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“Sims” Creator To Debut Crowd-Sourced, Choose-Your-Own-Adventure TV Show

“Sims” Creator To Debut Crowd-Sourced, Choose-Your-Own-Adventure TV Show (photo)

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The man who showed us the glee in forbidding little virtual people from peeing is bringing his game design philosophy to cable television, thanks to a new partnership with Current TV. Will Wright, creator of the “Sims,” “Sim City” and “Spore” will be co-producing a new program’s called “Bar Karma” for the Al Gore-founded channel. The series will craft the episodes’ plots according to input from the audience. The network’s official press release reads:

Anchored by technology that Wright has developed exclusively for Current TV, the series, tentatively titled Bar Karma, will enlist viewers to join an online global community at a special web destination entitled, “Current TV’s Creation Studios.” At this virtual television studio, users will participate in the development of all creative and technical aspects of production and communicate directly with the producers of the show.
Current has also signed Albie Hecht, former President of Spike TV and President of
Entertainment at Nickelodeon, who has served as Wright’s co-creator on the
project and will executive produce the series, with his digital entertainment studio
Worldwide Biggies serving as the show’s production company. David Cohn, former
General Manager of MTV2, will serve as executive in charge for the network.

“Bar Karma is a culmination of over a year’s work and I am very excited to see the results as we join together not only gamers and television viewers, but actually create a community that will be empowered with a professional production team,” stated Will Wright. “To develop and lead an initiative like this fulfills a long held passion for television, and I am thrilled that Current would provide the resources and creative support to bring this to air.”

“I have always been excited by innovation and what we are creating is unlike anything on
television,” stated Albie Hecht of Worldwide Biggies. “The technology that Will has invented empowers viewers to participate, but also provides direct communication to me and my production team. We will be taking our cues from the viewers, working with them and then quickly producing high quality, original content. This is truly a paradigm-changing project that will showcase the creativity of the general public in shaping a television series.”

Want to know this crazy idea is going to work? More details from the press relase:

Bar Karma will be comprised of four key production stages:

STEP 1 – JOINING – Viewers will log on to “Current TV’s Creation Studios” at
www.current.com/barkarma through their computers and mobile devices and join the online community.

STEP 2 – CREATING – Viewers will submit potential story ideas on an ongoing basis. Each week the show producers will provide the viewing community with a rough outline for the upcoming episode. Viewers will then have the ability to create various storyboards of unlimited plot possibilities.

STEP 3 – VOTING – Viewers will browse, comment and merge various ideas for the episode. Final proposals will then be reviewed and voted on.

STEP 4 – PRODUCING – After the final storyboard is selected by the community, Hecht and Worldwide Biggies will adapt, shoot, produce and edit the winning storyline into a 30-minute television episode.

Will Wright’s video games have been all been about the relationship between choice and influence. The legendary game designer’s most famous creation came in the form of “The Sims,” where players exerted god-like control over when and how virtual people get to meet their needs and aspirations. “The Sims” blends the roleplay of a Barbie dollhouse with ever more complex psychological modeling to create tiny little universes where surprisingly emergent storylines and behaviors could play out. Two years ago, Wright’s focus expanded with “Spore,” where you grew single-celled organisms into infinitely customizable lifeforms that you evolved to the point where they could go into outer space.

So, even though it sounds like a cross between the core concept of “Project Greenlight” and the call-in mechanic from “American Idol,” “Bar Karma” still implements ideas that have run through Wright’s work since its earliest days. Those ideas have made him a superstar game designer but it remains to be seen if they’ll make him as successful on cable TV. “Bar Karma” is tentatively scheduled for the first quarter of 2011.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…