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Games Of 2020 - The Winners

March 9, 2009 Article Start Previous Page 21 of 21


Submitted By: Jim McGinley

We're driving to the cottage when I spot it. The GPS channel is showing a giant deposit of carbon nanotubes at the next exit. "Our problems are solved!" I announce. "You found TUBES!!?" she screams while swiveling the screen to face her.

I take the exit (we're going to be late) while my wife claims the find via her iP6hone. "On the count of 3... 2... 1..." All members of our union are subjected to a broadcast of my wife and I shouting "Tubes! I repeat - TUBES! Woo-Hoo! Start Building!!!" Generally I avoid mass broadcasts, but this is important.

She immediately remotes into the PSXBOX 724 (thanks to some funky hacks, her phone doubles as a controller). Work required me to get a static IP address for the car, and getting the PSXBOX 724 to broadcast to it was a cinch (surprisingly). That means she doesn't have to play on her tiny screen. She changes the LCD input from GPS to Game (along with the Radio channel), and we're ready to oversee the construction.

As usual, most of the new members are creating pipes. Nothing wrong with that, every city needs them to route the never ending water and sewage. Plus, laying and splitting the pipes is always fun, which is probably why you can build them freely.

If the players attached to each other they'd be a lot more efficient, but that's something you need to learn for yourself. Needless to say, I haven't laid pipes in about a month.

A group of people have gathered. Thanks to all the tubes, they're going to attempt a 50 segment structure. That's really ambitious, but if it works we can use it to create some really tall buildings in the city. The bottom of the structure is composed of 20 segments, each a seasoned player who can drive properly.

The rest of the players are attaching themselves to this foundation, and a workable torso, chest and shoulder are now in place. A humerus is forming, and my wife attaches herself to it becoming an elbow of sorts. The remaining players attach to my wife forming a halfway decent arm. From a distance, it looks like a large wireframe King Kong full of people (if King Kong was fat, deformed, and 1 armed).

Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so - someone has just plastered a picture of King Kong's head at the top. Now there's a 500 foot furry cat tail coming out the rear. It's wagging. I'm not sure how they did that. Luckily, today we only need to be a crane.

The conductor sends out instructions to move Fat Kitty Kong. Keeping 50 segments in sync is no easy task, especially if you're trying to walk or rotate the structure. Luckily, the players only need to press the buttons at the right time (following the individual patterns sent by the conductor).

I find the dynamically generated music helps in this regard, but not everyone agrees. Our conductor sticks to the basic movement patterns generated by the A.I. We walk to the quarry, rotate the torso, extend the arm (which automatically grabs clay), and begin walking the clay to the city.

While walking, we slowly begin to tip over. The drivers stop walking, but we're still tipping. My wife quickly contracts her segment, causing the elbow to retract, bringing the heavy clay closer to the body of the structure resulting in a better center of balance.

We stop tipping, and everyone begins cheering. We begin walking once again. We dump the clay on top of a small building and watch it automatically grow several stories. This city is really shaping up.

I've seen expert conductors (and improvising segments) get their structures to slither like a snake, run like a tiger and dance like Michael Jackson. We're not that good. When our union improvises, the aftermath is usually disastrous - albeit hilarious.

We've managed to perfect a silly walk, and that's mostly thanks to the fact we formed a giant pair of wireframe pants. When I first started playing, we used to build structures as high as possible, and then try moving in different directions all at the same time.

Once we realized Blizzard charged extra to bring players back to life, we stopped. Needless to say, we won't be playing Structure versus Structure anytime soon.

We're near the cottage. My wife leaves the A.I. in charge of her segment, and turns off the PSXBOX 724 and then her phone. Hopefully 3 hours was enough for the A.I. to learn how to emulate my wife.

At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if half the structures in the game are completely A.I. It's impossible to tell, especially since Facebook began allowing fake profiles. As I exit the car, it dawns on me that I won't be playing this weekend (we've agreed to no electronic devices while on vacation). I wish A.I. could emulate my time at the cottage.

Article Start Previous Page 21 of 21

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