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The Mario Movie Could Have Been so Much Better [Total Recall]
The Mario movie we ended up with in 1993 was nothing like the games it was based on. An earlier draft for the film, however, was a lot more faithful.

It's impossible to tell whether it would have been any good, of course, but in sticking to the basics of the Mushroom Kingdom it at least couldn't have been any worse than the flick Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper bumbled their way through.

Two years before the final product was released (so in 1991), a script for a Mario Bros. movie was written by Jim Jennewein & Tom S. Parker. A pair with a long history of collaboration, they've worked together on movies like The Flintstones and Major League.

Their idea for a Mario movie was one rooted in Nintendo's video game franchise, though also bearing the more "realistic" influences we'd see in the eventual screenplay. The story goes like this: a pair of plumbers in modern-day Brooklyn, Mario and Luigi, are dragged into a fantasy conflict when Luigi's crush (Hildy, the cute girl at the local florist) is abducted by a mysterious man named Koopa.

Chasing after her, they find a restaurant with a mysterious pipe out back, and upon investigating are sucked into a fantasy land, dropped onto a green, grassy plain where they're immediately attacked by piranha plants. Linking up with Toad and Yoshi (who was called "Junior" for some reason), they lead the fight against Koopa's forces, culminating in a "boss fight" between Mario and Koopa.

What's appealing about this initial screenplay is how much more faithful it is to the source material. Koopa (or Bowser) is a giant lizard. Toad is a small, mushroom-shaped creature. Yoshi is a dinosaur. Koopa flies around in a giant floating pirate ship. Even the climactic boss fight ends over a pit of lava, just like the original Mario games.

Why, then, was it discarded? Who knows. A good guess, though, would be cost, as in the early 1990s the special effects required to bring all those characters to life (in addition to creating all the fantastical sets) may well have been prohibitive for a movie of that scale.

It wasn't the first script to be turned down for the project, either. The Mario movie went through a number of reboots and re-writes, with screenplays submitted inspired by movies like Ghostbusters (a team-based comedy), Die Hard (complete with Bruce Willis cameo) and Mad Max, the latter of which, with desert races and a very adult tone, was apparently so good it convinced Hoskins and Hopper to take part in the project.

After which they were promptly handed an all-new script, one which was nothing like the one they'd signed on for.

If you've got the spare time, all these scripts are available in their entirety from The Super Mario Bros. Movie Archive, where you can also get some summaries of each film's plot should you be a little more rushed for time.

Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.
Total_Recall  Film  Hollywood  Mario  Movies  Super_mario_bros_the_movie  Top  from google
july 2011 by brolston
Fox News Debate of Federal Funding for Games Goes About Like You'd Expect [Video]
Here's a video that is uncomfortable to watch on two levels. The first is that I feel terrible for Brian Ambrozy, the editor-in-chief of Icrontic, who is appearing on Fox News to try to explain why and what kind of video games are now eligible for federal arts funding. The second is the nonstop assault Fox and its counterpoint ringer make on one's intelligence.

Only an idiot would say that Call of Duty is eligible for a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Only an idiot would believe it. Only an idiot would believe the government is giving tens of billions of dollars to video game development, as Fox insinuates. But all this makes for good video and outrage in the nursing homes where Fox News' weekend programming has its highest penetration. So off we go, even when Ambrozy points out that giving taxpayer money (notice how many times they say that) to a major commercial release is about as likely as Michael Bay getting a grant for the next Transformers movie.

Then comes something named Neal Asbury with a counterpoint that, in structure, resembles the Chewbacca defense. Which is to say he wasn't even paying attention while Ambrozy spoke. I'm not sure who Asbury is or why he's even qualified to talk about federal arts funding or video games. At least the latter is the subject Ambrozy deals with as part of his job. Asbury seems to be nothing more than a weekend pinch-hitter from Fox's rolodex of drive-time radio demagogues. Neither he nor the host are interested in what's being said, only what they're saying.

Ambrozy does get in a good dig—"I'm talking to entertainers here"—but he never had a chance. He deserves respect (if not sympathy) for taking the very thankless role of presenting the gaming-as-art point of view for a program that had no intention of treating it seriously. That said, I have to wonder why anyone would agree to appear on Fox News as an advocate for any subject to which the network is so recognizably hostile.

[via Reddit]
Fox_you_ignorant_slut  Arts  Brian_ambrozy  federal_funding  Fox_News  nea  Top  Video  from google
may 2011 by brolston
The Harsher, Deadlier Dark Souls is also a More Beautiful Horror Adventure [First Look]
There's no mistaking it. Dark Souls is as much a Demon's Souls sequel as we're ever going to get, at least any time soon. It's the more beautiful Demon's Souls. It's the game more willing to run wild with its unique brand of twisted dark medieval fantasy.

It may have been touted as a more difficult Demon's Souls, with more relentless enemies, crueler environments and more trademark brutally. But Dark Souls feels like a more refined, better produced, more mature Demon's Souls—not just a sequel with the difficulty knob cranked to 11—a game I just had my first real-time gameplay demo of earlier this week.

To say that I was excited for Dark Souls may be an understatement. I lobbied (unsuccessfully) in 2009 for Demon's Souls to be Kotaku's Game of the Year. I have since sunk hundreds of hours into that PlayStation 3 game, seeing its every bit of content, nabbing the game's platinum trophy. I came to love it harshness, its brooding atmosphere, its punishments for carelessness and its rewards for thoughtful play. So, yes, I'm very interested in Dark Souls.

Based on my initial hands-off impressions of Dark Souls, this is a game designed with players like me in mind, players who are comfortable with its many deaths . Having sufficiently conquered Demon's Souls, I need a new challenge. And it looks like I'm going to get one.

My demo, played on a PlayStation 3, focused on a single area, one trap-laden castle, the stony, gloomy medieval fare that Demon's Souls was known for.

As we approached what Namco Bandai reps referred to as "The Trapped Castle"—the game called it "Sen's Castle"—we looked behind our knight briefly. At his back was the bridge that lead to Sen's Castle, beyond that the forested open area that is said to lend Dark Souls a less structured world than its predecessor. Gone is the hub world of Demon's Souls' Nexus, partially replaced by campsites known as Beacon Fires. These fires are the safe zones where players can heal and share their experiences with other players.

A player's visit to Sen's Castle may occur at different occasions for different players, Namco reps said. The same was partially true of Demon's Souls, but Dark Souls appears to be less restrictive in where its players can go and when they can go there.

Looking toward the humble castle entrance, I was immediately struck at how vibrant this game was. The screen was bordered with soft greens from the nearby trees. The walls of Sen's Castle glowed softly gold. The knight, outfitted with a rusty iron helmet, indigo robes underneath leather armor, dozens of medallions hanging from his neck, a dagger sheath at his left breast, he looked more colorful, more uniquely interesting than the medieval fantasy warriors of Demon's Souls.

Still, this is grim, dark fantasy stuff, evident as we entered Sen's.

If one considers the environmental nature of some of Demon's Souls worlds, with Stonefang Tunnel a world of fire and magma, the Vally of Defilement home to plague and poison, Sen's Castle should be thought of as a long sequence of death traps. Darts fly from its walls from all directions. Elevator shafts are capped with spikes, making damn sure you better get off on the right floor or suffer the consequences.

The castle is guarded by snake warriors. They're humanoid from the neck down, with long serpentine necks that stretch their height to eight or nine feel tall. Those snake-men attack with sword and shield, moving quickly and relentlessly.

Dark Souls sometimes throws in a cobra guard variant, a four-armed soldier with a wide hooded neck, a curved sword in each hand and the power to spray poisonous venom clouds. Lovely.

While fighting those snake guards, it was clear the combat in Dark Souls is near identical to that of its inspiration. As in Demon's Souls, players can strike one-handed, with light or heavy attacks. They can switch to a two-handed mode, putting away one's shield, for braver battles. Parry, riposte, critical strikes, blocks and rolling dodges—they're all here, all seemingly unchanged in their effectiveness. Demon's Souls players should feel at home in this game's hand-to-hand fights.

Venturing further into Sen's more traps revealed themselves. On a narrow bridge, a series of giant pendulum scythes swung back and forth, threatening to knock the player into a dark pit below (I got to see the contents of that pit a bit later). Further complicating the approach was a snake guard one floor above, spitting at the player as he slowly creeped through—then sprinted through!—the scythes. At the end of that bridge, another vicious obstacle awaited, a never-ending series of rolling boulders, the kind that would make Indiana Jones run in fear for his life, but which Dark Souls players must routinely face while running up and down winding staircases in Sen's Castle.

The sound of those traps, a constant din of rolling boulders and mechanized torture devices clattering in the distance, will be a fearsome reminder to players of the dangers of Sen's.

The traps don't stop there. At the entrance to the castle, the knight opened up a treasure chest, revealing a bounty of souls within. But his next attempt to open a chest resulted in a horrifying discovery. The chest opened, revealing a pair of spindly arms, rows of bloody fangs and a flopping, bloody tongue, pulling the player inside for a chew. It was a grislier version of a Mimic from Dragon Quest, a beast disguised as booty. The player antagonized it, swinging at it with his hefty large sword. That really pissed off the treasure chest mimic, which then stood upright, now twice the height of the player. It kicked and scratched and roared, stronger than its thin frame implied. Eventually, it went down, reduced to a pile of souls.

In Sen's, we saw one more thing that inhabited the trapped castle. At the bottom of the aforementioned black pit, where stagnant water has collected, was a huge bronze guardian—this monstrosity. Its head was sheared off, as was one of its legs. It lumbered toward the knight, massive bronze staff in hand, a slow moving juggernaut that was just creepy (and mad) as hell.

Now, there was no real climax in my hands-off demo. It didn't end in one of FromSoftware's boss fights against some huge demon or towering knight. Instead, we paused a moment to take a look at the game's interface, inventory and equipment. The knight I was shown, a "special kind of knight," is just one of the game's starting classes. The only other mentioned was a witch. The equipment our knight wore included the previously mentioned armor, a large class sword, otherwise nondescript, and a pointed shield. That large sword had at least one secret ability—it could cast spells.

We saw a few more traditional spells equipped in the knight's inventory, like a lightning bolt attack and the defensive "iron body" magic. But it appears that some weapons will have the ability to behave magically, with this one casting a fireball spell and an area of effect attack that emitted a crimson burst.

As back up, the knight had at least two more weapons—a large, gnarled hammer that reminded me of Garl Vinland's Bramd and a thorny bluish sword that looked as heavy as a Meat Cleaver or Dragon Bone Smasher from Demon's Souls. Flipping through the redesigned and far more attractive inventory screen, it looked like the standard equipment was here. Gauntlets, helmets, rings, leggings, inventory to hold grasses and other consumables were all seen. Yes, you'll be chomping on grasses and downing spice in Dark Souls, just like its forebear.

One new aspect of Dark Souls will be the option to upgrade one's armor with materials, an option previously limited to weapons and shields in Demon's Souls.

Delving into the game's inventory screen also offered a quick glimpse at stats. It appears that the confusing runes that indicated a player's strength, dexterity, faith, luck and more have been replaced by more easily understood icons.

Added to the list of character attributes is a new Humanity stat, which has some effect on a player's human nature. In Dark Souls, you're already dead, with your appearance fluctuating from human to more corpse-like, with that Humanity characteristic having some unexplained impact. Namco Bandai reps said that players can "give some of their humanity" at Beacon Fires, a mechanic we don't yet understand, but hope to when the game is shown in online form at E3 2011.

Speaking of the game's online modes, it will feature similar online mechanics introduced in Demon's Souls, with players able to visit and invade each other's worlds, leave them messages, either helpful or malicious. For the Xbox 360 version, which is not guaranteed online connectivity unless players are Xbox Live Gold subscribers, offline players will not see that side of Dark Souls.

Based on comments from Namco Bandai reps, the online cooperative and competitive modes in Dark Souls don't appear to be changing drastically. Players will still be able to meet up with other players, mostly strangers, online to work together. But they'll still be working independently in a sense, relying on their own skills, spells and equipment.

Dark Souls comes to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this October in North America and Europe. While we wait, new screens of Dark Souls, including some from Sen's Castle, await you in the gallery.
first_look  Dark_souls  Demon's_souls  eyes-on  Fb  from_software  Impressions  Namco_Bandai  Original  Preview  PS3  Top  Xbox_360  from google
may 2011 by brolston
Donald Rumsfeld Refuses To Answer Whether Or Not He’s a Lizard Person
ARE DONALD RUMSEFELD AND DICK CHENEY LIZARD PEOPLE FROM OUTER SPACE WHO EAT HUMAN FLESH? For years, this is the one question the world has wanted to ask, as it is the only rational explanation for two beings that look human but in no way acted like it when they were in office. Yesterday, the world finally got its chance. Suspected lizard Donald Rumsfeld went on The Opie & Anthony Show to discuss his new book. Luckily for humanity, our greatest living stand-up comedian, Louis C.K., was also a guest, and he asked Rumsfelf point-blank if he is a lizard. Rumsfeld’s response? Some weird story about a guy buying him dinner that had nothing to do with the question. C.K. went on to ask the question a few more times during the interview, and specifically asked if Rumsfeld ate Mexican babies, but he wouldn’t even explain why he wouldn’t respond to the lizard question. The lizard question is first posed at the 2:37 mark in this video. After the interview, Louis C.K. supports his conclusion that Rumsfeld is obviously a space lizard.

It may be a little late to save any of those lives lost in Iraq, but we’ve got you cornered now, lizard man. [Splitsider]
Wonkette  books  donald_rumsfeld  interviews  lizard_people  lizards  louis_c.k.  mexican_babies  cold_bloods  space_lizards  top  from google
february 2011 by brolston
Sarah Palin Continues To Hate America
Sarah Palin continues to be a major critic of President Barack Obama. Why are people giving her a platform? Why would anyone think she has any particular insight into national issues and how our federal government should operate? Wouldn’t it be cheaper just to mic up a grilled cheese sandwich and ask it questions? But at least she adds to the diversity of the medium, because unlike most people on our teevee boxes, she hates the United States of America.

Sarah Palin Monday night chided President Barack Obama for his support of the right to build the proposed mosque two blocks from Ground Zero in New York, saying the president “doesn’t get it.”

Oh, no? Good to see that Sarah Palin managed to get her doctorates in religious studies and political science. Finally, somebody who can speak with authority on this subject.

“It sounds cliched to say that the president is disconnected from the American people on this issue, but how else do you describe it,” the former Alaska GOP governor said on Fox News.

You want to know who else is disconnected from the American people? Sarah Palin! She lives in the middle of nowhere, thousands of miles from where the vast majority of Americans live. Which is fine! But it is sort of hard to be the voice of America. Not impossible! But it is impossible to be the voice of America when your idea of America doesn’t extend beyond uneducated white people who are Christians. And when you think that is the only kind of America that should exist, that is known as hate.

You want to know how to describe the president’s view on this issue? It’s the great American tradition of not giving a shit what other people do or want to believe. And yes, it’s pretty important to the fucking Constitution.

“He just doesn’t get it, that this is an insensitive move on the part of those Muslims who want to build that mosque in this location.”

Somebody is not getting it! Somebody is being insensitive! Perhaps with some education, Sarah Palin could understand that “those Muslims” are Americans. And perhaps she might understand that the mosque that is ALREADY THERE gets pretty crowded! That is one reason why it would be good to put another one in this location! And perhaps she can understand that cities are places where people are not just white and Christian! And perhaps, for a fucking second, she can try to understand how it feels when somebody hates you and associates you with terrorists because of your religion or your name or the color of your skin, even though you love your country. And then perhaps she can understand that she does not live in this fucking neighborhood and has no idea what should or should not be built there. There is probably a crazy homeless man who masturbates at the World Trade Center site every day, but she has no idea.

Meanwhile, the grilled cheese sandwich is tolerant of Americans who are not white and Christian. The grilled cheese sandwich lets people be. The grilled cheese sandwich does not hate American values that make white and Christian people less fucking special.

“It feels like a stab in the heart to, collectively, Americans who still have that lingering pain from 9/11.”

Yeah, gonna go ahead and assume it might feel more like a stab in the heart for people who simply want to be a part of their own community and practice their own mainstream religious beliefs in a simple manner, without being called the murders of people who used to work in their community.

If it feels like a stab in the heart to Americans that Muslims are a part of our society so close to where the World Trade Center stood, not only do those Americans refuse to acknowledge the true nature of their country, they actually hate it.

“If the purpose of this mosque, as we are lead to believe, is to create this tolerant environment, to avoid anything like a 9/11 ever repeating, you have to ask why didn’t one of those 100 [existing] mosques already accomplish such a thing,” Palin said.

Yes, isn’t it fucking amazing, Sarah Palin, that no matter how much Muslims practice their religion peacefully and are decent, hard-working Americans, people like you still refuse to tolerate them? We certainly do have to fucking ask why people like you continue to not tolerate them! What do Muslims have to do for you to tolerate them? Oh, right, there is nothing they can do. You just have to stop hating them. That’s something you have to do. They can’t do it for you.

Meanwhile, the grilled cheese sandwich waits by the phone for someone to call it and let it give its opinion on how exactly we should restrict religion in the United States. [Politico]
Wonkette  9/11  America  fox_news  ground_zero  islam  liberty  mosque  mosques  surprise!  sandwiches  sarah_palin  terrorism  top  world_trade_center  wtc  from google
august 2010 by brolston
Rick Santorum Giving ‘Islamic’ Language Lessons
Possibly the most ignorant motherfucker to ever walk the halls of the Senate, Rick Santorum was sent packing in 2006 because, even by Republican standards, he is an outrageously stupid bigot and total human failure. For some reason, he was allowed to give a “speech” at some college in Nebraska, where he gave his usual historically wrong and intellectually vapid comments about the exciting moros y cristianos battle still happening, in his mind. Oh yes, there were laughs to be had!

Santorum, the “third leg” in Peggy Noonan’s holy trinity — Reagan and the Dead Pope being the other two entities of her personal Comma Johanneum — has many comical beliefs about everything from fucking dogs to carrying around and worshiping his own dead feti. But his special-people view of Christianity and its role in historical governing is fantastic:

The lecture continued when Santorum pointed out what he thought were the main differences between Christians and Muslims. Santorum said Christians, who believe in Jesus Christ, never governed or conquered anyone, but Mohammed was a warrior and killed people.

Uhh, Rick? Maybe next time you’re reading Conservapedia or whatever, maybe try out that fancy “search box” with a couple of the following terms: Reconquista,, the Papal States, the Holy Roman Empire, los Reyes Católicos, Christendom, the Holy Land Crusades, the Cathars, the Albigensian Crusade, the Spanish Inquisition, the Conquistadors, Christopher Columbus, etc.

Or don’t, and just keep wandering around dispensing jewels of knowledge like this:

“A democracy could not exist because Mohammed already made the perfect law,” Santorum said. “The Quran is perfect just the way it is, that’s why it is only written in Islamic.”

Santorum speech excites crowd [Daily Nebraskan]
Wonkette  GOP  islam  morons  never_forget  idiots  republicans  rick_santorum  top  from google
february 2009 by brolston
No Gods or Kings: Objectivism in BioShock [Bioshock]
By: Brian Crecente

The sunken city of Rapture, a world of art deco aesthetics, neon sales pitches and looming architecture, is home to more than just murderous splicers and lumbering Big Daddys, it's also a surprising breeding ground for introspection.

BioShock may have been conceived as a study in nuance, a place for gamers to discover and explore at their own pace, but its dip into the ethical morass of Ayn Rand's objectivist philosophies has brought her beliefs back into the mainstream spotlight and even piqued the interest of the Ayn Rand Institute's president, Yaron Brook.

Brook, a former member of the Israeli Army military intelligence and award-winning finance professor at Santa Clara University, first took notice of the game when he discovered his 18-year-old son playing it. It's a fact that didn't bother Brook despite his son's objectivist beliefs and the game's not so positive take on the philosophy.

"My son has to find his own way in life," he said. "There are certain games I wouldn't want him to play, like Grand Theft Auto, games that celebrate criminality. But a game that might lead him to think and have him challenge his ideas, I'm fine with.

"Luckily for me he doesn't agree with the game, he still seems to believe in objectivism"

Objectivism as a central theme in BioShock was actually the result of a confluence of ideas and happenstance. The heart of the game started, as do most of Ken Levine's games, as the answer to a problem.

"How do we make an environment that feels really complete?" Levine said. "That's where we came up with a space ship for System Shock. In BioShock we said what can we do similarly and simulate fully as we could a space ship."

The answer was an underwater city, but that simply formed the game's outline, the walls that kept a player from remembering they were in a confined space.

Levine wondered what sorts of people might live in an underwater city, what would drive someone from the rest of the world.

"I started thinking about utopian civilizations," he said. "You have these traditional utopian notions. I've always been a fan of utopian and dystopian literature.

"The more I started thinking about making a compelling place and compelling villain, someone who had a real concrete set of beliefs made sense."

Enter Objectivism. Levine said he had been reading Ayn Rand's books over the past few years and was fascinated with her "intensity and purity of belief."

"The surety she has in her beliefs was fascinating," he said. "She almost spoke like a super villain, like Dr Doom."
And her characters, Levine believed, projected that same intensity.

"I started to wonder, what happens when you stop questioning yourself? It becomes a set of accepted truths, instead of something you're constantly using in the lab of reality."

FLAWS IN LOGIC AND CHARACTER
Where Rand had Fountainhead's Howard Roark and Atlas Shrugged's John Galt, Levine had Andrew Ryan, Rapture's founder.

Levine said he views the game's chief protagonist as a cross between Howard Hughes and "one of Rand's characters if he were put in the real world with all of the real problems people have."

"Rand's characters are super heroes," he said. "Great people without flaws. "

But Brook says, that's not really a fair interpretation of Rand's beliefs.

"It seems to me that he's misrepresented what Ayn Rand believes and her ideals beyond objectivism," he said. "He's setting it up to fail. He believes , based on what I've read, that any system that is absolutist is ultimately going to lead to disastrous effect. Any system of black and white, any system of ultimate morality.

"In many cases that true. But I think what lessens the game is that misinterpretation of objectivism."

Rand's characters aren't flawed because not everyone is, Brook says.

"I think its flawed logic in the sense that he thinks that people have to be flawed," he said. "I think in many respects (Rand's) books do put her characters in real life.

"I think there are great people and perfect people and I think we all should strive to be great and perfect."

That's how Levine's Ryan starts out, a "new man", an incredible individual, but in the end he fails and falls.

Ryan fails, Levine says, because while building the utopia of Rapture he never questions himself, never stopped to think if he had gone astray. And because of that he betrays his own belief system and ends up "wanting his cake and eating it too."

Despite his failings, Ryan still remains true to his ideals in the end, an important point.

"He brought his end upon himself and didn't shirk away from it," Levine said. "He wasn't a hypocrite. He may have failed, but he really believed what he did and put everything on the line for it."

THE GLUE THAT HOLDS THE GAME TOGETHER
Levine was careful how he presented to his team the idea of injecting philosophy into what was meant to be a mainstream game.

"The game doesn't lead with objectivism," he said. "I didn't pitch it to the team that way. If you pitch it that way to the team you're going to get the wrong game."

So initially, the team concentrated on capturing a time period. They studied furniture from the pre and post-war period. Levine went out and took pictures of New York architecture. They brought in Jack Beatty, senior editor of The Atlantic Monthly, to talk about the time period. Levine also brought in a few copies of Rand's books.

"There was a bit of an education process," he said. "The artists mostly had to think about the art deco stuff, I wrote about 95 percent of the dialog."

Late in the development process Levine decided that the game and the underwater city of Rapture needed more propaganda, things like the larger-than-life bust of Andrew Ryan and its slogan: No Gods or Kings. Only Man and the constant barrage of public service announcements.

"I felt the philosophy wasn't coming across enough, " Levine said. And objectivism "was the glue that holds the aesthetics together."

A CAUTIONARY TALE
Levine says he didn't set out to torpedo objectivism with BioShock.

"I think I'm more sympathetic to it," he said. "I find a lot of positive in it. I find her notion of selfishness is very interesting, not living for the abrogation of others, believing in the individual man as the central powerful force in the world rather than a government or a supreme being, the reintegration in belief of man/woman.

"We live in a country where atheists are distrusted, but you can be proudly religious and proudly political, but to reject those things and be proud of it I think that's a very brave woman.

"But I'm not a person who buys anything hook, line and sinker. I view life more as a buffet style.
"When I look at anything in my life one of my saving graces is the ability to step back and examine things. It's very easy to get mired in ideology."

Levine said he actually wrote the story of BioShock as a fan of Ayn Rand's precepts.

"I'm probably way more similar to her in my terms of how I think about religion and politics than any other philosophers," he said.

But Levine believes that Rand would reject that take on philosophy, that Rand believed it was "her way or the highway."

So BioShock wasn't meant really to be a game about Rand's beliefs, but more about her intensity.

"I wasn't setting out to make a game about objectivism, I was setting out to make a game about someone who had a very strong belief in a philosophy that was similar to this philosophy.

"It's a cautionary tale about wholesale, unquestioning belief in something."

While Brook cautions he hasn't played the game, his take on what Levine was trying to do with the story and its use of philosophy is surprisingly similar to what Levine himself says.

"My general sense is that the game's author is suspicious of any absolute philosophy and clumps objectivism in there," Brook said. "While he sees certain virtues in it, he thinks anything taken too far ultimately leads to disaster."

GUNS, EXPLOSIONS AND PHILOSOPHY
"Some people just like to blow shit up and some people like to think about the themes and the metaphors," he said.

And there were plenty of both in BioShock. Take for instance the disturbingly symbiotic relationship between the Little Sisters and the Big Daddys.

"The more you know about objectivism the more interesting the little sisters become," Levine said. "The little sisters are an examination of the question: Do the means justify the ends"

The weapon dispensers found throughout the game are meant to be another metaphor.

Rand, Levine says, is a believer in a completely free and unfettered market. Rapture and its vending machines were intended to be an illustration of what can happen when intellectual examination of a philosophy or a way of life stops.

"Some people complained about the vending machines and guns and ammunitions in the world, but there would be no restrictions on the market at all, so I could see that happening, especially if there was a civil war on."

Levine understands that not everyone wants to have a thoughtful experience when they play games, but he believes strongly in providing one for the people who do.

"I think by trying to throw some reflection on it you make people step back from the games they've played and think about it a tiny, tiny bit," he said. "But it has to be an entertaining experience first.

"The game was never intended to be a screed against Rand because I think there is a lot to like there, but if you take anything to its extremes it isn't good.

While in the end, Brook doesn't agree with what he believes to be the anti-objectivism tone of the game, he still sees it as a good think for the Ayn Rand Institute and objectivism.

"There have been a lot of people writing about the game and its connection to Ayn Rand," he said. And that's a good thing "in a sense, if you believe that any publicity is good publicity because it creates a level of curiosity and sends people to read the books. We probably had more kids going to read the book because of the video game.

"… [more]
atlas_shrugged  ayn_rand_institute  Bioshock  Feature  fountainhead  ken_levine  Objectivism  Original  Top  yaron_brook  from google
february 2008 by brolston
Create your own text message distribution center with TextMarks
Web site TextMarks lets you create a central place to distribute information to anyone via text message.

It works like this: You set up your own free account at TextMarks based on a unique keyword (for example, I used lifehack). Then you can assign a response for that keyword, from a static text response to a dynamic response from a web page. So, for example, if you were to send a text message to TextMark (41411) with lifehack (the TextMark I created) in the body of the message, TextMark will text you back with the top stories at Lifehacker.
You can edit the TextMark response at any time - whether you're using a web page or you're manually entering your message each time. TextMarks could be a great way to get messages out to a large group (Want to know when the next soccer practice is? Set up a TextMark!). Alternately, you could set up your blog with TextMarks like I did with Lifehacker so your friends could see what you've been up to with a quick text to TextMarks. Thanks Dana! — Adam Pash

Textmarks
text_messaging  sms  top  web_utilities  communication  from google
march 2007 by brolston
Download of the Day: WorkRave (Windows/Linux)
Windows/Linux only: Prevent RSI from setting in after long, uninterrupted hours on your PC with the free WorkRave timed break application.

WorkRave pops up and prompts you for a "micro break" or a longer exercise break at time intervals you determine. The app will even suggest anti-RSI exercises for your eyes, back and shoulders to help prevent backaches, headaches and carpal tunnel. WorkRave is a free download, Windows and Linux only. (Mac users, check out previously-posted AntiRSI for a similar app.) Thanks, gatorparade! — Gina Trapani

WorkRave
Downloads  RSI  Top  Windows  from google
january 2007 by brolston

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