Archive - Jul 22, 2011

Credit Where Credit Is Due

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Memo to Minnesota Barbarians, Twisted Pixel, and ABC Sports: RARE KUDOS INDEED.

I know there's very little evidence of it here, intentionally and by design, but I'm not actually negative all the time. On very, very rare occasions, I like to use my bullying pulpit to praise people that deserve it, even if, much of the time, it's simply an excuse for a roundabout slam at the douchebags I can't stand. Today is one of those days. SPASTIC TOPIC BENEVOLENT FRIDAY!

For example, I have nothing but nice thoughts for Nick Espinosa and his fellow LGBT activists, who dressed up as barbarians, protested, and scattered glitter all over the waiting room of Marcus Bachmann's Christian "ex-gay" clinic. Because first and foremost, that's fuckin' funny. And there's something about showering rabidly anti-gay politicians with glitter that entertains me every single time it happens.

But also, it helps keep the story out there, to the extent that it was ever out there. It's amazing to me. The right, fearing Bachmann's unelectability in the general election, leaks that she suffers from migraine headaches, and the media spends days wondering if she's qualified to be president. Because of headaches. But apparently the fact that her husband TORTURES GAY PEOPLE FOR MONEY isn't anywhere near as interesting. Or anywhere near as disqualifying. As fucking migraine headaches. That most people think Tim Pawlenty exaggerated out of desperation in the first place. I think we're gonna need a lot more glitter.

And unironic, non-backhanded kudos to Twisted Pixel, game development studio some of the most twisted fucking sadists found outside of the CIA and Marcus Bachmann's clinic. You see, a while ago, the magnificently-bearded boys of Twisted Pixel released a game called "Splosion Man". It's a platforming game, which means you basically just navigate a series of obstacles to get to the end of the level.

The central question all platformers ask is "can you do this?" Splosion Man was notable for asking you to perform feats of timing, reflexes, agility, and memorization that would make Mario's balls shrivel, weep, and renounce a cruel and unloving God. I eventually did everything those bastards at Twisted Pixel asked me to do, but it scarred me. Deeply.

Not so deeply that I didn't buy the sequel last week, of course. In grand gaming tradition, they've slapped a bow on it and called it "Ms. Splosion Man". And with this game, they have posed a new question. How cruel can a game be to you without driving you away? How narrow can the margin of error be before middle-aged, half-blind Internet writers throw down their controllers in disgust and go buy a pinochle game for the Wii? How many times am I willing to kill the game's pink, girlpop-quoting avatar?

The answers are, respectively: Cruel beyond measure, thinner than Marcus' Bachmann's heterosexual shell, and a few fucking thousand in the first third of the game alone. I'd call Twisted Pixel the Ike Turners of game design, except that I keep coming back knowing they haven't changed.

And finally, I will allow ABC Sports to enjoy the thrill of victory for providing TIMMEH with the agony of defeat in the best possible way.

You see, every election, Republican candidates for office appropriate the music of artists who don't seem to appreciate their tunes being hijacked to further the wingnut agenda. We just covered this recently with Michele Bachmann and Tom Petty's "American Girl". In minutes, the cease-and-desist letters fly.

Well, Tim Pawlenty, for the first time ever, has managed to one-up all his Republican rivals. He got a cease-and-desist letter from ABC Sports. Already I can hear you asking the question. What music did he steal? Was it the Wild World of Sports theme? Did he come onstage in Iowa to the lilting strains of "Are You Ready For Some Football?"* No. See, it wasn't music.

It was video footage. Of the 1980 US Olympic hockey victory over the Soviet Union, better known as the "Miracle On Ice", because God likes to make sure Communists lose at sports every couple of decades. TIMMEH put out an ad comparing his bland, inept, under-performing campaign to the US hockey underdogs, ABC said they own that miracle, thank you very much. TIMMEH cited "fair use" like a BitTorrent user who skips the credits on his camcorder copy of Captain America and thinks of the actual movie as an "excerpt", and I'm going into the weekend laughing my ass off. Thanks, ABC!

*Stop pretending you know its real title and didn't Google it out of a vague sense that what I typed was wrong.