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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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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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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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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