Do You Have What It Takes To Be Working Poor?

Do You Have What It Takes To Be Working Poor?

You’re a savvy consumer used to pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. So if you were a jobless parent, down to your last $1,000, you could make it work, right? Spent is a new free online “game” that tests to see whether you have what it takes. Put out by the Urban Ministries of Durham, it’s less fun than a sobering dose of reality. I played it and in order to make it through the month I couldn’t let my kid go on field trips and I missed his baseball game in order to take a job helping a neighbor move. Also, I got fired for talking to a union organizer. The gas also got shut off and I drove away from an accident instead of paying the ticket. I had no choice, otherwise I would have gone broke and lost the game. [More]

8-Year-Old Girl Racks Up $1,400 Bill Playing "Smurfs
Village" iPad Game

8-Year-Old Girl Racks Up $1,400 Bill Playing "Smurfs Village" iPad Game

A 2nd-grader managed to rack up a $1,400 bill for her parents over break while playing the “Smurfs Village”, a Farmville-esque iPad game, reports the Washington Post. Like many of these app-based games, the game is free but you can purchase in-app upgrades, with real money, to speed your progress. In this case, you can get a “bucket of snowflakes” for $19 or a “wagon of smurfberries” for $99. Needless to say, her mother became quite blue in the face. [More]

Will I Or Won't I Get Wet?

Will I Or Won't I Get Wet?

This sign advertising $5 for five minutes of bubble fun is confusing. Not the part where your child is placed inside a giant rubber bubble and then allowed to run around on top of a pool of water. We’re cool with that. But at the top it says, “walk, jog, run, job and have lots of fun on the water… while completely dry!” At the bottom of the sign it says, “YOU MAY GET WET.” Well, which is it? [More]

Game Developer Says Farmville Is Designed To Be "Negative" And "Draining"

Game Developer Says Farmville Is Designed To Be "Negative" And "Draining"

So-called social network games like Farmville and Mafia Wars are intentionally designed to not be fun and cause you anxiety, says a well-respected game developer. [More]

GameStop Is Out Of The Game You Want? Order It For In-Store
Pickup, Return 10 Minutes Later

GameStop Is Out Of The Game You Want? Order It For In-Store Pickup, Return 10 Minutes Later

The bad news: the GameStop where Ambyr went to buy a copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops for her husband only had enough copies of the game to fill pre-orders. The good news: In GameStop’s universe, to “pre-order” means that you leave the store that just refused to sell you a game, order that game online, and then return fifteen minutes later. Bad for logic, good for Ambyr. [More]

Can A Pirate Ship Game Teach Kids About Money?

Can A Pirate Ship Game Teach Kids About Money?

Parsons design and technology thesis students came up with a pirate ship board game that has the twin goals of teaching personal finance to kids and not sucking. [More]

Blockbuster Chases GameFly, Offers Game Rentals By
Mail

Blockbuster Chases GameFly, Offers Game Rentals By Mail

Yesterday we noted that Blockbuster was launching a new DVD-by-mail rental service (which Netflix promptly one-upped by announcing a new streaming agreement), and today we’re getting tips from people that the beleaguered brick and mortar movie rental company is throwing games into the offer as well. FastCompany notes that GameFly offers around 7,000 game titles compared to Blockbuster’s library of 3,000 titles. On the other hand, Blockbuster’s rental plans start at $9/mo compared to GameFly’s $16/mo (both for one disc at a time). [More]

GameStop Buys Pre-Owned Website Kongregate

GameStop Buys Pre-Owned Website Kongregate

If you play games on the website Kongregate–its founders say 10 million players stop by every month–then congratulations, you’re about to become GameStop’s new BFF. There’s no word yet on how this will affect the Kongregate community; the site lets people play online games for free, and GameStop says that the its founders will continue to run things for now. If we start seeing offers to pre-order an upcoming online free game, I guess we’ll know the takeover is complete. [More]

Start Your Child's Beer Pong Training Early

Start Your Child's Beer Pong Training Early

Rounding out our trilogy of beer pong posts this week, here’s an exciting product that commenter Nic715 pointed out: Hasbro’s game Cuponk. Throw the ball into the cup, and lights go off and electronic noises sound. It’s a way to have some family fun and hone your kids’ skills long before they leave for college. [More]

'70s "BP Offshore Oil Strike" Board Game Eerily Prescient

'70s "BP Offshore Oil Strike" Board Game Eerily Prescient

You’ve seen the box cover on MSNBC and CNN, but now you can actually see the pieces and board of the genuine 1970s “BP Offshore Oil Strike” game. BoardGameGeeks has a full image gallery. [More]

Awesome Game Offer Removes All Incentives For Piracy, Gets Pirated Anyway

Awesome Game Offer Removes All Incentives For Piracy, Gets Pirated Anyway

Wolfire Games is running a special sale called the Humble Bundle, where you can pay as little as one penny via PayPal, Google Checkout, or Amazon, for five cross-platform indie games that are completely free of DRM or even serial numbers. Despite that, says the company, it looks like over 25% of downloads are coming from “shared links from forums and other places without actually contributing anything.” That’s not counting anything happening over BitTorrent. [More]

Test Your Credit Card IQ

Test Your Credit Card IQ

So you think you’re pretty smart with your credit know-how? Got a good credit score and line of credit? Well here’s another number to watch, your credit card I.Q. Take this 10 question test and see how you stack up. Even I got a few of these wrong. For instance, “The typical American carries a balance of about $5,500 in credit card debt. If you make no more charges and pay only the minimum payment each month, how long will it take to pay that debt off at 19 percent interest?”

10 questions to test your credit card I.Q. [Philly.com via LowCards.com]

Kid Racks Up $1,400 In Farmville After Stealing Mom's Credit Card

Kid Racks Up $1,400 In Farmville After Stealing Mom's Credit Card

A 12-year-old kid is probably getting his crops slashed and burned by his mum after he racked up $1,400 in Farmville purchases, draining his own savings and running up charges on her credit card. [More]

Erotic Japanese Game "Cross Days" Tricks Pirates Into Posting Personal Info Online

Erotic Japanese Game "Cross Days" Tricks Pirates Into Posting Personal Info Online

If you’re trying to pirate the Japanese erotic manga game Cross Days–and I don’t care what people say, I love that I live in a world where I can type that phrase–you should know that the game’s developers are wise to you, and they’re going to do their best to shame and embarrass you. [More]

Don't Worry About What The iPad Costs, You Can't Afford The Apps

Don't Worry About What The iPad Costs, You Can't Afford The Apps

One of the cool things about the iPhone ecosystem is there are nearly 17 quintillion apps available for it, and although many of these are crap, the good ones frequently cost only a dollar or two. Even the premium-priced “productivity” apps–things like note pads and to-do lists–rarely cross the $10 threshhold, which means you can load up your iPhone or Touch with a lot of cool stuff on a modest software budget. But if a leaked video of the iPad app store is accurate, you can expect to pay 200-500% more for simple things like 99-cent games, and PC-level prices for more robust apps, on your fancy new iPad. [More]

Simulate Driving A Runaway Toyota

Simulate Driving A Runaway Toyota

This website professionally simulates what it’s like to drive a Toyota. Includes authentic screams of terror.

(Thanks to thespatulaoflove!)

Track Free And Cheap Games For Your iPhone Or Touch

Track Free And Cheap Games For Your iPhone Or Touch

There are several apps on the Apple app store that help consumers track sales and free offers from developers, but you have to launch them and check in regularly. The website App Spy offers an automated price tracker for games (just games, unfortunately) that will send you an email whenever a price threshhold is reached. If you tend to be an app junkie, it can help save you money by letting you get your fix on the cheap good stuff. [More]

Barnes & Noble Offers Great Battlefield Bad Company 2 Deal, Then Changes Its Mind

Barnes & Noble Offers Great Battlefield Bad Company 2 Deal, Then Changes Its Mind

For a brief, shining moment, Barnes & Noble let customers pre-order the upcoming PC game Battlefield Bad Company 2 for $19.95, far below the retail price. Gamers were skeptical, but placed orders anyway. Their skepticism was well-founded, since the retailer caught the error and canceled all of the mistaken pre-orders…nine days after the deal began to go viral. [More]