Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Submission + - Study: firstborns have higher IQ than siblings (

ghastlygray writes: The New York Times reports an extensive study which shows firstborns tend to have higher IQ than their siblings. The interesting point is that there's strong evidence this has nothing to do with biology, but rather with social conditioning and family dynamics: the researchers discovered that when the eldest child dies at infancy, the second child gets the high IQ. The article cites several competing explanations for this phenomenon.

Submission + - EverQuest II embeds Mozilla browser

An anonymous reader writes: EverQuest II's next release will include an embedding of the Mozilla browser. It's currently live on the test server and has a few issues that will hopefully be resolved before release. art=15&topic_id=347230

Some interesting uses of the browser such as automatically searching for quest hints are being discussed on the interface board: t=7846

Submission + - Microsoft Wants Patent on Indentation

theodp writes: "Throw some text in a worksheet, make the columns small, and color the cells to denote a hierarchy. Like this. That, my friend, may constitute patent infringement for the next twenty years if the USPTO grants Microsoft the patent it's seeking for Minimizing Indenting (actual patent image). Just one more example of how Microsoft's lawyers are making the world a better place through more joyful and inclusive design."

Comment What about a more fundamental influence? (Score 2, Interesting) 128

It's striking to me that the discussion so far (correct me if I missed something) ignores what I thought was the more important bit of the article. I quote (emphasis mine):

The central idea remains constant: videogames began with two-player games, experienced through the proxy of a machine. Two or more humans matching their abilities, with victory and failure adjudicated by hard rules, has remained true, from chess to Pong to Battlefield.

There's another way of looking at videogames: how the vast majority are able to entertain when there's no other human being there at all, just you and a machine. The machine just exists to interpret your actions and turn them into a world for you to experience. It exists to entertain you, to take you somewhere else, to give you a place to explore. It is a storyteller. This is a different approach to the idea of 'game', and - interestingly - its core emerged at a similar time to MIT's Space War, as if culture was suddenly ready to reconsider what a 'game' could be.
They claim, in essence, (if I understand correctly) that DnD helped change our very concept of the computer game; of how the computer can be utilized for entertainment. It's not about hitpoints (pong could have hitpoints). It's about the concept of the computer "as storyteller" -- a concept which underlies a vast array of genres in gaming. Now, this is a significant historical assertion. Is it indeed true?

Slashdot Top Deals

Computers don't actually think. You just think they think. (We think.)