November 7, 2016

Dutchman breaks Rubik’s Cube record again

Filed under: Gaming by Orangemaster @ 9:06 pm

Rubik's cube-fake

Mats Valk, a 20-year-old business analytics student from Amsterdam, recently broke the world record for solving a 3x3x3 Rubik’s Cube at a tournament in Indonesia with a time of 4,74 seconds. Three years ago he had also broken the world record with a time of 5,55 seconds, then someone eventually beat him with a time of 4,90.

At home practicing for this tournament, Valk was able to score a time of 3,81, but it all depends on what the cube is like at the beginning, he explains. Valk has his own line of cubes, called ‘Valk3’. In Indonesia he played on a special version of his Valk3 with magnets for more stability.

Check it out and don’t blink, you’ll miss it:

(Link: www.parool.nl)

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October 4, 2016

Kijkduin takes Pokémon makers to court over landmarks

Filed under: Gaming by Orangemaster @ 9:43 pm

This summer, the beach town of Kijkduin, South Holland made the news with, “hey, we’re the Pokémon capital of the country, come here and catch ’em all!”. Now after people came and messed up their protected dune areas, Kijkduin mailed Pokémon Go maker Niantic to get them to shut the whole thing down and received no replies whatsoever. The next level has Kijkduin suing Niantic, and that’s going down on 11 October.

According to radio station Omroep West, when a rare Pokémon shows up, a whole crowd of people run and bum rush the fences protecting the dunes, which also disturbs the protected wildlife. As well, it annoys people trying to chill on terraces, and there aren’t enough toilets to accommodate all the gamers – draw your own conclusions.

The idea would be to have the Delta Square in Kijkduin free of Pokémons between 23:00 and 7:00 local time, which is what will be recommended at the hearing where Niantic will be defending itself against the Dutch government who says they’ve put protected landmarks in danger. Policing local protected areas against gamers is costing the town some 1500 euro a week.

It is completely understandable to want to protect landmarks, but why on earth did Kijkduin think that it was a good idea in the first place to turn their village into ‘The Pokémon capital of the country’, hoping to reap the rewards but none of the drawbacks? How badly planned was that?

So far, Niantic hasn’t said anything in their defense, but Dutch newspaper AD has claimed that Delta Square, which featured four PokéStops, now has five, like a virtual middle finger salute from Niantic.

I often read the Dutch media slagging off the US as a ‘claims culture’, but amusingly enough Niantic hasn’t had a single American lawsuit, if we can believe the American media.

UPDATE: Niantic has agreed to withdraw its Pokémons

(Link: www.slashgear.com)

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September 6, 2016

Granny swats the daylights out of Pokémons

Filed under: Animals,Gaming by Orangemaster @ 9:48 pm

Pokémon

A health insurance company active in the east of the country has recently made a video (see below) that is really only made to watch an elderly lady treat Pokémons to the business end of a flyswatter.

Then there’s other Dutch business that have carved out a piece of the action using Pokémons. A Dutch sex toy shop asks on Twitter ‘What Pokémon is this?’, showing a dratini that’s more of the vibrating kind. Then there’s someone who claims Dutch Rail has a train running late because of a Snorlax on the rails. And then there’s more serious stuff like the World Wide Fund using a meme of a rhinoceros saying in English ‘Don’t catch ’em’.

The video is for fans and haters alike, so check it out.

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July 25, 2016

Tax office ready to cash in on Pokémon sellers

Filed under: Gaming by Orangemaster @ 5:52 pm

Pokémon

Before Pokémon Go was officially launched in the Netherlands there were already 1.3 million players. Now that it’s been officially released for about a week, that figure is approaching 2 million players, one eight of the population.

Some people have been creating accounts, catching a shit ton of ideally rare Pokémons and then selling their account to people with a lot of money and not too much time or patience. The Dutch tax office is trying to get in on the action by looking into taxing people who are selling these accounts. They’ve already dug their claws into people renting their flats out as Airbnb locations, so why not hit Pokémon Go account sellers?

Selling accounts falls under additional earnings, which means expenses could be deducted as well such as phone costs and travel costs. Sellers could even show how many kilometres they’ve had to travel for their catches by using apps for it. Some level 20 Pokémon Go accounts are going for €500 on online auction sites, according to fhm.nl.

Businesses that are designated Pokéstops, a place where players can obtain free items to use in the game, are apparently earning money by buying ‘lure modules’, which can only be set up at Pokéstops. The idea is that the business turns on a lure module, which lasts 30 minutes, luring all kind of Pokémon for anyone to catch. And this is only the beginning.

(Links: www.deondernemer.nl, www.fhm.nl)

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July 12, 2016

Hospital fends off Pokémon gamers

Filed under: Gaming by Orangemaster @ 8:37 am

A few days ago when Pokémon Go launched, some Dutch fans took to a police station in Amsterdam North to try and catch some Pokémons where the cops were not amused in the slightest. Apparently in Australia and the United States, police stations have been ‘overrun’ by gamers trying to catch whatever it is that is hiding at the cop shops. A possible reason why it’s not that bad here yet is because the game is only available to people with an American Apple ID and not yet officially in the Netherlands, which should be in a few days.

If that wasn’t inconvenient enough for the police, the AMC hospital in Amsterdam is said to have a sick Pokémon in their basement, where groups of people have been spotted even though they have no authorisation to be there. The situation is bad enough that security has been alerted in case gamers show up in sick people’s rooms. The hospital said, “if we find the sick Pokémon, we’ll take good care of it”, which is doctor speak for ‘please piss off and let us do our job’ on behalf of the hospital.

Back in 2009 one of our most popular stories ever was about a gamer in a hospital basement playing Silent Hill and shutting down all the electricity in the building.

(Link: www.at5.nl, Photo of the old building of the Sophia hospital (1884) by Wikimedia user Arminiuzz, some rights reserved)

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March 8, 2016

Poker is now a game of chance, says court

Filed under: Gaming,General by Orangemaster @ 9:35 am

The battle to outlaw poker has been raging in the Netherlands for at least a decade, and the main issue was that the courts considered poker a game of skill and not a game of chance.

A court in Amsterdam recently ruled that regardless of the skill of the players, there is still an element of luck, therefore it is now considered a game of chance, which means anyone who wants to organise poker games needs a permit.

In 1998 the Attorney General had ruled that poker was a game of chance, giving as an example that playing several tables at once online, ‘multi-tabling’, is much more about strategy and relies a lot less on chance. This means that the lower court rulings of 2010 and 2014 that had taken the ‘game of skill’ side of things have now been overturned.

The case that went before the Amsterdam court was about Texas Hold’em poker games going on in a café in Bussum, North Holland where a permit wasn’t necessary because they didn’t need one for a game of skill. Now that the court has decided after 10 years that poker is a game of chance, both tournament organisers have been given a suspended fine of 1250 euro each and the bar owner 500 euro. The court went for suspended fines because the case took a long time to sort out.

The court found a way to choose the version of poker that profits the state monopoly of Holland Casino. I disagree that poker is a game of chance because without skill you’re just a donkey throwing your money away.

(Link: www.ad.nl)

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January 15, 2016

Country’s first gaming hotel comes with poutine

Filed under: Dutch first,Gaming by Orangemaster @ 2:11 pm
Poutine

On 16 January, the Arcade hotel in Amsterdam will open its doors, the country’s first gaming hotel, where the Aalborg hotel in the De Pijp district used to be. The idea of a gaming hotel came from Montréal, Québec (where I’m from), and the owners promised to serve poutine, although I wonder how they will get the cheese curds for it because nobody makes that kind of cheese here.*

The rooms offer a lot of retro games, some that gamers can’t find as easily from Nintendo, Sega and Microsoft and they’ll be at least 10 kinds per room. And if that’s not enough, the lobby will also feature comic books as reading material, another favourite of new manager Daniel Salmanovich.

“Hotels always claim that they want to be a home away from home, but that’s nonsense. People want something different than what they have at home when they’re travelling. There’s enough hotels that offer pay-per-view and Netflix to their guests, and I wanted a hotel for people like me who relax with gaming.”

Salmanovich also says he’ll be offering poutine, Québec’s world-reknowned fast food dish, which newspaper Het Parool got wrong by saying it had ‘grated cheese’ (cheddar bits would have been more accurate), but called it a ‘unofficial national dish’, which means that the journalist has a better grasp of geopolitics than food.

*The Québec Delegation in Brussels, who represents the Benelux worked very hard to get a Belgian cheese maker to make 40 kg of cheese curds for the Québec national holiday parties on 24 June a few years ago.

(Link: www.parool.nl)

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January 6, 2015

World’s largest Rubik’s Cube solved in 7.5 hours

Filed under: Gadgets,Gaming by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

Rubik's cube-fake

Designed by Dutchman Oskar van Deventer, the world’s largest Rubik’s Cube, known as the Over The Top 17x17x17, was solved last November by American Kenneth Brandon.

Besides solving puzzles, Brandon also shoots time-lapse videos and made a six minute one of his solution here below. He also mentions that he has a 7.5 hour version floating around for his hardcore fans.

The Guinness World Records awarded the ‘largest order Rubik’s magic cube’ to the 17×17×17 cube made by Van Deventer in 2011. Van Deventer has all kinds of puzzles for sale, made with 3D printing technology.

(Link: www.waarmaarraar.nl, Photo: Rubik’s Cube knockoff)

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September 10, 2014

Dutch ‘scarf guy’, latest social media trend

Filed under: Fashion,Gaming,IT by Orangemaster @ 2:38 pm

scarf

In a fashion/IT edition of ‘Zoek de Nederlander’ (‘Find the Dutch person’), it wasn’t Apple’s new Apple Watch, iPhone 6 or even the band U2 that stole the show at its latest product launch in Califormia, but Dutch IT designer Tommy Krul’s tube scarf, earning him the nickname of ‘Scarf Guy’. Dutch-born Krul is founder and CTO of Super Evil Megacorp in San Francisco and was presenting the new game Vainglory, specially developed for the iPhone 6.

Apple’s on stage presenters are reputed for being casually dressed, and Krul was no exception. For reasons that only the Internet understands his purple ‘infinity’ scarf took on a life of its own on Twitter and Facebook during the presentation. Fake Twitter accounts such as @scarfbro and @purplescarfguy have started up and comparisons to other scarf-wearing celebs such as Gavin Rossdale and Lenny Kravitz (and I would add Benedict Cumberbatch, as himself and as Sherlock) have been made. People want to know if he’s single, but Krul hasn’t provided an answer. All he has said apparently is “I often wear scarves, it’s funny.”

(Link: www.rtlnieuws.nl, Photo of men’s scarf by smittenkittenorig, some rights reserved)

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July 2, 2014

Apple bans educational game about Dutch slavery

Filed under: Gaming,History by Orangemaster @ 12:23 pm

Slave

The City of Amsterdam subsidized a free educational game entitled ‘Road to Freedom’ that was 1.5 years in the making to teach children about Dutch slavery in Suriname. It was produced by the National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy and designed by Pepergroen to mark the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.

The Afro-Surinamese community in the Netherlands wasn’t thrilled with the game, but neither were the Americans at Apple who called the content ”slanderous and insulting”. A quick Google search shows that Apple is not a fan of anything with slaves in it, like this sweatshop app.

On the one hand, anything too culturally confrontational makes many people from countries with unresolved colonial pasts uncomfortable and on the other, anything that is presented in a game format already downgrades the importance of historical relevance. If I were at school today and someone gave me a flee from a Russian labour camp game, I’d have a real problem with it and so would my parents.

I do get what the makers were trying to do, but unfortunately they have managed to trivialize something that deserves a much better platform. A Dutch friend of mine would say, ‘het idee is goed, maar de uitvoering is klote’ (‘The idea is good, but the execution is crap’).

UPDATE The video we had up yesterday introducing the game has been pulled offline.

(Link: www.joop.nl, www.volkskrant.nl, Screenshot of the game before it was yanked offline)

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