DID YOU READ

Machinima Masters Rooster Teeth Cook Up A Real-World Zombie Apocalypse

Machinima Masters Rooster Teeth Cook Up A Real-World Zombie Apocalypse (photo)

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When it comes to Internet success stories, the gaming comedy collective known as Rooster Teeth helped carve out the mold of what it looks like when a bunch of normal guys effing around manage to grow an actual phenomenon. They helped popularize machinima, the practice of using already extant game engines to make all-new content. In the early 90s, machinima got used to make everything from music videos to one-offs that became viral memes. But Rooster Teeth were amongst the first to actually create an ongoing machinima series in the form of “Red Vs. Blue.”

“RvB” chronicled the wayward fates of two opposing squads of Spartan cyberwarriors on the terrain of one of the first “Halo” game’s early multiplayer maps. The bumbling soldiers on Rooster Teeth’s inaugural production captured the hearts of players just as Microsoft’s sci-fi FPS was growing into the phenomenon it’d later become. Most impressively, the dudes at the Austin-based production house were able to break away from the gravitational pull of “Halo,” grow their own community of RT fans and produce other series.

The most recent of these is “Immersion,” which pits commonplace video game tropes up against real-world testing with two hapless gamers as the guinea pigs. The latest episode of “Immersion” takes on two recurring features from the games of today. First is the proliferation of zombies throughout blockbuster video game releases. It’s one thing for franchises like “Resident Evil,” “Left 4 Dead” and “Dead Rising” to throw tons of the undead at you, because they’re all built around that mythos. But, when otherwise realistic series like Activision’s “Call of Duty” games start mining the zombie trend, one can only surmise that they’re trying to broaden their appeal and make some cash in the bargain.

The other trope that episode 8 of “Immersion” examines is the multiplayer feature known as Horde Mode. In 2009, “Gears of War 2″ introduced a new multiplayer option called Horde Mode. It tasks a team of players to survive against randomly spawned waves of enemies that get tougher as you go along. Since then, lots of games have included variants to this formula but the basics generally persist. Hunkered down around an ammo stash, everyone playing needs to spot and kill as many antagonists as possible. You’ll generally be able to revive a fallen comrade if he falls down on the field of battle, but put yourself at risk in doing so.

I really like how the arc of our two hapless heroes in this “Immersion” ep moves from foolhardy overconfidence to frustration to panic. It happens all too often in co-op video game play and would probably happen in true-life zombie scenarios, too. Filming for this “Immersion” installment took place at RTX 2011, the production company’s convention. The zombies horde is made up from attendees of the Rooster Teeth fanfest and, all things considered, I think they acquitted themselves well. You can view more episodes of “Immersion” here.

Do you think you and your friends would do better than Geoff and Gus in facing down a zombie horde? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.