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Posts by Thomas Knowlton

NYPLarcade: International Games Day 2012

On Saturday, November 3, libraries all over the world will celebrate International Games Day by playing games. This year, at Mid-Manhattan Library, we'll have a variety of board games as well as a special line up of music video games from 2012 in Room 101 from 1-5 p.m.

Dyad (2012)

Hand-selected by NYPLarcade, we will be playing a different game each hour. Come play, watch, and talk about these unique music titles. No prior gaming experience 

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NYPLarcade Asks: What Are You Playing?

This week, I'll be delving into FTL: Faster Than Light, which was recently released for the Mac. If you haven't played it, the concept is a roguelike set in space, or "Firefly by way of Spelunky." Each time you play, you can expect permadeath, dangers lurking around every corner, and a new randomized world. So far, it's been a lot of fun successfully fending off space pirates and navigating asteroid fields, only to accidentally sacrifice my last crew member by leaving 

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NYPLarcade Asks: What Are You Playing?

I'm currently working my way through Borderlands 2 as an assassin who almost exclusively uses Maliwan weapons. It's a lot of fun and (as most reviews have indicated) a nice improvement on the first game. The wacky humor, mindblowing variety of guns, and drop-in, drop-out cooperative play are all back again, but with a tighter story and pacing.

I recently downloaded Stacking from XBLA and the art direction is fantastic (particularly in the miniature 

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NYPLarcade Horror Games

Our first NYPLarcade Game Club explored the works of thatgamecompany's Jenova Chen. In this six week series, we will look at a variety of horror-themed video games, from the terrifying Amnesia to the utterly bizarre Deadly Premonition to the experimental Dear 

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Reader's Den: The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton - Week 4

Penguin Books, 2011 (art by Félix Vallotton)Our final discussion will cover Chapters 13 - 15 of The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton. Mystery Summer continues in August with an online discussion of Dashiell Hammett's classic 1930 novel The Maltese Falcon. 

If you are looking for the previous posts, please visit the following links for our earlier discussions of Chesterton's book:

Week 1: Chapters 

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Reader's Den: The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton - Week 3

Ballantine Books, 1971For our penultimate discussion, we will be taking a look at Chapters 9 - 12 of G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday, A Nightmare, which is part of both Mystery Summer and the New York Public Library's monthly online book discussion Reader's Den.

For those just joining us this week, please feel free to visit the first and

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Reader's Den: The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton - Week 2

Capricon Books, 1960 (cover by Milton Glaser)This week, we will be discussing Chapters 5-8 of The Man Who Was Thursday, A Nightmare by G.K. Chesterton as part of the New York Public Library's Reader's Den.

If you don't have a copy of the book yet, please visit the first post for links to request a library copy or download the FREE ebook.

In this week's reading, Gabriel Syme is pursued by the seemingly decrepit 

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Reader's Den: The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton - Week 1

Welcome to the New York Public Library's Reader's Den, a monthly online book discussion. For July, we will be reading G.K. Chesterton's 1908 novel The Man Who Was Thursday, A Nightmare as part of Mystery Summer.

Get a free copy of the book from any of the following sources.

Download FREE ebook:  Amazon (Kindle)

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NYPLarcade Asks: What Are You Playing?

This weekend, I'm planning to revisit the strange, haunting world of Dear Esther, which recently added Mac support to its Steam release. So far, the tone reminds me of Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

In Max Payne 3 (for Xbox 360, PC, PS3) I'm making my way through the single player campaign. As with most Rockstar games, the narrative, characters, and setting all seem spot-on, while the controls and camera tend to be a bit of a struggle. Interestingly, I've found that diving 

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NYPLarcade Asks: What Are You Playing?

I'm finally discovering what everyone loves about Minecraft through the recently released Xbox 360 Edition: the whimsical soundtrack, pixelated sunrises and sunsets, and surprisingly fun split-screen multiplayer keep drawing me back in. If you haven't tried it yet, the free, time-limited demo may win you over.

On my phone,

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NYPLarcade Game Club: Jenova Chen

What is a game club? Think of it as a book club, but for video games. Together we'll play, watch, and discuss a selected title (following the schedule listed below) each week at the Mid-Manhattan Library.

Our first series will explore the experimental video games of thatgamecompany's Jenova Chen, starting with this year's critically-acclaimed Journey, a digital pilgrimage that 

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Game Review: Unstoppable Gorg

Futuremark's Unstoppable Gorg is a refreshing take on the tower defense genre that swaps fixed turrets for rotating orbits, tweaks the typical resource management mechanic, and borrows its aesthetics straight from a 1950s science fiction B-movie.

What will probably grab players first are the game’s stunning production values and campy, overacted cut-scenes that generally feature one of three arch-villains: seductive femme 

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Mystery Summer

Films of Krzysztof Kieslowski

Director Krzysztof Kieslowski, although best known for his Three Colors trilogy (Blue, White, and Red) and the French/Polish production Double Life of Véronique, produced the vast majority of his work in 

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Films of Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog's singular, uncompromising career in filmmaking spans over four decades and has included feature films, documentaries, and even two works (Little Dieter Needs to Fly and Rescue Dawn) that offer, respectively, a nonfiction and fictional retelling of the same event.

Regardless of genre, each of his films seems preoccupied with the 

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Science Fiction eBooks: Now Available for Kindle!

If you missed the big news, The New York Public Library now offers free ebooks for your Kindle! To celebrate, I've put together a somewhat exhaustive list of science fiction ebook titles to make it easy to browse them at a glance.

Click to go directly to any author: Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, China Miéville, Kim 

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NaNoWriMo 2011 at The New York Public Library

Every November, thousands of aspiring authors and literary daredevils from around the world attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days as part of National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short.)

The New York Public Library is hosting NaNoWriMo Write-ins all over the city, creating an opportunity for you to meet other participants, work on your novel, and be cheered on to the lexical finish line. Some do it for the digital certificate and sense of achievement, while other NaNoWrimo novelists eventually go on to have their works published. Why you write, what you write, and how 

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Reader's Den: "Software" by Rudy Rucker (Discussion #4)

Thank you for joining us for the June edition of Reader's Den. We hope that you have enjoyed reading (and discussing) Software by Rudy Rucker and that you will return for E.M. Forster's A Room With a View in July!

Some final discussion questions:

    What did you think of 
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Reader's Den: "Software" by Rudy Rucker (Discussion #3)

For our third installment of this month's Reader's Den, let's take a look at what Rudy Rucker's Software has to say about humans, technology, and what it means to exist.

In several places in the text, the author explores the idea of software being analogous to the soul. When Sta-Hi meets an attractive robot-remote stewardess on his way to the moon, she gives him a crash course in this new, technological metaphysics:

"You wanted to know who I am. I gave you one answer. A robot-remote. A servo-unit operated by a ... Read More ›

Reader's Den: "Software" by Rudy Rucker (Discussion #2)

Thanks for tuning in for the second discussion of Reader's Den for June! This month we are discussing the science fiction classic Software by Rudy Rucker, which is the first book in The Ware Tetralogy.

This book exemplifies a style of writing Rucker has termed "transrealism." In his 1983 Transrealist Manifesto, he argues that the tropes of science fiction can be viewed as symbols for the "modes of perception," i.e. time 

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