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7 Board Games That Probably Weren't Appropriate for Kids

Board games are a time-honored tradition for kids of all generations to enjoy, and parents depend on them to keep their young ones in check for at least a few minutes at a time. Some competitive games have the added benefit of being educational, too. But then there are those few that, while popular or memorable, don't seem like they should be a part of shaping young minds. Here's a look at seven games that are probably best left on the toy store shelves.

1. Busting balls?

The soft-spoken narrator of "Ball Buster" appears to be in on the joke. It comes from a different era, before double entendres lost their subtlety. This promises to be "a family game" that can be played with kids or without them. The mother winks at the audience upon busting her husband's balls.

2. Snot a Good Idea

What kid doesn't love a good booger, right? Playing this Dutch game is likely to have kids reaching deep inside their noses trying to pull out sticks of snot like they found inside of the disembodied head of "Snotty Snotter." Some children love to search for gold inside their nostrils, and this game capitalizes on the curiosity and anticipation that kids exhibit. But it's not the best lesson for them to learn at an early age if parents wish to ever begin to stamp out the nosepicking.

3. Playing with Poo

Giving your dog a tasty treat sounds like something valuable and humane. But in "Doggie Doo," the goal is not to satisfy the pooch—it's to get the mutt to pass it on the other side. "You win by collecting the doggie's doo," the commercial excitedly professes. One kid in the ad seems to realize what a bad idea this is; he holds his nose and braces for the stench.

4. Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Another flashback to a different time reveals some misguided and questionable tactics to keep your kids entertained. "Pie Face" is exactly what it sounds like: a guillotine-like structure that requires children to stick their faces inside of a cardboard outline and prepare to get splattered with a pie. "Get your face full of goo," the ad boldly says. A decade later, children hoped to avoid being "Swacked!" when they looked to remove small pieces of cheese from the gameboard.

5. Beware of Sharks

The imagery in the commercial for "Shark Attack" should come with a PG-13 rating as rowers try to steer clear of the incoming shark looking to ravage them and their boats. Even cruiselines aren't safe from the gigantic "maniac" on their tails: "It's coming to get you." The last survivor will win the game, but everyone might go home with nightmares and a fear of ever going into the nearest ocean.

6. Pig's Delight

Feed this pig a few burgers, then pump his head and hope he doesn't "go pop." His growing belly can only ward off so much indigestion before he absolutely blows. For those who revel in giving animals food they shouldn't be eating, the game "Pig Goes Pop" is a riot. However, some parents may not want to encourage their kids to participate in this kind of terrorizing behavior. Thankfully, the game doesn't lead to a massive mess full of pig guts and fluids (though that's what the ad seems to imply).

7. Bedbugs Everywhere

It's every parent and New York City resident's worst fear: bedbugs. But the notion of the cost and effort it takes to rid your furniture of these oft-returning pests is lost on tykes. They instead view bedbugs as something they're lightheartedly warned about when being tucked into bed, and in the "BedBugs" game, the little and speedy bugs are a source of amusement. Who can catch the most? The real winner might actually hope to finish last.

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This Augmented-Reality App Makes the Hospital Experience Less Scary for Kids
UsTwo
UsTwo

Staying in a hospital can be a scary experience for kids, but a little distraction can make it less stressful. According to studies conducted by Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, UK, distracted patients have an easier time with their appointments and require less pain medication. Now, Co.Design reports that the hospital is releasing its own app designed to keep children entertained—and calm—from the moment they check in.

The Android and iOS app, called Alder Play, was designed by ustwo, the makers of the wildly popular smartphone game Monument Valley and the stress relief tool Pause. Patients can download the app before they arrive at the hospital, choosing a virtual animal buddy to guide them through their stay. Then, once they check into the hospital, their furry companion shows them around the facility using augmented-reality technology.

The app features plenty of fun scavenger hunts and other games for kids to play during their downtime, but its most important features are designed to coach young patients through treatments. Short videos walk them through procedures like blood tests so that when the time comes, the situation will feel less intimidating. And for each step in the hospitalization process, from body scans to gown changes, doctors can give kids virtual stickers to reward them for following directions or just being brave. There’s also an AI chatbot (powered by IBM’s Watson) available to answer any questions kids or their parents might have about the hospital.

The app is very new, and Alder Hey is still assessing whether or not it's changing their young hospital guests’ experiences for the better. If the game is successful, children's hospitals around the world may consider developing exclusive apps of their own.

[h/t Co.Design]

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This Pixel Kit Will Let You Play Tetris With Jellyfish DNA
Cell Free Technology
Cell Free Technology

Forget playing Tetris on your phone. Now you can play it with jellyfish DNA. Bixels is a DIY game kit that lets you code your own games using synthetic biology, lighting up a digital display with the help of DNA.

Its 8-by-8 pixel grid is programmed to turn on with the help of the same protein that makes jellyfish glow, called green fluorescent protein (GFP). But you can program it to do more than just passively shine. You can use your phone and the associated app to excite Bixels' fluorescent proteins and make them glow at different frequencies, producing red, blue, and green colors. Essentially, you can program it like you would any computer, but instead of electronics powering the system, it's DNA.

Two blue boxes hold Bixel pixel grids.

Researchers use green fluorescent protein all the time in lab experiments as an imaging agent to illuminate biological processes for study. With Bixels, all you need is a little programming to turn the colorful lights (tubes filled with GFP) into custom images or interactive games like Tetris or Snake. You can also use it to develop your own scientific experiments. (For experiment ideas, Bixels' creator, the Irish company Cell-Free Technology, suggests the curricula from BioBuilder.)

A screenshot shows a user assembling a Bixel kit on video.

A pixel kit is housed in a cardboard box that looks like a Game Boy.

Bixels is designed to be used by people with all levels of scientific knowledge, helping make the world of biotechnology more accessible to the public. Eventually, Cell-Free Technology wants to create a bio-computer even more advanced than Bixels. "Our ultimate goal is to build a personal bio-computer which, unlike current wearable devices, truly interacts with our bodies," co-founder Helene Steiner said in a press release.

Bixels - Play tetris with DNA from Cell-Free Technology on Vimeo.

You can buy your own Bixel kit on Kickstarter for roughly $118. It's expected to ship in May 2018.

All images courtesy Cell-Free Technology

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