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What to Know About Sony’s New Game System: The NGP

What to Know About Sony’s New Game System: The NGP (photo)

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Say hello to Sony’s PlayStation Portable’s (PSP) successor, the “Next Generation Portable” (NGP). For months, tech and game blogs have assumed that Sony would retain the PSP brand, naming this device the PSP2. That’s still possible as “NGP” is at this point a codename. We could be looking at the NGP or the PSP2 of even the PS3Mini. Sony has plenty of time to give it a proper, memorable name.

The “NGP” at first blush looks like a sleeker PSP-3000. A directional pad and geometric buttons bookend a rectangular screen. There are some subtle and some not so subtle differences however that signify the new Sony expects us to play portable games.

First, and most importantly for anyone who plays modern console games, the NGP has two analog sticks, not one analog nub. The extra analog stick is often used to controls the camera in 3D games like the “Uncharted” and “Call of Duty” and will help developers transition properties from console to NGP.

On the backside of the device is a long touch-sensitive panel. Sony undoubtedly wants to attract the development talent that has sprouted up on Apple’s iOS devices. There’s a lot of money there, who wouldn’t want a slice. At the same time, the company believes that keeping fingers from obscuring the screen will improve the gaming experience. It’s way too early to say definitively, but rear touch controls could be a positive twist on tough gaming.

And if developers are adamant about players touching the screen, the NGP allows for it, too.

Sony wants people’s digits away from the screen because it will be a knockout. Using OLED technology, the screen is 5 inches, nearly an inch larger than the PSP’s screen. On OLED, games should resemble the high-definition televisions in many gamers’ living rooms.

And the graphics should size up to the PlayStation 3. At last night’s press announcement in Tokyo, attendees were shown “Metal Gear Solid 4”, “Lost Planet 2” and the latest “Yakuza”, all current or upcoming PS3 games, running on the NGP. The games aren’t official releases, rather examples of the device’s potential. And it’s important to not take these tech demos at face value. One developer has already said the NGP won’t produce PS3 level graphics. But close. So showing these games was more or less virtual flexing: impressive, but not indicative of practical use.

There’s plenty yet to be revealed. Date, price, launch games. Answers will be given closer to the annual E3 video game trade show.

For now, we have NGP’s debut trailer along with a short list of announced franchises:

* Call of Duty
* Broken
* Gravity Daze
* Hot Shots Golf
* Hustle Kings
* Killzone
* LittleBigPlanet
* Little Deviants
* Reality Fighters
* Resistance
* Smart As
* Uncharted
* WipEout


Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:


The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.


They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!


Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.


Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.