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DID YOU READ

Hit indie smash “Limbo” coming to PC and PS3 soon

Hit indie smash “Limbo” coming to PC and PS3 soon (photo)

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Exclusivity’s been a dirty little engine of the video games business since its earliest days. Colecovision would sell you on the games and graphics that weren’t possible on the Atari and on and on it went. While there may’ve been some truth to claims of technical superiority in the ’70s and ’80s, the skills of developers on various platforms tends to be more commensurate across the board now. Some consoles do things in a technically different way than others, but they’re all capable of really amazing feats. It’s become more about talent than platform.

Yet the exclusivity wars continue and the biggest casualty is how they lock out great experiences from people who own the “wrong” game box. Some real angst comes with that. Xbox 360 owners toss and turn at night at never being able to play the PS3’s excellent “Uncharted” games and the Sony faithful gnash their teeth over missing out on the atmospherics of “Gears of War.” (It’s long been a fact that Nintendo operates as its own closed ecosystem, so there’s no real yearning about what it may be like to play, say, a “Metroid” game on a PlayStation. Gamers just know that that ain’t happening outside of apocalyptic circumstances.)The amount of money spent on developing high-end AAA games like those two franchises–positioned as system sellers for each console– somewhat justifies the fact that you can only play them on one system.

Even indie games get caught up in this territorialism, leading to the same kind of abortive conversations that end in “Oh, wait… you have a ‘Y’ system; you can’t play this awesome game. Sorry, bro.” PlayDead’s “Limbo” was one of those games. The macabre minimalist puzzle platformer was one of my favorite games last year and I’d rave about it to whomever I could, only sometimes realizing that a PC-gaming friend could only pine away for the black-and-white beauty.

Now, the reasons that PlayDead probably went exclusive with Microsoft are manifold. Being part of the Summer of Arcade promotion guaranteed a certain amount of buzz and attention for their first game. They could stop worrying about whether anyone would buy or play it, and focus on finishing the game. And, it looks like a stupid decision after the game’s success, but maybe they got doors slammed in their faces as they were shopping their dead-boy protagonist wares. Any way you slice it, “Limbo” seemed locked to the Xbox 360 for infinity. Starcrossed PS3ers even used game-making game “LittleBigPlanet 2” to craft “Limbo: Son of the Forest,” an homage to PlayDead’s dark, fatalistic fantasy.

But, another truism of the games business is that, for the right price, nothing’s exclusive forever. Time was, you could only play a “GTA” game first on a PlayStation 2 and Sony was paying hefty sums for those timed exclusives. Oh, it’d eventually come to the Xbox but after a looonng six-month wait. But that all changed when the current console cycle happened. More simultaneous multiplatform release became the norm, with exclusivity winding up more rarefied.

The timed exclusive is nothing new, then, but the one “Limbo” appears to have just come out from under was so well masked that chatter about it winding up elsewhere dwindled. For their part, PlayDead never totally ruled out the idea that “Limbo” would be playable elsewhere. Still, the reports from the Korean Game Rating Board, which were later confirmed by the dev studio’s Dino Patti, came as a surprise to many. Patti’s since said that “Limbo” will be coming to both the PlayStation Network and Valve’s Steam service, though there’s no word on exact timing. Usually, post-exclusivity releases like this include a little something to sweeten the deal for newcomers. But “Limbo” was such a tightly crafted knot of gameplay that I’d wager that anything left on the cutting room floor probably wouldn’t add to the experience. So, give thanks, PS3 owners and PC gamers! A great game’s coming your way without having to shell out cash for another console. And guard your hearts against exclusivity. Except when, y’know, you can’t.

Do you think “Limbo” will be any better on PS3 than on Xbox 360? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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SO EXCITED!!!

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.”

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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. 

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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.