Put On My Blue Suede News: The Weekly Round-up

Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert are kings of the internet

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It seems like the whole internet has been wanting to give scruffy-haired quirk merchant Tim Schafer loads of money this week. When Schafer mentioned that he had pitched a sequel to his proto-Inception mind circus Psychonauts several times with little success, Markus “ Notch” Persson, creator of the massive brick playground Minecraft, flat out went and offered him the cash to make it. Schafer has thusfar been quiet about whether he will take Persson up on his generous offer, probably because Schafer’s studio Double Fine raked in over half a million dollars and counting through the crowd-funding site Kickstarter only days later. The Grim Fandango creator teamed up with fellow adventure game auteur Ron Gilbert (who brought us the seminal Monkey Island series of pirate shanty point-and-clickers), and the two took to Kickstarter to raise money for an as-yet unstarted adventure game. Cue an avalanche of fanlove, coming in the form of $450,000-worth of donations in less than twenty-four hours. There’s still plenty of time to give them some money, and if you have any interest in adventure games or story-based gaming I would urge you to give even a little. This kind of makes Tim Schafer the Thom Yorke of the the games industry, a unique and inspired voice who can go straight to his fans for the money to make his stuff and deliver it directly to them. Like Radiohead, I think only people of Schafer and Gilbert’s enormous pedigree or popularity could raise so much money for a product, but nonetheless something incredible is happening: people are prepared to commit money to an idea just because of who is involved. Schafer and Gilbert are the new rockstars of the gaming world.

Oh dear God, Kinect Star Wars will have a bloody dance mode

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It seems almost daily that Star Wars fans must weep anew as a beloved franchise is desecrated in the name of a cheap buck. I’ve only just gotten over the atrocity exhibition that was this delightful little trailer for the Phantom Menace 3D rerelease (I’m not really really sure the third dimension was what that film was lacking, George), when I hear that the Star Wars franchise’s gaming exploits with the flaily-armed novelty toy Kinect will come with a dance mode. I shouldn’t even need to explain why that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. It doesn’t bother me too much that the Kinect is wasted exclusively on sub-Wii kitten-stroking simulators, but I draw the line when they turn Star Wars into Just Dance. If my childhood were a baby seal, then LucasArts are clubbing it. With another baby seal.

Some pictures of Disney’s videogame-flavoured filmsicle Wreck-It Ralph

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As a lover of both films and videogames, it also interests me when films start incorporating the language of gaming into their formal makeup. The Matrix was one of the best early examples of a film that reflected the sensibilities of a gaming generation in its visual and narrative style, the central conceit that the matrix itself is a videogame hit some zeitgeist nerves for people who had grown up exploring virtual worlds. Edgar Wright’s demented comic book fantasy ruckus Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is another film that really views the world through game-tinted lenses, to the point that I think many people of older, non-gaming generations will find the film a bit of a headache. Perhaps wearing its videogame influences most proudly on its sleeves is Disney’s forthcoming animated film Wreck-It Ralph, the first images of which have recently emerged. The film follows the titular brick-pounder Ralph (voiced by the hideously underrated John C. Reilly) an old-school gaming hero who escapes from his 8-bit block party into a modern shooter called Hero’s Duty via the arcade power cable. This sounds like it could probably be pretty good, and with caustic comedienne Sarah Silverman rounding out the cast, I think this could be a pretty enjoyable cinematic riff off gaming culture.

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