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Daily Archives: 25/01/2013

Roman ceramic game pieces were actually… toilet paper?

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In keeping with PAXsims’ enduring commitment to bring you the most important gaming-related news from around the planet, we offer this recent item from the Daily Mail:

‘They would have been a bit scratchy’:
The ceramic ‘gaming pieces’ that new research claims were a Roman equivalent  to loo roll

  • The flat, disc-shaped relics were unearthed in West Sussex in 1960
  • British Medical Journal article proposed their personal hygiene function
  • Museum curator says he doubts they would have been comfortable to use

Ancient artefacts thought to be early gaming pieces will have to be reclassified after new research which claims they were actually used to wipe bottoms.

The flat, disc-shaped Roman relics have been in the collection at Fishbourne Roman Palace in Chichester, West Sussex, since the Sixties.

Up until now museum experts thought the items were used for early games like draughts, but an article in the British Medical Journal has now proposed that they have a very different function.

It had been thought that they were chips used to play an ancient game, also known as ‘pessoi’,  but research published last month in the BMJ drew from classical sources to present evidence that they were also used to clean up after going to the toilet.

Noting the ancient Greek proverb ‘three stones are enough to wipe one’s a***’, Philippe Charlier, assistant professor in forensic medicine at the Raymond Poincaré University Hospital in Paris, points to archaeological excavations which have uncovered pessoi inside the pits of Greek and Roman latrines across the Mediterranean.

In one such dig in Athens, American archaeologists found a range of such pessoi 1.2-4in in diameter and 0.2-0.8in thick which, Professor Charlier wrote, were ‘re-cut from old broken ceramics to give smooth angles that would minimise anal trauma’….

The discovery could spark an entire “what game would you be most likely to use as toilet paper” thread at BoardGameGeek. Or, for that matter, it might suggest a whole new etymology for the gaming term “chit.”

Registration now open for G4C 10

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Registration is now open for the 10th annual Games for Change Festival, which will be held 17-19 June 2013 in New York. According to the organizers:

New in 2013…

  •  Venue – New World Stages in midtown Manhattan
  • Programming just for game developers
  • More opportunities for developers to demo their games
  • A chance to play games specifically commissioned for the Festival (thanks to an energetic team of students at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center!)
  • Access to the “marketplace” – a hub for service providers and publishers to showcase their latest offerings
  • A sneak peek at games in development
  • Social events (10th Anniversary Reception, Daily Happy Hours)

As always, we also have…

  • Access to thought leaders in gaming and social change
  • 40+ hours of programming
  • Demo Spotlight, Games for Change Awards, Game Arcade
  • As the largest gaming event in New York City, it is the annual destination for those working at the intersection of social impact and games. Watch for news in the coming weeks on some of the programming in collaboration with new partners: the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, the David & Lucille Packard Foundation, and the Tribeca Film Institute.

Our application for speakers, talks, presentations and case studies will go live next week, along with the submission form for the Games for Change Awards.

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