Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Link roundup

1. Tim Rogers makes lots of excellent and funny observations about video game designs in this post at Kotaku. In fact, there are observations about design in general and how even napkin dispensers are a sort of game:

In short, a "perfectly usable" videogame is no fun at all. If Super Mario Bros. were perfectly "usable", you would walk right from start to finish in a world free of obstacles, monsters, or any other reason to jump. That sure would suck a whole lot! Matt and I seem to be in agreement that any good software interface requires some kind of "friction", whether it's about saving princesses or moving files from one folder to another. I'm not saying that it should be as challenging as Tetris to install an application: just that it should feel and look like something cute and fun. Then again, do you really want moving files to be so fun in your computer operating system that people are tempted to sit around moving files back and forth all day? You probably don't, in the same way that you don't want people to stand there and, giggling like a heliumed gorilla, straight-blast paper-grabbing at your napkin dispenser until it's empty and they're breathing heavily and sweating all over your floor. In short, the new napkin dispensers are too fun; they are so too fun they are dangerous to restaurant productivity.
2. I had lunch at Umami Burger for the first time today. Really fantastic (and it better be because a burger, fries, and 8 oz(!) soda plus tip is $20).

3. "George Clooney is financing the use of surveillance satellites to monitor violence in the Sudan in advance of an independence referendum there."