Tag Archive: mario


Elevators…

So the other day after my film editing class, I waited for the elevator (Hey, it’s on the third floor and I carry around a laptop! I’m not taking the stairs!) next to another student from the same class. I immediately thought, aw crap, it’s going to be just the two of us on the elevator and we’re going to feel obligated to talk because we’re in the same class. And I just didn’t feel like dealing with the social pressures of talking to a stranger, no matter how cute he is. Well, after we stepped in the elevator, another student jumped in just before the door closed, and I immediately relaxed. Oh good, now no one has to talk. And then it got me thinking about how weird it was that two people in an elevator is cause for panic, but three people is perfectly fine. Strange. That’s society, I guess. Or it’s just me.

 

Anyway, I’m sure you’re wondering: what does this have anything to do with nerdy stuff! I thought this was supposed to be a nerd blog! Well, if you think about it, nerds are also known for their social awkwardness so… What? Not good enough? Fine, then I suppose I should reveal that my little elevator encounter was actually a cleverly disguised introduction for: Fun Facts About Video Game Elevators! Yes, that’s what this post is really about—the excitement of elevators! I’m excited, aren’t you? Okay, it’s better than it sounds, so just read on!

 

Elevators in video games have been used for a variety of purposes, from simply moving a character up or down to hiding loading screens. There is even a game called Elevator Action that featured this handy device. Your character collects important documents while shooting bad guys, using an elevator as transport between floors. As simple as it sounds,  I hear the game is very addicting.

 

Elevators made their video game debut in 1981, featured in a nice little game called Donkey Kong. This was the third platform game released and the second to have multiple levels, making Donkey Kong the most complex game of its time. Interestingly, the hero of the original Donkey Kong was actually the world’s first glimpse of Mario, who was known as only the mysterious “Jumpman” in this classic game of firsts. Donkey Kong was actually the bad guy.

 

I tried playing the original Donkey Kong, and I have no idea how long it took me to beat just the first level, but my point was, it took a while. It’s a frustrating game if you’re not used to the platform genre, but if you’d like to play it, click here.

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Improving Your Image

…Digital image, that is.

 

You know when you’re watching a detective show like CSI, and they enlarge and enhance an image to an unbelievable resolution?

 

 

Movies and TV shows like these used to make me angry. I mean, there’s no way that we could actually be able to see tiny details that were lost by poor quality cameras and blurry lenses, …right?

 

Wrong! Using a new mathematical algorithm, we can actually bring photos to a higher resolution than the original. This means that CSI scientists can generate a more detailed image without fear of jumping the shark.

I’m sure you’re wondering by this point: how can this be?! You must be pulling my leg! Well I do not want your leg, nor am I pulling on it. That would be creepy. Before, people would have to make assumptions as to what’s in a blurry image, like if there are letters you could hardly make out, you would have to guess what it says. But as you may expect, this method is not very reliable.

 

Instead, scientists have discovered that adding noise to parts of a photo makes it less ‘sparse,’ or void of data. The noise fills in the gaps with amazing accuracy, as you can see in the pictures to the left. The top row shows the original image–the left is the picture, and the right is the frequency map. The middle shows the same image, only foggy, and the bottom contains the reconstructed picture.

 

After seeing what this new technology can do, I’m sure it won’t be long before the algorithm finds itself in the hands of detectives across the globe.

 

But let’s get past the obvious crime-fighting applications and ask ourselves, how can this help us as geeks? I’m probably proposing something a little too difficult for this wonder-working algorithm, but just picture applying the image enhancer to your TV screen. And then dusting off your old Nintendo system. And then playing, say, Mario on it. What would that look like?! I know that with the release of more recent games, we can play a higher resolution version of Mario, but when you think about the original Mario game, you think in giant pixels clouding your vision of the little red plumber from Italy.

 

I just had an even better idea! One word: Doom.

 

If you’d like to learn more about the algorthingy, click here for the only article I found on it.