You could fit almost the entire history of videogames into the time span covered by the silent film era, yet we consider it a mature medium, rather than one just breaking out of its infancy. Like silent movies, classic games are often incomplete, damaged, or technically limited, but have a beauty all their own. In this spirit, indie game developer Joe Blair and I built Metropoloid, a remix of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis which replaces its famously lost score with that of its contemporaries from the early days of games.
I’ve watched Metropolis a number of times over the decades, in a variety of the stages of its recovery, and I love it. I’ve watched it with a pre-recorded but believed-to-be-faithful soundtrack and I’ve watched it with several diolive accompaniment. But this is the first time I’ve watched it to the soundtrack of classic (and contemporary-retro) videogames: the Metroid, Castlevania, Zelda, Mega Man and Final Fantasy series, Doom, Kirby, F-Zero and more. If you’ve got a couple of hours to spare and a love of classic film and classic videogames, then you’re in the slim minority that will get the most out of this fabulous labour of love (which, at the time of my writing, has enjoyed only a few hundred views and a mere 26 “thumbs up”: it certainly deserves a wider audience!).
In the future, media organizations might have to do away with the “film” and “TV” tags entirely, if indeed there are media organizations as we currently think of them.
Based on my own experience chronicling both art forms, I’m increasingly convinced that film and TV started merging a long time ago, before most of us were aware of what was going on. Some of us have accepted the change. Others are in denial about it. But as my grandfather used to say, there’s no point trying to close the barn doors after the horses have already escaped.
Interesting article summarising the ongoing changes to the concepts of what we consider “film” versus “television” and the increasingly blurred distinction, and an exploration of how that’s embodied by phenomena like Avengers: Endgame and the final series of Game of Thrones. Spoilers about the former and about the first three episodes of the latter, obviously.
A wise man once said “To Infinity and Beyond”, Unfortunately there’s no way of knowing who that man was or in what context it was meant to be understood, so let us instead turn our attention to the Toy Story porn parody – Sex Toy Story The XXX Parody Part 1.
It says Part 1, but I searched and there’s no Part 2. Unless they’re doing like a Toy Story 3 thing where they wait like ten years for Andy to grow up and go off to college, in which case we will have to wait with bated breath for ten years for Part 2.
We open on an unnamed woman played by Veruca James (Lesbian Anal Vampires, Emo Teen Fucks at Work) getting ready to masturbate. She does so the normal way we all do, by rubbing her clothed body.
“Does it exist?”, I asked, when the conversation drifted perilously close to this topic. Well of course it exists: Rule 34, duh. I was so glad that this article existed, to spare me from having to watch it to work out how much I didn’t want to watch it. Now all I have to do is scrub the idea of this article from my mind, which is hopefully easier than the retina-burning image of the film itself would have been.
Back to work after a great weekend. Troma Night was particularly successful this week – we watched a RiffTrax‘d copy of Eragon (“Get your ragons online at e-ragon!”), which was suitably hilarious; the classic bit of self-deprecating sci-fi that is Barbarella (“Hmm… camp bad guy number 104… how will Barbarella get past this one? Oh; using sex. What a surprise!”); and Human Traffic, which is what Trainspotting could have been if it wanted to appeal to the 24 Hour Party People demographic. Kinda.
That’s three mediocre-to-good films, plus a RiffTrax on one of them. That’s pretty good stamina for Troma Nights these days. After the last film had finished, everybody stood up and meandered towards the door, chatting as they went about the various recent events (floods, terrorism, blah blah) that had been going on. Then stopped walking. Then kept talking. “Well, I’m sitting down again,” I said, after awhile, and so did everybody else. And so, for the first time in years, a 3-film Troma Night ended with everybody sat around chatting for half an hour or more. Which is fab: Troma Night’s always supposed to have been about the people (not the films, the beer, or the pizza, which jointly come about second), and actually stopping to pass time at the end of a night was a fun and unusual reminder of what we’re all really here for.
Then on Sunday we had a low-key but “different” Geek Night. We only had Matt P, Claire and me, so we took the opportunity to learn and try out a handful of the games from the Playing With Pyramids book and Treehouse sets Claire had gotten from Looney Labs (creators of Chrononauts and Fluxx, amongst other things). Aside from Treehouse itself (which is an easy-to-learn and short game – with perhaps a little too much luck – that gets you used to playing with the pyramids), we played Icehouse, Homeworlds, and RAMbots.
Icehouse is the original Icehouse strategy game – a real-time (no, not simultaneous turn: actually real-time – players can all perform legal moves whenever they like) board game, which is somewhat unusual. Icehouse is fun, but I think it would work better with more players, more diplomacy, and more thoughtful strategy than we were executing.
Homeworlds is a stunningly-clever turn-based game of space strategy, diplomacy, exploration, and conquest. There’s a few things in it that make you have to think quite hard (such as the way that the hyperspace system works, the fact that the orientation, not the colour, of a piece implies it’s ownership, and the difference between free and sacrificial actions). Not to mention the secret alignments of the players. This game’s been running through my head ever since we played (I’ve just come up with a strategy that I should have done in the last three turns to lead me to a victory that would have been particularly brutal).
Finally, RAMbots – which I quite liked, but which I think could be ludicrously good fun with four players – is a simultaneous-turn based game of secret orders, which reminds me slightly of the ship-to-ship combat in Yo-Ho-Ho! Puzzle Pirates! or Space Fleet. Players each secretly “program” their robots using instructions from their “limited” code pool and execute them in a way that will seem instantly familiar to any computer scientists who play it (at least, those who are familiar with ideas like priority queues, program counters, and parallel processing), and shouldn’t be so hard for others to learn, too. These robots can drive around the board (actually a chessboard) trying to activate and ram “beacons” in an order chosen by the player to their right, but it’s also possible to ram, push, pull, tip up, and shoot at the other robots too… causing damage lets you “steal” from their instruction set, making it harder for them to write effective programs… and so it goes on.
We’ll be having another Geek Night on Friday, if you want to join in: we’ll be playing more of these four games (and perhaps some other bits of pyramid-related fun), and maybe even a game or Illuminati, if it’s not too late by the time it (and it’s carriers) arrive.
Tonight is the 161st Troma Night (based on liberal estimation and basic guesswork), and it’s a somewhat unusual one. The plan is as follows:
8:00 pm – start at the Arts Centre for the stunning-looking Pan’s Labyrinth. Yes, this means that we won’t be ordering pizza at 8pm: instead, I suggest that people either (A) eat beforehand or (B) have a snack beforehand to keep them going, and we’ll order pizza later. I suspect I’ll be doing option B.
10:20 pm – return to The Cottage, order pizza for anybody who’s hungry, and watch something else. I propose an MST3K, or perhaps one of the B-movies Jimmy provided some weeks back, because I anticipate that something silly, bad, and/or funny will be quite welcome after the psychological thriller than Pan’s Labyrinth is likely to be, but I’m open to suggestions and I’m happy to do things democratically.
If there’s anybody who doesn’t want to come along to Pan’s Labyrinth but does want to come for the rest, let me know and I can give you a bell when we leave the cinema, so you can meet us in a timely fashion. But really, you should come.
Tonight’s Troma Night will be held at The Cottage. It’s the final Troma Night of the year, and it’ll be our least Christmassy of the “Christmas” Troma Nights ever, we suspect! Here’s the plan:
8pm prompt start – order pizza and start watching xXx … with a RiffTrax! This’ll be our third RiffTrax experiment; hopefully it’ll be as great as the last two.
Second; Bernard & The Genie; wonderful Christmassy comedy starring Lenny Henry, Alan Cumming, and Rowan Atkinson.
Third and finally; Snakes On A Plane, perhaps the most overhyped movie ever (or, if folks can’t survive another feature length film, I suggest MST3K ep 602 [Paul, would you be so kind as to bring this, please?]).
One more thing – as a small “thank you” to everybody who’s made Troma Night so fantastic this last year – and as a Christmas gift to our friends in general – Claire and I have decided to “buy a round”: we’ve racked up a sizable quantity of ales for tonight’s attendees to drink. So come along for some good films, bad films, pizza, and – just this once – you can get pissed on us. So to speak. Ahem.
Children Of Men, due for release this September, looks good. In the near future, all the women on Earth become infertile, and science is at a loss to explain why. By 2027, no children have been born in 18 years, and the future of humanity is bleak. There’s a trailer about, too. It all looks remarkabley well put-together.
But in the nearer future, I’m looking forward to seeing Thank You For Smoking, which a group of us are seeing at the Arts Centre tomorrow at 5:30pm (thanks for the reminder, Paul). It’s getting great reviews and it sounds great. Just so long as I can stop thinking of Aaron Eckhart as “that guy from The Core“… (damn, that film sucked)
…testing Dan. Earlier I sent in to ask how many times the big Panda said ‘nice’ in Panda Ko Panda (12, 5 times referring to bamboo). When we were getting food at the Chinese, Dan accused Bryn of having sent that in (he was logged on at the time), I might have got away with it but I burst out laughing.
Then just now, Bryn and I were wondering how many cups of coffee you could make using all the water in the pacific ocean. In case anyone wants to try it, the answer is 259 million cups, using 518 million tablespoons of ground coffee. That’s a lot of caffeine!
Bryn: “Can you imagine the size of the coffee filter?”
Until 2006, Aberystwyth University (then The University of Wales, Aberystwyth) ran an interdisciplinary competition for 2nd year undergraduate students to showcase the skills offered by their degree, by producing an educational stand and a presentation. Employers from various industries were invited as judges, and prizes were offered for the best stand, best presentation, and best overall.
Prior to 2001, the presentation aspect had typically consisted of, at best, a handful of PowerPoint slides and students taking turns to list off some of the reasons that their department was best at producing versatile, highly-employable graduates. But in 2001’s competition, Team CompSci (from the Computer Science department) changed all that, by producing a mixed audiovisual and stage performance presentation, inspired by 1999’s hit movie The Matrix.
A film shows a young Neo, unskilled and unemployed, as he’s picked up by the crew of the Aberchadnezzar and “trained” (using a brain-jack interface) with the skills of an Aberystwyth CompSci graduate. The audience then saw a clip of Neo ascending the stairs to the theatre, before he would appear on stage and undergo a job interview with an “agent”. In this version, the interview segment was (hasily) re-filmed and inserted directly into the clip.