Every Computer Animated Film Ever

A universal plot summary, summer 2009 edition

It’s time to test my theory of computer animated film plots against the latest examples of that form, DreamWorks’ Monsters vs. Aliens and Pixar’s Up. In case you are too lazy to click through, here’s the theory again in its entirety: After the worst of a long series of well-meaning but destructive deeds, an anthropomorphized creature protagonist is shunned by… read more

Every Computer Animated Film Ever

A universal plot summary

After the worst of a long series of well-meaning but destructive deeds, an anthropomorphized creature protagonist is shunned by his community. He enters into a series of adventures in the pursuit of a seemingly impossible task to prove his worth. During this pursuit the protagonist meets a rival and, to the former’s surprise, they have more in common than not.… read more

Operating Systems Prohibit Film Still Fair Use

Built-in DVD players forbid screen captures with software constraint

Recently, I had the need to capture a still from a DVD a Persuasive Games client had sent over as guidelines for some game assets. I didn’t want to rip the whole DVD, so I went to use the built-in screen capture facility in Apple OS X: the old standby Command-Shift-3. I was surprised to see the following result. The… read more

Yurika Miki (R) and her mother Yoshiko take photos of raw beef liver sashimi before eating them at a restaurant in Tokyo June 28, 2012. While Japan has a reputation as the home of sushi and sashimi, one item is about to be taken off the menu as Japan's government looks to ban the popular dish of raw liver in sashimi style. The dish, which consists of raw beef liver sliced up into bite sized chunks and then served with onions and sauce had become a popular dish across the country. Picture taken June 28, 2012. REUTERS/Toru Hanai (JAPAN - Tags: BUSINESS FOOD SOCIETY) - RTR34CQ5

Offloading Affective Labor to Customers

Companies once asked only their employees to feign heartfelt devotion to their products. Now their customers are expected to do so too.

Dining recently with friends, everything looked the way it always does. The menu boasted appealing but ordinary fare—antipasti and starters, wood-fired pizzas, freshly-made pastas, meaty mains. I noticed that a handful of the menu items were printed in red, and I asked the server why. “These are our signature dishes,” he explained. “They’re the ones that are most shared on… read more

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The Sublime Beauty of Powerball

Playing the lottery is foolish, but it affords the public a communal encounter with the weird majesty of mathematics.

As the Powerball jackpot rose late last week, so did the Powerball backlash. The contemporary citizen might revel in devotion to the latest comic-book film adaptation, but the lottery is still considered the lowest of low culture. No intelligent person, many opined in advance of Saturday’s (winnerless) drawing, would buy a Powerball ticket. The dismissal is part of a general… read more

A man dressed as Father Christmas and children look at a computer screen at a special Christmas post office in the village of Himmelpfort (Heaven's Gate), north of Berlin November 10, 2011. The post office in the village of Himmelpfort opened on Thursday with a special Christmas service, replying to mails addressed to Santa Claus that were sent by children from all over the world. Some 20,000 letters already arrived at the post office and organisers expect to receive some 280,000 letters and wish lists from children writing in 17 languages.  REUTERS/Thomas Peter (GERMANY - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY) - RTR2TTX2

Stop Rebranding Months as Causes

A “Devember” for coding is the latest and most ridiculous of commemorative months.

In his 1996 book Infinite Jest, the late American writer David Foster Wallace imagined a near future in which corporations could sponsor the calendar. Instead of counting up from the birth of Christ, the Organization of North American Nations (O.N.A.N.) develops a “revenue enhancing subsidized time.” Year of the Whopper. Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland. Year of the… read more

A mascot dressed as a character from the mobile game "Candy Crush Saga" walks the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during the IPO of Mobile game maker King Digital Entertainment Plc March 26, 2014.    REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES  - Tags: BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY ENTERTAINMENT)   - RTR3IO03

The Logic Behind the Sky-High Candy Crush Deal

In its seemingly exorbitant purchase of the popular app’s creator, Activision Blizzard is just playing the game.

The fact that Activision Blizzard bought Candy Crush creator King Digital startled people less than the sheer size of the deal: $5.9 billion. As many noted, that’s almost $2 billion more than Disney paid for either Marvel or Lucasfilm. It’s more than twice the $2.5 billion Microsoft paid for Minecraft maker Mojang, a property that feels like it has more long-term staying power… read more

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How to Talk About Videogames

A fond look at the preposterous—and yet essential—pursuit of games criticism

This book is available in digital or physical format. Buy from Amazon Videogames! Aren’t they the medium of the twenty-first century? The new cinema? The apotheosis of art and entertainment, the realization of Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk? The final victory of interaction over passivity? No, probably not. Games are part art and part appliance, part tableau and part toaster. In How to… read more

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Video Games Are Better Without Characters

The real legacy of SimCity is its attempt—and failure—to make complex systems the protagonists instead of people.

In the mid-1980s, the easiest way to check out the latest computer games was to go to a bookstore in the mall. Past the John Grisham and the bargain history books in the B. Dalton Bookseller, you’d find Software Etc., a small island of boxes amidst bound volumes, and a few computers on which to play the latest releases. It… read more

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The End of the Big Mac

The burger's demise won’t be marked by a declaration in a quarterly report, but by a collective appreciation for the comfort it offered America.

If you like to lunch on two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun, you’d better act fast: McDonald’s has announced plans to phase out the Big Mac. Okay, not really. But social media ate up the news of its axing, published by the satirical site Daily Buzz Live at the end of last… read more