04/27/2007

The Internet Goin Nutz

by Matthew Hawkins

First, stuff going on over at my end:

It’s About Time

- Yesterday was the east coast premier of King of Kong, at the Tribeca Film Festival. For those who may have missed it, I reviewed the movie late last week, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive! Since Sunday I’ve been exchanging emails with the film’s producer, Ed Cunningham, and was also invited to dinner with the director, Seth Gordon, and his cohorts, which took place last night. So I had the opportunity to ask a bunch of behind-the-scenes questions, such as how it was dealing with Billy Mitchell; apparently, he flat out refuses to see the movie!

But yeah, it’s always nice hearing from the people behind whatever you’re writing about, especially when they enjoy and appreciate what you have to say; the one question that everyone asked was how many times I had seen the movie. They simply couldn’t believe that I was able to cull together so much detail after just a single viewing! So for once, being overly verbose did not bore but actually impressed. Also, when I stated that it was by far the best documentary on the subject of video games I have seen, at least thus far, many in the party were surprised to hear that there’s actually quite a few out there. On that note, naturally Chasing Ghosts came up, the other video game documentary to premier at Sundance earlier this year, along with King of Kong, and I asked Gordon if he had seen it, which he hasn’t. Though he did mention how it has upset quite a few folks in the competitive gaming community by painting a mean picture, which makes my desire to see it even stronger…

I was also able to tell Gordon first hand how certain things in his film made me recall my encounter with Mitchell a few years back, and Donkey Kong role in that, which led to me trying to connect the dots and create a timeframe of events. Steve was also at the dinner, and his interview with former senior referee for Twin Galaxies Robert Mruczek, who plays a prominent role in the movie, and it connection to Donkey Kong also came up. I won’t get into the mystery of what, when, and where, since that would spoil bits of the movie… all I will say is that, once again, King of Kong is a fine piece of filmmaking that everyone should go out to see, regardless if they’re a gamer or not. Though I can certainly understand any hesitation towards checking it out at the Tribeca Film Festival since, A) its $18 a ticket, which is fucking ridiculous, no matter how in the hell you slice it, and B) the folks that attend it are just a bunch of well-to-do douchebags. But hey, it does go national later this summer, and I’ll be spreading the word when that time comes.

- Thursday night was an IGDA New York chapter meet. It was mostly a brainstorming session, to figure out what events and directions the chapter could and should explore, to generate awareness and activity in regards to game development in the Big Apple. One suggestion was to hold public debates on various topics, such as the Governor of New York’s proposed bill that would regulate violent video games. In addition to Eliot Spitzer, or in case we can’t get him or his people, I suggested that we should maybe approach everyone’s favorite, Jack Thompson to talk, since he’s always up for any chance to spew his anti-video game dogma. Though this was before I found out that IGDA’s Executive Director, Jason Della Rocca, recently challenged Thompson to a debate, which led to a series of ridiculous emails. So yeah, maybe having him come and talk is a pretty stupid idea after-all. Which, I know, I should have known already.

And not that the asshole needs anymore attention, but he’s been all over the news as of late (naturally, like all ambulance chasers, he’s been cashing in on the Virginia Tech massacre), such as his proposed lawsuit against Kotaku over reader comments. BTW, Chris Kohler shed further light on what an idiot he is by pointing out some of the colorful language he uses when filing court documents.

- Anyhow, got a bit of bad news from the event, one that I hesitate on reporting, but when I mentioned that I could keep it on the down-low, I was told to tell all necessary parties, in hopes of a possible solution (but if I’m asked to remove the following, I will more than oblige to do so)… Manifesto Games‘ days might be numbered. Its hard to run a company at all these days, especially when one has as lofty goals as theirs, and they are currently looking for investors. If Manifesto goes down for the count, it’ll be a real shame, since we really do need the video game equivalent to an indie music label. And I’m not just saying that because they’re going to publish my next game! Some say that, given how big a business games are these days, that something like Manifesto’s concept will eventually come, but why not now? At any rate, if any venture capitalists are reading this… drop them a line. And also, I have a really good idea for a history of Sega book that you might also be interested in.

- So I still don’t have my passport yet. But, I have found an outfit that might be able to help me out, and in a not so ridiculous manner; one passport expeditor promised to get me one in two weeks, but I have to wait two weeks before the trip… they flat out refuse to handle it any time beforehand… the only explanation I can think of is that it gives them some justification for the outrageous price they charge for such a service. Granted, this place I like is also going to cost me $500, but at this point, I just don’t give a damn. I just want to go to Japan, period.

Maybe that’s why I’ve become more and more interested in the animu as of late. First off, I’ve been downloading episodes of Gainax’s new show, Gurren Lagann, though I haven’t had a chance watch any of them yet. Maybe this weekend? I’ve also been reading the manga, My Balls. Long story short, it?s about some demon that gets sealed in the testicles of some 19 year old loser, and another demon’s attempts at getting said loser to ejaculate…

But both have taken a back seat to my latest obsession. So last weekend, while at the Elizabeth Street underground mall with Dave, I came across a bunch of figures that hail from the wacky world of Mecha Musume, which basically combines girls and… military machinery. Does that sound fucking awesome, or what? Most of what I’ve seen mixes young animu chicks with stuff from World War II, like Sherman tanks and old fighter jets…

Though some are a bit more futuristic, such as Konami’s Sky Girls

There was this one figure that crossed a girl with a ship that looked like something from a shmup (Dave noted “If you get that, Jeremiah is sure to be jealous!”), but it was $45, and if MK saw it, she would fucking kill me. So instead, I got a pair of gashapon figures, with definite plans to get more when in Japan!

Oh, and of course, when I told Jeremiah about it earlier today, he told me that he nabbed an entire set from his recent trip there. Anyway, since its been a while…

Headlines!

- Been meaning to touch upon this from before: so everyone knows that Katamari Damacy is coming to the Xbox 360 and PS3, as Beautiful Katamari. Its been stated that a Wii version could come along, but only once they figure out what to do with the Wii-mote.

Anyhow, little is known thus far, but not surprisingly, many folks are already bitching about it, though primarily over the aesthetics. It actually looks quite similar to the games that we have now, which doesn’t sit well with certain folks, who I guess wanted some huge, “next-gen” makeover. Personally, I’ve always been a big fan of the art direction and wouldn’t have it any other way. Plus, sticking to super simple models always for insane degrees of scaling. I would hope this…

… will seamlessly transition to this….

Though like some, I am worried about that fact that Katamari’s creator, Keita Takahashi, is not involved with the game, and that its entirely being produced in-house at Namco. In fact, I hear the guy in charge of the rather bland PSP game is in charge here as well. Oh well.

Katamari is also coming to cell phones! But unfortunately, I can’t really talk about it… at least not now, not here. I will explain later!

- Oh, and Simon pointed this out earlier in the week over at GameSetWatch, which I’ve known about for a while, but I guess its perhaps still not common knowledge to most; when the official Katamari homepage went down, so did all its groovy wallpapers. Well, someone put together a Flickr page that has all of them. Nice and convenient!

- Simon also showed this to me the other night, which he then passed along over at GSW earlier in the day: an insane amount of pics from this year’s i am 8-bit show. Hey, I got beat to the punch… kinda/sorta/maybe. Oh well. Anyhow, it all looks quite nice… though nothing earth shattering. And I know I might come off as sounding like sour grapes, but, as nice as everything is, its all just more of the same. Almost quite literally; the same artists from before, doing the same exact thing, or at least that’s how it feels. Granted, its all high quality stuff, don’t get me wrong, but still… its starting to feel a bit by the numbers.

Though oddly enough, by far the coolest thing to come from this year’s event is a game! Mega Man for 2600. Looks fucking hawt.

- I guess the big headline is that the father of the PlayStation, Ken Kutaragi has been fired from his post as head of Sony Computer Entertainment. Well, the official word is that he stepped down to accept the role of Honorary Chairman, but anyone who has any familiarity with Japanese business practices knows that he was forced out of his head-hancho position. I mention this because, A) its a pretty massive blow for Sony, maybe the biggest yet, and B) it led to this rather amusing thread over at SelectButton which started off talking about Sony, but turned into one about Sega. Basically, everyone ponders if now is the time for Sega to re-enter the hardware market.

And once again, Dreamcast 2 in 2009. Believe.

- Oh, and the only reason why I am mentioning this is because I’m (part) Korean: according to Wired, StarCraft 2 will finally be unveiled later this month.

My only familiarity with the game was watching this one guy during my Ubi Soft days whose job was to watch StarCraft replays from Korean, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. And that was it. Man, the salad days of the dot com boom…

- I also hear that in a recent IGN podcast, it was somewhat hinted that Guitar Hero for the Wii might employ the Wii-mote in some fashion. Maybe as drumbsticks? Maybe as a lighter?

- Plus, even more proof that I am seriously out of the loop: I had no idea that one could hack Guitar Hero to add your own songs to the game.

- So the Red Star finally came out! And I was so confident that it was never going to come out…. Oh well. Do I have my copy yet? Um…. nope. I had about ten times more enthusiasm for Chulip, and everyone knows how I almost didn’t give a shit by the end. I might try to pick it up sooner or late… I hear its great and all. And I also hear that Raiden 3 is finally coming out next week, I believe?

- And I too think the upcoming Art of Fighter collection is pretty much the stupidest thing ever. At the very least, if they wanted to really avoid KOF XI, they could have gone with a Samurai Showdown collection!

- Gamepro recently ran their list of the 52 most important video games of all time, and it might be one of the worst best/worst lists ever. Guess what’s number one?

Speaking of, at the IGDA meeting last night, someone brought up Ralph Baer’s appearance at the Museum of the Moving Image from last year (which was when I interview him for Gamasutra). Not only was Baer and his work being honored, but video games as a whole was being celebrated, which included an appearance by Rockstar, to show off their new game, Table Tennis. Get this, they refused to let Baer, the father of the home video game, to play the game! They were apparently quite rude to him as well, like some crazy old guy that was just going to break everything. Yeah, Rockstar’s attempt to act cool and hip goes horribly wrong… news at eleven.

- According to some folks over at Gaming Age who pay attention to…. stuff, Simple Series vol. 99 might be coming to America, as The Adventure of Darwin And why is this particular game noteworthy? Because it apparently combines Pikmin and monkeys. Nuff said?

- And a Kenta Cho game is headed to the Wii?!

- Also via the GAF, something that Steve mentioned during dinner, which he thought was cool, since it feels like that game C3PO and Chewbacca plays in Star Wars: The Eye of Judgement, a card game that incorporates a camera and monsters seemingly in the palm of your hands. I’d be more excited for this… if I actually liked card games. As one GAFfers says, the potential for cool is definitely there… but its all rests on the quality of the cards.

- So in Japan, where by my best guess, every single man, woman, and child has at least two DSs, they’re getting a game in which the player acts the part of orchestra conductor. The linked article mentions that it seems like Ouendan, but to me I’m reminded of Mad Maestro for the PS2.

Which reminds me: last I checked, the Virgin Megastore here in NYC still had twenty copes in the bargain bin. Last I checked, it was down to $5. Once its down to $2, it’ll finally be mine…

But yeah, there’s like a billion different games coming out for the DS, some games, some “non-games”. Such as EA’s line of wine tasting titles.

- Insert Credit not too long ago pointed out how you can finally play as Sonic in Knuckles Chaotix, thank God, as well as the head’s up on a pretty awesome arcade blog. But best of all has to be this music video for the song “Viagra Junkie”, which features a naked guy in a video game-y environment world, fucking folks from various nations.

- Time to swing by GSW once more, which recently mentioned how folks in the Star Wars MMO can help go around and tear down abandoned real estate from players who are no longer active. Rather intriguing, and I guess much cooler than just hitting a button to erase stuff.

- And at SelectButton, perhaps the coolest thing they’ve got, in a while now actually, are these random game screens with random film clips in the background. They’re simply works of pure genius…

YouTube Theater (Of The Soul)

First, game related clips:

- I had no idea that people were hacking and cheating in Tetris DS, but indeed they are. For bonus fun, be sure to check out the comments page.

- Via, the IC, here’s a clip for game that combines Street Fighter, World Heroes, Fighter’s History Dynamite, and Fatal Fury Special… and also turns it into an all women’s affair. Okay….

- Also as pointed out by Insert Credit, something I’ve been looking for ages: footage from Resident Evil 1 for the Game Boy Color!

- How entertaining can a game featuring boxes sumo wrestling each other, drunk, be? Pretty God damn entertaining actually.

- Check out this trailer for Dewy’s Adventure for the Wii, from Konami. Its super cute, and more than reminds me of the GameCube Kirby tilting game that was demoed but never fully realized.

- I must say, I can’t get too excited over Typing of the Dead 2 if the characters aren’t going to carry around goofy looking keyboard when blasting zombies.

And time for the rest:

- Again, courtesy of SelectButton, a cgi giant eating a cgi bikini girl.

- Stevie Wonder doing Superstition live on Sesame Street. Again, I’m kind of a sucker for Stevie Wonder.

- I used to actually play this video board game back in high school with this girl I desperately wanted to have sex with. It got me no where.

- A creepy dude explaining why he loves his Real Dolls. I believe he’s well known around the web for his preference over rubber women over the real thing. I can’t find it, but I do recall his top ten reasons why he loves his Real Dolls, and at least six of them was basically “They won’t cheat on me, like my bitch ex-wife Darla!!!”

- On a similar note, Joe passed this along in the forums, and I just had to bring it out here…. creepy doesn’t even begin to describe it.

- Sorry, but, you’re momma’s on crack rock.

- A “ninja” doing gravity defying card tricks. And the only reason why I’m linking it is that I keep seeing this guy’s vids, and I just love his idea of how a ninja dresses. That and the cheesy music.

- What’s a better match? Rap and the internet?

- Or, Rap and kung fu midgets?

- Warning: if you are on acid, do not watch this cartoon (also, kinda NSFW).

By The Way, You Truly Are The Man The Now Dog

- Finally, this has to be by far the greatest YTMND ever. Be sure to have your audio on and hang in there for at least a minute.

- Though this one comes in a close second.

- And this one is also pretty up there.

- As well as this one, at least for those who have heard the new Nine Inch Nails album.

  • Joe

    damn you, now I have the weng weng Song in me head.

  • phooky

    That first frame has Jodorowsky’s “El Topo” in the background. That film kicks eight kinds of ass while making nine kinds of no fucking sense whatsoever. It’s Funky Forest with mystic cowboys.

    Passport: renewal or first-time? If it’s a renewal and you have more than two weeks, your best bet might be to go through the passport office and get it expedited. It costs an extra sixty bucks or so, but it works. This is what I did when I was running out of time before my Paris trip, and it worked beautifully. Just be sure to go to a post office with a passport agency (I used the big one near Borough Hall) and check everything out before you mail off your stuff– the harried clerk there pointed out that my passport photos sucked and would probably get rejected, and gave me the address of a guy who did good work a couple of blocks away. Completely saved my ass and my trip.

    And: girls with fighter planes for legs?

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