“Disney Epic Mickey” Modernizes Magnificient Mouse

“Disney Epic Mickey” Modernizes Magnificient Mouse (photo)

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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.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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