On today’s date 54 years ago, Dr. Emmit Brown was standing on his toilet seat attempting to hang a clock in his bathroom, when he slipped and slammed his head on the side of the sink (11/5/55 for those too lazy to do some simple mental math). Upon regaining consciousness Brown reported having “a revelation, a picture, a picture in my head.” A picture which he crudely scrawled down on a piece of paper and subsequently spent 30 years of his life and family fortune to build: the flux capacitor.
As evidenced by three movies, two theme park rides and countless exclaimations of 1.21 gigawatts!The world has never been the same since.
I’ve always loved board games. I have been playing them for as long as I remember. From games of Chutes and Ladders to Candy Land to Monopoly to Clue to Stratego to Scrabble to RISK (my maybe current favorite) I have loved to just sit in a basement somewhere with friends or family and watch the hours roll on by while hoping to outplay and outsmart my opponents. I still love it. I just get to do it less.
RISK occupied plenty of my afternoons and evenings during my formative years. Each one of my friends played a certain role: one took Australia, one made an ill fated attempt to control Asia, one took Africa and could never hold it, etc. I was big on trying to take North America & Europe. Sometimes it was effective, sometimes not so much. The RISK themed Seinfeld episode – “The Ukraine is weak!” – is one of my favorites for the love that it bestows on my maybe favorite game.
I keep saying maybe favorite because a new game possibly has supplanted it for fav game status. The game to which I am referring to is Settlers of Catan the 1995 winner of the German Spiel des Jahres “Game of the Year Award” which over the past few years, through simple word of mouth, has become one of the most popular games in the world. It literally has sold 15 million copies. No joke.
If you’ve never heard of the game, let me tell you that it is flat out awesome for more than a few reasons. I could start with how each game begins with the random placement of 19 different hexagonal pieces but instead I would rather like to point you towards a Wired Magazine article in this month’s issue titled “Monopoly Killer: Perfect German Board Game Redefines Genre.” Here is an excerpt:
Settlers is now poised to become the biggest hit in the US since Risk. Along the way, it’s teaching Americans that board games don’t have to be either predictable fluff aimed at kids or competitive, hyperintellectual pastimes for eggheads. Through the complex, artful dance of algorithms and probabilities lurking at its core, Settlers manages to be effortlessly fun, intuitively enjoyable, and still intellectually rewarding, a potent combination that’s changing the American idea of what a board game can be.
The article is about 1000% true: after my friends turned me onto the game a few years back I’ve been addicted ever since. I regularly get together with between 3 – 5 friends to play both the Regular and expanded Seafarers editions and truly we all have become addicted – case in point, when a number of us took a trip abroad last year, we brought not one but two boards with us and played not one night but two nights in a row. Sick.
Net / net: I see no reason for this tread to not continue. I think 20 million copies is just around the corner…
In honor of last week’s frakkin awesome Battlestar Galactica episode titled “Blood on the Scales” (which really should be considered part two of an episode they should call “Mutany!” as it picked up exactly where “The Oath” ended), here is a link to a Gizmodo post titled Lego Galactica Clusterfrak So Big It Can Probably Crush a Real Cylon Baseship.
Those people at Gizmodo love them Legos and really, who doesn’t? I posted in the past about how they went to the Lego Vault. Here’s to hoping they continue to post Lego related posts!
When you have a movie whose premise is an all out battle between humanity and a mutant horde that stars Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman and John Malkovich, you know you best be watching out because it’s going to be sick. This is what life is going to be like if Wall Street does not recover…
After watching the trailer, I have high high hopes for the The Mutant Chronicles which is scheduled to hit theatres in limited release on April 24th. Living in NYC means limited release is not a problem. I just hope that I can find the time to actually get out and see it. Someone – please drag me away come the end of April…
2009 is shaping up to known as “Year of the Joe” as there will be a new animated series titled GI Joe: Resolute, a full length live action blockbuster movie titled GI Joe: Rise of Cobra and a new Hasbro toy line of GI Joe figures. Sweet. I have kept my VCR in large part so I can watch the tapes I have of the 80’s cartoon (I have the first 100 episodes and the Cobra-La movie on seven tapes that I bought off of eBay about a decade ago). Yes, I love GI Joe that much.
Regarding the cartoon, esteemed comic writer Warren Ellis is penning the script for the new Joe series which will all of one hour long – there will be 10 five minute episodes and one 10 minute concluding episode of this dark adult themed “Ghost in the Shell” inspired cartoon. The bootleg trailer of Snake Eyes slicing open Cobra Soldiers is pretty bad ass but no one knows yet if it will be released as webisodes, TV episodes or straight to DVD and I frankly do not care.
Regarding the movie, while the fanboy universe is currently panning it, I have to say that the Snake Eyes costume looks, to reuse a phrase, pretty bad ass and I’m keeping my finders crossed. The Wikipedia entry reports that the film is an origin story set 10 years in the future, showing the rise of the Cobra Organization. The director Stephen Sommers said, “For people who know nothing about it, it’ll make sense. And to people who love this stuff, it’ll show where they all came from.”
Know you know all about the cool Joe stuff coming and remember, as Duke, Flint, Lady Jay and others always said, “Knowing is half the battle” The other half I suppose is actually watching these goodies when they debut.
In preparation for the hotly anticipated “The Dark Knight,” it seems that everyone is talking about, as the Joker puts it, “The Batman.” While he may be “at home, washing his tights” (okay, that would never happen, Alfred would handle that chore) it is precisely that that idea which so endears Bruce Wayne’s alter ego to the public. Unlike other superheros, Batman is normal. What I mean is that he (in many ways) is a just an incredibly above average man – he does not have any special powers, period. He is like you and me, in our dreams.
Scientific America has an interview with E. Paul Zehr, associate professor of kinesiology and neuroscience at the University of Victoria in British Columbia and a 26-year practitioner of Chito-Ryu karate-do who happens to have a book titled “Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero” coming out.
After further analysis, it’s true: it would be very, very hard but it could be done. If all the stars in the sky are in alignment, I could be Batman.
Now you can play a character playing a character in World of Warcraft. Ridiculous! My favorite quote is, “I mean, when you are staring at the computer screen, you believe you are in a dimly lit basement staring at a computer screen.”
The Onion, how I love you so….