Mobile devices have become one of the most popular ways to play games in recent years because of how accessible they are to so many people. Lots of mobile content has very fun gameplay, along with good design and graphics, but thought-provoking stories can be hard to come by.
Over the past year, I have been working with a team of writers and developers to create a mobile game that breaks storytelling barriers in the industry. The team consists of roughly twenty-five people located all over the world, including a few activists and writers you may recognize from the circles I work in.
The beta version of the Story Games, which was released this week on both iOs and Android, features five of the six stories currently in the collection, with another story planned for release in the near future. Among these first three stories is an adapted version of my recent book, Paper Squares and Purple Stars: My Life As A Rave Outlaw. Just like the book, this story explores the world created by prohibition, lived through the eyes of the people who usually don’t get to tell their side of the story.
Readers of my book will notice some familiar scenes and characters, but because the player’s path through the game is shaped by the choices they make, the story can end up unfolding very differently from the real-life version of events in my memoir. The other stories in the app are built in a very similar “choose your own adventure” style and they all have their own rebellious themes, raising questions about things like war, government experimentation, media censorship, and financial corruption.
One of these stories, Mission: Control, puts the player through a series of tests very similar to experiments that governments have conducted on people in the past. In one chapter, the player is assigned the duty of drone operator and is forced to decide how to respond to a kill order. One mission is a recreation of the famous Milgram Experiment, with the player in the role of a volunteer being asked to electrocute another test subject.
The “brief” for Mission: Control begins:
“You and your partner are US Air Force pilots, selected by Mission: Intelligence to serve in a highly experimental, highly classified research program known only as “Mission: Control.” A secret Justice Department memo released by Wikileaks has convinced the public that they’re recruiting drone operators, but behind closed doors, you know it’s much more than that…”
Another story included in the beta release is Immortalized, which stars a small group of subversives who take on US Intelligence and the power elites via hacking, superior technology, and ingenious schemes in a style the Boondock Saints would be proud of. The story covers different angles on controversial topics, such as crypto-currencies, freedom of speech, surveillance and censorship, encryption, and gun control. It also features some pretty awesome technology, like hoverboards, invisibility suits, and more.
Immortalized develops into a roller coaster of a story filled with unexpected twists and turns, where the player can make decisions for heroes and villains alike. Whether you charm your way through, ask the deeper questions, act with goodwill, malice, or a sense of humor is entirely up to you.
Other features to notice in Story Games are the sophisticated visual and sound effects, awesome soundtracks that you can choose between, and a unique Time Travel Mode that lets you backtrack in a chapter and choose another path. You can also take screenshots and share them to social media directly from the game to access hidden content, and there’s even an affiliate program with rewards for players who help spread the word about Story Games.
Story Games is created and published by Immortal Games Limited, a UK-based game studio. Founder Ole Petter Hoeie, originally from Norway, is an autodidact, freethinker, lifelong gamer and self-educated entrepreneur.
Ole started his first company from scratch at age twenty-two, and was selling his products in ten different countries by the age of twenty-six. Ole began his adventures in gaming in 2004 by successfully registering his game Machine Dance, based on the hit game Dance Dance Revolution, as an official sport in Norway. He then hosted six European Machine Dance Championships, with players coming to compete from nineteen countries, which regularly garnered international media attention. Later, Hoeie created iDANCE, a dance game that can connect up to thirty-two players at a time. iDance was adopted by organizations in several countries as a tool to fight childhood obesity, and was also used in multiple university studies on cognitive ability, motivation, and learning. Hoeie was even invited to a panel debate on the digital revolution at the first European Youth Conference of the European Parliament in 2014.
At its core, Immortal Games is using the mobile gaming platform to spread ideas, encourage players to problem solve, and help people think for themselves in fun, innovative, and thought-provoking ways.
You Can Camp for Free and Dig for Your Own Crystals, Gemstones at This Mine Near Atlanta
(TMU) — Gem and crystal collectors love nothing more than mining for their own treasures and North America has plenty of public mines to go digging. If you’re planning a trip to the South Carolina area, or just passing through, consider adding an extra day or two to your trip, if time permits, for a mining adventure that might have you heading home with some stunning gems and crystals.
The Diamond Hill Mine in Abbeville is one of South Carolina’s primary crystal mines with six acres of land open to the public to dig for crystals. Just about a two and a half hour drive from Atlanta, and you can even camp overnight for free.
The Appalachian Mountains are some of the oldest mountains in the world.
Over millions of years, erosion to the southern part of the range exposed an area of about three acres which contained the biggest variety of quartz crystals in the world, called Diamond Hill. Some of the best Amethyst, Smoky and Clear Quarts, Skeletal (Elestial), Angle Plated, Iron and Manganese Oxide coated, Aura, and other crystals as well as minerals such as Beryl, Garnet, and Epidote have been found there.
The public digging site is open every day of the year and visitors pay just $20 to dig for a full day (from 9 am until sunset) and whatever is found is yours to keep! Everything on the digging site came from the mine with nothing added. To make your trip worthwhile, you’ll need to take your own supplies such as food, water, and tools like a shovel, a rake, a long screwdriver, a rock hammer, a sledgehammer, a pick, strong durable gloves, and containers to put your treasures in.
You don’t need to make a booking for a day’s dig, just sign-in between 9am and 2pm. However you will need to call or email ahead of time if you’d like to stay overnight. There are several spots available to set up camp and hook-ups for RV’s are available at no additional charge.
Once the bug has bitten, you may want to explore other areas for treasures. Bear in mind that many of these areas are off the beaten track and you’ll need supplies to last the duration of your stay.
Here’s a few destinations to wet your appetite:
The Emerald Hollow Mine located in Hiddenite, North Carolina is the only public prospecting destination for emeralds in the United States. The area is often referred to as one of the most unique geological locations in North America. There’s no need to go digging for gems at the Emerald Hollow Mine, instead, you pick up your bucket from one of three sluiceways that comes directly from Hiddenite’s emerald mine. Your bucket might contain emeralds as well as amethyst, topaz, and aquamarine gems.
The Hiddenite Family Campground has partnered with Emerald Hollow Mine to provide accommodation to visitors who will be able to hike and explore the surrounding areas.
The Crater of Diamonds Park State Park located in Murfeesboro, Arkansas is the only public place in the world where you are allowed to dig for diamonds. You can rent tools or bring your own. Other than diamonds, you can also discover over 40 different types of rocks, minerals, and other interesting finds. Crater of Diamonds State Park also offer camping facilities, nature hikes, and fishing.
The Royal Peacock Mine in Virgin Valley, Nevada has some of the most beautiful black fire opals in North America. Depending on your budget, you can choose to dig within the bank area with the highest concentration of fire opals at a cost of $190 a day, or for $75 a day you can dig the mine’s dumps and tailings instead. The Royal Peacock Mine is only open from May 15 to October 15 every year. They have a fully-loaded RV park and additional lodging, so book early and stock up on supplies as the nearest store is 100 miles away.
CBD Products Recommended by The Mind Unleashed
(TMU) — Here at the Mind Unleashed, we’re big fans of cannabidiol—more commonly known as CBD—and we use it for a wide variety of reasons. That’s why we’ve partnered with Higher Hemp! We’re spreading the word about Higher Hemp’s hemp-derived CBD products while offering our readers a great way to help the Mind Unleashed sustain our publishing. And today, by using the discount code MIND during checkout at HigherHempCBD.com, you’ll get 20% off and help us fund our journalism!
Here are the lab-tested, high strength CBD products from Higher Hemp that we recommend:
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Flower: Hemp CBD flower is similar to regular cannabis, but contains less than 0.3% THC and up to 20% CBD by weight. This means you won’t get “stoned” when you smoke it, but you will feel the effects of CBD instead. It can be consumed in the same way regular cannabis is used such as smoking it in a pipe, joint, or blunt. Though hemp flower is known to look less “dank” than traditional cannabis, Higher Hemp has procured premium, seedless, and nearly stemless buds for your enjoyment. They even have hemp CBD flower already pre-rolled into joints. Check their flower selection here.
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Bizarre Forest ‘Superorganism’ Keeping Trees Alive That Should Be Dead, Study Finds
(TMU) — While hiking in the New Zealand wilderness, Sebastian Leuzinger of the Auckland University of Technology and a colleague made an astonishing discovery: a tree stump that should have died was being kept alive by neighboring trees. After conducting an experiment, the researchers concluded that nearby trees were funneling water and nutrients to the stump through an interconnected root system. The revelation supports the understanding that trees and other organisms work together for the benefit of a forest.
For the study, Leuzinger and his teammate decided to put continuous water monitors in the kauri (Agathis australis) stump and in two nearby adult trees of the same species. Then, they waited. After several weeks, they discovered a relationship between the water flow in the trees and the stump.
When nearby trees evaporated water through their leaves during the day, the water movement in the stump remained low. But, when the trees were dormant during the evening, the water would begin circulating through the stump. Furthermore, when it was overcast or rainy and the water flow dropped in the trees, the stump picked it up.
As NewScientist reports, water flow is largely driven by evaporation in healthy trees. But, without leaves, the stump’s water flow was dependent on the movement of its neighbors.
The finding, which was published in iScience, undermines the notion of trees as individual or separate entities. We’ve long known the symbiotic relationship between fungi and tree roots, but the new information “dramatically changes our view of forest ecosystems as ‘superorganisms’,” said Leuzinger.
He added that the networking of water makes the trees more resistant to water scarcity. However, it also increases the risk of disease spreading. This could be problematic for Kauri trees which are affected by a deadly disease called kauri dieback.
Living stumps have been reported as far back as the 1800s. But, this is one of the first studies ever on how they survive. There are several theories as to why trees help each other out. The most probable of which suggests that a leafless stump simply becomes part of the host tree’s broader root system.
According to Greg Moore at the University of Melbourne, Australia, trees are “ruthlessly efficient” in maximizing their resources. “So the fact that this stump is being supported by nearby trees tells you they are getting a benefit,” he said.
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