Space Ramblings

Monthly Archives: June 2009

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Peter Molyneux’s Shoe, the upcoming Game that will change gaming?

Luckily for us we at Space Ramblings managed to score an interview with legendary and award winning game designer Peter Molyneux about his upcoming game Shoe. Peter Molyneux remains one of the most fascinating game designers out there so we were happy to sit down and chat with him about his shoes or Shoe as it may be.

SR: So Shoe, a deceptively simple name for a great game?

PM: Absolutely. But the simple is also great. Like the shoe.

SR: So Peter, what is Shoe like as a game?

PM: Shoe will change games, it will change gaming, it will change how you even think of games. After playing Shoe you will look at ordinary games and wonder what they are. You will look at game consoles and be unable to connect them with game playing.

SR: So basically Shoe will make you retarded?

PM: Parts of you. Only parts of you. The parts of you that are cynical and unable to connect with a spiritually more aware world.

SR: And that covers 90 percent of me. Okay so in Peter Molyneux’s Shoe, do you play a Shoe, are you on a quest for Shoes? Is your main character called Shoe?

PM: No, no. you are not getting the big picture. Shoe is meant to make you think of shoes in a whole new light. How do you see shoes now?

SR: As well something I wear on my feet.

PM: And that is all wrong. Have you ever thought that shoes could be your friends?

SR: Generally not.

PM: Have you ever connected emotionally with your shoes?

SR: I’m not French, so no.

PM: Peter Molyneux’s Shoe will change all that. It will create an intimate emotional connection between you and your shoes.

SR: So this game will turn people into shoe fetishists?

PM: That is the narrow minded American in you talking. Shoe will elevate your understanding, it will enable you to view your world from the world of a shoe.

SR: Alright, now we’re getting somewhere. Do you play a shoe in the game?

PM: If you choose to, you can play a shoe.

SR: What else can you play?

PM: Anything you want!

SR: Oh come on. Just tell me what the game is about already.

PM: It’s about your soul!

SR: Oh crap.

PM: Have you ever woken in the middle of the night from a strange dream believing that you had no friends left in the world only to discover that your only true friend is your shoe?

SR: Is this how you get all your ideas?

PM: Shoe is about a quest but the quest is already complete before you begin it. You can do anything you want in Shoe.

SR: Can you fly in Shoe?

PM: If you decide to, yes.

SR: Can you scuba dive in Shoe?

PM: If you imagine it, you can imagine doing it.

SR: I see. Can you return Shoe for a refund?

PM: Regrettably not in the real world, but you can imagine returning it for a refund which is even more satisfying.

SR: Well this has been fun, in an awkward and painful sort of way. Peter Molyneux’s Shoe, coming to a GameStop’s discount bin near you. It involves shoes in some way.

PM: And the human soul.

SR: Shut up.

Google’s Eric Schmidt is Wrong, Brands Don’t Provide Information Credibility

I’m sure it’s what the executives wanted to hear, that the internet is a cesspool and the way out is by spending ad money to develop brands with credibility, but Eric Schmidt’s comments are a predictably deceptive load of crap. Yes brand names are probably going to be more trusted, but they aren’t in any way inherently more trustworthy.

The internet is fast becoming a “cesspool” where false information thrives, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said yesterday. Speaking with an audience of magazine executives visiting the Google campus here as part of their annual industry conference, he said their brands were increasingly important signals that content can be trusted.

The internet was always a “cesspool”. Yes it’s gotten worse lately, especially with organized groups operating out of places like 4chan but brands don’t have much of a track record as the solution. Gawker Media is one of the best known blog brands, but it frequently and casually prints things that are completely inaccurate or untrue, just to bring in traffic. And when it comes to mainstream media brands, should we really count the kind of hoaxes that have been printed and distributed that way? Is the New Republic a brand that has any credibility?

And when it comes to using brands as trusted messages, should we really go into the whole viral video area which involves trusted brands planting unbranded advertising content on video sharing sites, especially Google’s own YouTube?

It is way too easy to fake something on the internet. On the other hand the counterpunch to that is that the internet makes it a lot easier to bring people together to expose the fakes. Something a lot of the brands aren’t too happy with. Without the internet, the CBS evening news brand might be a lot stronger and Dan Rather might still have his job. So brands are overrated, transparency is underrated. The internet is a cesspool but out of that cesspool you also have the potential for creating transparency and it’s transparency not branding that provides credibility. And you can’t buy transparency with AdSense ad buys.

Do We Really Need More Del Toro helmed Hellboy movies?

Guillermo Del Toro has had two high profile big budget shots at a live action Hellboy movie, the fact of the matter is he blew both of them. Oh you might argue that both Hellboy and Hellboy II The Golden Army had their good points, but they were few and far betwee. Guillermo Del Toro had a decent cast to work with, particularly with Ron Perlman as Hellboy, but neither of the movies connected, feeling more like loose collections of CGI, a few punchlines and nothing that made you care about the story, the characters or the universe.

The most profound failure of the live action Hellboy movies was that they didn’t matter, they couldn’t capture the dark sketched universe of the comics, the tension, the intensity, the homages, any of it. Sure the creature design was nice, but that’s all you can really say in defense of Del Toro’s Hellboy movies, themselves easily outdone by the animated movies that were far from perfect, but that did work. So why bring this up? Guillermo Del Toro is talking about a third Hellboy movie.

Meanwhile, del Toro is awaiting word on whether U will embrace a follow-up to “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.” The big-budget film opened in the heat of summer and fell short of blockbuster status in the U.S. but has performed well overseas.

“I think they’ll decide when the last euro hits the piggybank,” del Toro said. “We laid the groundwork to have a magnificent third act. I’d like to return to an action franchise with 60-year-old actor Ron Perlman, because he’ll be scratching at that age when I get to it.”

Langley said the studio is interested and may work with del Toro to add a TV series and online segments to broaden the following before making the series finale.

If Del Toro’s hobbit movies are solid hits that deliver, and I have trouble believing they won’t be, Del Toro may well have his shot at a third Hellboy movie, but based on the two he’s done so far, he probably shouldn’t. Looking back if Del Toro really wants a third Hellboy movie made, he can stick to producing and turn the project over to someone who can bring it together.

The Future of Smallville

It’s not exactly a revelation that the CW doesn’t have much of a future, which is really where any discussion of Smallville has to begin. Dawn Ostroff first wrecked UPN and then went on to wreck the CW. At this point the CW’s ratings are in the toilet, it has no workable online viewing strategy, and its high profile attempts to remake 90210 and create an All Gossip Girls network has failed badly. Smallville, the network’s highest rated series, is headed for Season 9. Its ratings have been declining too, but they’re still above the rest of the network. Which is sad when you consider that they’ve been below 4 million for a while now. The question for the CW is whether Smallville is worth spending insane amounts of money on in order to get a Season 10. The CW has tried the spinoff strategy before, but as turns out no one wanted to watch any of the spinoffs. That just leaves the inevitable, Smallville can’t continue forever. There isn’t enough budget and the show is essentially now Superman, just without the costume. It might somehow claw out a Year 10, but it’s not too clear that even the CW will make it to then.

How to Waste 150 Million Dollars

How to Waste 150 Million Dollars by the Producers, Writers and Director of GI Joe

Step 1. Take over a recognized franchise that has its own fan base, distinctive characters and stories, instead of just creating your own.

Step 2. Throw out everything about the franchise except a few character names and the basic concept. Replace everything with generic gimmicks, actors playing wacky characters, a big action set piece and nothing to distinguish it from any of the 30 movies just like it.

Step 3. Decide if I’m talking about Star Trek, Transformers, GI Joe the movie, or any of the many many other big summer action releases that follow the same exact template.

Not only does the GI Joe movie have a disturbing resemblance to Team America World Police. I mean an international American led police force blowing up the Eiffel Tower. Seriously has no one on this project seen Team America World Police? Is Destro a member of FAG? Anyone on the Joe team have horrible flashbacks to CATS? I don’t even want to know.

RIAA Wins the Battle, Loses the War

One of the RIAA’s more pointlessly insane projects has been fighting a long drawn out legal battle with Jammie Thomas, which it finally seems to have won thanks to one of those mentally retarded juries that isn’t capable of evaluating claims with practical wisdom. Not that it matters much for anyone but Jammie Thomas. The RIAA has gone from being the terror of the internet to a dinosaur snapping at homo sapiens racing past it with their digital spears. In a time when the RIAA is prepared to settle for just giving away music in exchange for an internet isp tax, when Apple’s iTunes effectively controls its distribution and pricing structure, DRM has been dismantled and file sharing networks have moved on, the RIAA is fighting 2003’s war, and celebrating an expensive victory while the actual music industry itself is sinking into the tar pits. The RIAA’s legal tactics became futile a while back. The biggest threat to the music industry long ago stopped being music pirates and became Apple’s control over its catalog and pricing and distribution models. The RIAA has won an outdated battle and long ago lost the war.

Braindead Box Office

It’s hard to make anything coherent of a box office that ends with Sandra Bullock’s Proposal and The Hangover in the top spots. Both movies appeal to people who enjoy sharp blows to the head and throwing up inside their own clothes. The Proposal takes the nauseating conventions of the Sandra Bullock romantic comedy and somehow makes it worse by marrying it with a touch of the frat comedy. The Hangover is just a frat comedy, racist, misogynist and just downright retarded. And they’re what’s ruling the box office.

Of course there isn’t much competition. There’s only so long that UP or Star Trek or Night at the Museum could rule the box office. And Year One, despite being retarded enough to score 20 mil, wasn’t retarded enough to win the Idiocracy demographic far enough to shove The Hangover or The Proposal aside. Of course at number 4, this means that 3 out of the top 4 movies appeal to people who should be somehow prevented from reproducing.

Roland Emmerich and the Towering Inferno

My first reaction to seeing Roland Emmerich’s latest movie in the fascinating genre of “Roland Uses CGI to Blow Stuff Up While Generic but Weakly Sympathetic Characters Run Away” was a big wide yawn that would have done credit to the MGM lion. My second reaction was a slightly weaker yawn. In Independence Day, we had the loosely plausible scenario (assuming you believe that aliens exist) of aliens arriving and blowing up the world’s major cities. In Godzilla we had the not very plausible but amusing scenario involving a mutated lizard produced by an atomic blast wrecking New York. In The Day After Tomorrow, it was global warming or something, in 2012 it’s the Mayan calendar. Run everyone, the Mayan calendar is coming to get you!

It’s funny how the special effects have gotten better, but the concepts for these movies have gotten much stupider.

More Indy or More Cowbell?

No one’s exactly surprised that another Indiana Jones movie is coming along. After all Spielberg gotta eat, especially with no willing Indian billionaires rushing over to buy out Dreamworks in some sort of Bollywood style comedy complete with musical numbers and a dancing Spielberg, and when George Lucas gets down to milking a franchise, boy does he milk it like a cow in January, so we can be sure that by 2018, there will be at least 3 more Indiana Jones movies, two cartoons and the profound disgust of a generation that grew up with the Indiana Jones movies floating through the aether. Either way though Spielberg supposedly has another story cracked, which means Shia’s top lining involvement, which means I’ll skip this spawn of George in favor of watching old reruns of just about anything else. The Indiana Jones movies headed downhill with The Last Crusade, and now Lucas and Spielberg seem determined to go on their own Crusade for the Last Dollar Moviegoers Will Pay to see an Indiana Jones movie.

No Jurassic Park 4

No doubt incredibly disappointing to the 5 people who thought three Jurassic Park movies hadn’t exhausted the possibilities involving CGI dinosaurs running around and smashing stuff, while occasionally letting out great big roars to frighten Jeff Goldblum… but Frank Marshall says there will be no Jurassic Park 4. Darn. You just know if George Lucas had produced Jurassic Park we’d be getting prequels based on The Hero’s Journey with a wacky talking dinosaur sidekick. Spielberg and co. at least had the decency to bury the version of Jurassic Park 4 that had a bunch of government trained dinosaurs fighting terrorism. Not that the version was so unreasonable when you consider that the only real alternative was to just go all Roland Emmerich with it and have the dinosaurs begin reproducing like mad and overrunning the world. Still Spielberg has done the right thing, especially when you consider that no matter how bad it might be, a Jurassic Park sequel would probably still get a 100+ million dollar opening.

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