Can Zynga Go From Schoolyard Bully to Class Angel by Backing a Charitable Facebook Game?

This dude wants some butterbeer. (Photo: insideipo.com)

It appears that Zynga, the evil mastermind behind FarmVille and Mafia Wars, is not completely hell-bent on destroying the world. The online game producer turned super villain announced today that it would help design a Facebook game to fight the oppression of women around the world.

The game is based on the novel Half the Sky, which follows the lives of women who have been victimized through sexual violence and trafficking, insufficient educational and financial opportunities and poor healthcare. It is part of a larger multimedia effort based on the book’s themes that will include a PBS miniseries as well as mobile games in India and Africa. Read More

Summer Fun

Use fontBomb to Blow Up Text on the Sites You Hate Most

Betabeat gets fontBombed.

It’s pretty rare that a “Show HN” post actually makes it to the top of the front page of Hacker News, as a lot of them are just half-baked startup ideas. Not so with fontBomb, a delightfully fun plugin that lets you blow up the text on your favorite (or least favorite) websites.

fontBomb is an HTML 5 plugin by Canadian programmer Philippe-Antoine Lehoux. As one commenter put it, “So awesome. Spent 10 min blowing the hell out of hn. Now instead of raging against trolls I can simply blow them up.” Read More

Play Your Video Games

A Fond Farewell to Chuck E. Cheese

(Photo: Topix)

In the heady year of 1977, from that slice of meteorological heaven called San Jose, Nolan Bushnell–the cofounder of Atari–had a charming idea. In a fit of inspiration, he decided to fuse two of the best things on earth and then also tack on one of the creepiest (but who are we to judge?): Pizza, arcade games and animatronic animals so scary they make children hide behind their parents’ legs.

He would build it, furnish it with a stinky ballpit, and they would come: it would be called Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre. Read More

Play Your Video Games

Hungry for Some Pac-Dots? A Retro Arcade is Opening on the Lower East Side


If you enjoy some pinball with your pints, you’ll be happy to hear that a new retro arcade–dubbed Two-Bits–will soon open at 153 Essex Street on the Lower East Side. Local blog Bowery Boogie spotted the signs announcing the new gaming spot a few days back. “Teaser signage, complete with punk-on-a-coin logo, arrived in the windows of 153 Essex late last week,” they wrote. “We’ve since noticed numerous pedestrians stopping themselves at the sight.”

Unfortunately, Two-Bit’s website is disappointingly sparse, offering only the signage in question and some unnecessary share buttons (one for MySpace, for example). In the meantime, maybe you can catch Tyler DeAngelo and his mobile Frogger game if you’re feeling especially nostalgic about ’80s arcade games.

Make It Rain

Wanted: Social Games. Money No Object.

OMGPOP CEO Dan Porter with Ghostface Killah. (Twitter)

MegaMillions isn’t the only game in town capable of inspiring a feeding frenzy. Not content merely to snap up OMGPOP at something like $180 million, Zynga is making it known they’ve still got IPO cash burning a hole in their corporate pockets. Merger chief Barry Cottle basically told Bloomberg that they are hungry, ready to move fast, and rich as hell: Read More

The Internet Makes You Stupid

Satisfy Your Repressed Desire to Destroy the New York Times With This ‘Stupid Game’

The Tim

Oh, those New York Times Magazine folks–they’re so edgy these days. In a think piece about the rise of “Angry Birds, Farmville and other hyperaddictive ‘stupid games,'” the Times proves how truly addictive the Zynga canon is by embedding their own version of a “stupid” game as an illustrative complement to the story. The game allows you to destroy pieces of the website with your arrow keys and space bar–for example, we took the liberty of destroying the Style section, and automatically the Times became 10x less pretentious and assholey. If only every article offered this kind of catharsis. Read More

IP Uh Oh

The Zynga Pre-IPO Alec Baldwin Effect Question: Answered, Affirmatively

What's the term IPO MANIA worth in Words With Friends scoring?

Yesterday, the world took note of a revolution brewed in the skies—or ten feet from an airport gate—when Glengarry Glen Ross actor Alec Baldwin stood up for an entire populace of belligerent, gadget-tethered humans and revolted against the oppressive goosestepping of flight attendants who want you to turn your iPad off when airplanes taxi out of runways. He did it by refusing to stop playing Zynga’s ‘Scrabble’-copycat, Words With Friends. Read More


Call of Duty Sells $400M Worth of Violent Person-On-Person Killing Games In One Day, Further Confirming Scary Assumptions About Universe

Call Of Duty Is The Worst. Like, The Worst.

Not that we’re usually covering video games or anything, but a software-related development worth noting: Activision/Blizzard’s hit series, Call of Duty—which simulates war, in pretty realistic detail—released their latest title Modern Warfare 3 yesterday. People went crazy for it. Literally, crazy. Read More