1. Commander Hadfield, We Salute You
CSA astronaut Chris Hadfield ended his five month stint at the International Space Station last Tuesday. During his mission he tweeted, videoed and photographed the wonders and banalities of borth Earth and life in space. After his landing he confessed to having a few thousand photos still in store, so luckily the story ain't over yet.
Hadfield's favorite Toronto Maple Leafs might have lost in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but the Commander ended his season in triumph by recording his performance of David Bowie's Space Oddity onboard the ISS. BTSB finds this the coolest thing ever and urges you to watch it in a twilit room at full screen and with amps turned to 11. The video has had a mere 12 million views in four days, so a few more won't hurt, we're sure.
Just look at this video of an astronaut covering David Bowie's Space Oddity, just look at it.
2. Papers, Please – Game of Document Dystopia
From the moment you boot up, you're met with an ominous, Soviet-style music that sets you up for the tone of the rest of the game: it's dark and oppressive yet almost satirical with a dose of really dark humor, just like the game itself. In "Papers, Please" you take the role of a border control officer in the fictional area of Arstotzka in 1982, somewhere behind the Iron Curtain. In essence, you have to decide who gets to come into Arstotzka.
The game starts with examining passports but eventually the player has to start asking for work visas and other documentation. This leads to you having to crosscheck different documentation to make sure that none of it is forged. If you let someone in with fake documents, they might turn out to be terrorists that disrupt your work for that day. This is important because the money you earn each day goes towards taking care of your family. Since your paycheck is so small, you almost inevitably have to start making decisions such as whether to feed your family or pay the heating bill, creating an interesting sort of meta-game-in-game.
"Papers, Please" digs interestingly into basic morals. Should I break the law to help this person? Should I always do as I am told? Who decides who is acceptable?
Believe me when I say that "Papers, Please" is a highly addictive game. I sat down to play the beta (available for free) with the intention of just trying it out for a bit but yet, before I knew it, I was hooked and the only reason I ever stopped playing was because my beta expired.
Unfortunately, the beta version essentially is only a demo at this point but the game is still an interesting experience and yet another indicator of the potential that indie games have to deliver unique and thought provoking experiences.
You can find "Papers, Please” here.
3. To all graduates, friends of graduates and to the whole human race in general
UPDATE: David Foster Wallace Literary Trust has issued a copyright notice leading to the video being taken down. For the gist of it (and a link to a full transcript of Foster Wallace's speech) go here (via BoingBoing).
This goes out to all those getting their gradus out this spring.
BTSB would like to direct you to the incredibly smart words of David Foster Wallace. Originally a commencement speech for graduates from Kenyon College, This is Water is now available in print and audiobook versions, but recently The Glossary, an audio-visual marketing company, produced a nifty video around the speech. Like they say introducing their piece, Foster Wallace gives some of the best life advice imaginable.