Category Archives: Newswire

Happy Trails: Nyan Cat, 2010 – 2012

Are you sitting down? Sit down. Are you wearing a hat? Take it off. Do you have a catheter? Plug it in.

Marty, the very real cat who inspired the very unreal Nyan Cat internet meme, passed away yesterday. He was three years old.

Poor lil’ Marty died of something called Feline Infectious Peritonitis, or FIP, and not pop tart consumption as you may have guessed. It is both very fatal and very incurable, so hey, there’s a downer for you.

To help cheer us all up, here’s as many of my favourite Nyan Cat moments as I can fit onto this page without making your browsers scream in agony.

nyan cat jump

nyan cat breaking bad walter

nyan cat machine

nyan cat pink floyd

nyan cat bacon

nyan cat pumpkin

mexican nyan cat

nyan cat rainbow

nyan cat tac

nyan cat halloween

nyan cat adventure time

Nyan nyan… nyan nyan nyan… *sniff* Nyaaan nyaan nyaaaaan. Stay strong, everyone.

Source: Mashable.

Anime Girl Mascots Sell-Out Windows 8 In Japan

If SkyNet ever does rise up and kill us all, I imagine that Japan would welcome the destruction if it came at the hands of a cute anime girl.

Quoth RN24:

[..] Windows 8 seems to be doing well in Japan as well— so well, in fact, that limited-quantity DSP editions of the operating system, which feature two unofficial Windows 8-themed “moe” mascots, are already beginning to sell out, proving once again that the Japanese will buy anything with a cute anime girl on it (not that there was a lack of evidence).

Both versions include custom theme pack wallpaper, sounds using the respective character’s “voice,” and a Microsoft Wedge touch mouse.

SkyNet: the most tsundere OS-tan ever. How quickly do you think the average user will mute those vocal sound effects? Then again, would the average user purchase the anime mascot edition, even accidentally?

…well, maybe I would, if only for the novelty factor. Are you paying attention, Apple? Your feline-themed Mac OS X updates are done. Get Range Murata or Tony Taka on the horn.

Here’s another “sweet memory” for you: Windows 7 had a mascot character of its very own. So this ain’t the first time Japan’s Microsoft branch has trodden down this well-worth path. Yessir. Lot’s of history down that road there.

Sources: NeoGAF; RocketNews24; the “special” hell.

Sony’s New French Vita Ad Is Quadruple Breasted

Take that, Total Recall. Take that, Barney Stinson.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Vita hardware, it has touch control functionality not dissimilar from recent Apple products, with the added attraction of an auxiliary touch pad on the rear of the device. So that’s what this ad is trying to get across, in a roundabout and rather creepy fashion.

Yes, I understand that the point of this style of advertising is to get people talking, and since I’m sitting here writing about it now, obviously it worked. To retort: getting people talking is just half the battle, the low-hanging fruit; the bigger victory is in getting people talking positively, and regarding the product that’s being advertised, as opposed to “hey, look at this crazy ad.”

Look, let’s just skip the whole discussion about the Playstation Vita’s sales performance because this has nothing to do with that. Sony has a long, well-documented history of weird marketing choices, in and out of the Playstation division, and this is just another example in that progression.

Oh, you want more? Well, there was the PSP “viral” debacle and the slaughter of goats in Greece, for starters. Any success the Kevin Butler character brought Sony is starting to look like an aberration.

I’ll say this for the Vita: it deserves better. It’s a quality machine that its creator has mishandled from the start with anemic launch support and a labyrinthine backwards-compatibility scheme. It doesn’t need another round of Sony’s baffling advertising on top of that.

Oh, almost forgot: David Lynch once did a Playstation commercial.

Still no Agent Cooper references. I could’ve given it a pass in that case.

Source: The Escapist.

Star Wars Episode VII Will Be An Original Story

In case you were like me, rolling your eyes at the thought of a new Star Wars sequel based on one of those novels everyone pretends to like, worry not! Disney has followed up yesterday’s bombshell acquisition of Lucasfilm by announcing that Star Wars Episode VII will be wholly original.

So that’s one bullet dodged, but with this news also comes the revelation that Episode VII is written by George Lucas, at least in its current form. Which is fine, depending on which version of Lucas we’re dealing with. Hopefully there’s someone else in the room with him, preferably someone who isn’t afraid to tell him “no” when the need arises.

George Lucas today feels quite similar to Gene Roddenberry during the early years of The Next Generation; a towering figure perhaps better utilized in a detached showrunner or executive producer role, because when he gets anywhere near pen and paper, bad things tend to happen.

disney pictures logo
Ready to be greeted by this bad boy in 2015?

No word yet on just how original this original story will be, how far after Jedi it’s set (or if it’s even the true sequel everyone’s expecting), who’s in it, who’s directing, and so forth.

So until the news comes down that Episode VII will feature an invigorated Rebellion led by Zac Effron against Darth Jonas and the remnants of the Galactic Empire, let’s all just relax for now.

Source: io9. Image: GamingTruth; The Royalty Exchange.

Community Returns On Several Dates For Maximum Confusion

Boys and girls, start your facepalms!

First, there was the original season four start date of October 19th, which turned out to be more a metaphysical the-power-was-in-you-all-along sort of deadline that NBC didn’t feel the need to meet. That’s okay, we know they’re very busy people.

Then, after a week or so of silence, Canada’s CityTV announced that new episodes of Community would air on Friday, November 9th… in Canada only, naturally. Those of you without a little Canadian in you (would you like some?) may know CityTV best as the odd little logo in the corner of all your torrent downloads and Tumblr screencaps.

But wait, there’s more! Shortly after the CityTV announcement, Community cast member Yvette Nicole Brown tweeted that there is indeed an American airdate: Thursday, February 7th, 8PM. Months after the show was supposed to air and almost exactly the date Joel McHale jokingly predicted on Jimmy Kimmel a couple weeks ago.

However, for those of you fearing that torrent downloads of the Canadian broadcasts would impact the ratings that actually matter when NBC finally takes the show out of the can next year, worry not! CityTV got their date wrong. It’s actually January 11th. Oh wait, now it’s not. It’s TBA. Whoops!

So until even further notice, October 19th will now happen on February 7th. The only explanation that makes any sense to me is that NBC wants this thing to fail, which is ridiculously shortsighted of anyone who has put this much investment into anything.

*crumples paper, tosses it behind my shoulder*

Source: Splitsider; @yvettenbrown Image: The Iconophile.

Disney Purchases Lucasfilm, New Star Wars In 2015 (UPDATED!)

UPDATE!: A few early details on Star Wars Episode VII have surfaced.

While I was busy absent-mindedly jotting down random snarky comments about wrestling, Disney went ahead and acquired all-things Lucas for a cool $4.05 billion. That’s billion with a heavy thud-to-the-floor B sound, or more zeroes than you perhaps expected Lucasfilm to still be worth in 2012. You cynical little bastards, you.

We may need a little time to let this news sink in, but for now, several points of interest come to mind:

1) If you thought Jar Jar Binks was annoying before, wait until Disney gets their hands on him.

2) This probably won’t adversely affect the quality of the Disneyland rides, which have already been dumbed-down for the prequel crowds.

3) If any of that money flows towards EA and Bioware’s The Old Republic, that could be exactly what the struggling MMO needs to stay afloat another few years, free-to-play or not.

Oh right, and a little something called Star Wars VII was announced alongside the acquisition news. That seems like it could be a pretty big deal. Right? Of course, the bigger implication involves even more sequels. Quoth the original press release from Disney:

Ms. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.

There’s so much to contemplate here and I’m not even a Star Wars fan, more of a Star Wars those-first-two-movies-were-good-and-also-KOTOR. Do they adapt the novels set after the original trilogy, with all their fanfictiony goodness and Mary Sues? Do they ignore the expanded universe entirely and troll everyone? Will the whole thing be an ill-conceived star vehicle for Miley Cyrus and Dwayne “Tooth Fairy” Johnson?

Oh wow. Watching the fan response to this unfold is going to be hilarious.

Source: Joystiq.

Civilization Online Exists, If You’re In Asia

It does what it says on the tin: a weird Asia-only Civilization Online is currently under development by some weird Asian studio called XLGAMES, exclusively for gamers in Asia and those of you over here with access to weird Asian online games.

It’s weird.

I stress that point, perhaps too much, because it’s such a bizarre tangent for this series to take. Right from the inception of those arcane play-by-email modes in Civilization II and Alpha Centauri, online gameplay has never been Civilization’s strength. Not even Civilization V and Civilization Revolution managed to turn multiplayer into anything other than a minor bullet point at best, or an afterthought at worst, despite significant overhauling and streamlining.

And yet, here we are. It’s 2012, and the unlikely three-man band of 2K, Firaxis, and Korea’s XLGAMES is putting out an online Civilization game specifically for the Asian market.

All misgivings aside, I actually really like the idea of regionally-focussed Civilization games, if only to spotlight those smaller cultures that would never see facetime in the mainline numbered titles. However, the concept works for me only if it keeps the traditional, single-player Civilization style, and distills the experience down into something smaller and tighter, like an expanded scenario pack, or what Colonization was to Civilization IV.

civilization gandhi nuclear weapons
Don’t test him!

So it’s just the “online” part that throws me off the wagon this time. But I guess that’s just how everything works over there. There’s big, big money in that Chinese/Korean free-to-play online business model, and less and less in subscriptions and solitary experiences.

I’ll bet ten of your MMO currency unit of choice (Zen, since I still have a Star Trek Online account) that Firaxis has little-to-no involvement with this. So if you must play the blame game, direct your scorn at 2K. And then watch as they laugh all the way to the bank.

Source: Joystiq. Image: Giant Bomb; TVTropes (rabbit hole warning!).

Ming-Na First On Deck For Joss Whedon’s S.H.I.E.L.D.

When we last left our heroes, they existed merely as a tentative character outline filled with very Whedonesque names and personality blurbs. Now, Ming-Na is the first to be cast, taking on the role of Agent Melinda May, previously known to us as Althea Rice.

You may remember Ming-Na best, or at least most recently, as Camile Wray from Stargate Universe, one of the better characters from that gone-too-soon series. Okay, so maybe Chloe was the only bad character, but still. It’s nice to see SGU actors reappearing on high-profile shows.

If you’re somehow reading this from the perspective of a gamer with no other entertainment interests, Ming-Na was Aki Ross in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and also appeared as Chun Li opposite of Jean Claude Van Damme and the late, great Raul Julia in Street Fighter: The Movie. Oh, memories! Memories we’ll never be rid of!

street fighter movie chun li
Never forget.

I’m just glad that her nickname “The Calvary” wasn’t changed. Now excuse me while I go steal it for one of my XCOM characters.

Oh yeah, and Agent Coulson is returning. Or reanimating, depending on the context. My money’s on robot, but only because vampires are done.

Source: Deadline.

Your Cow’s Milk May Soon Prevent HIV Infections

If you’re one of those people who stopped drinking milk after reading too much into dairy production, hold on to your asses ’cause I’m about to drop some hot science on you.

Quoth Gizmag:

While cows cannot contract HIV themselves, they do nonetheless produce antibodies in response to the introduction of the foreign protein. Those antibodies are passed along in the colostrum, or first milk – that milk already has a naturally high antibody content, in order to protect newborn calves against infections.

In laboratory tests, the milk-derived HIV antibodies were found to bind with HIV, inhibiting it from entering human cells.

Any discussion about genetically modified anything will inevitably follow one of two possible directions.

    • “What happens if/when all this crazy science goes wrong?”

    • “Do the risks even exist, and if so, are the potential breakthroughs worth those risks?”

I personally try to be as pragmatic as I can towards these arguments because hey, there’s some pretty nasty shit out there in the world that really needs to be dealt with, HIV being high up that list, and science really is the best, if not only, practical way to tackle those issues.

On the other hand: Mon-fucking-Santo. Now, this particular development has nothing to do with them, though it is a corporate biotech joint, so there’s sure to be big money involved. Mo’ money, mo’ problems. Biggie had that right. The more someone up the chain stands to profit, even from a humanitarian venture, the muddier the waters become.

Feel free to throw that last paragraph in my face the next time I scoff at arguments against privately-funded space exploration.

One last point of interest for the sake of clarity:

Instead of administering the milk orally, Kramski and her team plan on using it to create a cream. Women could then apply that cream to their vaginas before and/or after sex, to prevent HIV infection.

futurama farnsworth suppository
“Now if it comes in the form of a suppository…”

*sigh* Well, there goes my science boner.

One would think the application would have to occur after the sex, right? I can’t see it working beforehand. “Yeah baby, just let me slap a lil’ HIV cream on… hey wait, where are you going?”

Free idea: mix it in with condom lubricant. Bam, done.

Source: Gizmag.

Petitions Never Work, But Here’s One For Suikoden

It’s nice to dream, isn’t it?

Fans of Konami’s long-neglected RPG epic Genso Suikoden have been starving for fresh non-portable, non-Kickstarter content these last several years, and while I’m sure this isn’t the first online petition to surface in that time, the Suikoden Revival Movement on Facebook does at least appear to be surprisingly well put together. But will it help?

Forgive me for being all bitter and pessimistic and “damn kids get off my lawn”, but the only time I’ve ever seen a fan movement on the internet accomplish anything was the “peanuts” campaign for Jericho, wherein fans of the cancelled post-apocalyptic drama secured a short second season by flooding the CBS mail room with packages of peanuts.

Well, that, plus the Browncoats buying DVD set after DVD set of Firefly out of their own pockets until Universal caved and greenlit Serenity. In both cases, the results could only be considered partially successful as they provided closure rather than continuation, or an easy-out for the studios to finally get all those pesky fans off their backs.

This isn’t an indictment on the Suikoden fans out there; I am one myself, after all. Hell, if it weren’t for my dabbling in the various Suikoden fan communities (Dukedom of Gaien represent!) I might not even be doing this right now, and my long-time posse of John Layfield and Thor McOdin and most of the forum folks wouldn’t be here either. All I’m saying is that Konami could be well beyond hope at this point. Quoth Jim Sterling:

…the fans are dealing with Konami, a publisher that might not even know it’s a videogame publisher these days, so I can only wish them luck on what is sure to be a frustrating journey.

suikoden valeria screen
Valeria speaks for the fans. Little scary, that.

That said, it’s important to note that the Suikoden Revival Movement’s campaign is very pro-active, rather than simply collecting social media props, and they aren’t shooting for the stars here either: their first goal, to get both Suikoden and Suikoden 2 on the Playstation Network worldwide, is probably quite attainable, or at least mostly attainable as regional versions of those two games currently exist without any major restoration or localization being necessary. The more development effort required on Konami’s part, the less likely this is to happen.

Personally, that might actually be enough for me. The ultimate goal – a proper continuation of the main series continuity a la Suikoden VI – has felt like a total impossibility for years and I think most of us are resigned to that fact by now. Suikoden VI happening seems about as likely as Sega dusting off the original pre-online Phantasy Star franchise for a refresh, or Square Enix finally doing something new with Chrono Trigger.

Still, Konami stands to lose very little by getting Suikoden 2 up on the Playstation Network alongside the original, already available in most territories. HD remasters of the PS2 games, or even just straight-up ports for PSN, are total longshots yet still fall squarely into the “would-be-nice” category in my mind. Hoping for anything else feels like a setup for heartbreak.

suikoden 2 flik screen
Flik’s dark prediction of a world without Suikoden.

If you’re interested in adding your voice to the chorus, hop on over to their Facebook page and click the Like button. It’s not phone calls and emails or tiny packages of peanuts, but it’ll take maybe three seconds out of your day and sometimes a little moral support can be really nice to have. If you do happen to have more time to spend on this cause, check out their activity calendar: it’s quite forward-thinking, meaning that unlike 99.9% of petition movements out there, these guys might actually stand a pretty good chance of accomplishing something.

Hey, while you’re over there, check out the one true Suikoden fan page, too. And then this. Y’know, for the moral support!

Source: Destructoid / Images: RPGFan; LP Archive.