Saturday, 22 December 2012

For those who liked the movie we came up with, I was taking notes...

So here are our notes from Eye of the Contoller

Eye of the Controller

Cameras are sentient
America took over the world - Defeating China
Cameras took over - Post-America
Earth = America

Faded American memorabilia

Once great 

Tom Cruise = protagnoist
Mila Kunis = love interest

Down trodden workers

Tripods from War of the Worlds = voiced = James Earl Jones 

Jack Black = Villain

Rebranding - dark dramas - hard sci-fi

THE CONTROLLER - In the end, cameras not in control - decade - the controller is replaced 

Rising up as humans - Striders

Guns and explosions - grenade launchers





Friday, 21 December 2012

On the Ship with Semenchuk - Episode #4 Eye of the Controller

We start a whole new segment on the ship and we love it to bits, but first we have some housekeeping.



The internet is a voice to millions...but is that a good thing?

Terence McKenna

The End of the World

Doomsday Preppers

Is Reality TV the modern theatre of cruelty?

We present to you:

Tom Cruise
Will Smith

Olivia Wilde

Mila Kunis

Jack Black

and John Travolta in....


Story by Ben Semenchuk
Written by Harrison Engstrom and Ben Semenchuk

Background Image taken from here

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Interactive Games Fund Sydney Forum - Screen Australia

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to hear the Sydney Screen Community discuss the Options paper put forward by Screen Australia.

My written coverage will be Sticky Trigger in a matter of days under the Culture section. Download the above file here or torrent dat shit. Professional.

Monday, 17 December 2012

DJ Shadow booed off stage for DJ No Máz in Florida

This was posted to my  Facebook wall this morning by  DJ Tom Loud who had seen it on the official DJ Shadow event for his latest gig at Mansion. Sorry for the quality and size of the video, do check the page to see a better version, I am merely trying to report the situation.

Shadow went on Twitter straight after he was booed off stage and stuck to his roots. It was a tragedy to see such an amazing DJ shut down in a club full of people who clearly didn't know who he was or what he played. I hope at least he got paid and that more people learn about DJ Shadow's music.

This was the first track I ever heard of Shadow's when I was eleven.
The video premiered on the now-defunct Saturday Morning cultural hub that was FLY TV. The video was so amazing and the layering of each new track and each new piece of the video had me stunned by the end. Best of luck for Shadow and his next gig and hope it's not some punk kids who just love brostep and Nicki Minaj mashups.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

On the ship with Semenchuk #3 - Jay-Z's Superbass

Yes, it's that time of the week again where we talk about crap on a ship! Download it here!

DOTA 2  and Heroes of Newart 

Gaming nostalgia and how Content Delivery services cash on it.

Internet nostalgia and CAD

How Scrubs tricked you
Harrison can't remember the title of this film
Why is there no multi-camera medical comedy?

Ben doesn't know how awesome Chris Morris is
Michael Winterbottom is awesome
Journey is amazing and you should probably play it.
FTL needs a multiplayer version

No, Ben, Battlestar is fucking amazing
People are having sex at Conventions

Most Journalists probably don't deserve respect

People will never make movies like Mel Brooks anymore.

A completely misogynistic subjective look at female singers.
Shit you can even torrent it!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Jim Munroe's Guilded Youth and Characterisation

Inspired by Leigh Alexander's post on Rock Paper Shotgun, I decided to take some time this morning and play a text adventure. I have not played a text adventure in ages, not unless promotional ones or gag ones count. The game is written by sci-fi indie author Jim Munroe who has written a few books and graphic novels about Generation Y, arrested development, financial issues in space, the rapture and all the maddening things in between. He's also worked on short and feature length films as well as a few games. One of them is the text adventure, Guilded Youth.

Visually, the game is split in between two worlds: the online world and the real world. However, while we start off the game in the digital world, we then turn off our dial-up modem and are transported to another world, slightly more realistic and problematic. A world of unseen parentals, misspent youth and going on your own adventure.

We meet Tony, a thief in the game world and apparently in real life, as we head towards an abandoned manor after a night of gaming in green text adventure world with some pals. If you try and talk, you are confronted with a message saying you don't like "idle chatter." This is also true if you try and talk to the characters outside their game setting.

From here on in spoilers abound, so I do suggest you play the game, it will probably not take you more than half an hour to complete.

Okay, played it. Great, isn't it?!  So good. Anyway...

Each character you come across in the game, you eventually meet in real life. First is Harry, a Barbarian who is obsessed with 80's cartoon, Voltron and quite talkative; very different from our fairly silent protagonist. The game plays out one night at a time and after the first night of discovering the manor, you realise there is a strong plank in the way and you won't be able to move it. But during that first night, you find a "Forbidden Tome" and present it to Harry who then joins you on the quest.

Harry meets up with you the next night and is more of a 1:1 representation of his in-game avatar. He's a jocky kind of guy. He has a big backpack upon meeting him and this makes him distinct from the others. You enter the manor after crossing a field and you take a fork and doorknob you find.

So far, we learn of a talkative Barbarian who is a clear reflection both inside and outside of the game world.  Also that Tony the Thief lives up to his name as he takes from the manor. Harry is missing from the online game the next night.

The next night you login yet again, present the fork and the doorknob. Chris and Ryan join you. Things get interesting here. Ryan as a bard and locksmith contains a small irony there in contrast with you as a thief would possibly be expected to do the picking, but regardless Ryan joins you that night. He later mocks you for this saying "Maybe you wanna give it a shot." You learn from Ryan that he's a fan of "hardcore" music and has yet to get to a show because of when the transit stops at night.

The small details are revealed quite well and the dialogue is quite believable. Ryan and Chris get along because of a former relationship and history. I believe the Bard refers to Ryan in more of a classical bard and musical in sense, like a professional poet. He is quite jittery and jumpy for most of the night, especially when there is laughter heard.

Chris is a very interesting character. Seen as a Paladin, in-game the character's face is covered with a large helmet. Upon approaching the manor with Ryan, it is revealed that Chris is actually a girl. She's quite tomboyish as the description of her in the real world is "wearing a tracksuit" and a "short haircut." Paladin's being well known for their bravery and loyalty, we also find out that Chris' father is a cop and begins to have doubts upon approaching the manor.

Chris also has some gymnastic skills and heads upstairs before you pick the lock with Ryan. You eventually find a letter opener in an inkwell. Ryan takes it upon himself first and then after realising it's dull hands it back to you. There is a smashing sound to the west, you try and walk towards it and Ryan disappears in the night saying he has "band practice."

Later as you exit the manor with Chris, you notice while she was upstairs she pocketed something. As she kneels to tie her shoe in the field, you see it and your fingers get twitchy. Tony is more of a thief outside of the game than inside it so far. He takes the pocketwatch but is then tackled by Chris. She decides to let Tony keep it explaining her dad "would find it eventually." Tony looks "longingly" for her, as if he's tempted by her and her nature. If you try and "drop" the pocketwatch, the game won't let you due to your "sticky fingeredness."

So from the second night with a party, Chris is revealed to be slightly aggressive but also incredibly honorable based on her familial history and Ryan is a musician who is quite high-strung. Tony is more of a thief than ever, but this time his loot is given to time. If you chase after her, you'll lose track and just head home.

You login on the third night and Chris is missing, however Ryan is still there. I realise at this point, that if you are playing this game at night and Ryan really wanted to attend those hardcore gigs, he might not want to be playing a game online and actually just head out to one of those shows. Anyway, on the third night you show the Letter Opener and Pocket Watch from the mansion and reveal it to Paula and Maximus.

Up until that point, any time you would show something to Paula, she would deflate your action with something innocent followed by "sweetie" or another affectionate term. Tonight, you show her the letter opener and she joins you. They are the last of the two who have yet to join your party and you are informed this is your "last manor raid".

Maximus the  Cleric is a older, a foot taller and has "corn stalk" hair. Tony finds him just as annoying as he does in the BBS. Maximus is a bit too close to his representation in his dialogue. During the game, anytime you would speak to him or show him something he would blow you off with some fancy speak and I believe at one point turn invisible.

You meet Paula right before heading into the mansion and Tony remarks that she's more "goth than witch." When she asks if you're ready to "knock over this joint", you simply nod, keeping to your silent thief character. Upon approaching the manor, Maximus, now shortened to Max, notes his hesitation with which Paula does a large "stagey" yawn. It's at this point I look at Paula and notice she looks a bit like Liza Minnelli from All That Jazz. The  the small bowler hat and what we can see of her clothing give us a small reference. I could be quite wrong there.

When you enter the manor and try to walk west, Max stops you and says they need to find the "wine cellar." Max enters the hole that Chris ventured into the previous night. His bag is filled with ropes, a light and climbing gear. He makes his way down leaving you and Paula upstairs,  laughter from the dining room is heard. You check it out and it appears Paula knows these people as she enters without a care bringing you in. You are attending a goth feast and things get even more interesting.

If you try and leave during this point, you will stay put and the scene will play out. Paula apparently does know one of the guests by his name, Erik. The flirtation has dimmed for Tony and now reality starts to sink in. Max returns with bottles of wine after Paula makes a joke about Erik's choice of beverage with dinner. Paula calls him over, takes the dusty bottles and Max heads back to his backpack, now clinking with more stolen bottles and then gets the hell out of there.

So far, Munroe has established two very strong and fearless female characters who are quite well-written and male characters who pale in comparison to their party counterparts. The dynamic between Tony and Paula online is completely gone in the face of others except that Tony is pinned in his place by Paula's glance any time he moves.

Erik curses at Paula claiming "the rules are the least interesting part of this" and Paula reveals that she was kicked out of this group. We now see two worlds slightly collide as the real in-game party and the real world party now have different parallels. Tony has always had the fear of being kicked out of his guild. During the first night, if you try and show the "forbidden tome" to Max, the game says you wouldn't dare since you may be kicked out. Now Max is revealed who he really is to Tony, the relationship dynamic has definitely changed, much like Paula returning to the manor to meet her "freak clique."

Paula curses at Erik when he gets her name wrong, she throws a bottle at the candlabra, you grab a bottle of white wine in a confused haste and then head out of there with Paula; the last thing you see is the candleabra topple over and a fire is started. PRESS ANY KEY and you watch the Manor slowly burn to the ground. Something real has finally happened and you can't deal with it. When you return home, Tony takes off his clothes because you can't decide if they smell of "smoke or just of guilt."

It's at this point in the game that you actually Log In to the game for the first time. Every other time you are instantly redirected into the game following your night time adventures. You apparently spend your nights "sleeping" instead of sneaking and don't even dare touch the modem. It's just an ANY KEY situation but now you feel like you have autonomy; you're logging in again like you did at the start. It's an odd feeling after what had happened and you LOGIN hoping for the best.

Everyone is there. That autonomy is heightened when you try and offer the wine to someone. I first try and give it to Maximus and am given a prompt asking whether or not I want to give it to someone else. I reconsider and examine my party. Harry disappears after saying something about arson and Paula gives me a kiss. Because I'm easily swayed, I give Paula the wine and a plan is made for tonight to meet.

The rendevouz point is the coachhouse where you found the forbidden tome. You learn everything about who those people were in the house. Apparently you and Paula stay best of friends for twenty years and she apparently throws you a bachelor party. It's during this party, two decades down the track does the title turns into your closing credits as a lovely melancholic piece plays and that's the end. I was stunned...happy, yet stunned.

I decided to see what happened when you chose Chris and again was stunned and happy with a future eight years down the track and a story I'd be more interested in hearing. The same music plays again. I literally played through the entire game and then when researching a bit more about the game and it's creators did I find a "skipthru" function that helps you skip to the end. In that research, I found something that may hint at Paula possibly going through a sex change, which would be an interesting addition to her character.

Anyway, if you chose Max and gave him the wine, he pays you $8 which is apparently "10% of the anticipated retail value", he takes the wine and heads off. Tony is left in a state of uncertainty if he's disappointed or relieved to not be drinking with Max. It's a few years later that you see Max on campus at your University and he's discussing with someone about a hedge fund and you realise it's him only by the fact you stole his wallet on the way. Max does pretty well for himself in the end.

If you try and show Harry the wine, he'll say something stupid and Max will banish him. So I shrug and decide to see what happens if Ryan and I share the wine. Ryan and you talk over the fact that changing schools has been hard but it's all okay because apparently in the future you tour and you find the same alcohol in a convenience store and you take it and drink it in a squat.

So that would cover all the bases of all the characters. However, I am not entirely sure if all the timelines happen at once or if it's only because you share the wine with that specific character does the future become pre-determined. It's a wonderful thing to mull over while you contemplate whether your breakfast is going to burn from a few more minutes on the stove.

In Guilded Youth, all these characters are playing roles. Whether they're representation from the in-game universe, they are performing for one another and trying to fit the roles really well. Some of them fit it well, with Chris being the best representation of her Paladin virtues; strong, good-willed and loyal. Ryan as a bard being a band member tries to be "hardcore" but in reality is a bit of a wuss. Maximus is a Cleric is more of an  overexemplified character of someone who has played too much in the "magic circle" of the BBS. The role-playing has extended outside his world and become a part of him. He's seen as "annoying" and in the end a marketing genius.

But depending on if you share your wine from the manor fire, your future could be different with all of them, except with  Harry of course. The game plays out pretty well and is partially about being young and reckless, but also finding out who people are. Depending on who you identify with as yourself, or even as Tony may determine who you chose to share the wine with in the end, but I doubt you'd get a disappointing ending given your choice.

Munroe's characters feel like they have a life of their own and their characterisation is necessary to keep the story going forward. They're all bound by their own curiosity and their in-game characters but what they bring into the real world is definitely a kind of humanity and rebellion that isn't apart of their game world. They're not looked into "LOOK" or "EXAMINE" they confront their problems head on or they run off into the night. Guilded Youth is a fantastic interactive fiction and a great look into the adolescent lives of a group of misfits who are just spending their lives looking for adventure.

So yes, I spent a good few hours of my morning decoding, if somewhat poorly, a text adventure. This is how I spent my summer. No adventures, no cool goth dinners, no decrepit mansions, just me enjoying games and then overanalysing them. I hope you're happy internet. Now play this game!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

12/12/12 Summertime Wallflower Remix

Make Her Say - Kid Cudi (ft. Kanye West)
I Wish - Skee-LoTru Dudes - Childish Gambino (Ft. mc chris)The Magic Number - De La SoulNY Lipps - SoulwaxPop Muzik - MI Can't Go For That (No Can Do) - Hall & OatesPass That Dutch - Missy ElliotHouse of Jealous Lovers - The RaptureI Go Hard I Go Home - The PresetsWalk with Me - Prok & Fitch Pres. Nanchang Nancy Straight Ahead - Tube and Berger (Feat. Chrissy Hyndes)I Think I Like It - Treasure FingersPon De Floor - Major LazerNemurs (Wall of Guitars) - Dusty KidTeenage Crime - Adrian LuxOne More Time - Daft PunkMitsubichi - The SubsGet Activated - GerlingSwim - CaribouBooty Twerk - T-PainStar Guitar - The Chemical BrothersBangarang - SkrillexBloom - PogoKiss from a Rose - Seal

You can torrent it right here or simply download it, you totes got that choice.

Friday, 7 December 2012

On the Ship with Semenchuk - Episode #2 - NOW WITH REAL WAVES!

An all-new episode that is going to be two hours of your life that you may never get back. Unless you know, you listen to us while you're doing something like washing up or just in the your life, but also listen to this podcast.

The Dating World and She's Out of Your League

The Larry Sanders Show


Wreck it Ralph

Mike Myers mediocrity

Adventure Time

[adult swim]

Community (Season 3 Spoilers)

Halo 4

Planetside 2

Harmontown and Reddit

The Current State of sitcoms in Australia

Parenting and Bad Education

Download the episode here or torrent it.