DID YOU READ

Revenge of the Auteur: “Child of Eden” debuts at #1 on Amazon

Revenge of the Auteur: “Child of Eden” debuts at #1 on Amazon (photo)

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Look, I can’t pretend to be objective about Tetsuya Mizuguchi‘s work. Lots of people like “Rez,” but I’m the guy who trumpets his more obscure work like “Every Extend Extra” the inverse shooter he re-crafted for PSP. The man’s game design seeks to work on your senses first, then your heart and then your brain. In true auteur fashion, he’s got a definite approach that carries over from game to game.

My regard to Mizuguchi as a genius notwithstanding, I didn’t have high hopes for “Child of Eden” as far as sales were concerned. Sure, it’s playable with a standard controller, but it’s being marketed as a Kinect experience. Sentiment around the motion-sensing camera and the games built for it is generally lukewarm and that, combined with the fact that “Rez” never made tons of money, seemed to destine “Child of Eden” for the “good reviews + modest sales = cult hit” formula all over again.

But, word started to bubble over Twitter last night that “Child of Eden” was popping up as the number one game overall at Amazon’s U.S. websites. An article at gaming industry site Gamasutra backs up the chatter. I’m realistic as the fact that an Amazon #1 may not equal the chart-busting numbers of a “Call of Duty” or a “Halo.” And some may chide that it took a promotional sale for “Eden” to hit the summit. But, what buoys me most about this news is the idea that people are playing a visionary game with unique design sensibilities. Moreover, the combination of Kinect and Mizuguchi’s efforts can help broaden the idea of what people think about when they think about what a video game can be.

Like “Rez” before it, “Child of Eden” makes you feel like you’re living in and interacting with a piece of art or, more specifically, with a piece of an artist’s soul. It delivers visual wonder after visual wonder and invites you to interact with them, with that interaction changing the very thing you’re looking at. Because the game doesn’t shy away from being hard at points, the challenge of the play experience crests into little consciousness-raising epiphany bubbles where–and I know this sounds corny–you see the interconnectedness of everything. It’s a perceptual shift you can take away from the game and out into the world with you. In short, it makes you feel.

Video games aren’t quite like movies yet, where a creative work has more freedom to exist outside of commercial considerations. The video game distribution equivalent of art-house movie theatres-Kongregate, TIGsource, Xbox Live Indie Games and, to an extent, even Android Market and Apple’s App Store-don’t benefit from the kind of goodwill that their filmic counterparts do. Video games live in ecosystems where they need to financially justify their existence and experimentation or art-for-art’s-sake just isn’t marketable. That’s what makes this week’s Supreme Court decision so culturally important; it’s the kind of thing that can shift perceptions of video games from being ‘product’ to being ‘art.’ Of course, the industry itself has to follow suit. (No doubt, the continuing rise of well-made indie games like “Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP” and films like “Indie Game the Movie”will help.) Here’s hoping “Child of Eden” enjoys more sales success and that that success points the way forward.

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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.

via GIPHY

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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