DID YOU READ

“Child of Eden” Launches User-Generated Happiness Contest

“Child of Eden” Launches User-Generated Happiness Contest (photo)

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When synchronized graphics and thumping techno lit up and rattled the dark stage of the Orpheum Theatre during E3, I immediately knew what had to be happening. Tetsuya Mizuguchi had a new game coming. And, indeed, the man dancing and gesticulating at the Xbox Kinect camera was Mizuguchi himself. It’s ballsy to demo a still-in-development game and ballsier still to do it on hardware that demands a paradigm shift in how you think about controlling a video game. But when that game has you dancing and pointing and essentially doing jazz hands in front of thousands of people? Man. But, people applauded when Mizuguchi’s stage time ended.

Part of that clapping came from watching an amazingly trippy play experience. You have to admit that the demo almost looks like he’s doing magic to the screen. But the enthusiastic response also owes to the fact that probably no one ever thought a sequel to “Rez” would happen. While it often gets name-checked as a truly artistic work of game creation, the game wasn’t a financial success. The fact that the game’s legacy and its creator have become acclaimed since 2002 speaks to a serious shift about how games are perceived. Things have changed in other ways, too, since the Japanese game designer unleashed “Rez” on the Dreamcast and, later, the PS2. “Rez” didn’t shy away from the fact that it was a shooter. Its plot had players hacking into a far-future computer network to face Eden, the newly self-aware AI who’d shut the network down. Nowadays, “Child of Eden” calls its energy projections ‘purification’ and tasks players to cleanse Eden of a negativity virus. Mizuguchi wants to avoid the language of violence with “Child of Eden” and, though it sounds a bit Age of Aquarius, the sentiment fits.

Of course, some things haven’t changed. Since “Child of Eden” a spiritual sequel to “Rez,” it follows that the sound effects and targeting system also look similar. The game’s plot references its predecessor by putting players in P Mizuguchi loves dance music–to the point of starting a record label in Japan–so the soundtrack of “COE” will likely resemble the trance-heavy vibe of “Rez.” “Rez” already intertwined controller vibration, sound design and art direction into a heady playable artifact and “Child of Eden” promises to up the ante by integrating movement-based input into the mix.

Finally, the big difference with “Child of Eden” is that Mizuguchi is inviting people to participate themselves in the game. The title’s publisher Ubisoft just announced a contest that asks people to submit snapshots of happiness to possibly be included in the game’s final level. From the official release:

Starting today, gamers are encouraged to submit their personal photos for consideration by visiting the Child of Eden website (www.childofedengame.com). Examples include smiling faces, beautiful nature shots, stunning landscape views, and other happy and positive images. The deadline for submissions is November 20, 2010. All approved photos will be featured in the final level of Child of Eden.

“The theme of Child of Eden is ‘Hope and Happiness’ and I want players to experience happy feelings every time they play the game,” said Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Q? Entertainment studio founder and Creative Director of Child ofEden. “I need your help to convey these positive emotions, so please send us pictures that give you good vibes so we can include them in the ending of the game.”

On one hand, such a move’s got “marketing ploy” written all over it. Plenty of folks would buy the game just to see if their submission made it in. On the other hand, though, Mizuguchi’s one of the few auteurs in the gamemaking business and he’s generally so beloved as to make participation in a scheme like this a no-brainer. Whether you upload a picture or not, “Child of Eden” will be a game to anticipate when it comes out, which will presumably in 2011.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.