Games & Puzzles

Here you’ll find my thoughts and accomplishments in the field of games & puzzles.

  • Guide to Intellivision April 19, 2017
    I can tell you that countless hours of programming and lots of passion went into developing many of the Intellivision video games.  The long nights ...
  • PC version of Family Tree Solitaire March 21, 2017
    For those game players who would like to use a Windows PC to try my card game “Family Tree Solitaire” you can now download it ...
  • I’ve been to China March 17, 2017
    I enjoy many forms of creative expression, including writing, blogging, and game design.  No matter which I’m working on at the time, or thinking about, ...
  • AI and bluffing January 30, 2017
    I’ve recently been following the progress of computer AI in playing poker.  One area of interest is that the AI responds to bluffing.  Bluffing is a major ...
  • 1982 BBC Radio video games interview January 20, 2017
    In 1982, BBC Radio summarized the state of the video games industry.  My interview with BBC Radio starts at about 5:00 minutes into the broadcast.  ...
  • Playing surgeon December 29, 2016
    “Microsurgeon” (Imagic 1982 and 1983) is the first, or one of the first, video games related to healthcare.  I was never a doctor, but I ...
  • Face augmented reality December 9, 2016
    With augmented reality — think Pokémon Go or Microsoft HoloLens — possibly taking off in 2017-2018, I thought I’d spend a moment pondering the ramifications. First, ...
  • Video gamer creates VR surgical simulator December 9, 2016
    Nice to see ComputerWorld giving recognition to a video gamer (Sam Glassenberg, founder and CEO of Level EX) who designed a VR surgical simulator. Funny how ...
  • Microsurgeon interview in Retrogamer issue 163 — January 2017 November 11, 2016
    “Microsurgeon” (Imagic 1982 and 1983) is the first, or one of the first, video games related to healthcare.  It’s been mentioned in numerous magazines, featured ...
  • Robots like to play games too November 11, 2016
    For years, we’ve read about chess, checkers, and more recently GO and Jeopardy, played by computers with artificial intelligence.  The new trend seems to be ...
  • When does 13 baskets equal almost 20 baskets? November 8, 2016
    It’s no secret that I like math and games.  It should also be no secret that I like sports.  The first video games I developed were ...
  • NBA and VR October 21, 2016
    I’m all for trying new things with technology, but I think I’ll pass on this one.  My vision for VR (Virtual Reality) is more in line ...
  • License Plate Games for Windows and Android devices October 18, 2016
    Now (October 18, 2016) you can get my free License Plate Games app through the Windows and Amazon stores, in addition to the Google Play store. Full rules ...
  • License Plate Games app published October 7, 2016
    Today I published my new “License Plate Games” app to the Google Play store — for Android devices.  Soon I will publish for Windows devices too. There’s ...
  • License Plate Games September 30, 2016
    A popular game — at least in the U.S. — to play while riding in a car is finding a license plate for every state.  You might ...
  • Battlebots: Yeti versus Lucky July 17, 2016
    Researchers are working on all kinds of robots.  There are military robots, robots with emotions, robots that detect our emotions, domestic robots — like the ...
  • Appliv and mobile app discovery July 8, 2016
    As a sci-fi writer and Indie app developer, I know how difficult it is to get e-books and apps noticed on publisher e-shelves. Appliv recently contacted ...
  • Family Tree Solitaire for cribbage? June 24, 2016
    My version 1.0 of Family Tree Solitaire uses poker rules for scoring family hands.  But there is no reason why I couldn’t use other card ...
  • 150 people playing “Family Tree Solitaire” June 13, 2016
    With almost 150 people playing “Family Tree Solitaire”, I want to send out a big THANK YOU to all of you who have tried my ...
  • Is “The Starry Night” next? June 13, 2016
    Borrowed Light Studios, below, uses VR to let us  virtually walk through the Van Gogh painting “The Night Café”.  This could become a popular use of ...
  • Is Family Tree Solitaire a good test for Presidential candidates? May 28, 2016
    I know what you’re thinking.  What a silly question.  After all, my new game Family Tree Solitaire is only currently played — so far — ...
  • Family Tree Solitaire on the web now May 5, 2016
    Now (May 19, 2016) I’ve also posted quick/short rules for the game on my website in text format for printing.  There is also a pdf ...
  • Family Tree Solitaire April 30, 2016
    Now (May 19, 2016) I’ve also posted quick/short rules for the game on my website in text format for printing.  There is also a pdf ...
  • About studying game AI and physics April 22, 2016
    Recently Gamasutra — The Art & Business of Making Games — featured a couple of useful articles on “7 examples of game AI that every ...
  • My spotlight video interview with UC Irvine April 13, 2016
    When I was recently at UC Irvine, my alma mater, I also gave an interview regarding my career since graduating with a computer science degree.  ...
  • Is square root day political? April 3, 2016
    Since tomorrow is square root day 4/4/16 (month and day numbers 4 are both the square root of the last 2 digits of the year 16), ...
  • PC gaming making a comeback April 1, 2016
    Though the mobile games market is huge, and games on PlayStation and Xbox have done well, much of that success has has taken a toll ...
  • Indie games 2016 March 26, 2016
    When I started developing games in the late 1970’s, every game was like an independent (indie) game.  Handheld games required at least 3 or 4 ...
  • Women in game design and development March 11, 2016
    This week featured International Women’s Day 2016.  Many women have been inventors, yet — as the Microsoft video below shows — many young girls do not ...
  • Genealogy television shows March 11, 2016
    You can see a good partial list of genealogy television shows on the Larimer County Genealogical Society’s website. Another show I would add is “Long Lost Family” ...
  • Historic Go match between expert human player and AI March 8, 2016
    I just blogged on NEWWorthy (with streaming video of the Go match today) about the historic tournament this week between Google’s Deepmind AlphaGo AI player and ...
  • Career Simulators March 7, 2016
    Mark Lautenschlager for “Into Tomorrow” wrote a piece entitled “Pondering the Existence of Career Simulators.” While I enjoyed the article’s light tone in regards to the ...
  • My trip to UC Irvine February 29, 2016
    UC Irvine in California is a great school (take a look at the terrific ratings). That’s why I’m both honored and humbled to receive the Hall of Fame ...
  • What’s a mycobiome? February 10, 2016
    A couple of years ago I wrote about our microbiome — microbial communities in and on our bodies — and since then much more has been ...
  • What’s new in juggling? January 31, 2016
    The IJA (International Juggling Association) is having their annual convention in El Paso, Texas this year.  One of the main jugglers featured at the Cascade ...
  • Creative solution January 22, 2016
    If you’ve frequented my website, you know that I enjoy playing disc golf.  But I am tired of wiping leaves, grass, and bugs off my ...
  • Intellivision Truckin’ interview December 31, 2015
    My “Truckin'” interview (Episode 23) with Intellivisionairies was recently posted. While I was developing “Microsurgeon” (Imagic 1982), I was driving back and forth on the I-5 freeway ...
  • “It Came From the Desert” meets next gen game engines December 10, 2015
    On YouTube gaming, the post “Top 5 Best Next Gen Game Engines of The Future” by EETech  (see video below) presents some nice looking demonstrations of ...
  • First games inducted into the World Video Games Hall of Fame June 19, 2015
    Below is a video of the Strong Museum’s induction of several video games into the World Video Games Hall of Fame.  I’m sure many more ...
  • Self-driving 18-Wheelers still need drivers May 8, 2015
    The Huffington Post blogs about the new self-driving 18 Wheeler trucks being tested by German manufacturer Daimler in Nevada.  But they will still require a driver, ...
  • I was a video game developer, a real job April 10, 2015
    A story appeared recently in TechCrunch entitled: “Dear Teacher, A Video Game Developer Is A Real Job And Should Be Celebrated“.  I couldn’t agree more! If ...
  • NASA smiley faces April 10, 2015
    The Hubble Space Telescope found a smiley face in space.  I think that’s wonderful. Too often nowadays, space movies or stories depict space as a dangerous ...
  • VR and machinery April 6, 2015
    We’ve come a long way since I helped to design and develop “Kids on Site” for Digital Pictures.  A few years back I read about ...
  • Intellivision “Truckin'” in a History of Racing Games March 6, 2015
    Lance Carter’s “History of Racing Games” is an online collection of files and blog entries about racing games from the 1940’s to the present.  I am ...
  • Game inventions February 19, 2015
    On my other blog, NEWWorthy, I recently posted a couple of game-related entries I thought I would share here as well. Researchers have figured out how ...
  • Neural Networks and Games February 6, 2015
    When I started programming in the late 1970’s, computer chess was the challenge of choice for eager hobbyists looking for ways to show off their ...
  • Retrogaming Events Calendar February 2, 2015
    Wikipedia defines retrogaming — yes, they spell it with no spaces, but many websites (about 3 to 4 times as many) use the two words retro ...
  • Gamasutra’s “Top 10 Game Developers” list December 19, 2014
    Gamasutra posted their list of “Top 10 Game Developers” of 2014.”  While it’s an interesting list, I can’t help but think there is more going ...
  • Ralph Baer, the grandfather of video games December 12, 2014
    Ralph Baer passed away recently at age 92.  Although he was responsible for the first home video game system — Magnavox Odyssey — which created ...
  • Air Force moves to open 7 combat jobs to women December 5, 2014
    So if the Air Force is going to open more combat jobs to women, will video games show more women in combat too?  There have ...
  • Investing Jetson’s Style November 26, 2014
    Science fiction movies like “Minority Report” portray a future where virtual reality is a natural way to access data. In reality, many companies, researchers, and ...
  • The Reading Game November 19, 2014
    Out of college, I started my career as a school teacher.  With many long-time teachers staying in the profession back then, it was difficult to ...
  • The slide rule October 31, 2014
    I, and my classmates, used a slide rule in my physics and math courses at UCLA.  I could have purchased a HP pocket calculator for around ...
  • Dangerous juggling, Halloween style October 27, 2014
    I enjoy juggling 3 or 4 balls, or 3 clubs, or 4 rings, but I have never tried anything more dangerous than juggling a bowling ...
  • Game with the human body as a map? October 7, 2014
    A few times a year I enjoy perusing the internet to see what new comments I find about my classic video game, “Microsurgeon” (1982 Imagic) ...
  • Tetris movie? October 3, 2014
    According to the Wall Street Journal, a “Tetris” movie is in the works.  Considering how many people have played “Tetris”, one would think there will ...
  • Video Games History museum finds home October 3, 2014
    The Video Games History museum has travelled to E3 and Classic Gaming Expo, but more recently its creators have been looking for a permanent home.  ...
  • Doctors are creative too August 15, 2014
    Dr. Anthony Jahn, otolaryngologist and volunteer medical director for the New York Metropolitan Opera, has patients with specialized needs.  He practices the art of caring ...
  • Is poker the face of future AI? August 8, 2014
    In the past, chess was the target of AI (artificial intelligence) programmers.  I wrote a 4k chess player in assembly language on my old Intel ...
  • 8-bit art comes to World Cup July 25, 2014
    8-bit art is known to be associated with classic video games of the 80’s and 90’s.  But lately it’s had a resurgence in mobile games.  ...
  • A Beautiful Path July 11, 2014
    30 years ago I designed and developed “Truckin'”.  I wanted players to deal with travelling salesman or shortest path problems, without thinking of that as a ...
  • Orioto and video games July 11, 2014
    It’s fascinating what Orioto has done with video games in art.
  • Microsurgeon makes list of top 10 Intellivision games June 20, 2014
    It’s nice to see that my classic video game “Microsurgeon” recently made the Retro Gamer Team’s top 10 list of Mattel Intellivision games.  I’m also glad ...
  • The Best of E3 2014 and “Corpse Killer”? June 13, 2014
    So why do I think that CNet’s “Best of E3 2014” and the old Digital Pictures game “Corpse Killer” have anything in common?  Because when I ...
  • Where do game ideas come from? June 13, 2014
    If you are an aspiring game designer, then please don’t limit your knowledge or your visions.  Good game ideas can come from any field of ...
  • How to keep up on games research and development May 29, 2014
    I recently commented in a Game Developers group on LinkedIn about how to keep up on games research and development.  The response to my remarks ...
  • Disc golf inspiration May 26, 2014
    I’ve always enjoyed a good hike in the park, and more recently discovered the sport of disc golf.  I had played and enjoyed Frisbee golf ...
  • Fun with math May 16, 2014
    I usually do the Ole Miss Math “problem of the week” and “algebra” problems when they run the online contest, but lately the site seems ...
  • Where are wearables going? May 2, 2014
    I recently participated in this fun and interesting discussion on where wearables are headed.  There will be many interesting new wearable styles and technologies.  Golfers ...
  • E.T. found! April 28, 2014
    I was at Imagic Corp. making Intellivision games, including “Microsurgeon” (1982), when it was announced around 1983 that Atari was rumored to have literally dumped ...
  • Candy Crush is NP-Hard April 11, 2014
    Interesting mathematical research out of Australia on the game “Candy Crush”.  Turns out in order to achieve a given score in a fixed number of swaps, the game ...
  • Juggling inspires the mind April 4, 2014
    I enjoy juggling.  The first time I was inspired to try and juggle was probably when I saw the movie “The Juggler” (starring Kirk Douglas) ...
  • Classic Gaming Expo is back in September 2014 March 28, 2014
    I’ve attended the Classic Gaming Expo in Las Vegas a couple of times and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It’s nice to see it has returned in 2014.  ...
  • Mattel Intellivision at 35 March 27, 2014
    Mattel Intellivision is 35, and writer Graeme Mason looks back in U.K. magazine “Retro Gamer” issue #127. My memories on developing for Intellivision are ...
  • Kind of fun Disc Golf game March 21, 2014
    Disc Golf Island at focgames (free of charge games) is a game developed with Unity3D.  Though I can’t say that this captures the fun I have when ...
  • Design advice from sports? March 21, 2014
    Greg Norman, professional golfer, has some pretty interesting advice to share about his training.  He says the best advice he ever got was to “Learn how ...
  • “Crazy Aquarium” is a fun diversion March 7, 2014
    Crazy Aquarium is a simple, but quite nice looking HTML5 game (you need to have a modern browser to run it).  Anyone can easily learn to ...
  • Broforce shoot-em-up February 28, 2014
    When it comes to blowing things up in a video game, I like the old-style, 8-bit graphics look.  In addition to being less realistic looking, it ...
  • When taking a break from my creative efforts, I enjoy disc golf February 28, 2014
    I have several science fiction story ideas from last year that I plan to work on soon.  I’ve also had a few game design ideas lately ...
  • Watson’s Strategies for Playing Jeopardy! February 21, 2014
    IBM Researchers recently posted their findings on “Analysis of Watson’s Strategies for Playing Jeopardy!“.  While you might not normally think of looking to IBM research ...
  • Google may benefit games needing map data February 17, 2014
    According to reports, Google plans to make real world map data available to video games developers, with a full API expected in 2015.
  • Barbie’s dreamhouse February 17, 2014
    Since I am a Mattel employee alumni, having worked on game in the Mattel Electronics division, I will always remember fondly the company orientation day ...
  • Ken Melville, author of “It Came From the Desert”, passed away February 13, 2014
    In 1988, I developed programmer and authoring tools for “It Came From the Desert”, a Cinemaware classic video game based on giant ants. Ken Melville, ...
  • How do game designers think? January 31, 2014
    Okay, if you’re wondering what makes a game designer’s mind whirl, here’s one example.  I saw this article at theatlantic.com on “Why is Pennsylvania So ...
  • 150 Intellivision Rocks CDs found January 16, 2014
    “Intellivision Rocks” for Windows PC — including my games “Microsurgeon” and “Truckin'” and several other Imagic Intellivision games — has been discontinued, but Intellivision Productions reports that a ...
  • Don’t underestimate algorithms January 9, 2014
    Automobile insurance companies have offered discounts to customers who allow them to collect data on speed and braking.  Until now, the thinking has been that ...
  • Lists of “Best video games of 2013” January 9, 2014
    CNet’s “The 15 Best Video Games of 2013“.  Below IGN presents their picks for the 10 best video games of 2013.
  • Logos can invite creativity January 2, 2014
    I enjoyed this CIO Magazine slideshow of “25 (Mostly) Tech Company Logos with Hidden Meanings“.  I find that like good art, interesting visuals with hidden ...
  • Mattel Handheld Football shown on “The Goldbergs” tv show December 7, 2013
    In 1979, I started work on Mattel Electronics Handheld Bowling.  It was great fun, and quite a challenge, to work on handheld games that ran on ...
  • Intellivisionaries #3: Microsurgeon game discussion and interview November 23, 2013
    The Intellivisionaries podcast, episode 3, was posted on November 22, 2013.  They discuss my award winning classic video game, “Microsurgeon”, at length and include a ...
  • Panono – Panoramic camera to toss November 13, 2013
    CNet reports on Panono, a panoramic camera to throw in the air.  It’s a bit expensive, but the images it makes seem to work particularly ...
  • Math and games November 11, 2013
    Hat Guessing Games and Traveling Tournament Schedules are a couple of trendy mathematics research problems that could possibly be the basis for new video games. Just about everyone knows that ...
  • Digital Archaeology October 30, 2013
    Video games that are older than 30 years are now considered Digital Archaeology.  Though it’s not in the Barbican exhibit in London, my classic videogame ...
  • Intellivisionaries, a podcast October 24, 2013
    I recently was interviewed by Intellivisionaries — a group of Intellivision devotees — for their podcast #3.  They have a Facebook page too.  They just posted ...
  • SkyCall, a fun robotic guide October 24, 2013
    Why am I blogging about SkyCall?  It’s a drone and software developed at MIT to guide people around campus, and I think it captures the fun ...
  • Baxter – World’s first magician’s robot assistant October 23, 2013
    Thinking about the future of games and entertainment, it is interesting to note that Baxter is being programmed and trained to be the world’s first ...
  • Start of personal computing October 23, 2013
    In 1975 the Homebrew Computer Club was formed.  Former club members and others interested have been running a Kickstarter campaign to bring back many of ...
  • “Microsurgeon”-like games October 4, 2013
    Since I developed “Microsurgeon” for Intellivision and TI 99/4a in 1981-1982, there have been a number of in-the-body games created.  One old game which came out ...
  • Archives of Game Developer Magazine October 2, 2013
    Are you a games developer or student of game development?  GDC Vault now has the complete archives of Game Developer Magazine.
  • Human brain to brain interface September 3, 2013
    According to CNet, at the University of Washington scientists were able to send a brain signal from one participant to another via the internet.  This ...
  • Couple of games that look like fun August 6, 2013
    Ticket to Ride is a popular railway-based board game.  The map reminds me a little of my classic Imagic video game Truckin’ for Mattel Intellivision, ...
  • Game Developer Magazine’s top 30 June 28, 2013
    Game Developer Magazine published their choices for “Top 30 Developers of All Time“.  I think there are many good choices in this list, but I’m ...
  • World Juggling Day, June 15, 2013 June 12, 2013
    The International Juggling Association (IJA) promotes WORLD JUGGLING DAY (WJD, June 15, 2013).  Several cities around the world will have an event associated with WJD.  ...
  • Edutainment May 30, 2013
    I recently responded to a games developer posting regarding the word edutainment.  The word has been used since at least the 1940’s to refer to ...
  • Unity expands free mobile development May 22, 2013
    Computerworld reports that Unity added free mobile game development for Android and iOS.
  • Ray Harryhausen dies at 92 May 9, 2013
    In my youth I watched many of Ray Harryhausen’s movies, including one of my favorites, “Jason and the Argonauts.”  His imaginative and amazing special effects were, at ...
  • Illumiroom May 1, 2013
    Microsoft Research’s proof-of-concept Illumiroom, which uses Kinect, was shown in 2013.  With so much wonderful capability — actually pretty cool — to involve the user’s senses ...
  • Teaching the art of juggling April 29, 2013
    I am a long time amateur juggler, able to perform a few basics with 3 or 4 balls, 3 or 4 rings, or 3 clubs.  ...
  • 2013 GamesForHealth conference – Boston 6/26-6/28 April 26, 2013
    Attend the 2013 @GamesForHealth Conf! Boston 6/26-6/28. Explore how videogames help with health/healthcare http://bit.ly/gfh2013 I attended this conference in 2009 and gave a talk with Ben ...
  • VR helmet and a treadmill April 25, 2013
    Dvice.com calls this a peak at the first real holodeck, but I think that’s a bit much.  I have not tried it, but I wonder ...
  • Game Developer magazine ends June/July 2013 April 17, 2013
    It was announced today that “as of July 2013, Game Developer magazine will stop printing its print and digital editions, and transition to become a section on ...
  • Strong’s exhibit of pre-video games April 10, 2013
    DemocratANDChronicle.com posted an article about the Strong’s new exhibit “of pre-video era games.”  It’s neat to see these old games that were popular long before ...
  • XBox always-on discussion April 5, 2013
    The internet is currently filled with rumors and comments about a possible next generation XBox requirement to be “always-on, always-connected.”  It should be interesting to see how Microsoft responds.
  • Pioneer Awards winner – Steve Russell April 1, 2013
    In 1995, I enjoyed working with Steve Russell at a games company in Northern California.  In 1962, while working at MIT, Steve Russell invented Spacewar!.  It was an amazing ...
  • Are game developers satisfied with their working conditions? March 21, 2013
    I made video games for many years, and while it was often challenging and involved countless hours, I really enjoyed the work.  Sometimes not so different ...
  • Is Beta testing history? March 20, 2013
    Dr. Dobb’s magazine states that “…the definition of ‘app quality’ is slowly morphing from functional correctness to user-perceived value…”  That may mean that Beta testing has ...
  • IF – Interactive Fiction renaissance March 14, 2013
    See my NEWWorthy blog for recent information about IF (interactive fiction).
  • Disc Golf is a fun sport March 8, 2013
    I played Taylor Park disc golf course in Largo today.  On the 12th hole (336 feet to the hole) I made my drive through the ...
  • Game project dreams March 5, 2013
    Many game designers and developers are trying Kickstarter to raise money for their dream projects.
  • The Value of Mentions at the Oscars February 25, 2013
    Unfortunately, my recently published e-book of movie-related puzzles, “Movie Magic Squares: Volume 1,” didn’t get mentioned at the Oscars.  However, CNET reports on the value of getting ...
  • Future Video Game data? – Three Dimensional Surface Model of Human Kidney February 25, 2013
    My game “Microsurgeon” (1982 Imagic) for Mattel Intellivision was based on the idea that future surgeons would be able to operate on a patient using a remote ...
  • Cross platform development February 21, 2013
    I don’t want to have to learn how to develop a game or app using multiple tools for every device known to man.  So, I’m ...
  • Movie Magic Squares on more devices February 18, 2013
    Movie Magic Squares: Volume 1 contains 55 challenging new movie-related puzzles. It is available in many e-book stores, including Amazon, Diesel, Kobo, Smashwords, and Apple.  ...
  • Movie Magic Squares blank template for solving puzzles February 12, 2013
  • Move Magic Squares: Volume 1 e-book published on Amazon February 12, 2013
    You might be wondering what a Movie Magic Square is.  It’s a bit like a mathematical magic square, where the numbers in each row, column, ...
  • Player Strategies in No Limit Texas Holdem Poker February 6, 2013
    Interesting research into player strategies in Texas Holdem Poker.
  • Could we see 1980 again for video games? February 6, 2013
    On Gamasutra (The Art & Business of Making Games), Benjamin Quintero blogs about the possibility of another crash in the video games market.  As a ...

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