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Random fun

Meta-All Your Base: Engrish Game.

Also, somewhat related: one of my co-workers has this T-shirt - I was rather tempted myself. To get the shirt. But I couldn't deal with the thought of running into my co-worker wearing the same. The embarassment!

More semi-ironic across-cultural-divide video-game-inspired T-shirts can be found here. And here. But, well, you'd have to order from Japan, in Japanese.

(Which reminds me, did I ever mention my Italian-made, limited-edition Space Invaders shoes which I picked up for 50 Euros in Paris last year, and then saw for double the price in Subotron ? I am sooo chuffed with those. I should wear them some time.)

This is cool too but not a T-shirt.

My favorite cool Japanese-y thing I've seen this morning is what appears to be a game called 'Yogurting'. Check out those screenshots. Don't try to find out more: try to imagine what game it could be. Good design exercise.

Ack, this here intarweb is an unending gold-mine of stuff like this. I have to stop now.

(Some via Japan Game Blog or Geek On Stun.)

Hollywood's Death Spiral

There's an article on Slate about the economics of Hollywood, how it is so hard to get accurate numbers on it, and how home entertainment is crushing theater box office.

Even as late as 1980, when the audience had television sets and video players, studios still earned 55 percent of their money from people who actually went to movie theaters. In 2005, however, those moviegoers provided the studios with less than 15 percent of their worldwide revenues, while couch potatoes provided it with 85.8 percent.

This change in audience location altered the balance of power inside the studios. It reduced the once-almighty movie distribution arms to minor players while awarding star status to the home entertainment divisions that produced well over three times as much revenue. Through this reversal of fortunes, the stage has been set for what a top studio executive warned could be "Hollywood's death spiral."

It is part of a series of articles.

(Via Kottke.)

Blind Teen Amazes With Video-Game Skills

No, really.
Mellen hangs out any chance he gets at the DogTags Gaming Center in Lincoln, which opened last month. Every now and then someone will come in and think he can easily beat the blind kid. That attitude doesn't faze Mellen. "I'll challenge them, maybe. If I feel like a challenge," he said, displaying an infectious confidence. "I freak people out by playing facing backwards."


I had nothing to do with the development of GTA:SA. I do have a personal opinion on the Hot Coffee situation, but I'm going to keep it to myself - there is more than enough discussion going on. I haven't seen anything totally surprising: it's mostly the same old arguments and points of view all over again. Self-regulation is important, was this an accident or a marketing ploy, why go nuts over sex and not violence (my fave), why not go nuts over, say, God of War, politicians are involved to score points, Jack Thompson is a weirdo, new legal grey zone around modding, controversy meta-analysis.

Did I miss something?

I found this funny (via Reality Panic).

It's only a game

Here is some interesting commentary on the SA Hot Coffee brouhaha.

Somehow, I don't think it will convince the people that need convincing. Still, who knew you could do that with Drano?

(Via Kotaku.)

Life of Pi, Death of a Unicorn

In 1992, the New Yorker published an article about David and Gregory Chudnovsky, two mathematicians in New York who built a supercomputer in their apartment in order to find patterns in Pi. Does that sound familiar?

A few months ago, they ran another article on what these two have been up to recently. They've been using their supercomputer to stitch digital pictures together. In fact, over two hundred CDs worth of digital pictures. Together they form a picture of "The Hunt of the Unicorn" - apparently one of the most beautiful set of tapestries ever made.

It wasn't just a question of having lots of RAM:

The tapestries, they realized, had changed shape as they were lying on the floor and being photographed. They had been hanging vertically for centuries; when they were placed on the floor, the warp threads relaxed. The tapestries began to breathe, expanding, contracting, shifting. It was as if, when the conservators removed the backing, the tapestries had woken up. The threads twisted and rotated restlessly. Tiny changes in temperature and humidity in the room had caused the tapestries to shrink or expand from hour to hour, from minute to minute. The gold- and silver-wrapped threads changed shape at different speeds and in different ways from the wool and silk threads.

“We found out that a tapestry is a three-dimensional structure,” Gregory went on. “It’s made from interlocked loops of wool.”

“The loops move and change,” David said.

“The tapestry is like water,” Gregory said. “Water has no permanent shape.”

The photographers had placed a thin sheet of gray paper below the edge of the part of the tapestry they were shooting. Each time they moved the camera, they also moved the sheet of paper. Though the paper was smooth and thin, it tugged the tapestry slightly as it moved, creating ripples. It stretched the weft threads and rotated the warp threads—it resonated through the tapestry. All this made the tiles impossible to join without the use of higher mathematics and It.

It's a great article. This is why I love the New Yorker: where else would I find an article like this?

(Via Jason Kottke.)


So, Sony, this is what became of your beautiful promises. Good thing I don't have a PSP yet.

(Via, um, some blog or website or other.)