The Foursquare Experience



  1. Arrive at Post Office
  2. Launch Foursquare
  3. Wait
  4. Tap “Check in”
  5. Wait
  6. Leave Post Office
  7. Foursquare found no venues
  8. Quit Foursquare
  9. Launch Foursquare
  10. Stare at splash screen
  11. Wait
  12. Quit Foursquare
  13. Launch Foursquare
  14. Tap “Check in”
  15. Tap “Check in”
  16. Tap “Check in”
  17. Foursquare doesn’t find Post Office
  18. Type in “Post Office”
  19. Wait
  20. Scroll through a dozen post offices
  21. Tap the one I was at about 10 minutes ago
  22. Check in
  23. Quit Foursquare

Foursquare is a geographical location based social network that incorporates gaming elements.


Kickstarter: Gameduino


The most interesting Kickstarter project I’ve come across recently has to be Gameduino:

Gameduino connects your Arduino to a VGA monitor and speakers, so anyone who can write an Arduino sketch can create video games. It’s packed full of 8-bit game goodness: hundreds of sprites, smooth scrolling, multi-channel stereo sound.

James Bowman was hoping to raise $3,333 to do a manufacturing run of the Gameduino, but with the deadline tomorrow, it’s now at $35,253 raised. Amazing!

I also think the pledge levels were chosen wisely…

$3 or more gets you a zip file containing all the raw video and audio.

$53 or more gets you a Gameduino from the production run, assembled and tested.

$113 or more gets you a Gameduino, a printed reference poster, a joystick, and an Arduino Uno, preloaded with the Asteroids game.

$263 or more gets you all of the above, plus your 64-byte message burned into an easter-egg section of every Gameduino’s boot ROM. (8 of these were available.)

$433 or more gets you all of the above, plus the Arduino preloaded with a game of your devising. Just supply the graphics, describe gameplay, and I’ll have a weekend hackathon to put it on the Gameduino. (4 of these available.)


At the base, you can toss $3 towards the effort, just to show your support and help make things happen. For $53 you get an actual Gameduino from the production run. One would hope that they do more production runs, based on the money raised, I’d say that’s a sure bet. But will it cost more or less than $53 next time? If you don’t want to risk it costing more, or you just want to be one of the first to have one, this is a great option.

And for the people who really want to support the project, there were 12 higher-end support options, 4 of which get you custom game development. (All of them sold out.)

Also worth noting: The Gameduino is open-source hardware (BSD license) and all its code is GPL licensed. Nice! This means that once it’s created, others should be able to build and sell them as well. I’d expect kits to appear in the future.

Check out the Gameduino project page for a sweet video showing it’s capabilities, and if you want one, hurry up and pledge today!


Casual Gaming

Since just before BarCampMilwaukee, I talked with a few people about what I call the “casual gamer” which is pretty much the opposite of the “hardcore gamer” in terms of behavior.

Now that the Wii and the PlayStation 3 have (more or less) arrived, I’ll give you my thoughts on this, but remember, this is the view from a casual gamer, not someone who is completely obsessed with gaming, just someone who plays once in a while and/or wants a fun system for the whole family to play.

First of all, the casual gamer cares about bang for the buck, not about the lastest and greatest. For instance, we can often find GameCube games used for anywhere between $5 and $20. Brand new games for the GameCube seem to run about $20 to $40. Keep in mind that a year ago you could get a new GameCube with Mario Kart: Double Dash and 4 controllers for about $200, and today you can pick up a brand new GameCube for $99. So like I said, bang for the buck takes effect, and you could put together a complete gaming system for the whole family for well under $300.

Now, the Nintendo Wii appears to be priced at $250, and is backwards compatible with the GameCube games, so if I was buying today, this is what I would get. It would make sense to “move up” to the Wii from the GameCube. I’m also influenced by the Nintendo titles, which are more kid & family friendly. (I have two daughters who love gaming, and the GameCube is perfect for them.) As for the PlayStation 3, it comes in priced at $500, twice the price. Now, it does have some impressive technology in it, but for the casual gamer, this is lost. The new games for the PlayStation 3 seem to be priced at about $60, and the used (well, used PlayStation & PlayStation 2 games) seem to be priced cheap, well under $20.

Jus the other day I was taking with a friend of mine, and found out he too was a casual gamer (he has 3 kids) and I told him how we pick up used titles for cheap, and he said he’s gotten some good deals on ebay, like 10 games for $30. I think Nintendo realizes that there is a place for the casual gamer, and they’re looking to serve that market.