When you receive a video from two different people who found it on two different sites, you know its probably going to be good. That’s what happened today with the video “Pixels” by Patrick Jean which is embedded below.
First, I received an email from a friend with a subject line that read “Very cool video” but I was too busy to watch. Then, later while at work, I received a company-wide email that was sent by a co-worker which only had a subject line that read “Pixels.” Someone responded a few minutes later with “That was dope” so I watched and agreed – it was dope. After watching the video, I then went back to my buddy’s email and sure enough, it was a link to the same thing.
So, check out the video below and let me know what is your favorite part. Mine is the Tetris scene. ‘Nuff said.
PIXELS by PATRICK JEAN.
Uploaded by onemoreprod. – Discover more animation and arts videos.
UPDATE: My RSS feed had an article from the NY Daily News about how Pixels is burning up the Net
Via Neu and Erick
When you receive a video from two different people who found it on two different sites, you know its probably going to be good. That’s what happened today with the video “Pixels” by Patrick Jean which is embedded below.
By now, as I’m a little late to the game in posting this video, you may have seen the video of how former Disney Imagineer and special effects wizard Ric Turner installed 21,268 lights and LEDs and turned his entire front yard into a game of Guitar Hero. To start the game, you ring the doorbell. I love when people pull off hacks like this – I just wish I was handy enough to do it (and the thing is I probably am, I’m just too lazy to learn).
The demo in the video below shows a kid rocking out to Eric Johnson’s Cliffs of Dover which I too have played GH style:
Sick. Love it.
Delightedly this past Saturday, the 4th day of Channukah, 5768, I was given gifts, which, upon further reflection after many minutes of glee, seem to be items one would attribute to a geeky 15 year old. I don’t even care – they are so friggen cool.
Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy is flat out ridiculous in its intricacies – please find a store and find this book. If you have to buy it to see inside, do it. You will not be disappointed. Another book I was given, The Sandman: Endless Nights by Neil Gaiman, is a great collection by one of the best authors out there and Super Mario Galaxy has been named “The greatest Nintendo platformer ever made.” Oh yeah, I also got an outdoor fleece perfect for running, skiing or dog walking and a really nice dinner out at a seafood place on Long Island (cue “The Downeaster Alexa”).
Yup, I’m a geek (among other things) but the people around me seem also to know me best. Thanks all. ‘Nuff said.
Is there anything sufficiently motivated and nerdy students cannot do? The Donkey Kong a la Post-It installation below can be found at UC Santa Cruz. It took a team of ten Nintenerds about five hours to complete it and they used over 6,400 colored Post-it Notes (although they had to buy over 14,000 to get all the colors they needed.) in the process.
Via Nintendo Power.
No, I’m not kidding. I have a Wii and I wound up subscribing. I feel like I’m 11 all over again. There is nothing like having a bad day and then finding out that the latest issue of Nintendo Power just arrived. Nothing.
Coming soon to a video console near you: The Simpsons Game! It is being created in partnership with Gracie Films and Twentieth Century Fox and is not based on the upcoming Simpsons movie. Rather, it is an original story from writers who create the TV program and it will feature the entire voice cast from the TV show. Basically, you just need to be prepared to never leave your couch as it seems that its going to be just plain awesome.
Techtree news said:
“Players must use exciting, all new powers to save the world from rising chaos, with Homer, Marge, Bart, Maggie, and Lisa being playable characters. Players will have to make a journey through all of Springfield, battle an array of villains, and fight their way through various parodies of multiple popular video games.”
The game has over 15 levels and each will take the form of an episode of the series, with a unique title animation, setting, and story. Within each episode, players will take control of two family members, or play one of them with a friend in a split-screen two-player mode.
It is scheduled for release at the end of this year for basically everything: PS3, PS2, PSP, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo DS.
After the jump, read the preview from Yahoo! News. I have just one thing to say: Aye Carumba!
The Simpsons Game Preview: May 10, 2007 from Yahoo! News
Like Bart and Milhouse plotting in the Simpsons family tree house, EA was cooking up a little something-something on May 7, 2007. Outside, hundreds were celebrating a milestone 400th episode of The Simpsons. But inside the Fox Studios cafeteria, guarded by famed bartender Moe Szyslak, The Simpsons Game was being unveiled to a select group of press representatives.
Executive Producer Scot Amos set the scene: “We wanted to stay true to the fans, first and foremost. We wanted to make the ultimate video game for the Simpsons characters.” The first step was crafting a script worthy of the license. To do that, EA enlisted a trio of the show’s writers and producers, Matt Selman, Tim Long, and Matt Warburton.
The three spoke to us about the game’s focus, and earned massive gamer cred. “EA has been great to us,” said Selman. “They’re much better than the other monolithic video game companies.” The plot promises a plethora of surprises, poking fun at not only standard pop-culture, but also game-centric segments and parodies to appease even the most hardcore gamers. Unfortunately, the camp was keeping all of these secrets, well, top-secret.
They would tell us the game featured over an hour of new, TV-worthy material in cutscene form. All the actors reprise their roles for voiceovers, so it will be as authentic as possible. Tim Long quipped, “We’re not going for a hard ESRB rating here, but I will tell you some of the lines are so dirty, they made the cast cry.” Also, very early in the game, the Simpsons figure out that they’re actually inside a video game, which means all Springfield breaks loose.
Amos and Creative Director Jonathan Knight took us through one chunk of the game, however. It was an eating contest at the Duff Brewery, and the player controlled Homer. The perspective was free-roaming 3D, as Homer battled Barney, Krusty and other familiar characters to reach food. Surprisingly, after ingesting enough grub, Homer could turn into Homerball — ransacking the place as a gigantic sphere.
Being in a video game (and being aware of it), the family Simpson is not tied to the limitations of the show as much. Each one has a superpower to exploit: Homer has his ball form; Bart turns into Bartman; Marge can command hordes of characters; and Lisa can change the environment. Each of these has their own advantages, and the level design allows you to use them both to complete prime objectives and do a little exploring to find secrets and gather pick-ups.
Back to the eating contest: The stage is almost like Epcot Center, with various geographical locations. Homer trashes Germany, Mexico, and others — partially with the help of a spicy pepper (referencing the chili cook-off episode) to turn into a ball of lava. When it comes time to go through Scotland, Groundskeeper Willie closes the gate.
Now it’s time to switch to Bart, and use Bartman’s glide ability to scale the wall and take out Willie with some well-placed slingshot fire. This is a good time to mention the co-op gameplay. Each stage features two Simpsons family members, and you can switch between them during play. Much like LEGO Star Wars, a second player can jump in at any time. This turns everything split-screen, and the difficulty scales dynamically.
Online play will not be supported, but EA’s reasoning is sound. Knight says, “Our focus has been high-quality couch play. People are going to want to own the game because their friend will come over for a Homerball vs. Homerball match, or to play through the story with them. It’s going to bring the whole family together.” The prospect of multiplayer-centric minigames is definitely exciting.
Being a 3D game about a 2D family brings up some complications. You need to be faithful to the show, but expand the world to be more exciting. You need to have the Simpsons themselves be 3D, but still look hand-drawn. The team worked many months in research and development to solve this. Knight says, “We have a patent pending on this tech to real-time deform the mesh of faces as you move the camera around. It’s important that they stay looking like Bart or Homer from any angle.”
This addresses problems with past 3D Simpsons games, where something just didn’t look right — be it Lisa’s hair or Homer’s marshmallow-man physique. Knight says, “You want Lisa’s hair to look like a flat 2D billboard from any angle. There’s a lot of technology behind it, but it looks effortless in the game. But once you see it, you can never go back to another Simpsons game. It’s the first time we’re capturing the look and feel of the TV show.”
As we got to see the game in action (on Xbox 360), we can attest to the beautiful and faithful art style. It’s like you could pause it at any time, and it looks like an animation cel from the show. The Simpsons has simplistic visuals to be sure, but the game doesn’t skimp on details. Physics react realistically (for a cartoon, of course), and the animation is very solid. Also, things like flesh bunched up on the Homerball are nice — albeit disturbing — touches.
We’ve gotten relatively technical talking about graphics, but Simpsons creator Matt Groening popped in to put things into perspective: “This is the most ambitious Simpsons game ever. It rewards people that love games, while making fun of other games.” This isn’t just a video game starring The Simpsons; this is exactly how The Simpsons themselves would do video games. Due to release in late fall, we still have a long time to wait, but with reruns, the upcoming movie, and no shortage of DVDs, there are plenty of outlets to get your Simpsons fix in the meantime.
Six years ago, I became obsessed during the holiday season about getting a PS2. This obsession was due to a number of reasons. The first was a very practical one: I needed a DVD player and among other things, the PS2 was a DVD player. The second was that I had been laid off from my dot com job and not only had plenty of time to try and get one, but tons of time to actually play it once I got it. The third and most important reason was that other than my Atari 2600, I had never owned a video game system and I had become convinced that the time was finally right.
For years, I religiously went over my friend’s houses to play Baseball Stars, Super Tecmo Bowl or Bonk’s Adventure but never owned those games or the system they were played on (Full disclosure: my father during a misguided Atari loving phase bought a Jaguar but that sucked and I try to forget about it). I was at that time when I started to develop a love hate relationship with video games, something which would only get stronger over time, moving away from loving and towards hating as I started to see my friends getting totally sucked into games like “Bond” where they would sit inside all day, playing endless tournaments, never getting up off of their asses except to maybe get a drink of something. I took a perverse joy out of being the “other guy” – who hoped on his bike and went for a ride or who went for a walk instead of playing all day – and let everyone know it too.
This love/hate relationship came to a head when I lived my senior year of college with Bryan who not only had a Playstation but spent an enormous amount of time “lost” to it. I would berate him on a daily basis to put the controller down and get outside to the point where I felt like his mom. Then, towards the end of the year when senioritis was truly setting in, I picked up “Metal Gear Solid” and sure enough was absolutely hooked, to the point where I was soon coming home from my internship during lunch to squeeze in a few minutes of gameplay.
Hate had become love – the siren song of the pixels was too much! About a year and a half later post-graduation, I heard tons of hype about PS2 and decided that I must have one and sure enough, using much gile and cunning (and setting my web brower to automatically refresh every 5 seconds on a day that I had been told Amazon would be getting them in stock) I was able to procure one and have never looked back since.
That is, until a few weeks ago when I heard that the new PS3 would cost over $500. I started to look back on how much I’ve used the PS2 the past few years and sure enough, its pure gaming usage has fallen dramatically since I moved out of my 2 br converted to 3 bachelor pad and moved in with my then girlfriend/now wife. Gone are the Fins/Jets Madden battles that would rage into the early morning. Gone forever is the kind of life where for one magical day I could sit and play “Metal Gear Solid 2” for 15 hours straight. During that day, my roommate got up, found me sitting Indian style in front of the TV playing, went to the gym, came back, went out to get breakfast, came back, went out to get lunch and run errands, came back, went out on a date, came back and I NEVER MOVED! Over the past few years, aside from bursts of Grand Theft Auto action, the game system really didn’t get played. In fact, MGS 3 (Snake Eater) stayed in its box for a solid year because I knew it needed about 40 hours of my time to beat it and these days, I don’t even have 3.5 hours to get to the movie theatre, sit through the Bond flick and get home, let alone 40 hours for a silly video game.
With this mindset of “not having enough time” – a reason I never joined the WoW (Worlds of Warcraft) universe – I started to read about the Wii and its strategy of going after the “casual” gamer. After a lot of thought, I realized why I wasn’t playing anymore: I just didn’t have time and had become a “casual” gamer myself. My wife is getting ready to go out for the evening? 20 minutes of game play coming up! Everything that I read and/or saw about the Wii made me want to get one even more – hell, one of my favorite video game accessories of all time was the Nintendo light gun that was needed to play “Duck Hunt.”
Now, having stood outside the Times Square Toys R Us for over 3 hours on a Saturday morning in December, having had a Wii for about a month, having not only brought it to my sister-in-law and brother-in-laws house but brought it into work to demo it for co-workers but having so everyone I know can see it, I have to say that it was one of the best moves I’ve made in the past decade. That is maybe a bit of hyperbole but you get the idea.
The reason why I love it so much is because the Wii is a machine that is just plain fun – you really want to yell “wee!” when playing it. The games, while very simple, are lots of fun and you really work up a sweat while playing Tennis or Baseball, so much so that Nintendo has already issued a recall for the wrist straps to make them stronger as people have been losing control of their remotes and destroying their TVs and windows. There is a feature called “Wii Fitness” where each day, you are run through 3 out of 15 different training exercises and at the end, you get your “Wii Age” which is supposed to show you how in shape you are. I started at 60 (oy!) and now I’m down to my actual age (29). I’m hoping to get under 25 sooner or later – I got to 26 before going away and like real life, if you don’t train everyday, you lose a step and sure enough, my first day back pushed me into the 30’s.
There are also other fun features besides the games. One is the ability to show pics on your TV if you use an SD flash card as your camera memory (which I do). When my mom, sister and in-laws came over my apartment recently, I was able to show off my trip photos right on my TV instead of having everyone crowd around the computer screen. Another is the Wii Message board, where others who have Wii’s can write you notes (my friend Jay used it to talk trash when we faced each other in fantasy football playoffs – yeah, phone calls, SMS messages and emails were not enough…) and as the Wii has built in Wi-Fi, there are channels like the Forecast Channel where you can always get an up-to-date weather report.
As time goes on, I’ll post more about it. Right now, I’m ready to leave and head home to see if my age today is going to go up or go down. Maybe I’ll also play my wife in golf or hit a few balls either at the golf range or in the batting cage. Each should take only a few minutes – the kind of game play my life wants and needs right now!
To the fans of Opus and Anthony, let me start by saying I am not talking about “Whip’em Out Wednesdays” in this post. W.O.W. in this case stands for World of Warcraft, a game that has redefined the massively-multiplayer online role playing game category, aka MMORPG or MMO for short. As the article states, “There were massively-multiplayer games before World of Warcraft, just as there were MP3 players before Apple’s iPod. Like the iPod, World of Warcraft has essentially taken over and redefined an entire product category.” I don’t think I’ve written about MMO’s before and the time is long overdue. Essentially, its an online computer role-playing game (RPG) in which a large (or massive) number of players interact with one another in a virtual world.
I think its important to talk about because W.O.W. is first global video game sensation since Pac-Man as over 7 million players world wide are actively participating. Pac-Man came out over 20 years ago folks so that is really saying something. The interesting thing about this stat is that the Asian piracy problem was circumvented – in fact there are 3 million players in China – by the fact that the software is given away for free. The real cost is the monthly subscription fee which is impossible to get around. You want to play, you have to pay. It’s that simple.
There are whole industries that have sprung up around MMO’s. There are bots that troll all day, auto-playing characters to build them up and farmers (real people) who collect experience points, weapons and/or gold for those that don’t have the time to earn them for themselves. Virtual items or even characters are sold on eBay for real-world dollars – in some cases for hundreds if not thousands of bucks. It’s actually astounding what people will do in and for the game. I for one haven’t played one because I fear I will lose my life to it. My friend Chris has written alot about his World of Warcraft addiction and I know myself so I have a good reason to be scared.
After the jump, read about it courtesey of the Times.
Online Game, Made in U.S., Seizes the Globe by Seth Schiesel, 9/5/06
SEOUL, South Korea — At 10:43 p.m. one recent Saturday, in a smoky basement gaming parlor under a bank in this sprawling city’s expensive Daechi neighborhood, Yoon Chang Joon, a 25-year-old orc hunter known online as Prodigy, led his troops into battle. “Move, move!” he barked into a microphone around his neck as a strike team of some 40 people seated at computer terminals tapped at keyboards and stormed the refuge of the evil plague lord Heigan, fingers flying.
As Mr. Yoon’s orders echoed from speakers around the room, Heigan reeled under an onslaught of spells and swords. In six minutes he lay dead. The online gaming guild called the Chosen had taken another step in World of Warcraft, the online fantasy game whose virtual, three-dimensional environment has become a global entertainment phenomenon among the cybersavvy and one of the most successful video games ever made.
Less than two years after its introduction, World of Warcraft, made by Blizzard Entertainment, based in Irvine, Calif., is on pace to generate more than $1 billion in revenue this year with almost seven million paying subscribers, who can log into the game and interact with other players. That makes it one of the most lucrative entertainment media properties of any kind. Almost every other subscription online game, including EverQuest II and Star Wars: Galaxies, measures its customers in hundreds of thousands or even just tens of thousands.
And while games stamped “Made in the U.S.A.” have often struggled abroad, especially in Asia, World of Warcraft has become the first truly global video-game hit since Pac-Man in the early 1980’s.
The game has more players in China, where it has engaged in co-promotions with major brands like Coca-Cola, than in the United States. (There are more than three million players in China, and slightly fewer than two million in the United States. And as with most video games, a clear majority of players worldwide are male.)
There is a rabid legion of fans here in South Korea, which has the world’s most fervent gaming culture, and more than a million people play in Europe. Most World of Warcraft players pay around $14 a month for access.
“World of Warcraft is an incredibly polished entertainment experience that appeals to more sorts of different players than any game I’ve seen,” said Rich Wickham, who heads Microsoft’s Windows games unit. “It’s fun for both casual players and for the hard-core players for whom the game is more just than a game: it’s a lifestyle. Just as important, Blizzard has made a game that has a broader global appeal than what we’ve seen before.”
Perhaps more than pop music or Hollywood blockbusters, even the top video games traditionally have been limited in their appeal to the specific regional culture that produced them. For example the well-known series Grand Theft Auto, with its scenes of glamorized urban American violence, has been tremendously popular in the United States but has largely failed to resonate in Asia and in many parts of Europe. Meanwhile many Japanese games, with their distinctively cutesy anime visual style, often fall flat in North America.
One of the main reasons Western software companies of all kinds have had difficulty in Asia is that piracy is still rampant across the region. Games like World of Warcraft circumvent that problem by giving the software away free and then charging for the game service, either hourly or monthly.
Since the game’s introduction in November 2004 the company has expanded to more than 1,800 employees from around 400. Almost all of the additions have been customer-service representatives to handle World of Warcraft players, helping them with both technical advice and billing concerns.
“Ultimately, what I’d like is for the user to feel like they are having a very polished entertainment experience,” said Mike Morhaime, 38, Blizzard’s president (and a gamer since he first encountered Pong in 1976). “We’d like players to associate our name with quality, so if they see a box on the shelf and it says Blizzard Entertainment, they don’t need to know anything more than that.”
The basic genre that World of Warcraft belongs to is called the massively-multiplayer online game, or M.M.O. The “massive” refers to the fact that in an M.M.O., thousands of players simultaneously occupy one vast virtual 3-D world. (In a more traditional online game like Quake or Counter-Strike, there are generally fewer than a dozen people in each arena.)
Blizzard runs hundreds of copies of the Worlds of Warcraft universe, known as servers, and there might be a few thousand players on any server at any given time. There are servers customized for six written languages: English, both simplified and traditional Chinese, Korean, German and French. Spanish is in development.
To begin, a player creates an avatar, or character, customizing its physical appearance as well as race and profession, each of which has different skills and abilities. An elf druid might specialize in healing, for example, while an orc rogue could be an expert in stealth and backstabbing. The player is then set loose in a huge colorful fantasy world with cities, plains, oceans, mountains, forests, rivers, jungles, deserts and of course dungeons.
The players can explore on their own or team up with others to conquer more imposing challenges. As a character completes quests and defeats monsters, it gains new abilities and collects more powerful magical equipment that in turn allow it to progress to the next set of challenges. Players can fight other players if they choose, but much of the focus is on teaming up with other users in guilds like the Chosen to battle automated foes.
There were massively-multiplayer games before World of Warcraft, just as there were MP3 players before Apple’s iPod. Like the iPod, World of Warcraft has essentially taken over and redefined an entire product category.
“I think the real key to WOW’s success has been the sheer variety and amount of things to do, and how easy it is to get into them,” said Kim Daejoong, 29, a doctor of traditional herbal medicine in Iksan, Korea, who had traveled to Seoul for one of the Chosen’s regular in-person sessions.
“Hard-core gamers will play anything, no matter how difficult it is,” Mr. Kim said. “But in order to be a mainstream game for the general public, it has to be easily accessible, and there have to be lots of things for you to do, even alone. What WOW has done better than other games is be able to appeal to both audiences — hard-core players and more casual players — all within one game and bring them together. That’s why you’ve seen people all over the world get into the game.”
Hours after the Chosen finished their raid in Seoul, a United States guild called Violent stormed Blackwing Lair, home of the black dragon Nefarian and his minions.
One of the players was Jason Pinsky, 33, the chief technology officer for an apparel company in Manhattan. Mr. Pinsky is not unusual among serious players in that he has logged more than 125 days (3,000 hours) on his main character, a hunter.
“I play this game six nights a week from 8 p.m. to midnight,” he said in a telephone interview. “When I say that to people, sometimes they look at me a little funny. But then I point out that most people watch TV at least that much, and television is a totally mindless experience.
“Instead of watching ‘The Lord of the Rings’ as a three-hour experience, I am now participating in the epic adventure.”
It is rare for guilds in North America and Europe to get together in real life, partly because of geographic distance and partly because of the social stigma often associated with gaming in the West.
In Asia, however, online players like those in the Chosen often want to meet in the flesh to put a real face on the digital characters they have been having fun with. Even in the United States, more and more players are coming to see online games as a way to preserve and build human connections, even if it is mostly through a keyboard or microphone.
“Think about it: I’m a 33-year-old guy with a 9-to-5 job, a wife and a baby on the way,” Mr. Pinsky said. “I can’t be going out all the time. So what opportunities do I have to not only meet people and make new friends but actually spend time with them on a nightly basis? In WOW I’ve made, like, 50 new friends, some of whom I’ve hung out with in person, and they are of all ages and from all over the place. You don’t get that sitting on the couch watching TV every night like most people.”
A large cast of nerdy French individuals with some time on their hands decided to devout those precious minutes to recreate the classic co-op Space Invaders using stop-motion animation of people sitting in auditorium seats. It’s super geeky and oh so cool!
Via Ro (via Amos)
This game featured one of the all-time classic NY sports moments – the famous Bill Buckner error (though everyone seems to forget that 3 singles and a wild pitch proceeded that momentous event). To pay homage to it, somebody reenacted the bottom of the 10th inning of the 1986 World Series using the classic NES game “RBI Baseball.” Now, its not just the players and the action that was recreated. Oh no, that would be too easy. Also included is Vin Scully’s audio perfectly syncronized to the action on the field, I mean in the game, which makes this simply fantastic. I have no idea how much time this took but I sincerely thank San Diego Serenade making this bit of sports nut/nerd art.
UPDATED on 4/17: Yahoo! Sports today had a great article about the RBI Baseball re-creation that Conor Lastowka, aka San Diego Serenade, put together. It just goes to show that WGTCTIP2 is truly ahead of the Mainstream Media (MSM) curve.