For the last six years running, a young man named Aung Zaw-Oo (aka AZO) has been putting out compilation videos of insane parkour stunts and other acts of superhuman agility. If you've played Monday Night Combat, then you've already seen his work; he's the animator, and uses footage of himself as the basis for the in-game animation. There are few words that describe what he does outside of "sick."
Here's his latest showreel:
...and here's last year's:
...and just for comparison, here's his first one from 2004:
I'm not even sure what to make of the commercial below. It's just so suggestive -- to the point of being blatantly erotic -- and yet so completely earnest that my irony-soaked brain just can't handle it. Who was the intended audience? Who decided that this was a good way to sell a video game console? There are no answers here, only bikini girls, 80s hair and a whole hell of a lot of phallic imagery.
In February 1986, William Gibson sold the film rights to Neuromancer to Cabana Boys Production for $100,000 (if I remember correctly from a blog entry I can no longer locate and/or may be fabricating, he bought himself a new kitchen.) The rest of the story lays in this tax court document:
The company name was based on the fact that it was started by Ashley Tyler and Jeffrey Kinart, a pair of honest-to-goodness Beverly Hills cabana boys. The money came from the coffers of Mrs. Deborah Rosenberg (via her husband, renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Victor Rosenberg,) who the cabana boys met during the couple's stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel. They secured Timothy Leary and William Gibson himself as consultants and the film was to be written by Earl Mac Rauch, who previously penned the 1984 Peter Weller/John Lithgow postmodern pulp film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. The Cabana Boys Production of Neuromancer became the first failed production of the novel in what would eventually be a long line of failed attempts at adaptation. All that remains is this pre-pre-production promo featuring all the players mentioned above:
The new mix of "Ringfinger" on the Pretty Hate Machine reissue is amazing. This has always been my single favorite Nine Inch Nails song, and whatever they did it to it makes it sound all the better. Put on some headphones and crank the quality to 720 for this - it's worth it!
With the Wii, Kinect and Move, alternate video game control schemes have been entering the vogue. One of the first alternate control schemes was the six-button control in the original Street Fighter. As my uncle once explained to me, and the internet confirmed, the game originally had punch-pads - the harder you wailed on them, the harder Ryu (or Ken) struck the opponent. The pads were finicky at best and after enough broken machines and/or fingers, the standard three-punches/three-kicks control was introduced.
Now, a group named HitBox have introduced the next logical step in the evolution of fighting game control schemes: the removal of the joystick. They've replaced it with, you guessed it, more buttons.
Here's an interview with the gentlemen responsible:
In honor of Hanukkah, I watched Jonathan Kesselman's The Hebrew Hammer last night, for the fifth or sixth time. It's a blaxploitation parody with a Jewish protagonist played by Adam Goldberg. Mordechai Jefferson Carver is Shaft by way of Woody Allen. The film is great, although if you're watching it for the first time, I suggest you have a Jewish friend by your side to explain what exactly is so funny about a good third of it. The guy Hammer encounters outside of the bar, by the way, is Sweetback himself, Melvin Van Peebles. His son Mario has a major role in the film as Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul Rahim, Hammer's partner and head of the KLF (Kwanzaa Liberation Front.)
Here's a favorite scene out of that movie. The Hammer gets some bad info and winds up in a Nazi skinhead bar...
I am pretty sure that Zola Jesus and Die Antwoord's Yo-Landi Visser are alternate universe versions of one another. See for yourself.
Fair warning, the Die Antwoord video below is absolutely swimming in phalluses. It's also a protest song against Xhosa ritual circumcision. I compiled a few links explaining it here.
A while ago, I covered D-Pad Hero, a retro-styled chiptune rhythm game. Now, from creator Eric David Ruth (who is also responsible for a Left 4 Dead demake, and the official Angry Video Game Nerd game,) comes a chiptune take on the DJ Hero concept. It comes with nine mixes, each containing two tracks from the 70s and 80s. For instance, here's Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust," mixed with Joan Jett and the Blackheart's "I Love Rock 'n' Roll":
As you can see, the graphics are a bit better than D-Pad hero, resembling very early SNES/16-bit generation games than the NES. The music and the mixing sound great. It's games like this that really makes me wish I had even the remotest sense of rhythm. However, I'm quite content watching someone else take them on. Here's the second official gameplay video, featuring Ray Parker Jr.'s Theme from Ghostbusters and Huey Lewis' "I Want A New Drug."
Pixel Force: DJ Hero can be downloaded here, along with all of his other games.