DID YOU READ

Liars & Cheats DLC Rustling Up a Posse for “Red Dead Redemption”

Liars & Cheats DLC Rustling Up a Posse for “Red Dead Redemption” (photo)

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Earlier this summer, Rockstar Games announced that they’d be rolling out four DLC packs for “Red Dead Redemption,” their hit game released in May. John Marston’s saga has already racked up significant numbers–an estimated $5 million by June alone–and, even if only a fraction of the cowpokes who grabbed the game at launch log onto Xbox Live or Playstation Network, “RDR” will be earning its keep over a long stretch of time. The rundown from the initial press release:

Legends and Killers Pack New active map locations, characters and more:
New active map locations, characters and more:
• 9 new multiplayer map locations — more than doubling the amount of territories in the multiplayer competitive modes;
• 8 new multiplayer characters — play as characters from Red Dead Revolver;
• Introducing a new projectile weapon: the Tomahawk, with corresponding challenges for single-player and multiplayer gameplay;
• New achievements and trophies;
• Pricing: $9.99 (PlayStation Network), 800 Microsoft Points (Xbox LIVE).

Liars and Cheats Pack
New competitive modes, multiplayer mini-games in Free Roam, and more:
• Attack and Defend multiplayer competitive mode and challenges;
• New multiplayer horse races, complete with mounted combat;
• Play as the heroes and villains of Red Dead Redemption, as well as 8 additional multiplayer characters;
• Multiplayer versions of Liars Dice and Poker from the single-player game;
• Introducing a new weapon: the Explosive Rifle, with associated challenges available in single-player and multiplayer gameplay;
• New achievements and trophies;
• Pricing: $9.99 (PlayStation Network), 800 Microsoft Points (Xbox LIVE).

Free Roam Pack
Delve deeper into the world of Red Dead Redemption with new modes, challenges and gang hideouts to discover:
• Additional Free Roam challenges;
• New action areas and defensive placements;
• Posse scoring and leaderboards;
• New anti-griefing measures in Free Roam;
• Pricing: TBC.

Undead Nightmare Pack
Ghost towns and cemeteries come alive in a West gone horribly wrong:
• Release date: TBD;
• Brand new single-player adventure, challenges and quests;
• 8 new multiplayer zombie characters;
• Additional animals unleashed in the world;
• New dynamic events and more;
• Pricing: $9.99 (PlayStation Network), 800 Microsoft Points (Xbox LIVE).

The GTA publisher’s using DLC in a different way than most other major game publishers. The four content packs interlock in a way to make the already-huge gameworld even more filled with possibilities. Want to play as characters from “Red Dead Revolver,” the odd-bird precursor that Rockstar bought halfway through development? Legends and Killers has you covered. Itching to blaze new trails into virgin territory? Saddle up in Free Roam. And if you want to play a couple of rounds of poker, this week’s Liars & Cheats will have you covered.

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The cost of each pack individually is about $9.99. Some packs adds a new weapon–a tomahawk in Legends and Killers, for example–that bring with them specific challenges. Others expand the playable territory of the game. And, of course, the Undead Nightmare pack upends the whole experience completely, throwing in outré horror elements into a game that’s inherently plainspoken and no-nonsense.

Aside from the secondary revenue stream provided by the DLC packs, Rockstar could possibly get something even more valuable than the cash: a steady stream of information about how users are playing the game. Lots of recent games send data back to servers; when you see a long stat sheet in a game about how many people you’ve killed with such-and-such weapon, those metrics are likely being beamed back to developers, too. Who uses cover, which areas see the most traffic, which weapons are the most popular… it basically amounts to free, surreptitious focus testing. BioWare recently revealed some of its findings from “Mass Effect 2” and gleaned, for example, that only 15% of conversations were skipped past by players. Now, “Mass Effect 2” is a talk-heavy game and that the bulk of players would sit through most of it is a testament to how compelled they must be by the dialogue.

I’ve written a bit about the way BioWare’s using DLC for “Mass Effect 2” to extend the fictional universe and sense of characters. Rockstar’s doing something a bit different: seeding the multiplayer world with lots of different ingredients for emergent, unscripted experiences. And then, I suspect, the House of Houser will sit back, take a look at how players are improvising and use it to make their next offering even more spot-on. Or, tantalizingly, even more divergent.

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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.