"An Early Lead..."

“An Early Lead…”

Pong on the Philly Skyline

Ah Pong. The grandpappy of all video games. Nostalgic reference for the old timers, shiny beacon of history for the young, and an unknown reference for the VERY young. Nevertheless, Pong is an instrumental step in the history of video game, and this past week got a very unconventional salute in Philidelphia, as part of Philly Tech Week.


The 29-story Cira Centre has a grid of LEDs on mirrored glass, and those were perfect “pixels” to become a 400-foot screen. All for the glory of the venerable Pong. Two joysticks were connected to a laptop, which was connected to a 4G hotspot about a quarter mile away. The 4G went right to the computers controlling the building’s lights, and it looks like, aside from a little lag, the giant screen worked pretty well.


The entire display was the daydream of Drexel University Game Design professor Frank Lee. Lee told NPR that one day in 2008, as he was driving by the building he “saw Tetris shapes rotating and falling. And that began the long journey to make this game.” The organizers of Philly Tech Week, it seems, liked the end product of Lee’s five year dream. More games of Pong will be played on the skyscraper screen throughout Tech Week.

All in all, a very cool tribute to technology and a historic game!

Hey, could have been a Blue Shell...

Hey, could have been a Blue Shell…

Mario has some Explaining to Do.

Generally, video games and the law get along fine. A piracy case there, and suspecting glance here, but its not as if gaming gets blamed for anything that clearly was out of the hands of the Video Game Industry…

Well, this past week, that fragile peace may have been broken. In Tempe, Arizona, a strange and mysterious box was seen one morning. Golden, it was emblazoned with question marks

As a precaution, officers evacuated around fifty people from nearby homes and blocked access to two streets while they waited for bomb experts to arrive. The technicians showed up at around 11 a.m and promptly opened the box. “Nothing of concern was in the cardboard box,” said Molly Enright, a spokesperson for the Tempe police. Reportedly, the box contained only papers. The technicians gave the okay for people to return home at 11:30.

Now, I can see how this may have turned out: Old woman, watching some sensational news broadcast, sees a package outside and freaks, and I can understand, and appreciate why the cops would then show up. BUT COME ON!!! This should have a been an open and shut case of “Oh hey look, a prank. Its alright mam, just kids and there video games!”

And you're abandoning us in much the same way!

And you’re abandoning us in much the same way!

Nintendo Decides E3 Ain’t Worth It

Nintendo is a big deal. I mean, probably THE biggest deal in the video game industry, if only based on nostalgia alone. so, when a video game giant  decides to go easy on one of the biggest industry conventions, you know something is up. Nintendo seems to be playing E3 safe this year, judging from a financial results briefing, and that causes one of my eyebrow to raise ever so slightly.

At E3 this year, we are not planning to launch new hardware, and our main activity at E3 will be to announce and have people experience our software. Many people are certainly very interested in learning more about the Wii U titles that we are going to announce. We will use E3 as an ideal opportunity to talk in detail mainly about the Wii U titles that we are going to launch this year, and we also plan to make it possible for visitors to try the games immediately. As a brand new challenge, we are working to establish a new presentation style for E3.

Is this a representation of the current market, or is it something more? Lets just say, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a massive announcement from Nintendo coming down the line in a little bit. Doing this outside of E3 would likely generate more press, making a “show” of the whole thing.  It’s hard to know exactly what is coming down the line, but this should easily make it clear to you that Nintendo is a company to watch in at least the near future, be it for fiery failure, or shinning success.

Half the budget will be on the hair animation...

Half the budget will be on the hair animation…

The Rise of CGI

Video game movies don’t have a good track record. Whether its a Hollywood exec trying to tap a market , or Uwe Boll’s misguided attempts at recreating video game worlds, lets be honest: You are safe betting a video game movie is going to be a flop. There are, of course exceptions, but be honest, what is the last really GOOD video game adaptation you saw?

Well, there seems to be a new trend developing, and one I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. The Rachet and Clank Trailer has some great humor and looks pretty darn good, but the same studio is also working on a Heavenly Sword CGI movie.

In addition to “Ratchet & Clank,” Blockade is also producing “Heavenly Sword,” a CG-animated film based on the videogame that will be distributed direct-to-homevideo.

I’m sorry. but that sounds like a pile of fail. No, I’m not sorry, A Heavenly Sword film WILL be a pile of fail. Don’t let a good thing go bad universe, don’t let it….

Lost...but not forgotten..

Lost…but not forgotten..

Futurama Bids Farewell Again

While it may not be video game related specifically, I could not close out the week with out mourning the passing of great cultural icon…again.

Futurama has been cancelled…again. Comedy Central has decide not to renew Futurama, and the show will finish the current run. Futurama is no stranger to cancellation  having been cancelled on FOX before, then picked back up on Comedy Central with a 4 movie restart. The show often seems doomed, but it was nice to see it come back again.  Dave Bernath of comedy Central had this to say:

“That’s a helluva run that few shows achieve, and especially given the fact that it came back to life, it’s really an amazing story,” he says. “I’m more thankful and feel a sense of gratitude toward the whole process — and that we found a way to keep going for 52 more episodes — than I really am even thinking about the ending. It’s a blessing that it came back and lasted so long.”

I can’t help but feel bitter. Futurama remains one of my favorite shows on Television, and it is leagues ahead of everything else in terms of intelligence and commentary. Lets hope that once again, in the future, we may be gifted to a return.