Something for the weekend: Ragdoll Cannon

Using just your mouse, fire a ragdoll from the cannon and make him/her land on the mat using the few

The Ragdoll has a particularly special place in videogame heritage. Whilst on one hand, this simplistic rendition of human anatomy stands in as an all-purpose avatar - it’s when combined with realistic(ish) physics that they can be transformed from childishly simple icons to bodies feeling hurt. The sublime dismount series demonstrated just how much we can feel the pain of the pixellated, and it was the subtle work of the Euphoria engine which really breathed life into GTA VI’s living city.

Today then, we thought we’d look to the hand-drawn strain of the ragdoll family and the deceptively simple Ragdoll Cannon. Using just your mouse, fire a ragdoll from the cannon and make him/her land on the mat using the fewest attempts possible. The chain reaction puzzles will often demand that you sacrifice some of your stickmen to reach your goal, but there’s apparently no gain without a little pain. It takes a few minutes to get used to the trajectories (remember, distance = force), but once you’ve done so you’ll find this to be a addictive little game with a charmingly homespun, pencil-drawn aesthetic.

Play Ragdoll Cannon

Iain Simons writes, talks and tweets about videogames and technology. His new book, Play Britannia, is to be published in 2009. He is the director of the GameCity festival at Nottingham Trent University.
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Why relations between Theresa May and Philip Hammond became tense so quickly

The political imperative of controlling immigration is clashing with the economic imperative of maintaining growth. 

There is no relationship in government more important than that between the prime minister and the chancellor. When Theresa May entered No.10, she chose Philip Hammond, a dependable technocrat and long-standing ally who she had known since Oxford University. 

But relations between the pair have proved far tenser than anticipated. On Wednesday, Hammond suggested that students could be excluded from the net migration target. "We are having conversations within government about the most appropriate way to record and address net migration," he told the Treasury select committee. The Chancellor, in common with many others, has long regarded the inclusion of students as an obstacle to growth. 

The following day Hammond was publicly rebuked by No.10. "Our position on who is included in the figures has not changed, and we are categorically not reviewing whether or not students are included," a spokesman said (as I reported in advance, May believes that the public would see this move as "a fix"). 

This is not the only clash in May's first 100 days. Hammond was aggrieved by the Prime Minister's criticisms of loose monetary policy (which forced No.10 to state that it "respects the independence of the Bank of England") and is resisting tougher controls on foreign takeovers. The Chancellor has also struck a more sceptical tone on the UK's economic prospects. "It is clear to me that the British people did not vote on June 23 to become poorer," he declared in his conference speech, a signal that national prosperity must come before control of immigration. 

May and Hammond's relationship was never going to match the remarkable bond between David Cameron and George Osborne. But should relations worsen it risks becoming closer to that beween Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. Like Hammond, Darling entered the Treasury as a calm technocrat and an ally of the PM. But the extraordinary circumstances of the financial crisis transformed him into a far more assertive figure.

In times of turmoil, there is an inevitable clash between political and economic priorities. As prime minister, Brown resisted talk of cuts for fear of the electoral consequences. But as chancellor, Darling was more concerned with the bottom line (backing a rise in VAT). By analogy, May is focused on the political imperative of controlling immigration, while Hammond is focused on the economic imperative of maintaining growth. If their relationship is to endure far tougher times they will soon need to find a middle way. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.