Five Things You Need to Know About “Call of Duty: Black Ops”

Five Things You Need to Know About “Call of Duty: Black Ops” (photo)

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Ever since dev studio Infinity Ward put out “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” three years ago, Activision’s contemporary military first-person shooter games has electrified gamers all over the world. Prior to “Modern Warfare,” the “Call of Duty” games re-visited various sides of World War II conflicts. Then, “COD4” transported gamers into a stunningly photorealistic world that had them tracking and taking out terrorists in a post 9-11 fictional construct. Sucessive games have upped the ante either in the graphics, gameplay or controversy departments so “Black Ops” has an intimidating legacy to live up to. If you’re a “COD” noob, here’s what you need to know.

1. No “No Russian”, No Problem
Since the game came out on Tuesday, “Black Ops” has already shattered the sales record set by 2009’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.” That game sold 4.7 million units at launch but the U.S. and U.K. day 1 sales numbers for “Black Ops” have been reported at 5.6 million. It’s also on track to out-perform “Halo: Reach” and “Medal of Honor,” too. In the first hour alone, about one million players logged onto Xbox Live to play the game online. Guess they were excited, huh?

2. Deep Cover
The single-player campaign for the new “Call of Duty” unspools a fictional account of the birth of the “Black Ops” program, which specializes in fully deniable military actions done in secret. The plot follows several characters as they skirmish in Vietnam, Russia, Cuba and other politically sensitive hotspots. A paranoid plot about a biological weapon conspiracy loosely ties the missions together, but mostly it’s about globe-hopping and terminating bad guys with extreme prejudice.

Xbox 360 GamesE3 2011Call of Duty: Black Ops

3. Ich Bin Ein Zombie-Killer

Like many a game of late, “Black Ops” lets players face off against hordes of the undead. In fact, developer Treyarch introduced zombies in “Call of Duty: World at War,” the last game in the series that they made. Unlike many games of late, the characters blowing holes into the re-animated corpses are John Francis Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Fidel Castro and Robert McNamara. The mode in question obviously isn’t as deadly serious as the single-player stuff in “Black Ops.” And, if zombies make everything better, then killing them as iconic Cold War heads-of-state just makes this game presidentially better.


4. Coming at You in 3D
Unlike some of this year’s other high-profile releases–like “Halo: Reach,” “Medal of Honor” or “Fallout: New Vegas”–“Black Ops” ships with full support for 3DTVs. If you’re one of the few, the proud who own a fancy, added-depth flatscreen, that means you can enjoy the entirety of the single-player and multiplayer content with all manner of blood, snow and shrapnel flying right at your face. In particular, the enhanced multilayer visuals are of note in the various multiplayer modes because what happens on the screen when you’re playing against other humans isn’t scripted in advance.

5. Basic Training
Speaking of multiplayer, “Black Ops” offers several new modes designed with both “COD” veterans and ew recruits in mind. For those dipping their toes into the ultra-competitive waters of online firefights for the first time, the new Combat Training mode puts you in one of the multiplayer environments and populates it with AI-controlled enemies so you can practice your skills before going up against other players. If you already know the basics and want new challenges, players can dare each other with variable mission types in the new Wager Matches. You can put up some CODpoints (the game’s fake money) as a stake and bet on the successful outcome of a mission. Meet the objectives and you’re that much closer to buying sweet new rides or even deadly weapons. Finally, in one of the most technologically impressive aspects of the game, every online game is being recorded and you’ll be able edit and share a video of a play session with other “Black Ops” enthusiasts.

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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.


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


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.


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.

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