DID YOU READ

EA: Yeah, That One Steven Spielberg Video Game Is Never Coming Out

EA: Yeah, That One Steven Spielberg Video Game Is Never Coming Out (photo)

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Spotting Steven Spielberg at the Electronics Entertainment Expo is kind of like playing “Where’s Waldo?” You know he’s going to be there; it’s just a matter of where you’ll see him. The first time I saw him at E3 a few years back, shock ran through me. “One of the greatest filmmakers ever loves video games?!” It’s never surprising to see younger I’m pretty sure I saw him in Electronic Arts’ massive booth, checking out (I think) a Medal of Honor game before that series got its controversial reboot in the new game that comes out this week. Spielberg actually had a hand in creating the WWII shooter series.

Anyway, it wasn’t a surprise, then, when EA announced a partnership a few tears later between their LA development studio and Spielberg to create new video game properties. In the 2005 official statement, Spielberg then said:

“I have been playing EA games for years and have watched them master the interactive format.” Spielberg said in a statement. “Having watched the game industry grow from a niche into a major creative force in entertainment, I have a great deal of respect for EA’s understanding of the interactive format. I’m looking forward to working closely with the team in Los Angeles.”

The first games to bear Spielberg’s name were the Boom Blox games for the Wii. Formerly known under the PQRS codename, they were clever physics-based puzzles games with cute characters but not what anyone was expecting from the Spielberg/EA union. What people were really waiting for was LMNO, an ambitious, story-driven sci-fi project that was announced at the same time. A 2007 article from Newsweek–written by one N’Gai Croal–describes the game:

The second game, code-named LMNO and made for Xbox 360 and PS3, can be described as “North by Northwest” meets “E.T.” –if E.T. were female, grown up and, um, hot. You don’t play as the girl, however. You’re an ex-secret agent, and the bond that you forge while on the run with the computer-controlled woman–good, bad, indifferent–determines the nature of her special abilities and the ways in which she’ll assist you. Says Spielberg: “The challenge is, can the game have an emotional impact on players while they are actively manipulating the world?” Based on the clever ways in which he and EA are extracting a genuine performance from their digital Eve–complete with eyes that widen, lips that curl and translucent skin that lights up in different colors to express her quicksilver moods–we think Spielberg’s got yet another hit on his hands.

But it seems like LMNO–pronounced ‘elemental’–will never see the light of day. Developer Jake Kazdal–an industry veteran who worked at the EA LA studio, as well as at Sega and other companies–went on Gamasutra’s podcast and told the story of how politics seemingly killed the game. Joystiq further expounds in a post full of other goodies [http://www.joystiq.com/2010/10/11/report-rez-2-prototype-was-in-the-works-project-lmno-canned/]:

Kazdal expanded on the project as it once was, saying, “I don’t wanna get the EA police on me. I can’t say too much. It was very ambitious. We had a small team — very smart people on it. And we spent a lot of time thinking and talking. And doing some stuff. And it just sort of … I don’t know exactly what was the thing that made it fall apart.” He further explained the cancellation of the project — a project he claims to have worked on for two and a half years — by saying, “I’m sure anybody you ask is gonna tell you something a little bit different, but it didn’t end up ever taking off. There was some rival game stuff that may or may not have come out of EA that was basically the same thing minus some of the stuff we were doing. There was just a lot of politics.”

Ironically enough, Kazdal’s gone indie and the Skulls of the Shogun game that his Haunted Temple Studios is making has been hotly anticipated ever since showing at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle this summer. Chances are, politics won’t torpedo this project.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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