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DID YOU READ

Revenge of the Auteur: “Child of Eden” debuts at #1 on Amazon

Revenge of the Auteur: “Child of Eden” debuts at #1 on Amazon (photo)

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Look, I can’t pretend to be objective about Tetsuya Mizuguchi‘s work. Lots of people like “Rez,” but I’m the guy who trumpets his more obscure work like “Every Extend Extra” the inverse shooter he re-crafted for PSP. The man’s game design seeks to work on your senses first, then your heart and then your brain. In true auteur fashion, he’s got a definite approach that carries over from game to game.

My regard to Mizuguchi as a genius notwithstanding, I didn’t have high hopes for “Child of Eden” as far as sales were concerned. Sure, it’s playable with a standard controller, but it’s being marketed as a Kinect experience. Sentiment around the motion-sensing camera and the games built for it is generally lukewarm and that, combined with the fact that “Rez” never made tons of money, seemed to destine “Child of Eden” for the “good reviews + modest sales = cult hit” formula all over again.

But, word started to bubble over Twitter last night that “Child of Eden” was popping up as the number one game overall at Amazon’s U.S. websites. An article at gaming industry site Gamasutra backs up the chatter. I’m realistic as the fact that an Amazon #1 may not equal the chart-busting numbers of a “Call of Duty” or a “Halo.” And some may chide that it took a promotional sale for “Eden” to hit the summit. But, what buoys me most about this news is the idea that people are playing a visionary game with unique design sensibilities. Moreover, the combination of Kinect and Mizuguchi’s efforts can help broaden the idea of what people think about when they think about what a video game can be.

Like “Rez” before it, “Child of Eden” makes you feel like you’re living in and interacting with a piece of art or, more specifically, with a piece of an artist’s soul. It delivers visual wonder after visual wonder and invites you to interact with them, with that interaction changing the very thing you’re looking at. Because the game doesn’t shy away from being hard at points, the challenge of the play experience crests into little consciousness-raising epiphany bubbles where–and I know this sounds corny–you see the interconnectedness of everything. It’s a perceptual shift you can take away from the game and out into the world with you. In short, it makes you feel.

Video games aren’t quite like movies yet, where a creative work has more freedom to exist outside of commercial considerations. The video game distribution equivalent of art-house movie theatres-Kongregate, TIGsource, Xbox Live Indie Games and, to an extent, even Android Market and Apple’s App Store-don’t benefit from the kind of goodwill that their filmic counterparts do. Video games live in ecosystems where they need to financially justify their existence and experimentation or art-for-art’s-sake just isn’t marketable. That’s what makes this week’s Supreme Court decision so culturally important; it’s the kind of thing that can shift perceptions of video games from being ‘product’ to being ‘art.’ Of course, the industry itself has to follow suit. (No doubt, the continuing rise of well-made indie games like “Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP” and films like “Indie Game the Movie”will help.) Here’s hoping “Child of Eden” enjoys more sales success and that that success points the way forward.

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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 IFC.com

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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.

Uncle-Buck

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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…