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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The big problem for the NHS? Local government cuts

Even a U-Turn on planned cuts to the service itself will still leave the NHS under heavy pressure. 

38Degrees has uncovered a series of grisly plans for the NHS over the coming years. Among the highlights: severe cuts to frontline services at the Midland Metropolitan Hospital, including but limited to the closure of its Accident and Emergency department. Elsewhere, one of three hospitals in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are to be shuttered, while there will be cuts to acute services in Suffolk and North East Essex.

These cuts come despite an additional £8bn annual cash injection into the NHS, characterised as the bare minimum needed by Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England.

The cuts are outlined in draft sustainability and transformation plans (STP) that will be approved in October before kicking off a period of wider consultation.

The problem for the NHS is twofold: although its funding remains ringfenced, healthcare inflation means that in reality, the health service requires above-inflation increases to stand still. But the second, bigger problem aren’t cuts to the NHS but to the rest of government spending, particularly local government cuts.

That has seen more pressure on hospital beds as outpatients who require further non-emergency care have nowhere to go, increasing lifestyle problems as cash-strapped councils either close or increase prices at subsidised local authority gyms, build on green space to make the best out of Britain’s booming property market, and cut other corners to manage the growing backlog of devolved cuts.

All of which means even a bigger supply of cash for the NHS than the £8bn promised at the last election – even the bonanza pledged by Vote Leave in the referendum, in fact – will still find itself disappearing down the cracks left by cuts elsewhere. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.