Tuesday, November 25, 2008

News on Get Lamp!

Got an update today from Jason Scott regarding the Get Lamp text adventure documentary he's working on. The projected date of completion has been pushed into 2009, which is not a surprise. The good news is that he's still jazzed about the film and the recent lack of updates is just due to a busy schedule.

He's started a blog dedicated to Get Lamp, which you can check out here.

You GO, Jason! Thanks for the update, and for the continued effort to provide us with another great geekumentary. I'm really looking forward to this one. :)

About a billion times better than Episode 1

I realize I'm pretty late to this particular party (yeah, yeah, RICK...), but maybe you are too, and will appreciate my willingness to excavate ancient treasures of the intarwebz. Unlike some people I know...RICK...

Get yourself some popcorn, this is going to take a while.

Want more? Yes you do. Check out the official site.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Messin with my childhood

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
- Ecclesiastes 1:9

Knight Rider, Transformers...Hollywood has often gone to the well of the past for ideas when new ideas are in short supply, but lately, it's getting crazy. Geeks of Doom just warned me that Disney's got a new Witch Mountain offering in the works.

First reaction: Oh wow, Escape to Witch Mountain... Tony... Tia... Winky! There's no way that can be remade, it's utter cheese and you had to be there:

I'd recently given the benefit of the doubt to the new Knight Rider series, and that hadn't gone so well (fun show, not Knight Rider). Sometimes there's just something intangible about what worked back in the day, and just modernizing the concept and making a new effects-filled redux often fails, especially if you emphasize the fact that it is a remake, trying to appeal to that original audience.

This new Witch Mountain offering, though...the trailer actually looks kinda fun.

I think this time if I can successfully convince myself that it has nothing to do with the originals, I might give it a go and like it.

You know what I'd really like to see? A live action re-do of Rikki Tikki Tavi in the style of Babe or Narnia (or a remake of A Cricket in Times Square, for that matter). But NOT of Watership Down. See, I think in the one case, it would work, but in the other, there's too much nostalgia tied to the original presentation.

And while I'm here, Seth Gordon recently threw out an update on the remake of The King of Kong. The most significant aspect being that it appears to still be a go. This fits today's theme, because even though The King of Kong is not really old enough to evoke nostalgia, trying to capture what was interesting about the original (the real people) is going to be a challenge. We'll see what happens.

Finally, jaQ had something very relevant to add to this discussion:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

If I can't find a reindeer...

When the thought first came to him, Farmer Hoggett dismissed it as mere whimsey. But, like most of his hair-brained ideas, it wouldn't go away.
- Babe
I've been watching a lot of geek documentaries lately, and scouring the internet for more. I made a Top 10 list of the ones I've seen so far, and have been thinking about what subjects seem to be missing their own piece of the geekumentary pie.

Anime, for example, seems to be a very documentable geek sub-genre. From what I've learned, there have been at least two films completed on the subject, but it seems that neither of them got past the film festival stage (at least not yet). Another really great topic would, I'm convinced, be board games. There are two documentaries on Scrabble (Wordplay and Scrabylon), but that's not the sort of board game I'm talking about.

I mean the beautiful, often cerebral games coming out of Germany and other places that are not Wal-Mart. We're talking highly strategic games beyond RISK, though just as many are casual and don't take hours to play. There are conventions (many) and tournaments, and geeks gathering in groups at any house with lots of table space, staying up till 3 AM playing together (I'm not one of these). Even some snobbery towards the "lowest common denominator" style games cranked out here in the US. You know, ALL the hallmarks of a great geekumentary and I haven't even scratched the surface. OK, they probably dont dress up for the most part, though I did don a cloak one night when we were playing Mystery of the Abbey.

So I Google away for "board game documentary" and there are just no rumblings of any such thing in development. IndieGoGo lists a proposal for a doc based on Monopoly that would chronicle the big Monopoly tournament. That's interesting, I'd watch it, and I didn't know there WAS a "big Monopoly tournament." But that's not the sort of board game I'm talking about.

Then one night, the voice in the back of my head, idly musing, struck up a conversation. Some people out there make documentaries with no prior experience. What if I made a board gaming documentary?

The idea is ludicrous at this point in time. While I do know a few people (read: one) involved in the industry, have a brother who believes in me with film school and grip experience and a professional-grade camera, and have heard that one creator of such games is fairly local, I have two young kids, little free time on my hands, and nothing resembling venture capital. Such an endeavor would require a trip to the the Spiel convention in Germany, as well as treks to Origins, probably the Board Game Geeks con in Texas, and something on the West Coast. It would require hours of filming, no YEARS of filming. Learning how to film, how to edit (or finding someone who knows), and about a million OTHER things I'm not even aware of yet and have no skill in.

But this ludicrous idea... over a week later I'm still thinking about it. And despite all the logic I just laid down, a board game documentary needs to be made.

While it would be incredibly cool to pull it off, and as much as I admire people like Negin Farsad and Greg Maletic, I don't pretend to think that just because they could do it, so can I. As cliche as it sounds, all I really want to do is watch this movie. So is there such a doc in development already and I just don't know about it? If not, could somebody make one before I go tilting at this particular windmill?
But Farmer Hoggett knew that little ideas that tickled and nagged and refused to go away should never be ignored. For in them lie the seeds of destiny.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Games for Troops

I just noticed that BoardGame News is running their third annual Games for Troops drive:
As in 2006 and 2007, I’m hosting a “game for soldiers” drive for the upcoming holiday season. From now through November 24, all donations to BGN will be placed in a separate account to be used to purchase games for U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. What’s more, I’ll donate $10 from each $25 BGN membership paid for during that time period....

They're working with a board game retailer for discounted pricing. You can get all the details here, I just thought this was a great idea!

PS - Don't foget to check out Dominion, the new card game that is sort of the opposite of Magic: the Gathering - the game is in building your deck. We played the beta version a while back, and it was GREAT!

PPS - Don't miss Robot Chicken's sequel to their hilarious Star Wars spoof, tonight at 11:30 PM on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Holy Movie News!

So...Ridley Scott's going to direct a movie based on Monopoly. The boardgame? Ridley Scott as in Aliens? Color me befuddled. Not only that, apparently Hasbro and Universal also have plans for movies based on Ouija and Battleship. OK, now THOSE you could have a LOT of fun with, but I'm still befuddled. And the He-Man movie was put on hold WHY, exactly? Cripes, Warner Brothers, these guys are planning a movie based on Monopoly. If they have the stones to do that, then by the power of Greyskull, YOU can do a He-Man movie!

I also just this week watched Casino Royale for the first time, in preparation for Quantum of Solace next week. I grew up with Bond movies, and still have memories of watching For Your Eyes Only on HBO as a kid, but for some reason I didn't think I was going to like Casino Royale. I was wrong, it was great, possibly my favorite Bond movie ever, and now I'm very much looking forward to Quantum of Solace! In no small part, because I just read that it's got a new Watchmen trailer attached to it. Oh, so does that mean The Watchmen is actually going to see the interior of a theater now? Awesome.

I'd like to take a moment to give a massive shout-out to Geeks of Doom. You guys are doing a phenomenal job, and I always look forward to the daily email. I know I've just betrayed one of my best sources for fun movie-related blog info, but oh well. You should check them out regularly.

YES YES YES! I just read on SpoutBlog that Chasing Ghosts is airing on Showtime in December! That just made my week. Here's the schedule:

Dec 3 8:45 AM
Dec 4 7:30 AM
Dec 5 3:00 AM
Dec 7 11:45 AM
Dec 9 11:45 AM

'Scuse me while I go sign up for Showtime...I mean, I was probably going to anyway, for Dexter, but now it's a must. Hopefully a DVD will also be available; I already know this is one I need to own.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Bilbo went on the greatest adventureWould you believe, our cat came home Sunday night, after a week and a half on the lam?! I randomly looked out the kitchen window, and there he was in the yard. Overall, he's skin and Bilbones (he pretty much started out that way though), but in good spirits and happy to be home. His sister, on the other hand, is having a freak-out Pet Sematary/Changeling reaction to his return. Hopefully she's wrong about that.

And another beast arrived this week - the arcade machine! It looks MARVELOUS, the red trim is great, and Shawn did a flat-out amazing job on the control panel and wiring.

That's a lot of freakin wiring!
It's going to need a lot of tweaking - the xxxx-in-1 JAMMA board is, we've discovered, FAR from plug-and-play. In many ways it would have been easier to put a MAME-ulating computer into the cabinet, but I'm still happy with the JAMMA setup. Like with MAME, we're going to have to configure the controls for some of the more complicated and multiplayer fighting games, but classic games like Wonderboy and 2-player ones like Dungeons & Dragons seem to work just fine. We've got some learning to do, though, about dipswitch settings, and updating the hard drive so it will play trackball games properly.


It turned out that the marquee we liked best for it was not the one we originally considered. I did some mock-ups, and the simplicity and red tones of this version won.

Arcade Marquee from mamemarquees.com
In person, The Beast is also much more badass than I expected, and now that I've seen it, I think I will hold off on the side art. I just have this feeling that it would be displeased with cartoony flanks. Besides, I'm going to need that bit of cash to properly 80s-ify The Beast's room. It will need a Last Starfighter poster, and some He-man action figures, at the very least.

In other news, I noticed that a remake of Clash of the Titans is in the works. By the gods! I absolutely loved the original, so this is one of those dangerous yet exciting propositions.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More Geek Documentaries

Our cat got out last week and I don't think he's coming back, so bear with me, I'm going back and forth between "get some perspective, it's just a cat" and full-out tears. Plus I missed the MC Frontalot concert in Boston last night. But, Tuesday is posting day, so I figured I'd let you know about a couple more geekumentaries I will be investigating.

In addition to Ball Saved and The History of Pinball, Mr. Maletic also let me know about a FOURTH pinball documentary in development, Pinball Passion.

I also discovered a second Nerdcore hip-hop documentary, Nerdcore for Life. This one's a more general look at nerds and the things that make them nerdy, and it looks GREAT. Here's the trailer:

(some profanity). Was that a shot of the Arkham Horror boardgame I saw? Oh yes it was!

PS - OMG @ what That Guy just brought to my attention. Just...watch it. The Hoff always knows when I need a little cheering up! <3

PPS - I just found out that Bruce Campbell's stopping by Boston on November 7 for a screening of his new movie, My Name is Bruce. There are quite a few stops on the tour, so if you're a Bruce Campbell fan, check it out!

Oh, and it's voting day. VOTE. Obviously.