Thursday, September 12

Watch This First: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Played Straight

by Jason Toon

If you're not among the 571,349 people who had already seen this by the time I wrote this post, allow me to introduce you to a recut trailer for Monty Python and the Holy Grail that recasts it as a grim, violent epic. I do wish the fonts were a little more convincing, but otherwise, it's brilliant enough to revive the moribund trailer-remix genre.


Watch Watch This First first, every weekday morning. Because the best way to start the day is to start it a few minutes later.

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Thursday, August 23

GAME FIGHT! Minecraft vs. Minecraft vs. Minecraft

by Seth Macy

Did you know that Minecraft has collectively sold NINE MILLION COPIES? Did you? You do now. Why is Minecraft so popular? There is no objective answer. Oh wait, yes there is-- it is the funnest game ever made by humans. I know, I may be accused of mistaking objective with subjective, but I assure you, as a hard-hitting journalist my brain is only capable of seeing facts and eschewing judgment calls. Try to remember that whenever you read my works or look up into the night sky (I like to call myself "The Night Writer").

So we have established the fact that Minecraft is the world's funnest game in all of history. For those of you who perhaps are unsure of what Minecraft is, I'll tell you first what it isn't. Minecraft ISN'T Warcraft for dwarves (the fantasy kind of dwarves, I mean (the non-sexual kind of fantasy, I mean)). Minecraft ISN'T a first-person shooter about modern armed conflict. Minecraft ISN'T a game you can just play for an hour. You see, you will end up playing it for many, many hours. At its most very basic, Minecraft is a game where you make things out of other things.

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Thursday, August 16

Game Fight!: Mario vs. Sonic. Let's Settle This.

by Seth Macy

Is there any rivalry in video games more legendary than the Nintendo/Sega schism of the '90s? That's not a rhetorical question: I'm at a loss to think of any others, so if you have any ideas, post them to the comments. Since the Nintendo/Sega rivalry is the biggest that comes immediately to mind, I've decided to focus on the two games that defined an era, those games being Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario World, both available right now on Wii's Virtual Console for less than ten bucks.

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Thursday, August 09

Game Fight!: "Final Fantasy '6'" vs "Final Fantasy VII"

by Seth Macy

The worst thing that ever happened to Japanese RPGs was Final Fantasy VII. In 1997, Square had grown weary of Nintendo's bold and crappy experiment with chunky cartridge-based entertainment and jumped the Nintendo ship to land the next game in their enormously popular franchise in the calm, welcoming Sony port-of-call. For those of us who cut our teeth on RPGs with the Final Fantasy franchise, this move seemed like the ultimate betrayal...for about three seconds until we saw the screen-shots and any allegiances we may have had went careening off a cliff on a snowboard.

It had three-dimensional graphics! The game spanned like seventeen discs! There was a black guy in it, and he cursed! Final Fantasy VII wiped clean our preconceived notions of what an RPG was supposed to be. Until then, they were 2D, top-down dungeon crawlers with battles taking place on a mostly static screen with animation limited to a sword slicing or some sparkling pixels (the sparkling pixels meant magic). But it wasn't just the graphical leap that captured our stupid imaginations, it was a whole new convoluted storyline with a twist right there at the end of disc one. You know, the part when Aeris dies. (THE PRECEDING SENTENCE MAY HAVE CONTAINED SPOILERS).

The unintended consequence of that story-telling decision was to create a world in which many gamers point to the Aeris-dying moment as the moment some gamers point to as the moment when a game was able to make them cry. For those of you not "in the know," a game making you cry is a very important event for gaming. You see, if a game can draw from its player the same sort of emotion that a book or a movie can, then games will finally be art. This is extremely important, for some reason, that games be considered art, and so those people who cried when Aeris died consider FFVII to be the moment when games crossed the threshold from electronic distraction to high-art. Have you ever been on a gaming message board ? There's going to be a Sephiroth variant among the users. Sometimes, more than one

"I can't believe we're having this conversation AGAIN."

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Thursday, August 02

Game Fight!: "My Horse" & "Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD"

by Seth Macy

The Tony Hawk games, at least the first four, are arguably the most important games ever released in the genre of "extreme sports" simulations. See, back in the early '90s, "extreme sports" was a marketing term that was employed to describe any sport that didn't involve team play and also including the riding of something, like a skateboard or a snowboard or a surfboard or a bicycleboard. Riding on something is what separated X-Treme Doritos Brand X-Plosion SPRTS from regular individual sports like tennis or bowling.

My Horse is a free-to-play iOS game that has everything other sports games lack: pageantry, unlocking pretty horse gear, and chores. "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD" is currently 1200 Microsoft points on Xbox Live (that's fifteen Earth dollars) while My Horse is "freemium," which means you can play it for free but if you want to eschew grinding through the horse levels you can buy in-game currency with real-world money to get things moving.

So which is your best bet for fun and excitement?

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Wednesday, July 25

Free Marketing Advice: Chick-Fil-A, Just Stop

by Randall Cleveland

You've probably heard of the ruckus by now, but in case you haven't: fast food chain Chick-Fil-A has been in the news recently because their owner came out as pro- "traditional marriage" or, as the media have spun it, anti-gay rights. Stop. Stop right there. I see you mousing over the comment button, ready to take me to task for daring to tackle such a hot button issue on a commerce site. Well, I'm not. I'm not going to discuss the arguments on either side of the issue. I'm only here to offer some unsolicited advice to Chick-Fil-A on their recent series of PR blunders.

Ready? Here it is:

Shut. The hell. Up.

Halloweekend 2009
The debate in a nutshell.

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Wednesday, June 20

Free Marketing Advice: Microsoft, I Want to Help You

by Randall Cleveland

If you missed the news, Microsoft recently unveiled their new "iPad killer" (I don't know if they're actually billing it as such or if that's just what tech news junkies decided to call it; it's tough to pinpoint from where the term originated): Surface. It's a tablet PC, an idea so completely revolutionary you'd forget they already did this back in 2002. They spent a lot of time, money, and marketing on getting people excited about it.

Then it froze during the presentation.

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