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DID YOU READ

Insert Credit: “Fruit Ninja Kinect”

Insert Credit: “Fruit Ninja Kinect”  (photo)

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Insert Credit endeavors to suss out where you should be allotting your video game allowance, sifting out a single title from many and crowning it as The One Game You Need to Get This Week. Don’t consider these reviews, gentle reader. Rather, think of Insert Credit as a mix of hands-on time, informed opinion and intuition.

For the week of August 9, 2011, you should insert credit into: “Fruit Ninja Kinect.”

One of the things that old-school gamers lament about the end of the arcade era is the way that the physical space around video games changed. When coin-op stand-ups went extinct, so too did the standing around and milling about in the name of interactive entertainment. You could read the pleasure or concentration in a fellow player’s face in a way that couch-centric gaming doesn’t let you do. Watching how a player interacts with a gameplay experience can be a wondrous thing, if things are designed right.

“Fruit Ninja Kinect” brings that physicality back in a different form as the hit iOS game gets embiggened for a port onto the Xbox 360. Instead of gestures interpolated through a touchscreen, your movements get read by the Kinect. As I demonstrated during my preview, the responsiveness of “FNK” is great and avoids many of the frustrations of other Kinect games. The shadowy on-screen silhouette always lets you know where you are, relative to the action, so you can adjust your body position accordingly.

There’s not much of a story in the “Fruit Ninja” games. You’re pretty much an apprentice ninja, practicing your swordplay by cutting up fruit that flies onto the screen. You get a few different ways to play . Classic Mode gives you three lives and failure to slice every piece of fruit on the screen costs one life. Hitting the pesky bombs means an instant ‘game over’. You’ve got 60 seconds to score as much as you can in Arcade Mode, with bombs taking away points. The explosives-free Zen Mode lets you just have at an incessant onslaught of fruit for a 90-second time limit. Along the way, magic banana power-ups will give you a score multiplier, let you slow time to a crawl, or spawn a torrent of produce that you can slash madly for extra points.

08092011_FNKBoxArt.jpgThere’s competitive and co-operative multiplayer modes, too; in the former, players must only slice the fruits that are highlighted with the corresponding red or blue glow. Challenge Mode draws from your Xbox Live friends list and pulls out a buddy’s high score for you to try and beat in a certain amount of time. It’s a nice implementation of social networking designed to keep you playing, in much the same way that seeing your high score bested in the local “Pac-Man” machine back in the day would get you to try and right that wrong.

“Fruit Ninja Kinect” invites you to join its madness. It’s going to make a great party game in that way and it stands out from the sorry, under-realized pile of dreck that makes up the Kinect-compatible library. The jump to a big-screen makes the fruitricidal action feel larger than life, a plus for a fanciful title like this one. Like “World of Goo” on iPad, this feels like a transition that makes an already great game better than its initial iteration.

Planning to get “Fruit Ninja Kinect”? 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.