Long before first-person shooters took over and online multiplayer games collected fees, millions of entertainment seekers were enveloped by a genre known as “graphic adventure.” The next logical step from text-based adventures, the graphic adventure invented the open-world concept in gaming, testing wits and attentiveness over impulses; meaning that, once upon a time, videogamers had to (brace yourself) think before acting.

Whether in first-person or third-person, the point-and-click emphasis and inventory-based gameplay meant tools and conversation skills trumped firepower and platforming, and no great adventure was had without a satisfying plot that rivaled most of the movies playing at your local cinema. With that, these are 10 of the most significant graphic adventure games.

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As early as 1984, Roberta Williams was known for her bold and innovative approach to the adventure game, with the medieval themed King’s Quest. Often cited as the first successful graphic adventure title, King’s Quest introduced a captivating sword and sorcery universe that would spawn over a dozen sequels and collections, the biggest fan favorite often cited as 1992′s King’s Quest VI.

The game is a love story at heart, following the path of Prince Alex in his pursuit of the captivating Princess Cassima. In true graphic adventure fashion, wild personalities are introduced and players are rewarded with story and new areas to explore through each solved puzzle. This installment was notable for its leap forward in graphics and aesthetics from its predecessors, let alone alternate endings, achieved through wildly different gameplay paths and branches in storyline.

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Originally released in 1993, the most acclaimed Sam & Max title is also a source of true nostalgia for a lot of gamers in childhood during its heyday. In a similar aesthetic to Roger Rabbit, private detectives Sam (the hound dog) and Max (the rabbit) first debuted in a comic book series in the late 1980s, before starring in their most memorable PC title to date.

Hit the Road took the pair across the United States in the efforts of recovering a stolen carnival sideshow attraction (who else but Bigfoot, right?). Complete with mini-games and smart-aleck comments from the protagonists, the game’s offbeat humor may have overshadowed even the exploits of its technical influencer, The Secret of Monkey Island. The pair appeared in a couple of sequels before being given the “episodic” treatment with a few digital download games in recent years.

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Long before themes of sex were unnerving parents in polygonal form, Leisure Suit Larry was finding itself knocked off retail shelves and practically admonished even by its own publisher, who refused to heavily advertise the game. Therefore, the 1987 title became a top seller largely by word of mouth, placing mature gamers in the role of a wannabe lothario whose entire life revolves around one thing: getting laid.

The 40-something hopeful is guided by the player, trotting around the city and picking up on a variety of women, mostly high maintenance elitists only impressed with Larry’s ability to adorn with gifts and boast a substantial income. Call it dirty, call it degrading, but the Leisure Suit franchise spawned five sequels during the 1990s, not including a remake of the original that was designed primarily to enhance the graphics of the women depicted.

After a few under-performing sequels in the 2000s, a Kickstarter fund was started by a new developer to revive Larry on mobile devices and produce a new HD entry into the series. Larry is the graphic adventure of choice for any player’s inner deviant, and pushed the meaning of “graphic” in the genre to another level more times than once.

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Somehow, when it comes to true horror – the type that really makes you wince and fear – artists from the far East are some of the most talented. Setting the stage for terrifying exports like Resident Evil and Silent Hill, the original Clock Tower in 1995 was exclusive to its native Japan for a long time, but that didn’t stop the game from garnering worldwide attention once the internet was commonplace.

Despite being a point-and-click adventure game at its core, there is a looming survival horror aspect, as the player is constantly stalked by a non-playable psychopath known as Scissorman. This means, at any time, a player must abandon their puzzle and run for their life if the killer in fact enters the same room and attacks them. This was a big departure from the typical “take your time” mood of most graphic adventures. Popularized by a PlayStation port, the game’s construct shifted over its sequels, but the initial version was undoubtedly praised for its genre-bending take on the graphic adventure template.

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Fans of the original Myst in 1993 had to wait four years until the multi-million selling classic would finally be given its first sequel, Riven. The 1997 installment tested the wits of gamers unlike ever before, and pushed the sanity of its developers to the edge. It was not without reward — the title sold tremendously well, was critically acclaimed upon release, and is still considered by the majority of fans to be the best in the series.

Picking up where Myst left off, players assumes a role that is essentially themselves, never named specifically beyond “Stranger.” Set in a universe where talented authors can materialize actual worlds with mere writings, the player is tasked with rescuing a man’s wife from his totalitarian father who uses said writing talent for self-serving purposes. The game’s beautiful scenery yet dark undertones provided commentary on responsibility versus wrath.

Riven was not produced without several technical challenges due to its frame-by-frame gameplay, which meant even the slightest change in circumstances required every single angle and place in time to be reconsidered for each frame. The puzzle-based difficulty is notoriously brutal without outside help, including false leads and one-time-only clues (see: fire marble domes), not to mention a custom numerical system players must ascertain during gameplay.

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Regarded as the single title responsible for the boom in CD-ROM gaming, the 1993 hit The 7th Guest was a campy yet engaging first-person adventure set in a haunted mansion. The premise may owe a debt to the Mac OS classic Uninvited, but made its own niche with the use of real actors portrayed as ghostly apparitions, fleshing out the backstory and making the player feel like a clairvoyant, let alone investigator.

The plot was morbid, but presented in a TV horror aesthetic that mitigated the heaviness of themes concerning murder and betrayal. A maniacal antagonist teased the player’s performance and offered an unprecedented form of narrative in gaming (think the Haunted Mansion attraction gone wild). In a clever way to aid lost players, a hint system under the guise of a library exists, offering tips on how to solve a majority of the puzzles and aiding the title’s accessibility.

Although met with a less successful sequel, The 11th Hour, the original retains a strong fan base and re-releases have been produced, for formats as recent as the iPad and iPhone. A third installment is still in production at time of this writing, assumed to arrive no sooner than the original’s 20th anniversary.

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Regarded by many as the “lost” Indiana Jones film in spirit (harsher critics recommending this game over the fourth movie), the 1992 hit Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis introduced a new mythology, new villains, and new damsel testing the patience of everyone’s favorite whip-cracking archaeologist.

Inspired by Plato and his writings of Atlantis, the story concerns Indy in a search for proof of the fabled city, but not without crossing mysterious temples, characters of all cultures, and of course, Nazis begging for a beatdown. Rated “perfect” by various publications during its prime, Fate of Atlantis was lauded for a subliminal educational aspect, let alone having one of the best story arcs among all graphic adventure games. A revamp not long after the original release introduced voice talent, although not of any actors from the film series.

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Take Pirates of the Caribbean and mix it with a Saturday morning cartoon (and maybe just a pinch of acid) and you’d come up with the wacky yet revered classic, The Secret of Monkey Island. Released in 1990, this title is likely the one that proved to the world that graphic adventures could be all-ages fun while providing elements of tongue-in-cheek parody and taxing abstract thinking unlike ever before.

As Guybrush Threepwood (don’t worry, plenty of in-game characters already mock the name), you embark on the naive journey to become a pirate; in fact, it’s the first full sentence out of the young man’s mouth. However, when the town mayor is kidnapped, your bravery is put to the test and you must rescue her while adopting the pirate lifestyle, all done in a classic graphic adventure style (sword fighting is not won by real time actions, for example, but through witty insults and comebacks).

Complete with a hilarious cast of characters (including drunken skeletons, and tribal cannibals who speak articulately about their dietary concerns), the world of Monkey Island spawned a few sequels all the way up through the 2000s, including remakes of the first two installments with modern graphics. A movie was even planned at one point, but eventually canceled.

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Before moving on to his most successful creation – the Metal Gear Solid franchise – Japanese writer and developer Hideo Kojima started out with adventure games. The most revered and celebrated of these was the Blade Runner-meets-Terminator epic, Snatcher, released in the late 1980s for home computers and the Sega CD in 1993.

The adventure game platform was likely attractive to Kojima due to his knack for grandiose storytelling, rivaling even Hollywood films. Snatcher combines conversations, relationship dynamics, stationary shootouts, and evidence examination, all supported by a twisting plot concerning body-snatching robots and identity crises (not to mention the most blindsiding paternal twist since Darth Vader and Luke). To top things off, the player can be detoured severely if they abuse or misappropriate their interactions with some of the game’s supporting characters.

Hard at work on the latest announcement in the Metal Gear series, Ground Zeroes, Kojima has his plate full and the outcry from gamers for a Snatcher remake may go unfulfilled, at least for a while.

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In the greater perspective of graphic adventure games, it seems almost a crime to feature only one title spearheaded by Tim Schafer, adorned by many as one of the most visionary writers and developers in the entertainment industry. However, to keep a balance, this spot goes to Schafer’s most intriguing and technically-advancing accomplishment in the genre thus far.

After getting his feet wet on Maniac Mansion and The Secret of Monkey Island, Schafer co-designed the former’s sequel, Day of the Tentacle. This opened the door for his first solo project, Full Throttle, a biker-themed cult classic featuring the voices of Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons), and the late Roy Conrad. Following Full Throttle’s success, Schafer was ready for his masterpiece of the decade, and entered the Land of the Dead (creatively speaking) with 1998′s Grim Fandango.

Players control the skeletal Manny Calavera, a “travel agent” for the newly deceased who accommodates his clients based on their goodness in life. Eventually Manny finds his business is corrupted from the top down, and perfectly good souls are being cheated out of good tickets by a crime lord finagling the agency. Upon discovering his love interest, Mercedes, a victim of this corruption, Manny becomes involved in a noir-style epic to save his woman and find a better life (or, afterlife) for the two of them.

The timing of Grim Fandango’s release marred its commercial success – it arrived at the end of the graphic adventure glory days, and when console gaming started to overshadow PCs in the mainstream. Coupled with the fact the game ran almost exclusively on Windows 98 (later systems requiring patches and tweaks), the title remains elusive for common gamers. None of this hindered the game’s legacy, however, as critics applauded the title with “Best of the Year” awards and fans remain faithful adherents. A glimpse online also reveals urging from numerous gamers to get a working port on download services such as Steam.

In the meantime, Schafer has embarked on a new high exposure venture; his Kickstarter fund in 2012 garnered over $3 million from the public when it was announced he intended to independently produce a new graphic adventure, reintroducing the genre to the masses. At time of writing, the details are unknown, but if history is any indication, the project will be a must-buy for anyone passionate about pristine storytelling and contextual gameplay.

Notable Extras: The fun doesn’t stop there. For those intrigued by this article, other worthy classics to explore that didn’t make the top 10 include: Maniac Mansion, The Journeyman Project, Myst, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, Policenauts, King’s Quest, Full Throttle, and The Dig. A few modern blockbusters such as Heavy Rain borrow heavily from graphic adventures, and independent developers are frequently churning out new graphic adventures on the indie games market.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2012/09/15/top-10-captivating-graphic-adventures/

Top 10 Fictional Detectives

Whenever I’m bored I like to read a good detective story. I always make a list of suspects with their motives and alibis, and try to unmask the culprit at least four chapters before the end. Sometimes I’m right; sometimes I’m way off. These stories are two things in one: they are puzzles – like a crossword or a sudoku – but they are also literature, with interesting characters, a certain psychological depth and a vision of society in a given time and place. Making this top ten wasn’t easy, and I don’t expect everybody to agree. There’s the dilemma between quantity and quality, and the contrast between the British cosy mystery and American hardboiled fiction. Certain classics had to be included, but for the more recent ones it was a tougher choice. In the end I just followed my own taste. These are all detectives who gave me a lot of reading pleasure.

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Inspector Linley is a British detective created by the American author Elizabeth George. He’s the eighth Earl of Asherton. He solves crimes with his Scotland Yard colleague Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, who has a working class background. In the third Linley novel, “Well-Schooled in Murder”, Linley and Havers solve a homicide case in an elite British public school, which is remarkably well depicted for a non-British author. George always prepares her novels by studying real locations in England, which makes her stories more realistic than those of many other crime writers. Linley himself is a round character with weaknesses. His relationship with Lady Helen Clyde evolves through the novels. Linley and Havers are portrayed by Nathaniel Parker and Sharon Small (photo) in the BBC series “The Inspector Linley Mysteries”.

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Private detective Kinsey Millhone was created by American author Sue Grafton. She appears in the alphabet series: “A Is for Alibi”, “B Is for Burglar” etc. She lives in an apartment in Santa Teresa, California. This fictional town based on Santa Barbara was invented by another writer, Ross MacDonald. Kinsey is a bachelorette who runs a lot to stay in shape, and has an affair from time to time. I like these novels because they are entertaining and have a fast pace and strong plot. There’s always a certain amount of action involved too. There hasn’t been a film or TV adaption of these stories yet – maybe an idea for the future.

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Philip Marlowe is a private investigator created by American author Raymond Chandler. He appeared for the first time in “The Big Sleep”, in 1939. Other well-known titles are “The Lady in the Lake” and “The Long Goodbye”. Marlowe belongs to the hardboiled direction, influenced by Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade. He smokes and drinks a lot. He lives in Hollywood, Los Angeles. The stories are set in the more dangerous neighbourhoods in and around this city. Violence, drugs and tough language occur frequently. Marlowe has been played by a lot of actors, including Humphrey Bogart in “The Big Sleep” and Powers Boothe (photo) in the ITV series “Philip Marlowe, Private Eye”.

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Private detective Sam Spade was invented by Dashiell Hammett. He only appears in one novel and three short stories, but remains important as the first example of a detective in the hard-boiled genre. Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, among others, was inspired by Sam Spade. Spade is the main character in “The Maltese Falcon” (1930). He runs a detective agency in San Francisco with his partner Miles Archer, who gets killed early in the novel. He’s not afraid of a fist fight or firearms. He appears to be cynical, but still has a sense of duty. The story also involves a typical femme fatale. He was played by several actors, of which the most famous remains Humphrey Bogart (photo) in the movie adaption of 1941.

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Detective Chief-Inspector Roderick Alleyn (pronounced “Allen”) is a British detective who appears in thirty-two novels by New Zealand writer Ngaio Marsh. It started with “A Man Lay Dead” in 1934, when a murder game ends with a real murder. Other examples are “Vintage Murder”, “Artists in Crime”, and “Overture to Death” – where the murder method is especially interesting. As the younger brother of a baronet Alleyn is another example of a gentleman detective. He works for Scotland Yard, where he eventually reaches the rank of Chief Superintendent. Society journalist Nigel Bathgate often helps him during his investigations. Initially a bachelor, Alleyn later marries painter Agatha Troy. Of the three actors who have played him in TV adaptions the best known is Patrick Malahide (photo).

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Commissaire Jules Maigret is the only one in this top ten whose stories were not written in English, but in French. Although his author, Georges Simenon, was Belgian, Maigret himself is French and works in Paris. He holds a quantity record by appearing in seventy-five novels and twenty-nine short stories. Maigret usually smokes a pipe, drinks a lot and wears a heavy overcoat. He’s a more realistic character than most of his colleagues in the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. His method of investigation comes close to the way a real policeman would work. His successes are based on team work, routine research and tenacity, rather than individual brilliancy. Maigret has been played by several TV actors, of which Jean Gabin was the first, and Bruno Cremer (photo) the most famous.

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Lord Peter Wimsey was created by British author Dorothy L. Sayers. He’s the archetypal gentleman detective. Solving crimes is a hobby for him. In the second novel “Clouds of Witness” (1926), he has to take action because his brother is suspected of murder. He’s a round character with a past. After getting injured during World War I he was rescued by his later manservant Bunter, who also helps him with his investigations. Wimsey falls in love with Harriet Vine, and marries her. He likes to cooperate with Chief Inspector Charles Parker from Scotland Yard. These novels are still worth reading, because they are simply good literature with a broad perspective on British society in that era. Wimsey himself may be a gentleman, but he meets people from the lower classes, like the farmer in “Clouds of Witness” who suspects Wimsey of having an affair with his wife. Several actors have played Lord Peter Wimsey, including Ian Carmichael (photo) in a BBC series.

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Agatha Christie’s Miss Jane Marple appeared first in a series of short stories in a magazine, later collected as “The Thirteen Problems”. This elderly spinster with a remarkable talent for amateur sleuthing can be followed in twelve crime novels, including “The Murder at the Vicarage” (1930) and “The Body in the Library” (1943). She lives in the small village of St Mary Mead, where she finds the opportunity to study human nature. She sees analogies with people and events she knows from village life, which helps her to solve many mysteries. Intuition and psychology are quite important to her. She can annoy the police investigators, who initially see her as an old busybody, until they have to admit she was right. I have to admit I used to be prejudiced against “the old bat” myself, but after reading her stories I became gradually convinced that she belongs to The Big Three of fictional detectives. She was played in movies by Margaret Rutherford and Angela Lansbury, and on TV by Helen Hayes, Joan Hickson (photo) and Geraldine McEwan.

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Hercule Poirot appears for the first time in Agatha Christie’s “The Mysterious Affair at Styles”, published in 1920. He is a retired Belgian police officer who came to England during World War I as a refugee. Poirot solves mysteries with his “little grey cells”, occasionally without even leaving his room. With his strong preference for symmetry, order and method, he has something of a comic book character. Captain Arthur Hastings is his best friend, who relies too much on his intuition to solve a mystery by himself, but often helps Poirot with his observations and accidental remarks. Poirot’s secretary, Miss Lemon, is very efficient, but in contrast to Hastings she doesn’t have any imagination. Chief Inspector Japp from Scotland Yard isn’t too bright, but Poirot often sends him in the right direction. Detective writer Ariadne Oliver, who is partly based on Agatha Christie herself, believes in female intuition. Poirot is surely one of the greatest fictional detectives, because he was involved in so many unforgettable crime novels, including “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd”, “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Death on the Nile”. Poirot was brought to life in movies by actors Albert Finney and Peter Ustinov, and by David Suchet (photo) in the ITV series.

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Sherlock Holmes, a creation by Arthur Conan Doyle, remains the archetypal detective who solves mysteries by logical reasoning. He appears in only four novels, of which “A Study in Scarlet” (1887) was the first, and “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (1902) the most famous. At least as important are the fifty-six short stories. Two of my personal favorites are “The Red-Headed League” and “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle”. Holmes believes in the science of deduction: the principle that any problem can be solved if the necessary information is given. He is surrounded by people who are less bright than him. Dr Watson is a good observer, and can relate the cases in detail as first person narrator, but he never comes to the correct conclusion by himself. Inspector Lestrade is the not too clever police investigator with a lot of tenacity once he’s on the right track. His archenemy Professor Moriarty only appears in two stories. As a private person Holmes is quite eccentric. He uses cocaine, and never gets romantically involved, although he does have feelings for Irene Adler from “A Scandal in Bohemia”. Of the many actors who have played Sherlock Holmes I’ll just mention Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett (photo).

Honorable mention: Auguste Dupin (E. A. Poe), Father Brown (G. K. Chesterton), Adam Dalgliesh (P. D. James), Chief Inspector Wexford (Ruth Rendell), Chief Inspector Barnaby (Caroline Graham).

Read more: http://listverse.com/2011/01/18/top-10-fictional-detectives/

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Wow, is the week over already? It seems like only yesterday we were upgrading our iPhone software to iOS 6.

Perhaps you skipped the update altogether, and decided to camp out and get yourself a shiny new iPhone 5. Or maybe you just spent the week playing video games in your underwear, and watching reruns of Lost. Don’t worry, we’re not here to judge.

What we are here to do is keep you updated on all the resources around the Internet you may have missed. Much of the content this week focused on updates, both to Apple’s mobile software and Twitter profile layouts.

There were also some tips for you movers and shakers in the business world. We had advice on how to avoid job scams, how to get a good job and how to maximize your performance once you get that job.

Gadgets galore, apps aplenty and advice that’s nice — There’s all of this and more in this week’s features roundup.

Editor’s Picks

Social Media

For more social media news and resources, you can follow Mashable‘s social media channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Business & Marketing

For more business news and resources, you can follow Mashable‘s business channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Tech & Mobile

For more tech news and resources, you can follow Mashable‘s tech channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Lifestyle

For more digital lifestyle news and resources, you can follow Mashable‘s lifestyle channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/09/22/62-digital-resources-you-may-have-missed/

A new report published by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB), a UK educational charity, has received extensive coverage in the media as clear evidence that video games are “bad” for children. The findings are less apocalyptic than what you might have read so far.

The study’s aimwas to examine how young peoples use of computers and access to the Internet might impactfinal grades achieved in their GCSEs, a qualification that British students obtain at 16. The study was conducted in Northern Ireland on 611 students, as well as 41 parents and 18 teachers of the pupils. Possible confounding factors such as socio-economic background of the students and their educational needs were also taken into account.

Students benefit from having a computer and being familiar with the software, the study confirms. It highlights how students that have access to word processing and presentation programs are significantly more likely to achieve higher grades than the students that did not. They also found that the highest achieving pupils were the ones who spent a moderate to high amount of time on a computer (1-3hours a day), regardless of what they were actually doing on the computer.

The report goes on to analyze different aspects of information and communication technology.In general, teachers and parents were found to believe that usage of mobile phones, social media and gaming play a part in pupils’ poor academic achievements. Contrary to this idea, the study didnt find any relationship between time spent on social media or mobile phone usage and poor performance in school.

What the study did find, however, was that among those gamerswho used a portable gaming console more than twice a day, only a smallproportion (41%)achieved the highest grades.This has been reported elsewhereas the “smoking gun” of the damaging effect of video games, but the NCB study also failed to find any significant difference betweenthe grades of those classed as regular gamers (gaming oncea day) to occasional gamers.

In fact, recent studiesin the United Statesand in Englandhave highlighted how low levels of regular gaming (less than anhour per day) can actually have a positive impact on a student academic achievement. The report advises caution in the interpretation of these results and suggests a need for more detailed studies to understand the potential underlying cause, in addition to intensive gaming, which could possibly lead to poor academic performances.

In general, though, the study shows an overwhelmingly positive impact of ICT literacy on the pupils’ achievements in school, and the study recommends investment in young people’s access to ICT.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/impact-technology-and-gaming-children-s-academic-achievements

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With the help of a laser-range finder, a laptop and a Microsoft Kinect, researchers at MIT have created a wearable piece of equipment that can map out a building in real time.

The prototype, called SLAM (short for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping), was announced today.

Essentially, SLAM operates as a second pair of eyes by generating a virtual map of the user’s location (think: real-time strategy video games.) Creators of the device say they hope firefighters and emergency personnel will use the device to help them more easily navigate through thick smoke during fire emergencies.

Watch the video above to learn more. How else can real-time mapping be used? Let us know your thoughts below.

Image courtesy of Flickr, GEEK ASiA

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/09/26/mit-microsoft-kinect-mapping/

Oprah Wins!

Terrence Howard and Oprah Winfrey in Lee Daniels’ The Butler The Weinstein Company

Thanks to a full-court media press by Oprah Winfrey — and some headline-grabbing Hollywood shenanigans by Harvey Weinstein — Lee Daniels’ The Butler opened with an estimated $25 million this weekend.

It is an especially sweet victory for Winfrey, who is winning wide acclaim for her performance as the long-suffering (and hard-drinking) wife of the White House butler played by Forest Whitaker. Winfrey hasn’t appeared on a movie screen since her devastating experience producing and starring in 1998’s Beloved — the adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was so ignored by audiences, Winfrey has said it drove her into a depression. Winfrey did not produce Lee Daniels’ The Butler, but it is nonetheless her first home-run success since she ended the daily daytime talk show that made her a global celebrity to oversee her basic cable network OWN, which has had a very public ratings struggle since it launched in 2011. (Indeed, to boost viewership, Winfrey has had to lean on high-profile interviews, like her news-making sit-down with Lance Armstrong in January, and her interview with Lindsay Lohan airing tonight.)

Lee Daniels’ The Butler’s box office debut also establishes the sweeping historical drama as the first major “awards movie” of the year. With its A grade from the audience polling firm CinemaScore, the film could be well on its way to a long and lucrative run in theaters, similar to other August releases that went on to earn major box office as well as Oscar nods — like The Help, Inglourious Basterds, The Sixth Sense, and The Fugitive. That must sit well with Harvey Weinstein, who waged a bizarre public battle with Warner Bros. over the title to the film that resulted in the new possessive title for director Lee Daniels (Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, The Paperboy) and a barrage of free press for the movie.

Winfrey and Weinstein’s triumphant efforts to drive audiences to see a movie about an African-American butler at the White House also stand in stark contrast to the other three movies opening this weekend that on paper seemed like better box office prospects: a sequel to a cult favorite comic book adaptation; a biopic of one of the most accomplished, successful, and well-known businessmen of the last 50 years; and a corporate thriller starring Liam Hemsworth, Harrison Ford, and Liam Hemsworth’s abs. Instead, all three suffered humiliating debuts.

To wit:

Kick-Ass 2’s estimated $13.6 million opening weekend could not top the $19.8 million debut of its 2010 predecessor, which itself was seen ultimately as a box office disappointment. Decent home video sales convinced Universal to green-light the sequel, but the buzzy The World’s End opens next weekend and will likely draw away the fanboy audience that Kick-Ass 2 needs to sustain any hope of a healthy box office run.

• The Steve Jobs biopic Jobs opened with $6.7 million, which may give Sony Pictures some pause on Aaron Sorkin’s in-the-works screenplay of Walter Isaacson’s official Steve Jobs biography, Steve Jobs. At the very least, audiences have made clear they are not too interested in a Steve Jobs movie starring Ashton Kutcher.

Paranoia, a corporate espionage thriller, was DOA, coming in 13th place with just $3.5 million, officially the worst wide release debut of the year so far. Poor Liam Hemsworth. Poor, bored Liam Hemsworth.

Here are the estimated top 10 box office figures for Friday to Sunday, courtesy of Box Office Mojo:

1. Lee Daniels’ The Butler* — $25 million
2. We’re the Millers — $17.8 mhillion
3. Elysium — $13.6 million
4. Kick-Ass 2* — $13.57 million
5. Planes — $13.1 million
6. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters — $8.4 million
7. Jobs — $6.7 million
8. 2 Guns — $5.6 million
9. The Smurfs 2 — $4.6 million
10. The Wolverine — $4.4 million

*Opening weekend

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/adambvary/lee-daniels-the-butler-oprah-wins-box-office

Lefties unite.

1. Walking into a classroom full of these:

Walking into a classroom full of these:

View this image ›

trippapparel.com

And having an endless search until you find the HOLY GRAIL:

And having an endless search until you find the HOLY GRAIL:

View this image ›

Via reddit.com

2. These medieval torture devices:

These medieval torture devices:

View this image ›

Via picgifs.com

3. Mugs don’t care about you.

Mugs don't care about you.

View this image ›

Via reddit.com

And even when they do no one can read your funny message to them.

And even when they do no one can read your funny message to them.

View this image ›

Via reddit.com

4. Banks don’t care about you.

Banks don't care about you.

View this image ›

5. Ice cream doesn’t care about you.

Ice cream doesn't care about you.

View this image ›

Via oxo.com

6. Can openers exist to cause you pain:

Can openers exist to cause you pain:

View this image ›

Via reddit.com

7. Video games are unplayable.

Video games are unplayable.

View this image ›

SONY

8. Upside-down measuring tape.

Upside-down measuring tape.

View this image ›

Via amazon.com

EVERYTHING IS UPSIDE-DOWN.

9. Spiral notebooks, oooooh spiral notebooks.

Spiral notebooks, oooooh spiral notebooks.

View this image ›

Via biowiki.ru

Hope you like circle imprints!

10. Having to answer the question “Are you left-handed?” literally every time you use your left hand.

Having to answer the question "Are you left-handed?" literally every time you use your left hand.

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Via businessinsider.com

Every. Single. Time.

Every. Single. Time.

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Via boredpanda.com

11. Crossword puzzles will never be readable.

Crossword puzzles will never be readable.

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Via likealaugh.org

12. Upside-down decals.

Upside-down decals.

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thinkbigpromotions.com

13. Binder. BINDERS.

Binder. BINDERS.

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lskimport.net

14. Writing with a pen and having the pen cap slowly unscrew.

Writing with a pen and having the pen cap slowly unscrew.

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colourbox.com

15. If you ever have to fire a weapon, WATCH OUT:

23 Soul-Crushing Problems Only Left-Handed People Understand

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Via reddit.com

16. Cards.

Cards.

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Via f2.thejournal.ie

17. Credit card swiping.

Credit card swiping.

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Via depositaccounts.com

18. The zipper conspiracy.

The zipper conspiracy.

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wordpress.com

WHY IS IT THE WAY IT IS? WHAT ARE ZIPPERS HIDING?

19. Having to find a baseball mitt in gym class.

Having to find a baseball mitt in gym class.

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Via ltc4940.blogspot.com

20. Spending your entire life bumping elbows with righties.

Spending your entire life bumping elbows with righties.

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Via heraldextra.com

21. Getting unnaturally excited when you see a celebrity is a lefty:

Getting unnaturally excited when you see a celebrity is a lefty:

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AP Photo/David Azia

YOU ARE OURS, SCARJO.

Or when you see a cartoon is a lefty:

Or when you see a cartoon is a lefty:

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Disney

THANK YOU, BASED ANNA.

22. Being so much smarter than righties.

23 Soul-Crushing Problems Only Left-Handed People Understand

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Via poetry.rapgenius.com

Shhhhh. Let’s just have something.

23. And, of course:

And, of course:

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Via sublimereddit.aesptux.com

SILVER SURFER HAND.

SILVER SURFER HAND.

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Via reddit.com

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.

Need more buzz like this in your life? Sign up for the BuzzFeed Today newsletter and prepare to LOL, OMG, and WTF daily!

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Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/daves4/lefties-unite

1. Joe Hill

Twitter Handle: @joe_hill

Twitter Bio: “Author of NOS4A2, HORNS, and HEART-SHAPED BOX. Co-collaborator, with @GR_Comics, on LOCKE & KEY, an ongoing comic. Tumblr: http://joehillsthrills.tumblr.com.”

Why? This follow makes sense, not only because Hill himself is a wildly successful horror writer (do not miss his aforementioned comic book series with artist Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke and Key) but also because he is Stephen King’s son. When in doubt, follow family.

2. Owen King

Via npr.org

Twitter Handle: @OwenKingwriter

Twitter Bio: “Author of the novel Double Feature and other popular favorites. Stories in One Story, Prairie Schooner, etc.”

Why? Owen King, like Joe Hill, is also a writer… and a son of Stephen King. Owen is the youngest of the King progeny, and his debut novel, Double Feature, was released this year (you can listen to him discuss it on NPR here). Second son, second follow.

3. Neil Gaiman

Chris Pizzello/Invision / AP

Twitter Handle: @neilhimself

Twitter Bio: “will eventually grow up and get a real job. Until then, will keep making things up and writing them down.”

Why? Neil Gaiman, like Stephen King, is a masterful writer. He is also a master of something which Stephen is not: Twitter. Perhaps King is looking for some tips… or maybe they’re just friends (in which case I would like a co-written book à la Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens right away, please and thank you).

4. The New Yorker

Twitter Handle: @NewYorker

Twitter Bio: “The New Yorker is a weekly magazine with a mix of reporting of politics and culture, humor and cartoons, fiction and poetry, and reviews and criticism.”

Why? It’s The New Yorker and he’s Stephen King. They know each
other.

5. Goodreads

Twitter Handle: @goodreads

Twitter Bio: “The largest site for readers and book recommendations. Find new books, recommend books, track your reading, join book clubs, win advanced copies, and much more!”

Why? Stephen King has always been good about interacting with his fans (check out his humorous yet helpful FAQ page on his author website, for example), so it would make sense that he’d start following one of the best (and largest) online books communities around.

6. Kelly Braffet

Twitter Handle: @KellyBraffet

Twitter Bio: “Author of the novel SAVE YOURSELF (available now from Crown Publishing) and constant battler against the chaos.”

Why? Kelly Braffet is a writer, and is married to the aforementioned youngest of the King clan, Owen. You can read Publishers Weekly’s starred review of her recent novel, Save Yourself, here.

7. Laura Miller

Twitter Handle: @magiciansbook

Twitter Bio: “Writer for Salon + NY Times, author of Magician’s Book: Skeptic’s Adventures in Narnia”

Why? Laura Miller, author of The Magician’s Book and queen of all things reading at Salon, kicked up a lil’ controversy earlier this year by defending Stephen King’s well-documented dislike of Stanley Kubrick’s film version of The Shining. Two days later she published a rave review of King’s latest (and sequel to The Shining) Doctor Sleep, rating it “among King’s best books.” A good ally to have, should King find himself in a twitter spat.

8. Margaret Atwood

Imeh Akpanudosen / Getty Images for LA Times

Twitter Handle: @MargaretAtwood

Twitter Bio: “author”

Why? She’s Margaret fucking Atwood. Another master of writing, who is also a master of Twitter. She’s also gotten Stephen King’s sweetest tweet yet:

9. Kurt Sutter

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Twitter Handle: @sutterink

Twitter Bio: “Writer, Director of television and film. Creator/EP, Sons of Anarchy.”

Why? Stephen King made a guest appearance in episode three, season three of Sons of Anarchy. His character’s name was “Bachman,” an allusion to King’s pen name, Richard Bachman (more on that here). King wrote a bit about the experience on his site, and obviously had a blast (even if the motorcycle they put him on was, as King put it, “a little tricked-out for my taste.”)

10. Linwood Barclay

Twitter Handle: @linwood_barclay

Twitter Bio: “Crime novelist, ex-columnist, former trailer park operator”

Why? Because Stephen King is a fan. “Where has Linwood Barclay been all my life?” he once wrote in his column for Entertainment Weekly. King would later say, “My idea of a sweet ride is three days of rain, a fridge filled with snacks, and a new Linwood Barclay.” The Twitter bromance between these two could be epic.

11. Mary Karr

Twitter Handle: @marykarrlit

Twitter Bio: “Mary Karr’s memoirs are The Liars’ Club, Cherry, and Lit; her four books of poetry include Sinners Welcome and Viper Rum.”

Why? “I was stunned by Mary Karr’s memoir, The Liars’ Club. Not just by its ferocity, its beauty, and by her delightful grasp of the vernacular — but by its totality — she is a woman who remembers everything about her early years.” That’s a line from the early pages in Stephen King’s incredible book, On Writing. If you’re a writer or aspiring writer and have not yet read On Writing please stop reading this post and go do so now.

12. Reverend Naomi King

Twitter Handle: @revnaomi

Twitter Bio: “Unitarian Universalist teacher, knitter, reader, coffee drinker, lover of life!”

Why? Yes, Reverend Naomi King is Stephen King’s middle child, but she is also a kick ass minister who uses social media to help get out her message of kindness and generosity. A good follow should King find himself balking at the crueler sides of Twitter.

13. Sons of Anarchy

Twitter Handle: @SonsofAnarchy

Twitter Bio: “The official twitter account for SONS OF ANARCHY ON FX.”

Why? As mentioned above, Stephen King has had a guest appearance on the show, but one has to wonder, does this mean “Bachman” might be returning to Charming, CA?

14. Kim Coates

Dan Steinberg/Invision / AP

Twitter Handle: @KimFCoates

Twitter Bio: “I can’t tell you how to succeed… but I can tell you how to fail, by trying to please everyone.”

Why? Kim Coates’ love-to-hate character on Sons of Anarchy, “Tig,” shared the screen with “Bachman” when Stephen King made his guest appearance on the show. The only other actor in the scene was…

15. Katey Sagal

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Twitter Handle: @KateySagal

Twitter Bio: “Actress, wife, mother. Currently playing Gemma on FX’s Sons of Anarchy”

Why? Katy Sagal, along with Kim Coates, shared the screen with Stphen King when he made his cameo on Sons of Anarchy. King wrote that the two actors “treated me like a professional, which I most assuredly am not.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/isaacfitzgerald/the-first-people-stephen-king-followed-on-twitter

Ed-sheeran-macklemore

Ed Sheeran and Macklemore perform at the iHeartRadio Music Festival on Sept. 20 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Image: Ethan Miller/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

LAS VEGAS — What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.

Videocameras descended upon Sin City for the iHeartRadio Music Festival, which was pre-taped over the weekend for its Sept. 29 and 30 broadcast on The CW.

Once televised, the festival will treat viewers with exhilarating performances from radio stalwarts like One Direction, Lorde, Ariana Grande, Calvin Harris and Usher.

Among the most memorable moments: Ed Sheeran teamed up with Macklemore on LGBT anthem “Same Love;” Taylor Swift teased her upcoming album with “Shake It Off;” Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azalea brought rap flavor to the otherwise pop- and rock-heavy event; and Coldplay and Train reminded us why we’re Generation Selfie.

Mashable attended the festival to bring you a sneak peek at what you’ll see. So set your calendars because these are 15 moments you won’t want to miss on TV.

1. Ed Sheeran Duets With Macklemore on ‘Same Love’

Ed Sheeran kept his set simple filling the stage with just himself and his guitar to show off songs from his recent chart-topping sophomore album, X. But unexpectedly, the British crooner brought out Macklemore to tag-team on “Same Love,” the “Thrift Shop” rapper’s LGBT anthem that’s typically performed by Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert.

2. Coldplay and Train Infuse Their Sets With Seflies

coldplay-selfie

Image: iHeartRadio

What do you do when your audience begs you for a selfie while you’re performing onstage? Well, if you’re Chris Martin of Coldplay or Pat Monahan of Train you grab their phones, grant their wishes and show them how a celebrity selfie is really done.

3. Paramore Lets Young Fan Sing ‘Misery Business’

Hayley Williams of Paramore invited a fan to belt “Misery Business” (see 4:00 mark in the video, above) She gave the fan, Mariah, some solo time to shine before joining her for the head-banging chorus.

4. Taylor Swift Reminds All of Us About ‘1989’

Can you guess what year Taylor Swift was born by just watching that Instagram? Ding, ding, ding. 1989 is correct and it’s also the title of her upcoming pop album. Swift, who opened the entire festival with an impressive medley of hits as “1989” flashed in the background, closed her set with the album’s lead single, “Shake It Off.” Swift also performed a slowed-down, dramatic remix of “Love Story.”

5. Pete Wentz ‘Crowd Surfs’ on Inflatable Raft

Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy surfed amid the crowd inside an inflatable boat, high-fiving fans on his way back to the stage during Steve Aoki’s set.

6. Usher Lights Shoes on Fire With Chris Brown

usher-shoes

Image: iHeartRadio

One way to heat up a dance-off against surprise guest Chris Brown is to light your shoes on fire. That’s what Usher did during their duet of “New Flame.”

7. Nicki Minaj: ‘They Deserve to Be Shitted On’

“Anaconda” rapper Nicki Minaj paused her booty-shaking routing to deliver some words of wisdom: “If you’ve got somebody in your life that don’t want to see you shine, put your number twos in the air ’cause they deserve to be shitted on.”

8. Zac Brown Band Covers ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

The Zac Brown Band incited one of the biggest sing-a-longs of the weekend with an intriguing cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

9. Steve Aoki Throws Bakery Cake at Fans

Like clockwork, electronic house musician Steve Aoki once again hurled a bakery-style cake at some rowdy fans. No champagne showers this time, though.

10. Alicia Keys Puts Baby Bump on Display

alicia-keys-baby-bump

Usher plays with Alicia Keys’ baby bump at the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

When he wasn’t lighting his shoes on fire, Usher was spotted backstage playing with 8-months pregnant Alicia Keys’ baby bump, which graced the stage during her inspiring performance of “We Are Here.”

11. Ariana Grande and Childish Gambino Join Forces

Childish Gambino hopped onstage during Ariana Grande’s set to perform “Break Your Heart Right Back,” their duet that samples Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money Mo Problems” and Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out.”

12. Weezer Jams Out With 4-Man Drum Segment

Representing the alternative rock genre, Weezer closed their set with the 1994 classic “Buddy Holly” and a 4-person drum session.

13. Lorde’s Hair Flips Out

Are you OK, Lorde? Just kidding. We know you give it your all with your vocals and free-spirited, manic moves — but apparently your hair has a life of its own, too.

14. Jennifer Lawrence Supports Chris Martin

jennifer-lawrence-iheartradio

Jennifer Lawrence walks backstage at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas.

Image: Mark Davis/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

With dating rumors between Coldplay’s Chris Martin and actress Jennifer Lawrence already aflame, J-Law added some gasoline to the fiery rumors by being spotted backstage the same night night Coldplay performed. Consciously coupled. That’s still unofficial.

15. Ed Sheeran Takes Us Back With ‘No Diggity’

In a soulful mashup, Ed Sheeran smoothly blended his new single “Don’t” with Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” and Chris Brown’s “Loyal.”

BONUS: 24 Musical Tattoos That Strike the Right Chord