Glenn Turner's journal

Super Augmented Mario Reality Invaders

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The ever-industrious We Make Money Not Art brings us news of more people morphing video games into real-life concept pieces. First up is the Nintendo Amusement Park, a very special place where you can strap on Mario's boots & mustache and jump like you've been infused with hearty mushroom goodness. Unfortunately watching the commercial for this concept piece makes it look much better on paper than in execution, although their vision page shows that they're definitely not short of ambition....

Don't Be Afraid

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We Make Money Not Art's recent discovery of the experimental games project/alternate reality game Troy reminded me of a day before I Love Bees and prior to The Beast. In Troy, you're trying to hunt down a copy of a game (the titular Troy, often prying your nose where you shouldn't be in order to get it. Way back in 1997 though, my friends and I were trying to do the same with a similarly elaborate scheme concocted by Information Society front-man Kurt Harland...

My Least Favorite Things About Gaming: Reflections

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This may not even be a problem for you, depending on what type of television you have or the angle you sit at while gaming, but I have an old-fashion standard definition television with a terribly reflective screen. Occasionally, while I'm engrossed in a game such as Silent Hill 3, I'll be on the edge of the couch, hunched over, brow furrowed, in otherwords, completely immersed in my avatar and the game's universe. I'll go to open up a door, knuckles tensing as I nervously try to anticipate what might be in the next room. Then the screen goes to black and I see...

Real-Life Luigi's Mansion

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We Make Money Not Art has a look at what appears to be no less than an attempt to recreate Luigi's Mansion. From the backpack-style vacuum to the spotlight (and the obvious ghoul-capturing), this augmented reality project certainly does is transport me back to the halcyon days of the Gamecube's launch!

Then again, this flyer for the device reminds me of Typing of the Dead so, maybe I just see what I want to see.

Welcome to Silent Hill

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I'm back from the Silent Hill screening and I can safely say it's not a travesty. We'll be posting more in-depth about it next week, but without going into too much detail it's faithful to the game but still manages to weave its own story...

Mario Magnet Madness!

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A few weeks ago, I posted about some Kidrobot tchotchkes, including their Super Mario Magnets. Well, it's not Kidrobot, but have a looksee at what I found at a local store...

"A Treadmill for the Mind"

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While I work away in my office, I almost always have the television on as a bit of background noise, usually tuned to The History Channel or Discovery Channel. While I was chugging away on a project today, slightly irritated at a commercial break, when I heard the words 'video game companies' calmly mentioned and my ears perk up. "What's a low-rent, infomercial-esque ad like this have to do with video games?" I wondered.

Ahh, Brain Age...

Black and the Live-Action Cut-Scene

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I spent a bit of time with Black this past week and, while I wasn't terribly enamored with the game itself, I was surprised to see something I haven't noticed in quite some time:

None of the cut-scenes are pre-rendered CGI clips, nor do they utilize the in-game engine. Black uses live-action footage in full motion video for its cut-scenes.

If you forget about games adapted from films/television shows, and if you ignore games that incorporate pre-rendered full-motion video into the gameplay (i.e. FMV games), then you're left with very, very, very few games where the developer actually spent the time to have hire actors, light the scene, film the scene, process it, edit it and insert it into the game. Mr. LeFeuvre and I tried to come up with a list of titles that fit that criteria and we couldn't come up with any that weren't Myst-like (for example, Zork: Grand Inquisitor).

Famicom Keychain

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Those crazy cats at Kidrobot are at it again. To complement their infamous, newly re-stocked Super Mario magnets (don't forget series two!) and their still-available Super Mario Stage and Super Mario keyrings, you can now pick up a Nintendo Controller keyring featuring either original Mario or Super Mario.

The icing on the cake? Embedded sound effects in the controller. Is it just me or does that Famicom look just never goes out of style.

Metal Gear Madness

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As some of you may know, I was greatly anticipating Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, not because of the new camera (so far, I actually find it a bit disorienting) or the online gameplay (I have yet to play a match but, thanks to Mr. LeFeuvre, I could if I wanted to!) but because of the third disc, available only in the limited edition of the game. This third disc, Existence, compiles all of the cut-scenes from the game and weaves a film from of the scripted content. It sounded like a bold experiment and I was terribly interested to see how it would play out.

I placed my pre-order for the limited edition about two or three weeks prior to the game's release at my local Gamestop, even calling ahead to make sure that they were still taking pre-orders, since a number of big online sites had ceased taking pre-orders. However, when I arrived and plunked down my $5 advance, they couldn't find the limited edition in the computer system. Nonetheless, I was assured that there would be a copy waiting for me upon release.

Of course that's when I turned to Unitdaisy and told her 'I know I'm gonna get screwed by this.'...

International Chiptune Resistance: Attendance is Imperative

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Oh how time flies. It seems like just last week I was attending the Data Destruction Tour, thrilling to the live Game Boy-generated sounds of Nullsleep, Bit Shifter, Covox and Bud Melvin. Well, Bit Shifter and Nullsleep are at it again - they're cozying on up for an international tour this time around, a tour so enthralling it can only be described as the International Chiptune Resistance...

Self-Made Objects

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Roger Ibars loves joysticks and he loves creating works exploring the facets of control, so he merged the two into a body of work called Hard-Wired Devices. Starkly beautifully and functionally perverse, it's an intriguing collection that's well worth your time...

Gameboy / Guitar / Drums / Chicago

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It's been a while since Chicago has had a bit of chip-fun in the live music department, but that drought is finally over!

Nintendo: Bad for Business

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At least, that's according to the waitress of Darwin's Bar & Grill. In Chicagoist's recent article concerning the pub, they state that an NES, a long-time fixture there, was removed by the new owners because it was considered 'bad for business'. I'm not exactly sure what that entails, whether they mean that patrons had something other than their drinks and the wall to stare at so they drank less, or whether the NES attracted riffraff and scared away more affluent locals, but apparently it really brought the place down.

That's a shame, because it's tough finding public places embracing games in Chicago, even if it's just on an NES. Sure, there's the landmark Dennis' Place arcade (where you can game, but can't drink or eat), or if you want to head downtown, Dave & Busters (where you can drink and eat, but have to put up with too many three year olds). Hell, back in the day when unitdaisy and myself organized club events we always managed to drag out a Dreamcast and a video projector, just so those who weren't so into the music could bask in big-screen Crazy Taxi or Soul Calibur goodness.

It's possible the NES didn't necessarily work into Darwin's evolutionary motif, but that's what additional consoles and televisions are for! They could have a mini-Game On, right in the pub! If so, I'd certainly make the effort to add it to our routine pub list (along with the Riverview Tavern, Duke of Perth and early morning football/soccer at Ginger's Ale House). Oh well, there must be another local pub out there that has something other than Golden Tee on the gaming tap, right? Right?

Tripping Over the Backend

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Yes, we've been quieter than normal over the past week but that was not our intention. The Friday before last, our Movable Type install started causing serious problems, yet again, forcing us to basically shut down our backend. We then had the following options:

1) Shell out a few hundred dollars, resentfully upgrade to Movable Type 3.x, and still feel restricted with what we can do as long


2) Bite the bullet and migrate everything to a different content management system.

I decided on the later, and immediately commenced work on moving over to Drupal. I'll save you the long story, but after much hair-pulling and swearing, just about everything has been moved over. Sadly, it did take longer than expected (I hoped to have things up and running on Friday, and instead spent all weekend working on the darn thing), but I think it has been worth it.

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