While nothing can and will top China's previous Photoshop efforts (in which Kim Jong-un was turned into Dragonball's Android 19 of the Red Ribbon Army), these latest attempts are valiant.
They're pretty funny, too! Both North Korea and China have a close political alliance, so there is some good-natured ribbing on China's hair. Because really, who doesn't want to see Kim Jong-un with Final Fantasy hair?
While we cannot predict what Kim Jong-un would do to win a war, we can predict what The Great Successor would look like with a vast array of hairstyles (as well as anime style cat ears)
So, here you go. Have a look. Because we all know Kim Jong-Un enjoys looking at things. So should you.
Keiji Inafune, best known for Mega-Man and Dead Rising, is working on upcoming PlayStation Vita game Soul Sacrifice. Until now, the game has been shrouded in mystery, but Sony promises a full reveal on May 10.
Today, leaks from Japanese game magazine Famitsu reveal that Inafune's studio Comcept and Marvelous AQL will be doing the development, while Sony is producing the title.
It was previously thought that From Software (of Dark Souls' fame) would be developing the game. That isn't the case.
In Soul Sacrifice, players can "sacrifice" different parts of their bodies to cast certain spells and evoke demons. For example, stick your arm down your throat and pull out your spinal cord to wield Excalibur or sacrifice your eyes to invoke Gorgon.
The game's setting represents human lust, and the protagonist is the servant of cruel wizard.
"This is what I wanted to do—true fantasy," Inafune told the magazine, noting the game's central theme of sacrifice and reward. Earlier this year, a leather bound Inafune teased that he was working on a "totally new" PS Vita game, giving zero details about the project. This apparently was that project.
Expect more details tomorrow once Famitsu hits newsstands. Until then, watch the game's absurdly short teaser over and over and over again.
Just look at those balloons. And those tights. And that crane. Things are about to get heart-warming.
In the Jiangsu province city of Lianyungang, an unnamed gentleman showed up in a Superman costume, riding a scooter and carrying a bouquet of red roses and towing balloons.
The event could be a publicity stunt of some sort (for Chevy?). That still doesn't make it any less sweet or any less wonderful. Or it could just be a very creative boyfriend, because, well, he doesn't show up in a Chevy Cruze. (Maybe he asked a local dealership to help out?)
According to Chinese media reports, there were a grand total of 9,999 balloons. In China, the number nine symbolizes "old" or "forever". Thus, this Superman was showing his sweetheart that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.
And to drive home the point that he was her guy, the young man donned a harness and had a crane lift him around twenty stories off the ground (Chinese news reports say 19 stories), so he could descend and propose, ring in hand.
The young woman said yes, and the happily couple rode off on the scooter, roses in hand. Congrats to these two!
You'd think, if told there's an 84-minute documentary on the ending of Mass Effect 3, that it'd be the result of some crazed fans, crackpots spending most of that time exclaiming breathlessly into a cheap microphone. You would also be wrong, because this thing is great.
It's basically a very in-depth examination of the various "Indoctrination Theories", all of them based on the belief that the ending of Mass Effect 3 sucked so much because it didn't really happen. And it didn't really happen because Shepard had been "indoctrinated" (ie taken over) by the Reapers.
The whole thing is worryingly comprehensive, and while it still doesn't make me a believer (many of the points are more likely the result from lazy/rushed development than some grand conspiracy), it's still fascinating to see how such a thing can result in such a thing.
The 2012 ChinaJoy Cosplay extravaganza was especially extravagant in this case, as an entire stage is decked out with League of Legends cosplayers.
It's not just the quantity that's impressive, it's the quality of said quantity. Also of note? The prolonged pose-holding. These cosplayers are serious.
A few weeks back I made a concerted effort to get into this game. It's going...OK. I'm not quite at the stage where I travel to China in costume though.
Unbelievable League of Legends Cosplay Show [Fashionably Geek]
That's just my tastes, though. Artist and advertising man Andrew Miller has a different reason for emphasising the colour: he's spending 100 days painting consumer objects white to remove all branding. In the end we're left with just the object.
In addition to the NES pad pictured above, other cool things he's whitewashed are featured in the gallery.
Brand Spirit [Andrew Miller]
I don't like most zombie games because, well, they're not really zombie games. They're action games using the texture of a walking corpse as your opponent. From Resident Evil to Left 4 Dead, they don't really capture the essence of a good zombie yarn like Dawn of the Dead or The Walking Dead manage.
So it was with a little bit of excitement this week when I sat down with DayZ, a new zombie mod for ArmA II, a hyper-realistic combat simulator that also happens to be one of my favourite PC games of all time.
If you've never played ArmA II, it's an open world shooter where you control a single character who can...do whatever they want. Shoot a rifle, fly a plane, drive a tank, whatever. Only catch is nearly all those things handle and react as they would in the real world. So shooting somebody from 100 yards away, a mundane act in Call of Duty, becomes something to celebrate in ArmA. Especially since damage is also realistic.
So, into this framework comes DayZ, a multiplayer experience which has you taking the role of a zombie apocalypse survivor, stranded on an island that's populated with hundreds of zombies and dozens of other humans. Some of whom are there to help you, while others are there to kill you and take your stuff.
It's a bleak, brutal game, playing like some strange hybrid of STALKER, Fallout and Left 4 Dead. There's no map until you actually find one. No prompts showing you the location of other survivors. All you hear is the wind and the birds. Because it's built on such a realistic engine, if you want to go somewhere, you have to walk. If you want to pick stuff up, you can only take what you can carry.
If that wasn't making things hard enough, the mod's developers have added extra survival elements, like the need to eat and drink water. Two things which you'll want to do, since you take the role of a persistent player; leave a game and, if you're still alive, you'll come back in the same spot with the same gear. Die, though, and that's it. The weapons and tins of beans you worked so hard to get are gone.
If that doesn't sound like fun, it's not! Fun isn't the right word to use for this. It's scary, definitely, especially if you're stupid enough to walk into a large town by yourself. It's also boring, a game full of long sequences where you're doing little but walking around an island with nothing but the wind and birds to keep you company. What I felt most though was a sense of fascination. The game wasn't in killing zombies. It was in interacting with the other survivors.
While there's no map, group chat functions are still available, meaning rudimentary directions can be given. Naturally, this usually entails survivors broadcasting their location so others can join them. Sometimes this means they'll do just that, and help each other out, sharing bandages, ammunition and food. Other times, it's a trick, and they're assholes luring you into a trap so they can take you out and steal your stuff.
In my first game, I'd managed six kills before dying. I wasn't killed by a zombie, or another human; I'd been helpfully told where a rifle was, but before the veteran could say "DON'T CLIMB THAT LADDER WITH YOUR PISTOL DRAWN OR YOU'LL DIE", I'd climbed that ladder with my pistol drawn and, thanks to a bug (the mod is still in alpha), fell and died. Regrettable, but still, he was just trying to help!
The second time? A survivor told me he was down at a dock. I rushed to join him, met up, exchanged awkward hellos and went off to find others. Two seconds later, we're both dead, another veteran having overheard our conversation, hunted us down and stolen what little equipment we had worth salvaging.
It can be very frustrating the first time it happens, but then, isn't this exactly what would happen in a real zombie apocalypse? Some people would band together, sure, but others would certainly try and tear us apart, a selfish desire to survive overriding their need for safety in numbers.
There aren't really sides in this conflict. You just assume the role through your behaviour in the game. It's so damn simple, yet it's what transforms this from being a bleak and interesting mod into something compelling. So compelling I've been playing it almost non-stop. So compelling it's sitting minimised on my taskbar right now, waiting for me to finish writing this so I can get back to it.
If you've got ArmA II and ArmA II Operation Arrowhead, head below to get the mod, bearing in mind it's still a little rough around the edges (you'll need some help installing it as well). If you don't, you should maybe look into it. This is definitely worth it.
Oh, and at bottom is a short clip I recorded. There's not a single zombie in it. There is, however, an asshole taking potshots at me and my fellow survivors. It also shows how barren, and yet tense, this thing can be.
DayZ [Official Site]
"Fan art is often the viewer's reaction to the show projected onto the character". Not a bad summary, that.
This short PBS video examines the world of fan art, and just why people feel the need to spend their time and energy drawing amazing images of characters who someone else aready created and drew.
Refreshingly, it takes a serious look at the subject, examining not only why artists engage in the practice, but how it can help them grow themselves as creators of their own stuff.
Some of the talking heads include internet cat man Brad O'Farrell and some guy called Sam Spratt.
PBS Arts: Off Book – Fan Art: An Explosion of Creativity [Laughing Squid]
Perhaps my friend Dan Golding, over at Crikey, put it best: "The sophistication of Assassin's Creed III's "do free advertising for us and we'll give you more advertising" online campaign is amazing."
He's right, it's truly amazing. In fact… it's sublime.
In case you missed it - yesterday Ubisoft gave gamers all an important task. It was our responsibility, as fans of the Assassin's Creed franchise, to spread the word about the Assassin's Creed 3. Our reward? Access to an all-new gameplay trailer - another piece of marketing which, presumably, we will also be encouraged to share.
"Join in the united effort to reach 1,776,000 posts, tweets and shares to unlock the Assassin's Creed III World Gameplay Premiere!" announced the webpage. Just 24 hours later the progress par shows the united effort is almost half way there.
And guess what! Well done - pat on the back - we're now well on our way to having another piece of marketing beamed directly to our eyeballs. If we're lucky, we might even get a chance to see the super cool pre-order bonuses!
Honestly - why do we, as gamers, make it so easy?
Why are we so willing to become conduits for marketing? Why are we so quick to fall hook line and sinker for hype driven campaigns that promise us nothing but more products for us to purchase and consume?
Here is the situation: as a collective, our enthusiasm for a product is being manipulated and masterfully funneled in an attempt to inspire a similar enthusiasm in others; in people who couldn't care less about the new Assassin's Creed III trailer, people who'll behave like normal consumers: they'll either buy the game when it's released (if it interests them) or ignore it (if it doesn't).
We've seen everything over the last couple of years - countdowns for countdowns of announcements, gamification for early game unlocks, massive scrambles for pre-order bonuses. Ubisoft is hardly the only offender here - everybody's at it, and why wouldn't they be? An engaged audience is a paying audience, and targeted campaigns like the Assassin's Creed III campaign are like a strange alchemy - they turn social media lead into gold. It's a bold new frontier and it's the job of smart marketing campaigns to embrace and exploit that audience.
It's difficult to blame Ubisoft for picking the low hanging fruit that is the dedicated gaming consumer.
But I think the important question here is: ‘do we have to hang so low?' At time of writing almost 1,000,000 gamers have been willing to bother their friends and family - to tweet, post and share essentially nothing, a bland marketing message, duller than dust - all for the alluring promise of yet another marketing message.
What does that say about us as a group?
It probably says that we are probably a little too invested in the video game brands we love. That we're a little too far gone; that we love our games a little too much, that we're knee deep in a collective hype. So deep, in fact, that we're willing to shunt that enthusiasm onto others for more of the same.
And I'm part of the problem. Actually, maybe I am the problem. So quick to post new trailers, because I know people want to watch. So quick to inform everyone of the awesome new Art Book you can get if you pre-order Call of Duty/Assassin's Creed/Bioshock Infinite right now. So quick to get excited, so quick to share that excitement.
Perhaps I'm overreacting, but sometimes I wonder - is our behaviour as a collective that predictable? Are we the all-conquering 18-35 year old male? Eating Domino's pizza, watching The Avengers at the cinema, guzzling on Mountain Dew in our oversized video game t-shirts, figurines on the shelf, branding inexplicably glued to every aspect of our lives.
I'd like to think we're capable of more that. We're older and more savvy. We're more critical of what we consume and we should expect better - if we're the low hanging fruit perhaps we should be a little more robust. Maybe we shouldn't allow our passion to be taken for granted.
There's nothing wrong with being excited about new trailers, and there's nothing wrong with being engaged with marketing material - but is it our job, as a group, to spread that advertising message so succinctly? Should we really be allowing our love for video games to be exploited so easily?
I say no. Video games are just another thing we do, something we happen to be engaged with, it shouldn't define us. And it shouldn't be used as marketing collateral.
Ubisoft, kindly present your no doubt well-put-together video for our consumption, sans all this protracted, manufactured nonsense. As consumers, we will then decide if we want to watch it. And if we like the material, we may even decide to share the video with other like minded people. That's how this marketing thing works or, at the very least, that's how it should work.
We are not billboards, and we shouldn't be treated as such.