Play Balloon Brigade to Find Your Strengths as a Worker

Balloon BrigadeHere is an online game that I am playing. My task: To water my flowers and to defend my “contraption”, on the right side of the screen, from the burny thingies that march over the hill from the left. My weapon: water balloons that I can fill on my contraption (until they sometimes burst) and flip (with a swipe of my finger) at the hot enemy hordes, thus extinguishing them. The challenges vary. Sometimes, there are just a few fiery intruders. If I throw high and hard enough, I can catch them as they first enter my space. Sometimes, though, I miss them. They toast my flowers and come right up to the foot of my contraption, trying to burn it down. No time to fully fill balloons then. Just a quick squirt and then fling, fling, fling the flaccid bags down to protect the contraption base.

How well I performed, through sixteen challenges, may offer a clue to where my strengths as a worker lie. Am I a strategic thinker? Am I quick? Do I think ahead to protect the flowers at my base when there is leisure to do so?

The game is called “Balloon Brigade”, available as a free iPad or iPhone download from Knack (http://knack.it), a San Francisco-based company that aims to analyze potential employee strengths based on game play.

Knack
http://knack.it

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Chore Wars makes cleanup a game

Chore WarsAre you (or your kids) gamers with dirty houses? Turn cleaning into a game with Chore Wars. Chose an avatar and some character strengths (vacuuming, organising parties, taking the bins out…British site.) Join a “party” or become the “dungeon master” of your own group. Import pre-generated “adventures”: common chores such as mowing the lawn, dusting or attending to the dishwasher, here rendered as “Either loading or unloading the enchanted cabinet of crockery washing.” Or, develop a custom chore list. Your character gets experience points for every chore completed. Repeat weekly! Clever London-based web designer Kevan Davis developed this game.

Chore Wars
http://www.chorewars.com

Get Interactive with Draw a Stickman

Draw a StickmanIs that database query that you are writing refusing to run? Did you just have a difficult conversation with an unhappy customer? Take a break with the charming and surprising game Draw a Stickman. You will be surprised at what a stickman can do.

http://www.drawastickman.com

Zynga lets us give virtual game items and help the world at the same time

Zynga gift cardsDo you have friends who devote inordinate amounts of time to FarmVille or Mafia Wars? They need real money to buy premium “virtual” items to add to their online worlds. Why not give the gift of a Zynga game or e-card that your loved one can exchange for FarmVille cash and coins? These are available in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

In an interesting twist, Zynga has made it part of its mission (through Zynga.org) to allow users to donate to charity through buying virtual goods in its games. In the last two years, the company has funneled over $1.5 million of user donations to relief efforts in Haiti. It encourages players of YoVille to support the San Francisco SPCA buy buying virtual animals at Pete’s Pets. Participants in FrontierVille can contribute to Water.org to bring fresh water to people in Africa, Asia, Central America, and Haiti. Zynga even helps U.S. tornado victims.

Zynga Game Cards
http://www.zynga.com/gamecards/info/

Measure your romantic style at QueenDom.com

Queendom.comMontreal-based Plumeus, Inc. [http://www.plumeus.com] developed this huge selection of quality self-assessment tests online. In return for free registration, sample from IQ tests, tests for personality and career choice, and inquiries about romantic style. QueenDom’s sister site, PsychTests.com [http://testyourself.psychtests.com] has an emphasis on psychological testing. Leave it to a Canadian company to offer free, scientifically valid personality tests online!

http://www.queendom.com

Play Phylo to help scientists sort DNA.

PhyloIt just seems like you are matching square colors in a pretty Flash game. But the colored squares represent the four nucleotides of DNA. You are actually comparing sections of genetic material across species, looking for the best alignment (and possibly mapping areas that cause disease.) The site is Canadian and so can be played in both French and English.

http://phylo.cs.mcgill.ca

EteRNA lets you design new RNA in an online game.

EteRNACompete online to design new viable patterns of ribonucleic acid or RNA. You know, those chains of four bases: adenine, cytosine, guanine and uracil that stick together in specific pairings to turn genes on or off. You fold ‘em, you match ‘em to make unique structures. The best designs are chosen every week to be synthesized in an actual laboratory to see how well they would hold up in real life. Don’t worry if you know nothing about genetics. There are tutorials to show you what to do. This online game was developed by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University.

http://eterna.cmu.edu