"Powder" is also used to describe the ultimate conditions for snowboarding, with a couple of meters worth of loose and ice-cold crystalized water. Is slower to ride in it than ice, obviously, but when the hill is steep, the smooth moves and countermoves feels like riding on silk. It also A LOT nicer to fall on when you try that 180 tailgrab that went wrong...

Use in common talk: "How was the conditions at Hemsedal"? "Oh, man! It was incredible! Powder all over the tracks!"

Powder

Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Mary Steenburgen, Lance Henriksen, Jeff Goldblum
Written By: Victor Salva
Directed By: Victor Salva
Released in 1995

"Where lies the final harbor, whence we unmoor no more? In what rapt ether sails the world, of which the weariest will never weary? Where is the foundling’s father hidden? Our souls are like those orphans whose unwedded mothers die in bearing them: the secret of our paternity lies in their grave, and we must there to learn it."

- Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Powder is a allegory about an exceptional individual who changes the climate of an entire town, and a meditation on power. Jeremy "Powder" Reed's mother is hit by a bolt of lightning while carrying him, imbuing him with special mental abilities, the ability to control magnetic fields and a strong electrical field. He is born an albino, and is rejected by his father at birth. Jessie Caldwell, a psychologist played by Mary Steenburgen befriends the boy, who has been living in the cellar of his grandparent's home, hidden away from the rest of the world.

Powder's integration into society is less than smooth. He has a profound intellect, and an amazing power he can't control. Those around him don't understand him, and he doesn't understand them. During a trip to the woods, he sees a Deputy shoot a doe, who pronounces it a clean kill with minimal suffering on the animal's part. Upset and angry at the senseless death, Powder puts his hand on the animal, and grabs the deputy's arm, letting him experience the animal's death throes. This is one of several points in the movie where Powder's ability is displayed, and most of them come off as slightly hokey.

All of the stock characters are here. A showboating bully, a kind girl who serves as a potential love interest, a meditative sheriff, a self-styled mentor/Physics teacher played by Jeff Goldblum, which is a clear echo of his role of Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park. Through the interactions of these characters we see the primary theme of the movie: power. Powder has it but can't control it, but in a way, the same could be said of everyone in the town.

Some of the scenes are genuinely emotionally powerful, and though parts of it come off as bad science fiction, this can be forgiven. The film is an obvious allegory to Jesus Christ, but it is done so well, it never becomes didactic.

A year later, Phenomenon was the released starring John Travolta, about a man who is transformed into a genius with supernatural powers by a bolt of lightning. The parallels between the two, combined with the timing of their release, highlight the subtle beauty of "Powder".

Like a Greek tragedy, the ending of "Powder" is inevitable, and there is a fine balance to the entire thing.

"Welcome to POWDER!

Your goal is simple: dive to Level 25 of the dungeon to reach Baezl'bub, slay him, and return to the surface with his black heart. Plenty of nasty monsters stand in your way, however. Fortunately, the dungeon is littered with useful equipment.

Check for updates at www.zincland.com/powder"

POWDER is a roguelike, a video game based on the tradition of such fine games as Angband and Nethack.

Of all other roguelikes, POWDER most strongly resembles Nethack. Levels are fairly small, usually containing less than a dozen rooms. Once randomly generated, levels are static, unlike in Angband variants where if you leave a level, it will be completely different should you return. Item generation isn't based on level, so a lucky player has an equal chance of finding that artifact longsword or amulet of lifesaving on level one as on level twenty. Identifying items does not come cheap, and the player is usually forced to just try them out and hope for the best.

Despite the many ways it resembles its predecessors, POWDER has many distinguishing features of interest. Most notably, Powder did not start its life as a computer game. POWDER was born as a homebrew game for the Gameboy Advance. Its creator, Jeff Lait, grew tired of the slow, cut scene-filled RPGs available for the platform, and chose to create his own, without reusing code from any other Roguelike. To accommodate its birth platform, POWDER distills the concept of a roguelike to its basics. Controls are much less complex than most roguelikes. Common commands like using spells or checking the map are all assigned a button, and most commands involving items appear in a pop-up menu when you select an item in your inventory. The number of items and monsters, though still very diverse, is significantly reduced compared to most modern roguelikes.

Most importantly, the length of the games is reduced drastically. Most games last only a matter of minutes, and a winning game only takes about three hours. This change is what makes POWDER truly interesting. In nearly all roguelikes, POWDER included, beginning characters are near-useless and easily killed. This is the most boring part of the game, and getting past it is a significant challenge. Passing this stage is no less difficult in POWDER, but it can be done much quicker, usually within the first twenty minutes. Quicker gameplay also makes it much less painful to lose a successful character. When your mighty battle-mage falls in a spiked pit and dies, at least you've only been playing him for a few hours, rather than the weeks that can be spent on a single game of Nethack.

The other really notable feature of this game is the unique class system. Each class is linked with one of seven gods. Rather than being forced to stick with one class, each time you level up you choose a god from the list of gods that don't hate you at the moment. Your chosen god will give you skill, health and mana bonuses appropriate to your class whenever you level up. Following the values of each god will gain you their favor, and disregarding them will gain you their hate. For example, casting a healing spell will gain you favor with Pax, god of clerics, and he may choose to do you some benefit, such as removing curses from your equipment. On the other hand, that same healing spell will anger Tlosh, god of necromancers, and H'ruth, god of barbarians, possibly leading them to polymorph you into a mouse, or to scourge you with fire. Cautious players can follow no gods, and be spared of both the positive and negative influences of deities. On the other hand, you can take the risks of following XOM, who has the potential to give far greater rewards on level-up, but frequently changes his mind about what he wants you to do.

Despite (or perhaps because of) it's relative youth and simplicity, POWDER retains all the addictive fun of the best roguelikes. POWDER serves as a terrific introduction to the genre, while still providing a challenge to veterans of Nethack and ADOM. POWDER is available for free on a vast array of platforms, including GBA, Nintendo DS, most major desktop operating systems, iPhone, and GP2X.

Pow"der (?), n. [OE. poudre, pouldre, F. poudre, OF. also poldre, puldre, L. pulvis, pulveris: cf. pollen fine flour, mill dust, E. pollen. Cf. Polverine, Pulverize.]

1.

The fine particles to which any dry substance is reduced by pounding, grinding, or triturating, or into which it falls by decay; dust.

Grind their bones to powder small. Shak.

2.

An explosive mixture used in gunnery, blasting, etc.; gunpowder. See Gunpowder.

Atlas powder, Baking powder, etc. See under Atlas, Baking, etc. -- Powder down Zool., the peculiar dust, or exfoliation, of powder-down feathers. -- Powder-down feather Zool., one of a peculiar kind of modified feathers which sometimes form patches on certain parts of some birds. They have a greasy texture and a scaly exfoliation. -- Powder-down patch Zool., a tuft or patch of powder-down feathers. -- Powder hose, a tube of strong linen, about an inch in diameter, filled with powder and used in firing mines. Farrow. -- Powder hoy Naut., a vessel specially fitted to carry powder for the supply of war ships. They are usually painted red and carry a red flag. -- Powder magazine, ∨ Powder room. See Magazine, 2. -- Powder mine, a mine exploded by gunpowder. See Mine. -- Powder monkey Naut., a boy formerly employed on war vessels to carry powder; a powder boy. -- Powder post. See Dry rot, under Dry. -- Powder puff. See Puff, n.

 

© Webster 1913.


Pow"der, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Powdered (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Powdering.] [F. poudrer.]

1.

To reduce to fine particles; to pound, grind, or rub into a powder; to comminute; to pulverize; to triturate.

2.

To sprinkle with powder, or as with powder; to be sprinkle; as, to powder the hair.

A circling zone thou seest Powdered with stars. Milton.

3.

To sprinkle with salt; to corn, as meat.

[Obs.]

 

© Webster 1913.


Pow"der, v. i.

1.

To be reduced to powder; to become like powder; as, some salts powder easily.

2.

To use powder on the hair or skin; as, she paints and powders.

 

© Webster 1913.

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