Games + Leisure

Games + Leisure

With X-Men: Grand Design, Ed Piskor pulls off a feat very few cartoonists ever manage: He takes his unique aesthetic from the scruffy fringe of alternative comics to the world of mass-market superhero publishing. In this, the first of a planned three volumes, Piskor offers his own interpretation of the famous mutants' origins and adventures.

The economy is so confusing. What are these new tariffs on steel and aluminum? Why does the stock market keep going up? What happened to all my money? And since the current economic adviser to the president just quit, we thought we'd invite on a guy who used to have the job to try and help us make sense of it.

When The X-Files first came out, the show's challenge was to make it seem believable that the government was really perpetrating deep, dark conspiracies. Now that it's back, the challenge is coming up with plots more sinister than the actual news.

David Duchovny stars as Agent Fox Mulder on The X-Files, so we thought we'd ask him to play a game called The Real Ex-Files: three questions about tumultuous public divorces.

Click the listen link above to see how he does.

Pete Buttigieg is a Harvard graduate, a Rhodes scholar, a veteran who served in Afghanistan and a millennial. But he took his talents back to South Bend, Ind. — his hometown — where he ran for mayor and won. He's now serving his second term in office.

He's been South Bend's biggest booster, so naturally, we decided to ask him three questions about the town of North Bend, Wash.

Click the listen link above to see how he does.

Most animals on earth sleep during the night and are awake during the day, except for the other animals that do the opposite, like raccoons (and Elvis Presley). But why? How do animals set their internal clocks? It was a mystery for centuries, but now we know thanks to Michael Rosbash and his colleagues, who won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Medicine for figuring it out.

Rosbash's crew used fruit flies for their research on circadian rhythms, so we asked him three questions about barflies — the people who seem to spend both days and nights perched on bar stools.

Quick, think of a physicist.

If you're anything like me, you probably didn't have to think very hard before the names Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton popped up.

But what if I asked you to think of a female physicist? What about a black, female physicist?

You may have to think a bit harder about that. For years, mainstream accounts of history have largely ignored or forgotten the scientific contributions of women and people of color.

When NBC News correspondent Katy Tur was a little girl, her parents pioneered aerial journalism. Flying over Los Angeles in a helicopter, they captured car chases, fires and shootouts – events which often horrified a public who hoped for the best but dared not look away. Maybe that's why Katy's bosses thought she'd be the perfect person to assign to cover the campaign of Donald Trump. Her new book Unbelievable chronicles her time on that beat.

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you some words and phrases. Each one conceals the name of a world capital in left to right order, although not in consecutive letters. Every answer has exactly 5 letters.


Last week's challenge: The name of what vehicle, spelled backward, becomes phonetically a four-word phrase identifying another vehicle?

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you clues for two words. Reverse the last four letters of the answer to the first clue to get the word that answers the second clue.

Ex. Part of a flower / Flat dish --> PETAL, PLATE
1. Apportion / Coral island
2. Distress signal shot into the air / Wild, as an animal
3. Rugged / Many-headed serpent of myth
4. Nosy person / Implement for eating soup
5. Call the wrong telephone number / Lost
6. Fragility / Place to order a sandwich to go

Hanks For Nothin'

Dec 2, 2017

Break out your multiple Oscars for a game that mashes up Tom Hanks movie titles! It's his best work since Apollo 13 Going On 30.

Heard On Jason Mraz: Choco-mole And Pie

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit

Start Me Up

Dec 2, 2017

DING! That imaginary bell means it's time for an audio quiz about the sounds you hear when events, movies, and video games begin.

Heard On Jason Mraz: Choco-mole And Pie

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


This, That, Or The Other

Dec 2, 2017

Contestants guess whether phrases are spooky urban legends, nicknames of old-timey Hall of Fame baseball players, or a phrase following "The Adventure of" in the title of a Sherlock Holmes story.

Heard On Jason Mraz: Choco-mole And Pie

Cop To It

Dec 2, 2017

Get ready for the ultimate Sting operation: We rewrote songs by The Police to be about famous cop shows.

Heard On Jason Mraz: Choco-mole And Pie

Wisdom Of The Crowd

Dec 2, 2017

Can you guess how many people follow the most-followed raccoon on Instagram? We challenged house musician Jonathan Coulton and the hive mind of our audience to a guesstimation game.

Heard On Jason Mraz: Choco-mole And Pie

The One-Thousandth Game!

Dec 2, 2017

We've officially played one thousand games on Ask Me Another! And what better way to celebrate than with a final round in which every answer contains the consecutive letters 'U-S-A,' just like the word 'thousandth.'

Heard On Jason Mraz: Choco-mole And Pie

Greta Gerwig was already an acclaimed actor and screenwriter, famous for movies like Frances Ha. But now she's written and directed Lady Bird, already a huge hit and the best-reviewed film ever on Rotten Tomatoes. The whole awkward outsider thing is going to be a challenge to keep up after winning an Oscar.

Her new film is about a fierce young woman who calls herself "Lady Bird," so we thought we'd ask her about actual female birds.

Click the audio link above to see how she does.

Lee Unkrich has helped make many Pixar movies, including the Academy-Award-winning Toy Story 3, which he directed. He's followed up a movie where he almost killed a beloved group of toys by making one in which almost everybody is already deceased — his new movie Coco centers around the Mexican holiday Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

Since Coco pays homage to actual Mexican culture, so naturally, we wanted to quiz him about the opposite of that: Taco Bell.

Click the audio link above to see how he does.

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you some words. For each word, move one letter to a different position to spell another word.















The last one is a little different. It has two answers — which go together to make a familiar compound word:


Reading The Game: Red Dead Redemption

Jan 23, 2017

For years now, some of the best, wildest, most moving or revealing stories we've been telling ourselves have come not from books, movies or TV, but from video games. So we're running an occasional series, Reading The Game, in which we take a look at some of these games from a literary perspective.

If you've stepped foot in a comic book store in the past few years, you'll have noticed a distinct shift. Superheroes, once almost entirely white men, have become more diverse.

There's been a biracial Spider-Man, a Muslim Ms. Marvel, and just last week, Marvel announced that the new Iron Man will be a teenage African-American girl.

Joining this lineup today is Kong Kenan, a Chinese boy who, as part of a reboot of the DC comics universe, is one of four characters taking up Superman's mantle.

It's been an eventful weekend for Pokémon trainers — even without Team Rocket around.

After being released Wednesday, the mobile app Pokémon Go is currently the top downloaded free app, and the top grossing app, in both the Apple and Android stores.

Her name is Riri Williams. She reverse-engineered her own version of the Iron Man battlesuit in her MIT dorm room, got kicked out, and struck out on her own to do the superhero thing. Clumsily at first, but she's learning fast. So fast she's impressing Tony Stark, who's questioning his status as the Marvel Universe's go-to, super-powered Campbell's soup can. Readers first met her in the March issue of Invincible Iron Man.

Halfway through your walk to school, a wild Charmander appears. Just a few throws of a Pokéball, and it could be yours. Will you stop to catch it?

Nintendo is betting you will. Not just that, they're betting that you've waited most of your life to see a Pokémon in the real world.

Origins By Night - Thursday, June 16, 2016

Jun 17, 2016

Origins By Night - Thursday, June 16, 2016 The podcast is broadcast from Big Bar On 2 in the Hyatt during Origins. Recording live at Big Bar On 2 beginning at 8pm! Hosted by: Mike Selinker, Lone Shark Games, James Ernest, Cheap Ass Games, and Paul Peterson, Game Designer

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Growing up, cartoonist Daniel Clowes liked to draw, but he never thought he'd make much of a career out of it. "I was expecting to work for Cracked magazine for four years, and then try to get work putting up aluminum siding or something, doing my prison drawings while I was down for a DUI," he jokes to Fresh Air's Sam Briger.

What do these movies have in common?

Funny Face
New York Stories
The Big Lebowski
Ghost World

Editor's note: This piece originally identified Jean-Francois Beaulieu as the illustrator; in fact, he's the colorist and Skottie Young both wrote and penciled.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek, so mark the occasion, we're going to play a game called "To boldly go where no man has gone before!" We'll ask pioneering journalist Lesley Stahl three questions about the original Star Trek, taken from a new oral history called The Fifty-Year Mission. Stahl covered the Watergate scandal in the 1970s and has been a 60 Minutes correspondent for 25 years.

Batman has two identities: his costumed, crime-fighting persona and his everyday identity as billionaire Bruce Wayne. Right? Or maybe it's not quite that simple — as Glen Weldon compellingly puts forth in The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture. The follow-up to his 2013 book Superman: The Unauthorized Biography, this new superhero overview peeks under the iconic cowl to unveil the many faces of Batman — as well as the many faces of his millions of fans — since the character's creation 77 years ago.