July 2004

07/28/2004

“Don’t Cost Nuthin’!”

by Matthew Hawkins

Earlier tonight I went to the UCB to see “Don’t Cost Nuthin’!” starring Rob Riggle, easily one of my fave improv performers at the theater (the others being Robert Huebel and Jackie Clarke). I had never seen Riggle in a one man show, so once I heard of it, I knew I had to go no matter what, especially since the title is what his character, the Reaper, from Piledriver (which was the first show I saw him in, as well as being the first UCB show I ever saw) used to always yell. That and it was a reference to the fact that it was also free.

But at the very last minute, Huebel (a.k.a. the “Silver Fox”) was added to the bill, and show then became “Kung Fu Grip.” It’s actually an older show that they both used to perform, but since that was hilarious as well, there was no reason not to go (plus it was the perfect introduction to the theater for my friend whom I had invited along). And once again, it was free.

The show is basically an hour of both men acting like men. Angry men. From pissed off Foot Locker employees, to pissed off girl scout troop leaders, both guys yelled and screamed nonstop, and it was hilarious. As I mentioned with Jackie, I can watch those guys all day long and never get bored. And once again, I would kill to see another Piledriver revival….

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07/28/2004

The Perfect Game

by Matthew Hawkins

Despite the torrential downpour (thanks to a major storm that engulfed Manhattan), I still made it to last night’s Gamer’s Nite Groove. I was a bit reluctant on going at first, and not because of the shitty weather; the last one I went to was less than amusing, but the card seemed impressive enough to check out, so I figured what the hell. And in the end, it was well worth the effort.

It was held at Eyebeam Gallery, which has been the spot for everything from performance artists with strap-on flame-throwers to robot parties. The theme of the evening was “The Art of Gaming” and the featured title was Sudeki, which almost everyone felt was either just ironic or simply a bad joke. But there were other games present which fit the theme far more appropriately, like Ico, Gitaroo-Man, Panzer Dragoon, Viewtiful Joe, Ikaruga (nice choice), and my favorite, Vib Ribbon. But the highlight for me was Rez which I so happy to see given it’s own room in the back.

Despite the fact that I’ve played Rez more than any other video game from this current generation (and by a very large margin), once I laid eyes on the absolutely huge projected image and heard the music which was being pumped out my a souped up system, I knew I had to play just one round.

Even though I play tons of games, I’m still not exactly the best game player around. There’s very few titles that I consider myself an expert of, but on the very top of that short list is Rez, and I knew I had flex my skills for those in that room. Because playing Rez, mastering Rez, is like player a musical instrument. It’s the ultimate of synthesis of art, music, and old fashioned frantic gameplay, and I guess I wanted to show those in attendance, most of which I’d have to wager must have at least heard of Rez, but probably seen the game properly in action, what it was truly all about.

It was just so awesome to play the game I love so much in the way it deserves to be presented: larger than life and louder than life. And having occasional strikes of lighting light up the room via the sunroof was just indescribable. I think every artist or athlete at one point or another has that perfect moment where everything simply “clicks” and last night was it for me.

I also became friends with some guy named George, who was rather impressed with my technique since he’s played the game as much as I have; he was able to notice things that everyone else either didn’t or took for granted. There’s two kinds of people in the world: those who get Rez and those who don’t, and it was nice to talk with a fellow Rez-head.

Plus I ran into both Nullsleep and Bit Shifter , who were both on-hand to play some Game Boy music for the crowd, as well as the gaming director for NewYokr-Tokyo, and some random friends. I invited a person to the event who was immediately awestruck upon arrival. She’s into video games as well, but didn’t know what to make of it all, especially with the sight of nerds dancing to chiptunes. Personally, I enjoy being at anything that resembles some crappy Thunderdome-esque village from some low-grade Sci Fi Channel movie, bad “futuristic” extras and all.

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07/28/2004

It Just Makes Sense Now

by Matthew Hawkins

Nintendo has just revealed the new design for the DS…

It’s a big improvement from what everyone first saw at E3. Not only does it look far sleeker and more attractive than before, but the buttons seem much bigger which is perhaps the best part; when Nintendo came into town to show off the system, they asked us in the press what we thought, and quite a few remarked that the buttons were a bit too small, and I remember them all taking note. Seems like Nintendo listened.

Also the name of the system is officially the Nintendo DS; they had said it might change, but I guess they realized that most people recognized, and even liked, the name so they’re sticking with it, which I think is another good move.

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