“Disney Epic Mickey” Modernizes Magnificient Mouse

“Disney Epic Mickey” Modernizes Magnificient Mouse (photo)

Posted by on

Warren Spector wants Mickey Mouse to take out Master Chief. The acclaimed game designer behind ground-breaking titles like the original “Deus Ex” and Thief believes that Walt Disney’s best-known creation has it in him to become a video game star to rival the Spartans of Halo or iconic PlayStation characters Nathan Drake and Kratos.

With his team at the Junction Point development studio, Spector’s building the game that he believes will do just that. “Disney Epic Mickey” casts the world’s most recognizable mouse into an adventure that plumbs the forgotten corners of Disney history, while providing a morally morphable version of Mickey. The game happens in the Wasteland, a once-peaceful retirement dimension where long-forgotten characters and amusements from Uncle Walt’s empire reside. The pocket universe is the work of the Wizard from The Sorceror’s Apprentice, clearly meant as an allegory to Walt himself. When the magic mirror from that same movie beckons, Mickey teleports through to the Wizard’s workroom. There he finds a magic paintbrush with tubs of paint and thinner that can create or erase the cartoon essence that makes up all the Disney characters. Tomfoolery on Mickey’s part winds up spilling the two magic liquids onto the Wasteland, as well as creating the Phantom Blot, the game’s big villain.

Later events pull Mickey into the Wasteland where he has to make amends for the damage his actions caused. Using paint, he can rebuild parts of the world or he can erase elements of the geometry using thinner. The game tracks how constructive or destructive you are and characters’ responses to you will change as a result. “Epic Mickey” will also confront players with choices that shape Mickey’s personality. Choosing the loot of a treasure box over helping to free a friendly, trapped Gremlin gets characters buzzing about what a jerk you are.

Setting up this kind of conflicted heroism may seem like a stretch for Mickey Mouse , but Spector says he’s only bringing to bear behavioral aspects of Mickey that have already been displayed in the character’s extensive filmography. And Mickey’s not the only character who gets added depth in the game. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt Disney’s first successful creation, plays a prominent role in the game as the ruler of the Wasteland.

Walt Disney actually lost the rights to the character and wound up creating Mickey as a replacement. The game casts Oswald as a slightly jealous older brother with a tense relationship meeting the younger Mickey who wound up with the fame and adulation that could have been Oswald’s. So, the mischievious and sometimes self-centered company icon gets a varied emotional palette in the upcoming game and players will be able to make decision that swing that pendulum even further across the poles of selfishness or altruism. Spector’s known as a pioneer in the type of game design that’s centered on player choice and the mechanics in “Epic Mickey” fall in line with the build-your-own-solution modes of most of his work.

The Austin resident says the game’s a dream come true for an animation buff like himself. Old theme park rides serve as some of the game’s levels and travelling between environments happens via side-scrolling adventures through old Disney movie scenes. Moreover, the game’s cutscenes play out in a visual style that mimics the work of artist Mary Blair, whose style of mid-century cute informed the creation of “It’s A Small World” attraction. You really get the sense that the vaults are being opened with “Disney Epic Mickey” and the game could re-introduce a new generation to not only Mickey Mouse, but the expansive genius of his creator, too.

“Disney Epic Mickey” comes out exclusively for the Nintendo Wii on November 30th.

Watch More

Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

Posted by on

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.


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.

Watch More

Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

Posted by on
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


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.

Watch More

Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

Posted by on
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.


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.


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.


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.

Watch More
Powered by ZergNet