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“Child of Eden” Launches User-Generated Happiness Contest

“Child of Eden” Launches User-Generated Happiness Contest (photo)

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When synchronized graphics and thumping techno lit up and rattled the dark stage of the Orpheum Theatre during E3, I immediately knew what had to be happening. Tetsuya Mizuguchi had a new game coming. And, indeed, the man dancing and gesticulating at the Xbox Kinect camera was Mizuguchi himself. It’s ballsy to demo a still-in-development game and ballsier still to do it on hardware that demands a paradigm shift in how you think about controlling a video game. But when that game has you dancing and pointing and essentially doing jazz hands in front of thousands of people? Man. But, people applauded when Mizuguchi’s stage time ended.

Part of that clapping came from watching an amazingly trippy play experience. You have to admit that the demo almost looks like he’s doing magic to the screen. But the enthusiastic response also owes to the fact that probably no one ever thought a sequel to “Rez” would happen. While it often gets name-checked as a truly artistic work of game creation, the game wasn’t a financial success. The fact that the game’s legacy and its creator have become acclaimed since 2002 speaks to a serious shift about how games are perceived. Things have changed in other ways, too, since the Japanese game designer unleashed “Rez” on the Dreamcast and, later, the PS2. “Rez” didn’t shy away from the fact that it was a shooter. Its plot had players hacking into a far-future computer network to face Eden, the newly self-aware AI who’d shut the network down. Nowadays, “Child of Eden” calls its energy projections ‘purification’ and tasks players to cleanse Eden of a negativity virus. Mizuguchi wants to avoid the language of violence with “Child of Eden” and, though it sounds a bit Age of Aquarius, the sentiment fits.

Of course, some things haven’t changed. Since “Child of Eden” a spiritual sequel to “Rez,” it follows that the sound effects and targeting system also look similar. The game’s plot references its predecessor by putting players in P Mizuguchi loves dance music–to the point of starting a record label in Japan–so the soundtrack of “COE” will likely resemble the trance-heavy vibe of “Rez.” “Rez” already intertwined controller vibration, sound design and art direction into a heady playable artifact and “Child of Eden” promises to up the ante by integrating movement-based input into the mix.

Finally, the big difference with “Child of Eden” is that Mizuguchi is inviting people to participate themselves in the game. The title’s publisher Ubisoft just announced a contest that asks people to submit snapshots of happiness to possibly be included in the game’s final level. From the official release:

Starting today, gamers are encouraged to submit their personal photos for consideration by visiting the Child of Eden website ( Examples include smiling faces, beautiful nature shots, stunning landscape views, and other happy and positive images. The deadline for submissions is November 20, 2010. All approved photos will be featured in the final level of Child of Eden.

“The theme of Child of Eden is ‘Hope and Happiness’ and I want players to experience happy feelings every time they play the game,” said Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Q? Entertainment studio founder and Creative Director of Child ofEden. “I need your help to convey these positive emotions, so please send us pictures that give you good vibes so we can include them in the ending of the game.”

On one hand, such a move’s got “marketing ploy” written all over it. Plenty of folks would buy the game just to see if their submission made it in. On the other hand, though, Mizuguchi’s one of the few auteurs in the gamemaking business and he’s generally so beloved as to make participation in a scheme like this a no-brainer. Whether you upload a picture or not, “Child of Eden” will be a game to anticipate when it comes out, which will presumably in 2011.

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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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