“The King of Kong” is fun

The King of Kong is a documentary about two guys going for a world record in Donkey Kong. One of them, Billy Mitchell, comes off as such a conceited jerk, you want punch him in the nose and knock him down in the mud. It may not be an important documentary, but it presents an engaging story of good vs. evil and it’s entertaining. The editor deserves an award for piecing together a compelling, exciting and entertaining story, just as good — if not better than — most dramatic feature films from this past year. I couldn’t believe the people in it are real. The movie is full of characters who are the definition of geek. I wouldn’t have been surprised to discover that they’re all actors and the whole story was scripted. But it’s all real. And thus surreal.

Crayon Physics Deluxe

A demonstration of Crayon Physics Deluxe:

I’m not big on games, but this one intrigued me: the goal is to get a ball to touch a star by drawing objects that obey the laws of physics. Draw something in the sky and it will fall; draw a wheel and it will roll; draw a pendulum and it will swing.

Here’s an imaginative solution for one of the simpler levels: Continue reading Crayon Physics Deluxe

Online Chess With GameKnot

play chess onlineI recently started playing chess again, joining GameKnot after receiving an invitation from a co-worker. From GameKnot‘s site:

An online chess community where you can play chess even if you only have 10 minutes. You choose when to move and how often to move in your chess games.

They use the ELO rating system:

All players starts off with the same rating (1200), which gets adjusted based on your completed games and the ratings of your opponents. A special formula is used to quickly approximate your playing ability during the first 20 rated games, so even if you are much higher rated, it won’t take long to establish your real rating on GameKnot.

Things I like about Gameknot:

  • Their rating system.
  • They include functions to analyze the board while playing, allowing you to easily test future positions without picturing them in your head.
  • You can annoate moves and take notes about games, although I don’t see myself using that.
  • The interface is clean and intuitive.
  • The site is quick and responsive.

Things I don’t like:

  • They display ads, and when you disable them (via AdBlock Plus or similar tools), GameKnot will send you a message that your membership could be deleted if you continue to use ad blocking software. So I’ve learned to live with the ads, which I’ll never click.
  • Free membership is limited to 12 or so concurrent games.

I used to play chess a lot in Junior High school, where Paul Cooper and I led our team to provincial championships. I haven’t played seriously since then, although I’ve dabbled with it every couple of years using Chessmaster. Gameknot has piqued my interested in it again.

Sign up and challenge me (user name is “jcairns“) to a game!