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Posted at 12:54 PM ET, 04/05/2012

New York Times video game invented by lovestruck teen

When Erik Andersson was 17, he invented a computer game to impress a girl. Though she may not have stuck around, two years later the game has caught the eye of a different type of suitor: The New York Times.
A missile in Erik Andersson’s game destroys the navigation bar in a story by Sam Anderson. (Screenshot, nytimes.com)

Andersson’s game “Kick A--” is a JavaScript bookmark that challenges users to “destroy the web” by shooting at various elements of a site from a tiny rocketship that appears on the page. When it hits a banner ad or an image, for example, those elements will “explode” and disappear from the page. Stripping a page bare is a great time-killer for any bored office drone.

For New York Times tech reporter Sam Anderson’s story about addictive online games, the game was a perfect illustration — and a great way to keep readers engaged.

“We were really glad how the NYT handled it,” Andersson, now 19, said in an e-mail. “It is open source so they could modify it and use it without our permission, but they chose to contact us, and give us some exposure and it really has helped us out.”

Andersson and his twin brother, Johan, are rolling out a new version of the game, which they’ve been working on for about a year now. Andersson calls it “a completely redone ‘Kick A--,’ where we have focused on making the experience more gamey. With achievements, profiles, more weapons and a ship designer.”

As for the girl? When we spoke with Andersson in 2010, he said that, like so many annoying banner ads in his game, the relationship “blew up.” But with his New York Times collaboration, Andersson is following that classic breakup advice: Living well is the best revenge.

By  |  12:54 PM ET, 04/05/2012

 
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