A month after its release, Naughty Dog
's sweeping interactive epic The Last of Us
is being hailed as one of the best games of all time
, with perfect scores even from notoriously demanding critics
Inspired by an eerily beautiful segment from the BBC's Planet Earth
, the game portrays an America twenty years after a pandemic of the zombiefying Cordyceps
), leaving behind lush wastelands
of elegant decay
teeming with monsters
and beset by vicious bandits, a brutal military, and the revolutionary Fireflies.
Into this bleak vision of desperate violence
journey Joel, a gruffly stoic Texan with a painful past, and his ward Ellie, a precocious teenager who may hold the key to mankind's future.
Boasting tense, immersive gameplay
, compelling performances
from a diverse cast, a movingly minimalist score
from Oscar-winning Gustavo Santaolalla
, and an array of influences from Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men
to Cormac McCarthy's The Road
, it's already being slotted alongside BioShock Infinite
and Half-Life 2
as one of modern gaming's crowning achievements
. And while it's hard to disentangle plot from action, you don't have to buy a PS3 to experience it -- YouTube offers many filmic edits of the game, including this three-hour version of all relevant passages
And don't miss the 84-minute documentary
exploring every facet of its production. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jul 14, 2013 -
It's debatable whether the troubled World War Z
signals the end of the ongoing zombie craze, but the film that started it all is much more clear: Danny Boyle's
bleak, artful cult horror-drama 28 Days Later
, which saw its US premiere ten years ago this weekend.
From its iconic opening shots of an eerily abandoned London
(set to Godspeed You! Black Emperor's
brooding post-rock epic "East Hastings"
) to the frenzied chaos of its climax
, Boyle's film -- a dark yet humanist tale
of a world eviscerated by a frighteningly contagious epidemic of murderous rage -- reinvented and reinvigorated the genre that Romero built (though many insist its rabid, sprinting berserkers don't really count
And while sequel 28 Weeks Later
with its heavyhanded Iraq War allusions
failed to live up to the original (despite boasting one of the most viscerally terrifying opening sequences
in modern horror), and 28 Months
looks increasingly unlikely
, there remains a small universe of side content from the film, including music, short films, comics, and inspired-by games. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 28, 2013 -
Young Edd Gould
always enjoyed drawing comics of himself and his friends. Growing up in the internet age, his doodles
evolved into Flash animations of increasing complexity, and in time Edd and pals Tom Ridgewell
and Matt Hargreaves teamed up to produce an "Eddsworld"
series of online webtoons and comics
At first crude and halting, the group's "eddisodes"
progressed from surreal shorts
into full-fledged productions that pushed the boundaries of amateur web animation, with expressive characters
, full soundtracks
, complex effects, and a fast-paced, off-kilter sense of humor: MovieMakers
- Rock Bottom
- Hammer & Fail
At its height, the college co-op was producing shorts for Mitchell & Webb
and the UN Climate Change Conference
, fielding offers
from Paramount and Cartoon Network, and racking up millions of hits on YouTube
Work slowed, however, when Gould was diagnosed with leukemia
-- a relatively survivable form, though, and Gould carried on working gamely
through his hospital stays. So it came as a shock last week when Matt and Tom announced that Edd had passed away
, prompting an outpouring
in his short 23 years.
posted by Rhaomi
on Apr 2, 2012 -
Two and a half years ago, we explored the early history of Cartoon Network
... but it wasn't the only player in the youth television game.
As a matter of fact, Fred Seibert
-- the man responsible for the most inventive projects discussed in that post -- first stretched his creative legs at the network's truly
venerable forerunner: Nickelodeon
Founded as Pinwheel, a six-hour block on Warner Cable's innovative QUBE
system, this humble channel struggled for years before Seibert's innovative branding work transformed it into a national icon and capstone of a media empire.
Much has changed since then, from the mascots and game shows to the versatile orange "splat."
But starting tonight in response to popular demand, the network is looking back
with a summer programming block dedicated to the greatest hits of the 1990s
, including Hey Arnold!, Rocko's Modern Life, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Double Dare, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Legends of the Hidden Temple
, and All That
To celebrate, look inside for the complete story of the early days of the network that incensed the religious right, brought doo-wop to television, and slimed a million fans -- the golden age of Nickelodeon. (warning: monster post inside) [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jul 25, 2011 -
Twenty years ago today, the gaming world saw the launch of a truly landmark title: Sonic the Hedgehog
. Developed as a vehicle for a new Sega mascot, the fluid, vibrant, cheery-tuned wonderland swiftly became the company's flagship product, inspiring over the ensuing decades an increasingly convoluted universe
of TV shows, comic books
, and dozens of games on a variety of systems (all documented in this frighteningly comprehensive TVTropes portal
). And while in recent years the series has turned out more and more mediocre 3D and RPG efforts
, the original games remain crown jewels of the 16-bit era. So why not kick off this anniversary by replaying the titles that started it all for free in your browser: Sonic the Hedgehog
(1991), Sonic the Hedgehog 2
(1992), Sonic the Hedgehog 3
(1994), Sonic & Knuckles
(1994). Or click inside for music, remakes, and other fun stuff! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 23, 2011 -
- Part 2
- Part 3
) is a silly little Lovecraftian sitcom from the folks who bring us the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast. (previously: 1
) The guys Lackey and Fifer are also writing a graphic horror novel set in the Jazz Age, Deadbeats
posted by JHarris
on Apr 9, 2011 -
"Welcome to the Zion Archive. You have selected Historical File #12-1: The Second Renaissance.
So begins the short film of the same name by Mahiro Maeda [Flash: 1 2 - QuickTime: 1 2]
-- a devastating yet beautiful work of animation.
Originally produced to explain the backstory behind the Matrix
trilogy, Maeda's project ended up telling a story far darker and more affecting than any blockbuster.
Using a blend of faux documentary footage
and visual metaphor
, his serene Instructor relates in biblical tones the saga of Man and Machine, how age-old cruelty and hatred birthed a horrifying, apocalyptic struggle that consumed the world.
Packed with striking imagery and historical allusions
galore, this dark allegory easily transcends the films it was made for.
But while "The Second Renaissance" is arguably the best work to come from the Matrix
franchise, it's hardly alone -- it's just one of the projects made for The Animatrix
, a collection of nine superb anime films
in a wide variety of styles
designed to explore the universe and broaden its scope beyond the usual sci-fi action of the movies.
Click inside for a guide to these films with links to where they can be watched online, along with a look at The Matrix Comics
, a free series of comics, art, and short fiction created for the same purpose by some
of the best talent in the business. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Feb 14, 2011 -
Breaking the Fourth Panel: Neonomicon and the Comic Book Frame (1
) Alan Moore’s recent Lovecraftian comic dissected. (MLYT, Possibly NSFW language and SAN loss)
posted by fearfulsymmetry
on Aug 3, 2010 -
Youtube user Omahdon
takes regular old comics and adds voices, sound effects, and incidental music, bringing them to life in a way that sometimes surpasses the mute originals. [more inside]
posted by Askiba
on Aug 29, 2009 -
Co-creator of Spider-Man
, Steve Ditko
is famous for weird
, distinctive art
, his 1966 departure from Marvel Comics
, and granting very few interviews in
the course of his decades
, preferring to let creations
such as The Creeper
, the Objectivism
-inspired Mr. A
, and Squirrel Girl
speak for him.
Okay, Squirrel Girl not so much.
turns the spotlight on the artist in the BBC4 documentary
, In Search of Steve Ditko
. Did they find him?
Well, that's The Question
, isn't it?
posted by Alvy Ampersand
on Sep 23, 2007 -