Will North Korea’s Temper Tantrum Help Sell “Homefront”?

Will North Korea’s Temper Tantrum Help Sell “Homefront”? (photo)

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Right about now, the guys at Kaos Studios are feeling more than a little prescient now. That’s because recent events involving North Korea and South Korea are making their upcoming game “Homefront” seem a lot less like fantasy and more like a disturbing glimpse into the future.

Monday night, the two Koreas traded artillery fire over Yeonpyeong Island with the northern nation saying that they were retaliating against South Korean military drills. The true catalyst to the shelling by North Korea has yet to be determined but some speculate that the show of military force is meant to usher in an heir to the ailing Kim Jong-Il’s heir.

What does that have to do with “Homefront”? Well, the tension between the nations have made the game’s bad guys a lot more scary. “Homefront” is a first-person shooter that supposes a unified Korea marshals enough military might and technological power to mount an invasion of the USA.

The game plays like a feverish nightmare of an absolute collapse of American society. Within the first five minutes of the game, your character’s being detained without cause, cuffed and sent out on a bus to detainment camps. On the way, you see a child witness his parents being publicly executed and other people like lead character Robert Jacobs getting herded into barbed wire fences. Because it’s a video game, a resistance movement exists and membes of that movement break Rogers out and fight the occupying Korean People’s Army through the streets of small-town Montrose, Colorado. Later on in the part of the first level that I previewed, a firefight takes over a suburban home with a screaming infant and a frightened, bewildered mother at risk.

A few weeks ago, “Homefront” sounded like a playable improvisation off of “Red Dawn,” where high school student fight against Communist Russian forces invading their town. The similarities aren’t coincidental, since that film’s screenwriter John Milius is helping craft the game’s story. But, now, these new developments remind us that North Korea’s aggression is very real, very strong and very unpredictable.

“Homefront” asks the most uncomfortable question: what if all that succession saber-rattling isn’t just for show? What if it foreshadows something more sinister and what if we’re caught unawares? This war game is different than “Medal of Honor,” which tried to turn a documentary approach to an extant war into gameplay. Instead, the imaginary battles that “Homefront” imagines became a little more real. Granted, no matter how things develop between the two nations, a U.S. invasion by a unified Korea is still unlikely. But, the sensation of daily life interrupted by sudden violence is one of the things Kaos is trying to channel into the game. Lives were lost in the Yeonpyeong Island incident and, unfortunately, the developers of “Homefront” are getting more disturbing source material of what happens when things go from everyday to hellish in the blink of an eye. “Homefront” impressed me when I played it. It doesn’t feel like shock for shock’s sake and it used it shattered strip malls to great effect, building up an anger inside the player that makes its gun battles feel important in a way that few games achieve. What remains to be seen is how the game’s own merits and any morbid curiosity about the Far East’s enfant terrible will fuse together and affect the game’s fortunes.

“Homefront,” which is being published by THQ, comes out on March 8, 2011 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

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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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