To celebrate the release of The Great Gatsby, Slate posted this cute little Gatsby video game. While their game is tongue in cheek, classic literature is a surprisingly common source of inspiration for developers. Some of the literary games that have been produced over the years are classics in their own right, while others are... well, they tried. Check out one of the following the next time you want to add a touch of sophistication to your gaming session.
7. The Great Gatsby
Slate actually wasn't the first to make a game based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic American novel. In addition to the incredibly dull Classic Adventures: The Great Gatsby, which features all the raw thrills of poking around for hidden objects and practicing your typing, there's also a brilliant, NES-inspired platformer that's free to play online.
Players control Nick Carraway as he looks for Gatsby and tosses his hat to take out every waiter, partygoer and flapper in his way. It's a clever game with a catchy soundtrack, charming 8-bit graphics and hilarious references to the novel that have been adjusted for the strange world of video games.
The developer claims it's an obscure unreleased localization of a Japanese game, and while The Atlantic debunked that, the developer made some great NES style manual pages to support his lie, so let's pretend to believe. Keep it in mind the next time you're bored - it's a good way to kill 15 minutes even if you aren't a fan of the novel.More >>
At the absolutely inevitable risk of inviting distasteful jokes - are they blowing the load already in the first trailer? Because if you've read the book, you know it's not that action-heavy.
This looks really expensive.
Full trailer after the jump. Movie opens Nov. 1st.More >>
He's a short-order cook who can see demons and a gateway to hell. He encounters Willem Dafoe, because you would in that line of work.
Odd Thomas is actually based on a book by Dean Koontz, and the movie seems to have as healthy a sense of the absurd as John Dies at the End. There's just one red flag, and that'd be the director.
Really? Now I'm worried. It looked good until I saw the name of the G.I. Joe/Mummy Returns guy.
That said, I loved Deep Rising and the first Mummy. Please be more like that. Trailer after the jump.More >>
Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare! Well, maybe, anyway. The Bard was baptized on April 26, 1564, and the guess is that this would have taken place about three days after his birth. Plus, Shakespeare is recorded as having died on April 23, 1616, and there's a fine sense of cosmic symmetry, of coming full circle, in the idea of a great man dying on his own birthday (much like Mark Twain both coming into the world and leaving it during flyby years of Halley's Comet). PLUS, April 23 is St. George's Day, so, you know, England. Happy St. George's Day, by the way.
Pop culture has always stolen shamelessly from Shakespeare, and indeed pop culture has not the slightest need to be ashamed of doing so - Shakespeare was pop culture, and he stole more shamelessly, industriously and eclectically than just about any literary artist in history. He transformed what he stole into a canon of lofty yet accessible works that has provided a resource, almost like a database, to generations of artists of all kinds in the centuries that followed, not least those who create horror, science-fiction and fantasy. Here are ten of the many, many co-optings of Shakespeare's work into nerdish pop culture.
10.) Forbidden Planet (1956)
It's a safe bet that most of the little kids who lined up for this, one of the first big-studio, big-budget space opera spectacles, didn't notice that it followed (and not really all that loosely) the story of The Tempest, with the distant planet Altair 4 standing in for Shakespeare's island. Walter Pidgeon as the inhospitable Dr. Morbius stands in for Shakespeare's deposed and marooned Prospero and his fabulous daughter Altaira (Anne Francis) for the play's innocent Miranda. The play isn't echoed only in its plot, but also in its psychology symbols: Caliban, here, is the invisible, unstoppable "Monster From the Id" (the source of any monster worth its salt) manifested from the Doc's subconscious by an ancient alien technology, and lethally pissed off by the daughter's interest in Earthmen, especially a pre-buffoon Leslie Nielsen. This one really holds up awfully well; if you've never seen it, or not in a long time, check it out.More >>
I remember listening to a radio-drama production of Harry Harrison's Bill, the Galactic Hero as a kid. I can't recall any of the details; just remember liking it because it was about outer space. I certainly had no idea it was a satirical response to Robert Heinlein's perceived pro-war sentiments in Starship Troopers.
Director Alex Cox (Sid and Nancy, Repo Man) has been wanting to make the story - about a backwards farmboy whose misadventures keep accidentally landing him into space-war heroics - into a movie since 1983. You might think that with the digital revolution, his plans have gotten easier, but no, he's doing it old-school - 35 mm black and white celluloid, and model miniatures rather than CG (they're going to be supervised by Phil Tippett, so you know they'll be the best damn models ever.
So how can he do it for that budget (which has already been raised, with 3 days to go)? Simple - he's making it a class project at the school where he teaches film, which is also the hook to get some of the best in the business to make special appearances to supervise. The cynic might say he's exploiting students for free labor; as a graduate of film school and a veteran of set visits, however, I can tell you they'll get a much better and more applicable education this way.
Cox has always been a unique, uncompromising filmmaker, and the idea that he's making a black and white spoof of Starship Troopers for less than the catering budget of that book's adaptation has my attention. I look forward to seeing what he does.
I haven't read the books, so I'm happy to see that the sequel isn't just another tournament (and I await the hipper-than-thou fans who will claim it's ripping off the changes in Battle Royale 2), but a continuation of the theme that media-savvy skills are - in the modern age - a survival tool as essential as hunting, fishing and camping in their own way.
Also, Donald Sutherland and Philip Seymour Hoffman teaming up for double the diabolicism? Done.
Trailer after the jump.More >>
...going to be named after we showcase the runners-up first. Because that's how I roll.
The question for all entrants was who Clara Oswin/Oswald is really and how she ended up in the Asylum of the Daleks. I noted that the most likely explanation was not necessarily the one that was going to win. It was very hard to choose - go with the funniest, or the nerdiest?
Points to Someguy for getting creative and doing a photo as his entry:
I love purely random humor, and I think sith92289 knew that:
she is batman and she becomes a dalek in a secret plan to secret plan to stop warner brothers from making a crappy justice league movie in a plan so complex that no mere mortal could understand it
prinnyraid was funny too, but in the end I thought picking this would do a disservice to people who really did spend time to come up with theories:
Clara Oswalt is really Jenna Louise Coleman and I am sure she got to the set of Asylum of the Daleks by some sort of motorized transportation
louieatrest put some thought into this one, which I'm not sure quite adds up for me but is nicely creative:
Someone is trying to change the future by removing people from the past. Clara comes up with an algorithm to use her temporal variants to replace the missing people until they can be restored...except they keep disappearing, and Clara is being stretched so thin that inevitably some of her temporal variants are dying. Her living brain cannot keep track of the algorithm (the values for its variables) with the past continuously changing, and since there are no time lords available, she inserts copies of her dead variants into Dalek bodies, the only other available being able to navigate the time streams, in order to keep track of who is missing, and preserving her present.
NewDil4EVER had a great geek-level answer, but didn't directly address the question at hand:
Victorian Clara was born on November 23rd, the same day the show first premiered, while the Modern Clara might have been born in 1989, specifically the end of the classic series: December 9th.
It's also interesting to know that Clara's mother died on April 5th, 2005, the same day the new series premiered on television. So, maybe the Doctor's return to the mind of British population has something to do with her mother's death. It was hinted that almost everyone's memories of the Doctor is slowly being forgotten, especially the Daleks, who are like personal relations to the show.
I believe that each Clara was born on a specific date on Doctor Who's history. So, maybe the Dalek Clara was born on May 1996 and since we have no specific date on when Asylum of the Daleks, we can assume it's in the not-too-distant future. Her denial of her new Dalek nature mirrors some of the fans who are devastated the TV movie's failure and escape through spin-off material, such as audio dramas and books.
So, I believe Clara is influenced by the BBC. Not directly, but whenever the BBC makes a critical decision for Doctor Who, something big happens to each Clara who exist in time and space. So, by the next November 23rd the Doctor visits, something unearthly and life-changing will happen to them. Can anybody say "The Fields of Trenzalore?"
EvilMonkeyPope used what we know so far about the 50th to posit what could be a simple solution:
Clara is not the same human appearing & dying in different points of time. She's actually multiple Zygon infiltrator agents using same human camoflage
starmanmatt should write for the show:
Clara is a Dalek trap, but not in any way that anyone has anticipated so far. Because Clara was not a human transformed into a Dalek who proved too strong-willed to be broken into the normal Dalek behavior. Clara was a Dalek who committed the most unthinkable crime in Dalek society - she became capable of empathy. This deviant Dalek actually developed such a sense of sympathy for it's captive that it BECAME the captive after her death/assimilation. When it became apparent what happened, The Dalek Emperor committed "Clara" to the Asylum and then embarked upon a plan to deal with several of the Daleks' worst enemies at once.
We know that many figures were involved in the Time War between the Time Lords and the Daleks but we don't know for certain that there were only two camps in that war. Supposing The Great Intelligence, which we know originally came from deep space, had fought The Daleks before?
To that end, the Daleks use their cloning and time-travel technology to locate the original Clara Oswin Oswald before her ship was captured by the Daleks and collect a DNA sample. They then arrange for clones of Clara to appear on Earth at key points coinciding with the activities of The Great Intelligence on Earth. And then they capture The Doctor and send him into the lion's den of their asylum, knowing what they know of him after years of conflict that The Doctor won't be able to stop himself from trying to rescue someone in need.... especially a cheery young woman.
The other thing The Daleks know about The Doctor is that he can't leave well enough alone when confronted with a good mystery. And the curiosity of an ordinary woman managing to resist being transformed into a Dalek will hook him like nothing else. After that, it's just a matter of trusting that The Doctor's natural ability to show up whenever something odd happens on Earth that would jeopardize the timeline would lead him to one of their clones.... and keep following that trail into the real trap.
A couple of similarly meta theories come from, respectively, hercubadger and ComradeDread1:
Clara is actually a character in some poorly written Fan Fiction authored by the TARDIS herself. Originally a pure Mary Sue, the TARDIS has so far attempted three rewrites of the story character. First, as a tragic "save me Doctor, I've turned into a Dalek!" scary SF character. Second, as a period piece after the TARDIS started watching Downton Abbey. Finally, as a more contemporary attempt to save on CGI budget for the eventual movie deal.
Due to some long term affect of the Time Vortex and over eager Tumblr commentators, the Clara character has developed a life of its own and now is trying to take over the place like poorly written fan fiction is so often prone to do.
The doctor believed that he could only regenerate 12 times, but he did not reckon upon the power of the internet and his obsessive fan base who continued to push for a new incarnation whenever the show runners tried to wrap up the series.
As time ground onward, a cult form. Within the cult, there were schisms as factions broke off over disagreements on who was the one, true Doctor and his most holy companion. The wars between Cult 10 and Cult 11 were particularly gruesome and involved a nuclear exchange which unfortunately claimed the life of the 62nd Doctor who was filming on location.
While the Cults called for a cease fire to convene a Holy Conclave and choose their own candidate to succeed the doctor, a producer of the show discovered a relic text from the Before Times, when the show was run by something called the BBC. In an act of defiance, he hired a candidate of his own choosing and readied the Tardis to send the 63rd doctor back to our time to warn the producers and end the show before the Cults overthrew the governments and destroyed the world.
He had tried to throw the Cult factions off by selecting the least likely candidate for the new Doctor, a woman. But the Cults had sprung from the Internet fan forums. As news spread, armies surrounded the studio chanting, "Rule 63... rule 63..." They breached the perimeter quickly. The producer was forced to sacrifice his life for the new Doctor, so she could escape.
Unfortunately, a cultist dedicated to proclaiming the Daleks the best Doctor Who villains, had sabotaged his homemade Tardis, sending it careening off to the Dalek Asylum, where it crash landed. The new Doctor had a significant knock on the noggin that erased her memories of future Britain (or Whovistan as it was then called.) As she emerged from the broken Tardis, she asked one of the local Daleks to clarify exactly who they were and where she was. The Dalek, broken and insane, did not understand her and thought she was introducing herself as Clara. The name stuck.
The winner after the jump...
...they won't be movies. They're going to be Syfy miniserieses.
Um...ask fans of Earthsea how well that worked out for them.
Please be better. Please.
I know, I know, there are a lot of giveaways this week. But there's not a one in the bunch that I felt I could turn down.
I covered Don Coscarelli's John Dies at the End pretty extensively when it came out; before that, Rob was a fan of the trailer. At the time, many of you expressed frustration that it probably would not be playing anywhere remotely near where you live.
And now, it doesn't have to. I am giving away three sets of the DVD and the original novel by David Wong. That's three winners who will take home both a disc and book apiece. I still feel this is the best movie released so far this year, a wild romp involving drugs, aliens, meat zombies, ghosts, alternate histories, masked nudists, caged demons and of course Paul Giamatti, all filtered through the always bizarre sensibility of Don Coscarelli.
Here is your challenge for entry: in comments below, imagine Coscarelli gets so desperate that he sells off the rights to all his movies. Hollywood does a big budget reboot of one. Which one is it, who do they cast, who directs it and how do they fuck it up the most?
As always, you have one week; contest closes April 9th, 2013, at 11:59 pm. Enter as often as you like, I reserve the right to reassign prizes if winners prove uncontactable, etc.
I don't know how many kids can say this, but I came to Doctor Who fandom through the books.
Growing up, I didn't have a TV until after my parents separated (consolation prize and all). But even then, Ireland had only two TV channels, though sometimes the richest kids would have a large antenna to catch the four extra that came from the UK. So there was no reliable way to catch Doctor Who except by the random luck of being at somebody's house who had "all the channels" (all SIX, folks), and it happened to be on. With the show being a cliffhanger-based serial, one could generally be assured of a slightly unsatisfying narrative that way, although I got enough to know I liked it.
What I did have was a library card. And the children's section at my local book-borrowing outpost was bursting on the inside with Doctor Who novelizations. I read as many as I was able, with the occasional sci-fi magazine being my visual guide for what the characters looked like. I also read drastically out of chronological order, as there was no numbering system on the books themselves. I almost certainly imagined better special effects than the BBC ever conceived, though I was young enough that I didn't notice the seams in the monster suits when I did catch an episode.
When the series relaunched, it was almost like deja vu, as I did not have cable! And then when I did, it switched from Syfy to BBC America, which was not carried by my system. Now I finally have the access, but I'll never forget the way those original tie-in books captured my imagination.
Today's contest offers you the best of both worlds: a prize package featuring three books - original tales, unlike the ones I grew up with - and three DVDs. In print: A PLAGUE OF THE CYBERMEN by Justin Richards with signed bookplate, THE DALEK GENERATION by Nicholas Briggs and THE SHROUD OF SORROW by Tommy Donbavand (to read excerpts from the books, CLICK HERE). On disc: "The Ark in Space," "Shada" and "Robots of Death."
I think the contest idea for this one is obvious. In a comment below, tell me who or what you think Clara Oswin/Oswald really is, and how she ends up in the Asylum of the Daleks. Enter as many times as you like, and remember that the most likely theory isn't necessarily the best or the winning-est one (I'll pick the one I like the best, for whatever reason). Contest ends next Monday, April 8th, 2013, at 11:59 p.m. Please make sure you check the site regularly after that date to see if you've won, as I reserve the right to re-allot prizes if not claimed in timely fashion.