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The Film Geek Achieves Nerd Nirvana at E3

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By Matt Singer

IFC News

Imagine Las Vegas, with the fairer half of the population replaced by dudes in Hawaiian shirts and beards, and you have a sense of the atmosphere at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3. IFC sent my
lucky geek ass to cover the event, and in that
capacity, I had opportunity to speak with legions of
grateful (and bearded) nerds, all in attendance to pay homage at the shrine of all things Xbox and PlayStation. When asked to describe the event, their praise bordered on effusive, with a sort of glazed, contented look in their eyes one generally finds in a religious zealot who believes they’ve communed with God. “What, if anything, is E3 missing?” I would invariably ask. “More women,” they would invariably reply. What few women there were were of the paid-to-be-there variety.

That zombiefied look is everywhere at E3. You’ve
never seen so many nerds so happy. Essentially, two
massive buildings are transformed into the world’s
most well carpeted arcade for three straight days.
Everywhere you look there is some other video game
vying for your attention, calling out to you with
their addictive, neon siren song. E3’s masssive halls
have the power to turn a functioning adult human male
into a sensory overloaded puppy: eyes flashing, head
turned ever so slightly, brain overwhelmed by too much

To be fair, as someone who is, and always has been,
a casual gamer at best, I can’t deny the intense
coolness of E3. Here is a place where you wander
around, and play video games — games that would
typically set you back in excess of fifty bucks —
and then people give you free stuff to thank you for
playing their unreleased and totally badass video
games. Who wouldn’t want to spend three days
doing that?

You might wonder why IFC would send me to an event
exclusively devoted to video games, but a quick scan
of the list of the convention’s hottest titles reads
like a list of Hollywood’s biggest blockbuster
filmmakers. In recent years you could count on the
year’s biggest movies receiving their own video game
adaptations: href=””> color=000000>”Spider-Man 2″ and href=””> color=000000>”The Lord of the Rings” both hit
theaters accompanied by well-designed video games.
The massive success of the most popular games (we’re
talking billions of dollars of massive success) has
encouraged filmmakers to dip their toes in the pool;
Peter Jackson, for instance, put his name above the
title of the recent href=””> color=000000>”King Kong” game.

The latest trend seems to be skipping the movie and

simply taking film talent and making a stand-alone

game. The best example of this phenomenon at E3 was

John Woo’s video-game-only sequel to his classic

“Hard-Boiled,” “Stranglehold”. Players take

control of Chow Yun Fat’s unstoppable cop Tequila, as

he takes down the bad guys with an assortment of moves

— balletic leaps and spins, double-handgun

assaults, special attacks replete with flying doves

— straight out of the John Woo playbook.

Creators of all these sorts of games said the same

thing: movies are wonderful, but they are, to their

core, a passive medium. Video games are interactive.

If the thrill of a movie like “Hard-Boiled” is

connected to our identification with its hero, then

what does it do to our brain to get to control

the hero? Before we interviewed the game’s creators I

got a chance to play a demo of the game, and if there

is a cooler video game experience, I have yet to see


Clearly, the appeal of becoming your favorite movie

star is a major selling point for the industry. You

can become Al Pacino in a new game based on “Scarface”

(one which imagines what might have happened if Tony

Montana had survived the film’s final slaughter), or

play as Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean” or

fly as Brandon Routh’s Superman in “Superman Returns:

The Video Game.” But if, as some video game creators

suggested, games could ultimately replace movies in

the hearts of Americans seeking entertainment, the

symbiotic relationship between the two is less

one-dimensional than some expressed. Basing your game

on a movie or movie stars (like the original property

“The Wheelman” starring Vin Diesel) gives you an

instant sales pitch, not to mention an air of artistic

legitimacy that numerous people I interviewed were

quick to play up. But if video games replace movies,

who will star in these video games and what will they

be based on?

Most at E3 weren’t particularly interested in

answering that question. They just wanted to play

some more, and hopefully get another free t-shirt.

Truth be told, in my weakest moments, I was one of them.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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