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May 21, 2007 | by  | in Games |
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Digg

www.digg.com

Digg is another of those community based websites that are essential for geeks everywhere. Launched in 2004, it initially covered technology and science articles, but has recently expanded into politics and entertainment news.

Democratic editorial control is the key feature of this site with user-generated news stories and websites. Utilising the now essential user-based ranking system that defines Web 2.0, it combines social bookmaking, blogging and syndication.

Simple and easy to use, it is stripped back and features none of those annoying pop-up ads and Flash animations. The main pages are clean looking with the number of digs to the left of each article.

Digg is not like any other geek friendly site, as it breaks news stories that are not usually covered by the mainstream media. This was evidenced by a story posted on May 11 which was titled ‘The Terrorist We Tolerate’, which explored the hypocrisy of Bush’s administration. Right wing terrorist and ‘Iran Contra’ spook Luis Posada Carriles is able to live freely in the United States and the authorities are doing nothing about it.

Neopets

www.neopets.com

Neopets is an online virtual pet site, where you can create and take care of up to four virtual pets. Targeted at chicks, it is a more cutesy version of The Sims, where you buy your pets’ food, toys and other accessories with ‘Neopoints’. These are earned through playing games, investing in the stock market, trading, and winning contests.

Based upon successful consumer models, Neopets is set on the planet of Neopia which is where you will find endless activities including games and shops. The tackiest of these are the sponsors’ games which are too easy, and are an obvious and desperate attempt at viral marketing.

The features seem to go on forever, which is typical of online worlds that build addictive behaviour. This is heightened with the online community that has been built around Neopets. Users can interact with each other through discussion boards and Neomail, and join various guilds.

There is, however, some action, in that you can fight opponents and go to war with or against other users.

Neopets has had its fair share of controversy, most of which has been about a Scientology business model. Reminiscent of the criticisms back in the 80s from Christian fundamentalists over the satanic nature of Dungeons and Dragons, Wired magazine in 2005 reported the esoteric influence of the Org Board on Neopets marketing. Created by L. Ron Hubbard, it is a refinement of the tool of an old Galactic civilization that lasted 80 trillion years and was used by early Neopets investor Doug Dohring to catapult his Dohring Company to one of the largest market research firms in the country.

The Brick Testament

www.thebricktestament.com

This quirky site demonstrates what happens to Christians who have too much time on their hands. The site was created by Brendan Powell Smith in October 2001. In it, Bible stories are illustrated using still photographs of dioramas constructed entirely out of Lego bricks. Originally it featured just six stories from the book of Genesis, it now contains nearly 200 illustrated stories from both the Old and New Testaments. Made entirely out of Smith’s Lego collection it features hundreds of sets dating as far back to the 1960s. One major alteration Smith made to his collection was God’s hair, as the Lego Group has never released a white hair piece for the Lego men except for an inappropriate pigtails piece back in 1975. The holy hair was lovingly carved by Smith who managed to shape a white helmut piece.

Smith is no boring Christian modeller; he doesn’t hold back and things can get quite explicit at times. ‘The Spies and the Prostitute’ from the book of Joshua even has a threesome which shows the immorality of the city that the Israelite’s are spying on. Also, every male Israelite is given a very graphic circumcision. But you needn’t fear: each story has a key, with N for nudity, S for sexual content, V for Violence and C for cursing.

The surprising thing about The Brick Testament is that it actually is really clever and entertaining. Just like a cartoon, Smith has managed to capture many action scenes like massive battles and massacres. If you played with Lego as a kid you will love The Brick Testament. It will move and shock you in ways that the printed text of the Bible simply fails to do.

Youtube of the week:

Off The Wall Episode 1: “Lady Troubles”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv1o_9S2iDk
Check out this completely random but well-done animation.

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