Kevin Bacon, Six Degrees, and Connections

(image credits: http://nbviewer.ipython.org)
(image credits: http://nbviewer.ipython.org)

If a Kevin Bacon movie marathon is not enough to satisfy your cravings for this fine actor, then you should definitely play this board game that’s based on him! Known as the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, this pastime activity can provide hours of fun for any die-hard Kevin Bacon fans. Check out this short post to learn more about this parlor game. What it’s About The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, or sometimes called the Bacon Game, was based on the “six degrees of separation” concept that any two people are acquainted six or fewer links apart. In this case, the American actor/musician was believed to have worked with everyone in Hollywood in some way or another. According to Brian Turtle, the creator of the game, the idea flashed while watching “Footloose” on TV, along with two other Kevin Bacon films that were played consecutively after it. This got Brian and his friends thinking that Kevin Bacon must have become the center of the entertainment universe. (Reference) 20 years has passed since the birth of the game, many people are still enjoy participating in the activity, especially the quick-thinking movie buffs. How to Play So how is the game played? Players first follow a dice-rolling process and take turns providing a name of an actor to their opponent. Their opponent, in turn, should think of the shortest path possible between the given actor and Kevin Bacon. Then, he or she may either come up with other actors or actresses with whom that given actor may have worked with in a movie. Or if the player is good enough, he or she may connect the actors name directly to Kevin Bacon, which could be made possible by a deck of cards that offers hints. The player then repeats the cycle of connecting actors to one another through movies starred in until he or she arrives with a way to connect that latest connected actors name with Kevin Bacon. The catch, of course, is that the connection must be done within six turns or lower. Here’s an example. Try to connect Will Smith with Kevin Bacon. Then, one could start by saying:

  1. Will Smith and Jon Voight both starred in “Enemy of the State”
  2. Jon Voight, on the other hand, starred with Burt Reynolds in “Deliverance”
  3. Burt Reynolds, along with Demi Moore, appeared in “Strip Tease”
  4. Finally, Demi Moore and Kevin Bacon starred in “A few good men”

This example shows that it can be done in 4 degrees or steps. But of course, others may come up with a much shorter or longer degree. The Wrap Up The game may sound difficult, but it is actually fun since there are times when a player needs to defend an associated actor or actress, thus requiring some “convincing”. Consequently, the players may find themselves laughing over the explanation. The real challenge of the game, however, was not the pressure of coming up with the shortest possible connections, but thinking quickly and recalling the movies that you have watched before. A vast knowledge with different films, as well as being familiar with its pool of actors and actresses, can be a big advantage. So before you challenge your family, friends, and colleagues in this game of wits, make sure that you have binge-watched a lot of Kevin Bacon films.

Description by (Amazon.com)  If your reaction to this game's title is "Kevin who?" you might steer clear of this faddish but popular trivia game. On the other hand, if you're a quick-thinking movie buff and know exactly who this tall, angular star of such movies as Footloose and A Few Good Men is, you'll probably enjoy Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.
Description by (Amazon.com)
If your reaction to this game’s title is “Kevin who?” you might steer clear of this faddish but popular trivia game. On the other hand, if you’re a quick-thinking movie buff and know exactly who this tall, angular star of such movies as Footloose and A Few Good Men is, you’ll probably enjoy Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Click here to check out this game in Amazon.com.

Have you tried playing this game before? Share your funny experiences in the comments!

Learn to trade by playing the Littlest Pet Shop

People of the earlier generation would be familiar with ‘The Monopoly’ game. This used to be a dice game where one could learn the basics of commerce, accounting, trading, and the business aspects of life. With the advent of the computer games etc, the children of today lost touch with these dice games. However, the same game has now returned with a new set of rules. Named as “The Littlest Pet Shop,” the rules appeal to the children of this generation. Let us now see as to how this game in its new setting would be different from the original ‘Monopoly’.

Monopoly Littlest Pet Shop - The Escape Place

The best part of the new game is that it comes with the same rules. There are some minor differences. We shall see the same. The Community Chests Cards have given way to the Toys Cards. Similarly, the Treats Cards replace the Chance cards. The Title deeds represent the properties in the Littlest Pet Shop World. The original game had the traditional railway stations. This new version features four different modes of transport, namely Play Wagon, Skateboard, Wheelbarrow, and the Snowmobile. The Hamster Wheel Electric and the Duckie’s Bathtub Water are the two utilities in this version. Instead of the Luxury Tax, you have the Vet’s Bill. You would not find the houses and the hotels. Instead, you have the pet carriers and the doghouses.

The playing rules are the same. There would be a banker to handle the cash, the title deed cards, and auctions. The dice rolls in the same way. The pawns move in the same manner as well. When you reach a property, you have the option to buy it or ask the banker to auction it if nobody owns the same. Otherwise, you pay rent on the same. One you own a property, you can build your doghouses and pet carriers on it. If in case you are short of funds, you can either sell any property or enter into a mortgage deal. You cannot borrow money from any player in this game. In case you roll a double three times in a row, you have to go to ‘Jail’.

You can buy properties as you used to do the same in the original version. You can sell your property as well if you are short of funds. You can mortgage your property and take loans as well. If at any stage, you owe more money than the value of assets you have, you become bankrupt and move out of the game. The player who remains until the end wins the game. There are different versions of the games such as the ‘Speedy Monopoly’ etc.

LEGO fun!

As a child, I was always considered a bit of a ‘tomboy.’ My closest friends were boys, I refused to wear dresses, I liked to go outside and play in the dirt, and my favorite toys from a very young age were LEGOs. Unfortunately, at the time, LEGOs were branded as a toy for boys. This didn’t stop me from wanting the latest and greatest sets all the time, and holidays and birthdays were filled with the magic that came with each new set I would get to put together.

lego

From pirates to cowboys, deep sea divers to space men, and from knights and nobles to space invaders, I was hooked on every theme I could get my hands on.

It always started out the same: I would get a new set of LEGOs with a specific theme – for example, a pirate set that included several small LEGO figurines along with the building blocks. I would carefully read through the instructions the first time I built everything, and craft the blocks together in a way that mimicked the look on the front of the box perfectly. After it was built, however, was when the real fun always began. The best part about LEGOs, for me, was always the imaginative aspect that came along with it. Granted, I know many people love LEGOs strictly to be able to build and create. I, however, loved playing with them after everything was built.

I was an imaginative child to begin with, always making my stuffed animals and figurines ‘talk,’ and put them in different pretend scenarios. LEGOs were no different, with the exception that the scenarios tended to be a part of whatever the set included. For a pirate set, I would grab the ‘Captain’ figurine and perhaps a ‘First Mate’ figurine, and set them off on an adventure, where they would have to fight off soldiers from the nearby kingdom, and steal gold from the rich, etc.

It’s wonderful to see that the overall branding of LEGOs has taken a turn in today’s world, and can be welcoming for both boys and girls to enjoy. I like to think that building aside, there are still kids today, in the midst of iPads and computer screens and smartphones, who still understand and appreciate the simple pleasures that come with creating something of your own, and using your imagination to truly bring it to life.

Shadow Tower

Many of the today’s beautifully crafted games and titles that blew audiences away have a distant relative in the PS1 franchise and have been collecting inspirations from that time. Bloodborne and Dark Souls franchises, which ended up as being one of the best video games in the horror/mistery/ adventure genre have a predecesor in one of the most underated PS1 game of all time – Shadow Tower. Released back in 1998, Shadow Tower was an impressive game from Dark Souls developers FromSoftware and definitely the one that you will like to see re-released for the next gen gaming consoles.

shadow tower

 

You encounter the game as the mercenary by the name of Russ Hardy, who comes back home to the city of Zeptar only to find out that darkness and underworld prevail in his home town. A single-eyed crown used to keep peace in this land and the darkness has overtaken its powers. Determined to free his home ground from evil, Russ enters the center figure of the city – the tower, where the crown is sealed – to fight of demons and restore peace. The player must go through seven levels in the labyrinth-like tower and defeat enemies to succeed at his mission. Shadow Tower is a direct improvement to a very much debated King’s Field, which barely got any reviews in Europe. The game follows the same concept as you roam dungeons and fight monsters on different levels.

While most games like these (survivor/horror games) gave the player a chance to improve on experience points, in Shadow Tower you must collect Soul Points, which allow you to improve your player mental and physical strenght. The natural progression is a key here, as there is practically no logical chronolical chain of monsters you fight. As you gather soul points, your character will improve, thus enabling you to defeat some opponents easier than before. Monsters are scary, creative and certainly difficult to defeat if you don’t apply some tactic to it.

If you are a fan of Diablo franchise, the “weapons-repair“ concept will be old news to you. Using hit points you can repeair some weapons and improve their durability and it is quite a challenge, since most weapons tend to break  pretty quick. Gathering money through killing monsters is hard enough, so your hit points is basically the main resource for recycling old weapons for further use.

The graphics of Shadow Tower was very powerful at the game, with about 20 fps frame rate. The environment is dark and highly depressing with even no soundtrack whatsoever. Footsteps, roars, screams is basically the only thing you get while engaging in this game, making it even more scarier for play.

Shadow Tower is mix of King’s Field franchise and RPG superstar Diablo – a game that has proven to be one of the darker games on the PS1 platform. The surviving concept, filled with great graphics and somehow, cheesy plot sumarizes this game which was released at the brink of the century. It is interesting to check the game out, especially if we look at their relationship with the current bestsellers from FromSoftware.

Cool Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles are one of the most popular kinds of puzzles in the world. It is a tiling puzzle where you have to connect oddly shaped pieces together in order to form a complete picture. These pictures are usually of buildings, animals, nature, landscape, or people. Each puzzle piece is one tiny part of that picture. The solver studies the shape and picture of the pieces to figure out which ones connect together. The more pieces that connect together the closer they’ll be to solving the puzzle. There are jigsaw puzzles with big pieces for beginners and smaller pieces for those who want a challenge. The bigger piece sets have fewer pieces, so it is easier to solve the puzzle whereas the smaller piece sets have hundreds or sometimes even thousands of pieces to put together.

 

jigsaw puzzle

The very first jigsaw puzzles had geographical maps mounted onto hardwood and then their national boundaries would be cut using a jigsaw tool. These were called “dissected maps” and they were used to teach geography to King George III’s children. In 1760, a London engraver and cartographer named John Spilsbury was the first person to create these jigsaw puzzles. Back in those days, jigsaw puzzles were not made out of cardboard like they are now days. They could only use a rectangular piece of hardwood with a picture painted or mounted onto it. Then the wood would get cut up into tinier pieces with the use of the jigsaw tool. This is where the name “jigsaw” comes from when describing the puzzle. However, this name didn’t actually start being used until fretsaws were used to cut the wood in 1880. With all of the wooden pieces cut out, the objective was to fit the wooden pieces together so that the original picture would be revealed.

ravensburger jigsaw puzzle

Near the end of the 19th century, cardboard jigsaw puzzles were introduced to the marketplace but their popularity had a very slow start. Many manufacturers were afraid that people would think cardboard puzzles were lower quality. But the evolution of cardboard puzzles really took off during the Great Depression of the 1930s because they were a cheaper form of entertainment that people could afford and enjoy. Once World War II was over, companies started charging more money for wooden jigsaw puzzles and this led to their decline in popularity. People were already happy with the cheaper cardboard jigsaw puzzles and the sales of these puzzles increased by a lot.

Now days there are all kinds of jigsaw puzzles that you can purchase with a variety of different pictures to choose from. Some companies will even create personalized jigsaw puzzles using any picture that you give them. There are also virtual jigsaw puzzles that you can piece together on your computer. As for the cardboard puzzles, they continue to dominate the marketplace after all these years.

Raggedy Ann and Andy

The design for Raggedy Ann was patented on September 7, 1915. The doll design was turned into a series of stories in 1918 and in 1920, Raggedy Ann was joined by her male counterpart, Raggedy Andy.

 

raggedy ann

There are few people alive today that can’t recognize the Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. Though today’s youth haven’t grown up with the stories the same way that their parents did, they still know the red yard hair and triangle nose as being one of the Raggedy Ann siblings. The dolls are often given as toys and special edition dolls are collected by fans of the red-haired siblings.
The story of Raggedy Ann’s creation is about as glamorous as her dress. The doll was created when the designer drew a simple face on an old hand-made rag doll. The name inspiration for the doll was complete chance as well. The designer pulled a book of poems from his bookshelf and flipped to “The Raggedy Man”followed by “Little Orphan Annie”. He combined the names to come up with Raggedy Ann.

 

The designer’s daughter succumbed to what was believed to be a side effect of the smallpox vaccine shortly after receiving the doll. The Raggedy Ann doll then became a symbol of the original anti-vaccination movement, which is gaining traction once again today.

Even though Raggedy Ann lacks a glamorous past and is associated with one of the most highly controversial movements of modern times, parents and grandparents continue to give Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls to their children and grandchildren to play with. Today’s children see the dolls as nothing more than a toy as the popularity of the books have diminished.
Raggedy Ann and Andy don’t do anything special. They are simply rag dolls. Their lack of flare is part of what makes them appealing to parents and kids. They beg to be used during imaginative play and because they aren’t battery operated, they’re great for bringing in the car or for playing with quietly in the evenings. The twin red heads can attend tea parties, visit the beach, go to grandmas and come back for a movie all without breaking a sweat.

Unfortunately, it is becoming difficult to find the doll in stores as the tainted association of the doll to the anti-vaccination movement grows stronger. Stores are hesitant to sell the dolls as to not align themselves with a cause. Many parents that disagree with the movement have removed the dolls from their homes.

There are few toys as inadvertently controversial as Ragged Ann and Andy. The dolls may look harmless on the outside, but once parents start looking into their history, they soon find there’s more to Raggedy Ann than meets the eye. Despite their lack of bells and whistles, Raggedy Ann and Andy are two of the most interesting and longstanding toys on the market.