Category: Rants

Remember When Gaming Used to be Sexist?

This is the May, 1982, cover of “Electronic Gaming Monthly”. This was a very popular magazine (kids: think “paper internet”) and told my 11 year-old self what to think about pretty much everything important. I was born in late April, so I had plenty of convertable-to-quarters birthday money when this particular issue came in.

Good thing, too, or I might not have been properly warned to “move over” at the arcade because here-was-coming the “gals”. Even more inclusive, the gal in the picture is clearly disabled by some terrible spinal condition as well. I assume those are orthopedic fuck-me boots.

This began, for me, nearly 35 years of playing video games with “gals” but being periodically told that that they had just started doing so a few short minutes prior.

Electonic Gaming Monthly, May 1982

I’m just thankful that the fine journalists of the day were looking out for me. Without them, I may have fallen victim to some kind of systemic sexism!

RiffTrax Live: Godzilla!

2014-08-15 09.48.54When the fine, funny people at RiffTrax decided to take their special brand of snark to theaters across the country we knew two things:

  1. They were clearly both very smart and very lazy for doing so via satellite instead of actually, you know, driving around.
  2. It was going to be insanely, amazingly awesome.

The first show,  August 20, 2009, was “Plan Nine from Outer Space” and this was followed up regularly with a small herd of super-cheese staples including “Reefer Madness”, “Manos: The Hands of Fate” and the modern, solar-powered classic, “Birdemic“. To do bigger movies, they’d need more money. Being that special combination of smart/lazy/awesome they left that part up to us. A hugely successful KickStarter campaign gave us an amazing evening with “Starship Troopers“.

So, after another successful KickStarter and nearly five years from that first show, they brought us Roland Emmerich’s 1998 character assassination of “Godzilla”. In it he accused the Big “G” of being an asexual, hermaphroditic, tunnel-crawling, no-fire-breathing, Jay Leno-looking mutated iguana. It got what it deserved and it was hilarious.

Broadcast by Fathom Events to hundreds of theaters across North America (the good America) the shows bring together thousands of fans and and some high-quality father/son time. I’ve seen “Guardians of the Galaxy“, but this – Roland-freakin’-Emmerich’s Godzilla – is still the most fun I’ve had in a theater all year.

Things that I wonder About: Mike Teavee

Mike TeaveeRemember Mike Teavee from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory“? The boy that was completely TV crazy?

Well, in the book and both film adaptations Mike was so incredibly excited about TV and being the first person broadcast by Wonka-Vision that he idiotically threw himself in front of the equipment and ended up getting shrunk down to action-figure size.  Despite his size he’s ecstatically happy about being sent by television. In 1971’s “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory“, he shouts, “I’m famous, I’m a TV Star!” He’s thrilled as a pig in slop to be on TV.

But (in the book and both films) when he wins the Golden Ticket and a horde of reporters show up to actually put him on TV, as the star, for the first time in his life he… annoyed, mostly ignores them and just wishes they’d just go away.

Stupid Arguments for Pedantic People: America

American FlagThere are certain causes, certain arguments, that certain people hold very deeply, very truly.  Causes that every single other person on earth simply can’t bring themselves to care about.  It’s not that other people are ill-equipped or unable to understand the issue.  It’s specifically that the issue simply doesn’t have a single valid impact on… anything.

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Initial Thoughts on the Steam Controller

steamcontroller-640x542The Steam Controller was recently unveiled as part of the larger set of Steam Machine announcements. The Steam Machine is an open specification for console-like PCs allowing for easy integration of PC games into your living room. While boxes can vary in power and capacity – and so in cost – the Steam Controller is an attempt to normalize the interface.

The controller represents a significant evolution of what’s become a relatively stagnant controller design. While this is a pre-release design that may change it’s unlikely that the core features will change drastically. It shares the two lobed, split-surface design first popularized by the original PlayStation controller but with significant differences.

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RiffTrax Live: Starship Troopers!

RiffTrax Live: Starship Troopers

We’re huge RiffTrax fans here and when they did their first KickStarter campaign back in February we backed them.  Backed them hard!  They were trying to earn enough to Riff “Twilight”.  Apparently, since the movie is still busy printing money like Guttenberg on Meth, there isn’t enough for that.  So they did “Starship Troopers” instead.

Broadcast by Fathom Events to hundreds of theaters (and, for the first time, Canada) this is the fifth live RiffTrax event and the first using a major studio film.  The prior events, “Plan Nine from Outer Space”, “Manos: The Hands of Fate”. “Reefer Madness” and the modern turkey classic, “Birdemic”, were some of the best times we’ve had in a theater and this one didn’t disappoint.

“Starship Troopers” is actually a decent film on its own.  Campy, clichéd and over-the-top, but also fun, well-paced and visually impressive.  I prefer it when the guys riff truly terrible films so I can’t say this was my favorite live event.  It was still worlds better than any of the comedies I’ve seen this year.

RiffTrax never disappoints!

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