DID YOU READ

E3 2011: Indie Smash Minecraft Comes To Xbox 360

E3 2011: Indie Smash Minecraft Comes To Xbox 360  (photo)

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Microsoft’s press conference opened the week of video game oversaturation at E3 2011 and the makers of the Xbox trumpeted their successes early and often. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 kicked things off with a war-porn playthrough of a level that started with an underwater squad swimming past car-trapped corpses in the Holland Tunnel that connects New York and New Jersey. After planting explosives on a Russian sub, things proceeded to a gunfight on said sub and moved to a boat chase scene against the backdrop of downtown Manhattan being bombed by Russian fighter jets.

But, the biggest surprise wasn’t this playthrough of what will be one of the biggest games of the year. Microsoft made other announcements–like Xbox Live TV, which will let users stream live TV to the console–but none startled attendees so much as the reveal that indie sensation “Minecraft will be coming to the Xbox 360. Mojang’s hit architectural sandbox became wildly successful last year despite the fact that it’s not even in beta yet. Creator Markus “Notch” Persson gave players a game that lets them build just about anything they can imagine and the things that they’ve built run the gamut from old-school game tributes to pop cultural landmarks like the Starship Enterprise. The wonky premise of the game–build a shelter to keep out nocturnal invaders–gets married to a retro-influenced look and results in a devilishly addictive cycle of endless creation.

What makes the “Minecraft” on Xbox news especially surprising is that Mojang’s game is built for a keyboard and mouse interface. But, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer specifically spoke of “Minecraft” in the context of Kinect and it makes more sense to think of the blocky materials being manipulated by gestures rather than controllers. It’s easy to picture players having to heft the digital bricks with lifting motions and arranging furniture in a “Three’s Company” Minecraft recreation with a swipe of their hand. People have deeply personal relationships to the stuff they make in “Minecraft” and the Kinect interface–with its motion capture play and voice recognition–should serve to make those connections even more intimate. No date’s been announced yet for the Xbox 360 version of “Minecraft” but it’s a safe guess that it might appear when the PC version goes into beat this fall.

“Minecraft” fans, do you feel like this news is a big win for “Notch” and “Minecraft” or has Mojang sold out to Microsoft? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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