Oh hey, look at our new game!

Oh, blog. I’m so sorry that forgot about you when we announced our new game last month. I assure you, I told Facebook and Twitter ALL ABOUT IT.

Anywho, here’s the announcement trailer:

[NOTE: All videos got nuked when the studio closed for reasons I cannot understand.]

And here’s some gameplay (WARNING: BETA FOOTAGE/me talking):

[NOTE: All videos got nuked when the studio closed for reasons I cannot understand.]

click here click here IGN said some nice things about us already and Rock Paper Shotgun declared that we have “just the right amount of Abraham Lincoln”, which is high praise indeed.

So… yeah. That’s what I’ve been up to!

P.S. Vote for us on Greenlight!

Concerning Hobbits

So… this is going to get deep into the weeds of geekdom pretty quickly, so here’s a brief, spoiler-free review of the first installment of Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” trilogy for folks who don’t want to wade through minutia and plot-points:

Overall, I thought it was good. There were some bits I disliked, but far more often than not, I enjoyed how the story was handled. It’s true that some of the whimsy of the source material is lost in an effort to make it jibe properly with the “epic” scale of LotR, but I didn’t mind the tonal nudging that much.

The Crazy Frame Rate tech was… curious. In places, it really shone and the results were pretty amazing. It worked best in chaotic action sequences where things normally get muddled and hard to follow. But when things slowed down, it was distracting and tended to make things feel less believable. In particular, things like dwarf axes looked blunt and fake – like all the weight was missing from them. Still, it’s PROBABLY worth seeing it in Crazy Frame Rate mode, just so you can see what the fuss is about.

Compared to the LotR films, I would say it’s not as good as any one of those, but it falls short of them by a relatively slim margin and is definitely worth seeing.

From here on out, it’s all spoilers and super-geek stuff, so be warned.

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An Elseworlds review of DC Universe Online

The following is a transmission from a parallel Earth within the Multiverse where DC Universe Online has already been released:

DC Universe Online is a courageous breath of fresh air!  They have admirably risen to the challenge of building a game around iconic characters that players will NOT be allowed to control.  Yes, dear readers, they have done the seemingly impossible – they’ve built a game involving Batman where *I* don’t mind that I can’t BE Batman!

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Butterfly dreams and Dark Cities – A review of Inception

Spoiler-free review:

Inception is a very good film. If you’re one of the handful of people who haven’t seen it yet, you should make time to do so. It’s well-acted, tightly-directed and provides a story that unfolds in a generally satisfying way. Its most successful moments are almost entirely visual and those portions of the film are truly unique and compelling and make it a worthy effort entirely on their own.

That being said, I found its core philosophical and narrative challenges to be rather uninspired and some of the story’s choices (particularly near the end) were disappointingly shallow. Inception is a movie defined by new vistas, but not new ideas.

In my view, it exists on the film spectrum occupied on one end by The Matrix and on the other by Dark City. In fact, it felt very much like a movie that has been written and re-written numerous times in the shadow of those earlier films. The result is a partial success – it is better than The Matrix and not as good as Dark City.

Spoilers follow from this point forward:

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A WordPress update – my OLD NEMESIS! We meet again!

The upgrade to WP 3.0 borked a few things visually, so I’ve bumped over the new default layout for a bit. Please excuse the dust in the meantime.

UPDATE: All is now well.

LOST thoughts.

Consider this your obligatory spoiler warning.  Proceed at your own risk.

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A note to Roger Ebert on art and video games.

I love Roger Ebert.  He is, in my view, not only the finest film critic of all time but also a tremendous social critic, political gad-fly and general Fan of Life Well-Lived whose stories and commentaries on everything from rice-cookers to Russ Meyer films utterly intrigue me.

I hold his opinions in high regard.  That is not to say that I AGREE with them all the time, but I find that he regularly displays an extremely difficult-to-balance mix of advocacy and objectivity in his writing.  Objectivity, contrary to the notions put forth by cable news outlets and the like, is NOT simply the act of “presenting both sides” or of creating a bullet list of positive and negative aspects of the thing being considered.  Objectivity allows you to (even DEMANDS that you) take a stand and defend your position, so long as you are willing to have your mind changed by a reasonable counter-argument.

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I’m… working on stuff.  So the site may explode or look ridiculous for a while.

This is your world: Vegetable Lamb of Tartary

Sometimes – just SOMETIMES – I regret living in the post-Scientific Revolution era.  Sure, I like sanitation and the germ theory of disease and air planes and HDTV and all of that, but those goodies come at a price.  That price is the fact that we live in a world where we rarely accept things without evidence (except when it comes from talk radio or cable news).

The result?

You and I live in a world where we DON’T believe in lots of weird and wonderful things.

Vegetable Lamb of Tartary' For example, we don’t believe that some lambs are the fruit of a magical super-plant.

No, really.

In an effort to figure out why cotton exists, medieval “scientists” decided that the best possible explanation was that a special kind of lamb sprouted from a plant and was connected to to that plant by an umbilical cord.  The Vegetable Lamb spent its life grazing about its host-plant and – once the plant died – the lamb died, leaving behind cotton.

THAT’s what science used to be like.  Totally insane, comic-book crazy explanations for EVERYTHING.

And I CHALLENGE you to tell me you’d rather live in a world where cotton comes from a stupid, boring little bush rather than from an insane plant/animal hybrid that exists in a legendary far-off land.

I’m a pretend expert.

Oscar time is upon us and – like so many self-absorbed delusionals – I feel the need to prognosticate.

Best Picture

Who will win: Inglourious Basterds

I know everyone is saying Hurt Locker, but I’ve just got a hunch that Tarantino will score a dark horse victory here.

Who SHOULD win: Precious

I honestly can’t understand how anyone could have seen this film and come away convinced that any other picture this year was better.

Actor in a Leading Role

Who will win: Colin Firth

Who SHOULD win: Colin Firth, George Clooney or Jeff Bridges

Morgan Freeman was good, but you shouldn’t win an Oscar simply because you already looked like the guy you’re portraying.

Actor in a Supporting Role

Who will win: Christoph Waltz

Who SHOULD win: Cristoph Waltz

The other nominees should just stay home.

Actress in a Leading Role

Who will win: Sandra Bullock

Who SHOULD win: Gabourey Sidibe

I actually think there’s a good chance of things breaking the right way and giving Gabourey Sidibe the nod, but there seems to be a lot of energy in favor of rewarding Sandra Bullock for finally making a movie that wasn’t terrible.  I’d put it at 60/40 in favor of the wrong actress winning.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Who will win: Mo’Nique

Who SHOULD win: Mo’Nique

Her performance towers above every other nominee.

Animated Feature Film

Who will win: Up

Who SHOULD win: The Secret of Kells

I LOVED Up, but The Secret of Kells is just a better film with a more unique creative vision.  I can actually see it winning in an upset if enough Academy voters bothered to watch it.


Who will win: Quentin Tarantino

Who SHOULD win: Lee Daniels

I have to go with Tarantino since I’m going with Inglourious Basterds for Best Picture because you almost never see the award go to the director of something else.  That being said, Lee Daniels work on Precious was amazing.  To craft a believable version of the world in the midst of a story so horrific that is punctuated by honest moments of joy and humor AND that’s informed by an overarching sense of hope is borderline miraculous.

Documentary Feature

Who will win: The Cove

Who SHOULD win: The Cove

There’s a chance of Food, Inc. winning because there are lots of stupid people in the world.

Adapted Screenplay

Who will win: Precious

Who SHOULD win: Precious

Original Screenplay

Who will win: The Hurt Locker

Who SHOULD win: The Hurt Locker or A Serious Man

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