December 6, 2013

And This is Why I Hate Flying

No. Fucking. Thanks.

I need to become a billionaire so I can travel everywhere by luxury train / massive yacht.

Nice save by the pilot, though.

December 3, 2013

This is Awesome

As video games become more and more realistic, shouldn't the consequences of your actions also become part of the game? Not your in-game actions, your actions outside of the game.

To wit, and from the fine blokes at Deadspin, here is what happens when you swear while playing NBA 2K14 on the Xbox One.

Now, it should be pointed out that had the Rage King calmed down for a few seconds, he'd have likely realized you can turn this feature off. Still, I think it's pretty cool.

And they aren't the first ones to do it. The FIFA series has this as well. Swear too much in career mode while playing and you get a stern letter from your club's owner. Which I found out first-hand playing FIFA 13. I might have a slight swearing problem. Which is to say it's a big problem. So turning this feature off may be a good thing for me going forward.

But think of the possibilities. In any multi-player game, you could design the game to react negatively to someone using insulting language. See how many times someone says "fag" in Call of Duty if it results in them being left with only a knife for an hour. Something to think about...

December 2, 2013

Movie Review: Rollerball (1975)

“You can't make me quit.” – Jonathan E. (James Caan)

Director: Norman Jewison

Writers: William Harrison (short story and screenplay)

Producer: Norman Jewison

Studio: MGM/UA

Major Stars: James Caan, Maud Adams, John Houseman, Moses Gunn, John Beck

I was worried going into this viewing that I would find myself disappointed the way I was with Logan’s Run. That a 70s sci-fi movie that I loved growing up would fail under the weight of those rose-colored expectations.

That didn’t happen here. Rollerball is still a solid sci-fi movie, one with a message. It doesn’t redefine the genre, but it carves its own niche into it and can hold its own with today’s flashy additions to the genre.

The plot is pretty straightforward. In the near-future, a handful of mega-corporations run the world. They provide all the basics of life and in return simply ask that the people let them run things as they see fit. To further distract the masses, they run a game called Rollerball where each corporation has a team. It is a hyper-violent sport that not only entertains the crowds but reinforces the idea that individualism is useless, that no one person can rise above the masses. It’s like if Mussolini ran a soccer league where all the players carried spiked bats.

On the Houston Energy team is the most popular player in the world, Jonathan E. (Caan). He starts to receive pressure to retire. No one will tell him why. His decision to seek out the answers drives the film to its conclusion.

Caan is great as Jonathan E. Jonathan begins the film content in his role as a player. He is a product of his world; a contented worker bee with a rudimentary education. But as he is pressured to retire, his eyes are opened to how rotted the world has become. Libraries are gone and now fully digitized, but information is constantly lost. Executives are awarded “privileges” where they can do things like take someone’s wife for their own (which happened to Jonathan). The Corporations run the world with unchecked power but rely on a faulty master computer for guidance.

That makes for one of the great moments of the movie. Jonathan demands to question the master computer in Zurich to find out why things are the way they are. Once there he is informed the computer has lost all the information pertaining to the 13th century, but that it doesn’t matter since the only thing of interest then was Dante. At which point the computer starts to babble incoherently. Jonathan realizes the computer is hopelessly corrupted, just like the world it has spawned.

And yet he doesn’t give in. The whole movie is, in part, a message about the individual fighting to claim their uniqueness in a world that tries to nullify it. The rollerball matches Jonathan competes in get more dangerous. His best friend on the team, Moonpie (played wonderfully by John Beck) is attacked during a match against Tokyo and intentionally placed into a permanent coma with a spiked glove shot to the back of his unprotected head. Jonathan is offered power, money and women. He is even offered back his wife, the one taken away from him by the Corporations so many years ago, as the ultimate bribe. All of this if he will simply retire.

But Jonathan won’t do it. Mostly because no one will tell him why they want him gone at first. But by the climax, he won’t do it because he sees everything the Corporations touch as rotted to the core, including the game he loves. The only thing he has that is untouched, that is his, is his name. And he won’t give that up.


Site of Future Awesomeness

Coming soon.

Site of Future Awesomeness

Coming soon