While Unwinnable was having its vacation theme week, I was on actual vacation, half of which I spent in Washington, D.C., fitfully attempting to visit every major landmark and museum. Naturally, I left the city with a list of things I wanted to see but never got around to, but one thing that I was determined to see was a particular exhibit in the Smithsonian American Art Museum: The Art of Video Games. I am that guy who writes about videogames and I simply can’t pass up the chance to see my preferred medium presented in a positive light in one of the more esteemed venues for what we call “art.” (more…)
When the asynchronous revolution came, I was the first on board. Though it was, admittedly, more of a trickle than a revolution, I bought in completely to the idea of a multiplayer game that could be played at my own convenience. It didn’t need an appointment or my undivided attention; it just required a few seconds of my day. The trend was relegated to my Xbox at first – I would race against my friend’s times in Burnout: Paradise. I found my play-time delightfully redirected from racing random online enemies to a constant competition against the few friends of mine that owned the game.
Then came Words with Friends, a smartly inevitable idea that made Scrabble something we could play with whomever we wanted – kind of like chess by mail, except that it was instantly delivered, took a minimal amount of effort to participate in – and wasn’t chess. (more…)
“If you say so,” said the lady in charge of taking song choices for the karaoke at a local bar. She was the gatekeeper, in charge of making weird faces when would-be karaoke singers chose the wrong song to sing to a mix of older regulars and younger hipsters. (more…)
I grew up watching random television shows, each of which I now have to assume were written halfheartedly and without much thought. A far cry from today’s offerings – instead of Friday Night Lights, Mad Men and Parenthood, I watched Saved By the Bell, Mork and Mindy and Get Smart. As a kid who enjoyed the arts more than most, I found myself fully invested in these fictional characters, identifying with Screech’s unwise obsession with Lisa Turtle, Mork’s struggle to fit in with those around him and Maxwell Smart’s bumbling attempts to save face in light of his own personal missteps. These were more than just sitcom characters: they were role models. (more…)
A couple of weeks ago, a video spread across the internet that documented a nine-year-old child named Caine and his makeshift arcade, made entirely out of cardboard boxes and random odds and ends. In the video, Caine’s dad explains that Caine has only had one customer since he built his arcade: the director of the film itself. In an attempt to help the boy realize his dream of having people enjoy his arcade, the director recruits a flash mob to descend on his arcade all at once, spending an entire day buying his “fun passes” and playing his self-made games. It was a manufactured but effective emotional payoff because of Caine’s obvious joy at having a group of people show real interest in what he had created. (more…)