stroke Hero Award videos and read more about the award recipients, visit https://www.stroke.org/en/help-and-support/stroke-heroes/stroke-hero-awards

For more information about the Perry County Stroke Survivor and Caregiver Support Group, contact keisha.hudson@uky.edu

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Stroke Survivor and Area Stroke Support Group Receive Awards from American Stroke Association - UKNow

Think inside the box: puzzles and board games to get your through lockdown – Evening Standard

The latest lifestyle, fashion and travel trends

It islockdown week five, your phone screentime average is a heady 25 hours per day (how?) and your irises have been boxed into right angles.

There are, mercifully, more analogue pastimes with which to give your pixelated pupils a break. Sales of board games and jigsaw puzzles soared 240 per cent during justthe first official week of lockdown. Now is the time for novelty.

Let us take you off the beaten track.

Catan Studio, 39.99

The good news is that you can drop hours into playing Catan and its sprawling expansion sets (pirates, anyone?). The bad news is it requires three to four players, at least one of whom knows the rules. Still, its easy to pick up. The game suits basic human instincts: you are given a vast and uninhabited sprawl of land then must inhabit it, build cities on it and trade resources from it. Clever people mull strategy. Creative people enjoy the nice pictures of sheep.

Z-MAN, 49.95

Like Catan, theres been something of a surge on sales of Pandemic, and no wonder. Players have to stop a virus (four, in fact) overcoming the planet in a year (usually about an hour), although one of the great novelties is that you all work together as a team. Theres a basic version of the Pandemic game, which is fun. Then, when youre ready to step up, theres the Legacy edition, an actual story which carries previous games into every new one. Two to four players.

Goat, Wolf & Cabbage, 30

As the tin says, a social deduction game for five to 10 people who find and stop the fascists among you (assigned by drawing cards) from subverting and upending a liberal democracy. Each turn, a new rotating chancellor and vice-chancellor try to convince fellow players to vote in a policy card that may be liberal, or may be fascist. First to five wins, although the fascists have extra tricks up their sleeves (after three policy wins, they can kill off a liberal). Anyone who has played Mafia will be familiar with the premise: the assigned fascists (who are outnumbered) must do a lot of lying to get their way. Eventually, no one trusts anyone. A joy!

Plan B, 39.99

Prefer your victories to be half-hour aesthetic masterpieces? In Azul, players take on the role of artisans attempting to decorate a Portuguese kings royal palace with beautiful coloured tiles. It looks great on the table, which is a plus. Players score points based on how theyve laid the tiles, with extra points accrued for creating specific patterns or completing sets of rows and columns, while sneaky traps can be laid. Like a sneakier Connect 4. Two to four players.

Czech Games Edition, 15.99

Being a spy, as any fool knows, essentially boils down to puzzle-solving. This game takes 15 minutes to play a round, the board contains 25 seemingly unconnected words which change every time you play. Two rival spymasters, after being handed a card each, know the words on the board they need their spy to say aloud (WONDER, DESERT, WALL, for example), and the words they need them to avoid. The trick is to say one word plus a number that tips them off to the words they need to find (such as building, two, may yield WONDER and WALL; Oasis, three, may yield WONDER, WALL and DESERT.)

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Think inside the box: puzzles and board games to get your through lockdown - Evening Standard


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