Author Archive

December 13, 2012

Lesser known facts about ancient olympics

Here are some lesser known facts about ancient olympics.

1. No one actually knows what the origins were of the very first games. One myth suggests that Heracles (the divine son of the god Zeus) ran a race in Olympia and decreed that it be repeated every four years.

2. The olympic games were one of two central rituals in Ancient Greece. The other was the Eleusinian Mysteries – initiation ceremonies for people joining the cult of Demeter and Persephone.

3. The Statue of Zeus – the father of the Gods and one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, was housed in a temple at Olympia – the site of the Ancient Olympics.

4. An Olympiad (a period of 4 years which refers to the time between two games) was used as a measure of years by the Ancient Greeks in much the same way as we now use AD and BC. This idea was devised by the historian Ephorus. Previously, every Greek state used its own different method of time measurement which led to a great deal of confusion.

5. The only event at the first olympics was the Stadion race – a race of around 190 meters (measured after the feet of Zeus). The race was named after the building in which the race took place (the source of the English word “stadium”.

6. Unlike the modern starting position, racers (of whom 20 would take place) started in a fully erect standing position with their arms stretched in front of them. If there was a tie, the race would be re-run.

7. The winner of the first recorded Olympic Games (the first gold medalist in a sense) was Coroebus of Elis – a baker from Eleia (the region in which Olympia was found). He won in 776 BC. Instead of winning a gold medal – as is now the norm – he received an olive branch – more a symbol than a prize. The town still exists today with around 150 citizens.

8. It is believed that the Greek tradition of athletic nudity started at the games in 720 BC, and it was most likely introduced by the Spartans or Megarian Orsippus. It is from this practice that we have our word “gymnasium” – derived from the Greek word “gymnos” meaning “naked”. Competing naked was meant as a tribute to the gods and to encourage aesthetic appreciation of the male body.

9. During the games, all of Greece was under a truce (ekecheiria) – there could be no use of capital punishment, and no wars or battles. This was in order to ensure the safety of competitors and spectators on the way to Olympia. While this was generally adhered to, at least one account exists of a possible breach by the Spartan army, which resulted in a large fine and a ban from attending the games that year.

10. The Olympic Games were part of 4 games – held in order so that there would be one set of games each year. The other three were the Pythian, Nemean, and Isthmian Games, but the Olympic games were the most important.

11. Although the first games were “international” in a sense (in that all Greek City States were allowed to enter), only men who spoke Greek could compete. Eventually members of the Greek colonies were also able to enter.

12. The last running race added to the Ancient Games (after the addition of two longer distance races) was the hoplitodromos – in which competitors would run 400 or 800 yards in full armor with shields and a helmet or greaves (leg armor). This was introduced in 520 BC. Runners would often trip over each other or stumble on shields dropped by other competitors. In the image above we see athletes competing in the hoplitodromos – in far more an orderly fashion than was likely.

13. In its heyday, the games lasted 5 days. The first three were for the sporting events, with the other two days being used for rituals and celebration. On the final day, all participants attended a feast in which 100 oxen (killed on the first day as a sacrifice to Zeus) were eaten. Certainly very different from the secular opening ceremony we will see this week, or, in fact, all olympic opening ceremonies from modern times.

14. As part of the move to making Christianity the official religion, the ancient Olympic Games were finally suppressed by either Theodosius I in AD 393 or his grandson Theodosius II in AD 435. They would not return until 1896. They were held in Athens, Greece.



December 13, 2012

A perfect mix of brain and brawn

A game that claims to be both physically and mentally engaging in equal measures. Players alternate between rounds of playing chess and boxing

Chess boxing

December 13, 2012

Phd Dissertation in World of Warcraft

There are lot of Phd thesis done around the MMORPG World of Warcraft. Here is one interesting thesis.

December 10, 2012

An interesting list of fictional games

Some colleges have teams for quidditch. We even had a team which developed a digital version of the wizard chess. But here are some lesser known fictional games

Fictional games

November 26, 2012

An interesting insight into how your brain processes drawings

October 23, 2012

The holy grail of all puzzles

Here is an interesting solution to the mother of all puzzles

October 21, 2012

A very interesting concept

Lot of ideas related to sketching things came up in the pecha kucha. Here is an interesting mash up of story telling and sketching. It follows a story of a stick man which unfolds as you draw things in his world

October 18, 2012

Link to our 3 min video


Done by Shrihari, Kevin, Chen

August 28, 2012

Gobblet – SWOT analysis


Gobblet is a turn based strategy game which can be played by two people. The game consists of a 4*4 play board and each person is given three stacks of 4 hollow goblets which can be stacked on top of each other. The objective of the game is to place 4 pieces of the same color in a row (horizontally, vertically or diagonally). At each turn a player can place a goblet on the board or move an existing goblet on the board or choose to “gobble” an opponents piece, which involves placing the players goblet to cover the opponents goblet and is possible only when the player’s goblet is larger than the opponent’s goblet. There are other rules governing the “gobble” action.


The game combines aspects of chess(piece capturing) and tic-tac-toe which makes it really interesting to play

Owing to the nature of the rules, it is possible for the player to come up with multiple strategies to conquer the game


Some of the rules defined are ambiguous and might lead to confusion during game play.

Only two player can play the game.


The play board and the number of pieces can be increased giving rise to more complex strategies

The “gobbling” rules can be tweaked around a little bit to make the game simpler(or complex)


An AI for playing the game could be developed by combining the elements of a chess and a tic-tac-toe AI. Since the game does not involve multiple move patterns or end game scenarios, like chess, the design should be much simpler.

Certain goblet position can always represent an end game favoring one player(like in tic-tac-toe) . Algorithms can be developed to identify these scenarios and come up with moves leading to the end game.

Compiled by,

Anjali, Neelima, Shasank, Shrihari, Suraj

August 28, 2012

Bendominoes – SWOT analysis


Bendominoes is a simple turn based strategy game suited for 2-4 players. The games consists of c-shaped tiles with 2 pictures on it.  The game starts with each player being given 4 such tiles. The first player gets to lay down any tile of his choice. The next player has to lay down a tile adjacent to the first tile so that the pictures in both the tile matches. Subsequent players have to lay down tiles to match the picture of the tile in the outer edges. If a player cant match the picture he draws a tile from the pile. The first person to exhaust all the tiles is the winner. If no more matching can be done and the pile is empty then the person with the least number of tiles win


The game was very simple and fun. Could be played by any age group



Owing to the very simple nature of the game the person who is starting always seems to win(which is always the youngest person).



The game pieces are designed in a such a way to prevent a circular arrangement. This seems to be very similar to a deadlock situation. There is a potential for algorithms in deadlock prevention to be used for the design of this game


Compiled by,

Anjali, Neelima, Shasank, Shrihari, Suraj