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Monthly Archives: September 2007
“Eaten By A Grue” music video, & my ramblings about computer gaming’s wealthy wasteland

Filed under Can't Stop Thinking

Here’s a fun thing: a music video for MC Frontalot’s ‘It Is Pitch Dark’ (you are likely to be eaten by a grue). It’s an homage to the Infocom text adventure games of yore, and it even features a cameo by Infocom designer Steve Meretzky (above right). Meretzky has been idolized as a Game God by PC Gamer Magazine.

Steve Meretzky was the author of the text adventure Planetfall – which I think, after 24 years or so, is the best computer game I ever played.

I think that because I’ve never encountered another game that came so close to being a new narrative art form. The form is necessarily different from prose fiction or film because the medium is unique.

The game uses a form of storytelling that is interactive, and therefore doesn’t even exist until its audience takes action; but unlike almost every other attempt at interactive storytelling Planetfall and some of its Infocom siblings manage to create feelings other than fright or shock. It evokes an actual emotional response from the player as a result of things the player has chosen to do. And while it may have been a primitive thrust in the right direction, that is exactly what interactive, narrative art needs to do. And has not done.

Imagine that thirty years after the invention of the printing press, nobody had time to write because all they were doing was designing new typefaces. That’s exactly where digital entertainment is today.


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Retro Rocket Thursday – the Bolts Blast Rocket

Filed under Found on the Web

Retro Rocket THursday!Once again we find ourselves on the fifth day of the week, and we celebrate that with one of Jeff Brewer’s outrageous rocket statues.

A cast resin icon, the Bolts Blast Rocket towers over anything shorter than fourteen inches as it balances on its weighted base atop a plume of cartoon smoke. Mine’s on top of a bookcase – which may sort of assist in the towering department.

Its name (“Bolts Blast”) sort of signifies that it’s the smoke-enabled version of Brewer’s classic “Bolts Rocket“. That one just towers on its fins.

California Scientists making headway on death rays

Filed under Found on the Web

Oh happy day! Nature reports that a team of scientists at the University of California, Riverside have successfully created the formerly theoretical molecule known as Di-positronium. It can exist for only the tiniest fraction of a second, which is plenty long enough for one of its projected uses.

Get ready for it. It’s the gamma-ray annihilation laser.

The gamma-ray annihilation laser is a useful tool that falls into an important category, for me. That’s the category of “things I’d really like to have, but which I’d rather you didn’t”. Like the flying car.

Anyway loads of information about this, though – I’m happy to say – not enough that you can drop everything and cobble together a gamma-ray annihilation laser* of your own – are available at BBC News.

“The difference in the power available from a gamma-ray laser compared to a normal laser is the same as the difference between a nuclear explosion and a chemical explosion,” said Dr David Cassidy of the University of California, Riverside, and one of the authors of the paper.

*I just really like that name.

Mad Genius Tee Shirts Daeth Ray Tee Shirts T-Shirts for the World of Tomorrow Mad Genius T-Shirts Ask Me About My Death Ray T-Shirts
“Tidy Monster” short film by Tim Marchant

Filed under Computer Graphics, Found on the Web

Tidy Monster” ia a second-outing CG short film by Tim Marchant. It’s won the 2007 Grand Prix award at the University of Hertfordshire’s ‘Film Day’ event, which shows good taste by them – if by good taste you mean (as I do, at the moment) a taste for absolute freaking insanity and moody, atmospheric dementia.

The audio work and narration is exceptional – the voice is by actor Ben Williams. The film’s an unusual, interesting, and a highy weird experience, which is something that’s always welcome around here. Unless you ask the cat.

Oh – and I noticed that the award was presented by the UK effects house The Mill, who among other things are the force behind the visual effects in the new Doctor Who series.

Hordes of Retro Robots Assemble at Robot Island

Filed under Found on the Web

retro robot toysWow. There is just no way I should be looking at all these today, so I’m counting on you to do it for me.

Robot Island has page after page after page of reproduction retro robot toys, along with other space toy replicas – and for those of you with both deep pockets and long arms, there are some collectible original space and robot toys, too.

Don’t be dismayed by the voices chanting Destroy all humans.

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Down in the Basement. Where it Strains Against its Chains and Turns a Gigantic Wheel of Pain, for all Eternity. Muahahahahaha.