2 The Week in Pixels #22

Happy Easter. I don’t know how much longer I can guarantee the weekend links going. All is despair. Onward!

  • Elle magazine joined other publications and initiatives that try to show the world how women really are, with a 32 page special edition, dedicated to generous curves. It’s arguable how much this decision will shake the imperative of skeletal aesthetics that seems to have a grip on the “world of fashion”, but The Observer’s article highlights some curious things, like Karl Lagerfeld attacking the H&M chainstore for producing his designs in all sizes, or Rosemary Masic, who refuses to make larger size clothing because those “endorses an unhealthy lifestyle”. Is the “fashion” medium one that appeals to body fantasies? Yes. That appeals to “dreams and illusions” instead of reality? Very much. But where do you find a healthy lifestyle in cases such as Feline Visscher (1, 2), Snejana Onopka (1, 2) or Natalia Belova (1, 2)? What’s attractive in that fantasy? An exhultation of paedomorphia? A spectre of death? Haute Couture? Shouldn’t it be Grand Guignol?

  • At this point, Trolololo is no longer newsworthy. Eduard Hill’s mini-epic of silly lyrics sung with unbridled optimism have become a meme, but I only discovered two interesting things about the whole deal now. The song, originally about an american cowboy and his beloved, had been hammered by Russian censorship and composer Arkadi Ostrovski’s lyrics had to be changed. The end result was what we now know – two minutes and forty two seconds of “vat ze hell?”. On the other hand Christoph Waltz, who played Hans Landa from “Inglorious Basterds”, replied to the original song with a version of his own. What a glorious bastard.
  • Lewis Denby writes about videogames as sex. “What are games about? Well, they’re about control. They’re about mastering a situation. They’re about power and domination, about desire, about excitement. They’re intensely intimate experiences at times; they can also be fun social experiences. In a very real way, the act of playing a game – of controlling a character, of roleplaying, of living out fantasies, of succumbing to desires, of hiding behind something, of changing somebody’s fucking life… they’re all things we use sex for as well.” I agree but I’d also like to propose how it influences not just the games themselves but sometimes, even the packaging. Did you ever carefully unwrapped a videogame box then gently placed it on the bed, just contemplating? Or do you rip out the plastic, quickly thrusting the disc onto the console for a quick fix?
  • And here’s Denby again, over at Resolution Magazine, writing about what he felt when someone asked him if he liked Halo after that same person found out he was a videogame journalist. The idea is that we shouldn’t discount people who came to videogames through Halo or other recent, high profile games since we all began that way, and unlike many of us, they still have an entire world of possibilities to find out.
  • Doctor Who disco dancing with Doctor Doom? ZZ Top zapping zombies? Peter Parker playing ping-pong with Pikachu? Yes. Neill Cameron’s the A-Z of Awesomeness really is that awesome.
  • Lord of Ultima is a Flash game of combat, territorial conquest and domination and alliances ready to be made and unmade. Sad fact: other than taking place in the world of Ultima, it has little to nothing to do with the illustrious series. I once said I wanted to like Electronic Arts, considering some of their recent decisions and risk taking, but this is the kind of thing that stops me from writing them perfumed letters. I suppose it will find a market in fans of sleepy strategy online game fans, who don’t care about the importance of the legacy or the name and are just looking out for some entertainment. In that regards it’s fair game, but for those expecting something that honored to the best that Richard Garriott has done in the past… I hear hearts breaking.
  • Speaking of broken hearts, another dubious ressurection is afoot, this time with Zork, the legendary and humorous series of text and graphical adventures. Legends of Zork is also a Flash-based, online game of combat and grinding with… Not much in common with Zork. It sports a familiar sense of humor and all, and you can tell the team tried their hardest to keep that in mind, but it ends up feeling a cold emulation of past glories. Interactivity is quite typical for the genre, with dice and probability and equipment, but it’s undone by longer running competition and little in the way of gratifying gameplay. Unsurprisingly, it’s another example of how “old systems” (like exploring and interacting through typing verbs and actions) still has more to offer than “new systems” (clicking and watching all happen automatically).
  • Redder is – what else? – a Flash game. But a good one. Minimalistic graphics and soundtrack meets Metroid exploration and a homage to fiendish platform games of old, in particular Monuments of Mars by 3D Realms.
  • Mario meets Tetris in Tuper Tario Bros.
  • The gospel! In 10 seconds! Press Space to do “Jesus stuff”! Run, Jesus, Run!
  • Resident Evil Fighter. Street Fighter characters has if they were part of Resident Evil‘s zombified hordes. And those who liked the artwork can always check artist Manuel Moura’s gallery here.
  • Law Abiding Engineer. “Law Abiding Citizen” spliced in with Team Fortress 2. Very good.
  • “La Machine” in Yokohama. “For the 150th anniversary of the opening of Yokahama to foreign countries, France has brought, for the occasion, two giant spider-robots called “La Machine”. Conceived by the French engineer of the troup “Royal De Luxe”, the spider was walking around the harbour of Yokohama. Fireworks, music were also entertaining the audience”. If I’m not mistaken this is the same group that create The Berlin Reunion, which I had spoken about here.
  • The download as a method of civil disobedience. How much of that could be applied, rightfully or otherwise, to the videogame industry?
  • What you didn’t know about Nintendo. Or maybe you already knew, but doesn’t hurt to remember.
  • Fine Young Cannabis.
  • “My God, it even has a watermark.

2 Responses to The Week in Pixels #22

  1. Oh my, that is proper awesome :D

  2. Alex says:

    Surely, you’ve seen this, the best Hill remix?