Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Free Thing of the Week: SNEEZE

I have a strange fascination with zero-player games - that is, games in which require only nominal input to begin, and then run their course independent of player input. The most elegant example is dominoes, though there has been a tradition of zero-player computer games that run back as far as 1970, with John Horton Conway's deceptively simple "Game of Life."

As a kid I used to plunk away at Game of Life for hours, tweaking things here and there to create bigger and more complex stable algorithms. Game of Life (which can be played online, as an applet, here) is something better demonstrated than described - a task that Neotropic9, on Youtube, does an fine job of here.

Man, that music gets me PUMPED. About LIFE.

If watching bits of date flit about your screen isn't exactly your bag, I present a livelier, timelier example... one that's also a bit more, um, graphic? SNEEZE, a simple viral simulator put together by the fine folk at Routes, lets you live out your every fantasy, providing all you ever fantasize about is sneezing on people.

Unfortunately, science has no way of knowing whether this lady s about to sneeze, or getting ready to eat that kleenex.

Irreverent AND educational. And if you're interested in plunking around the Routes page, you might want to check out their Sporelike cell sim Breeder, which encourages anonymous strangers to meet and hook up... online! Why hasn't anybody thought to do this before?

Oh, also, both you and the anonymous strangers control adorable, microbial life forms. But, really, that should go without saying. Otherwise, what would be the point?

- Rook

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