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Sunday, May 30, 2004

Big Things and Video Games 

Behold the world's largest paper cup! It lives in Riverside, CA and comes to us via the World's Largest Collection of World's Smallest Versions of World's Largest Things travelling roadside attraction and museum. (I think I got this link from MoFi.)

Speaking of big things, you should check out the new documentary Super Size Me, in which filmmaker Morgan Spurlock -- who previously worked with MTV and Fox -- eats nothing but McDonald's food for a full month. The effects are both intriguing and disturbing. Check out the trailer or some stills. (FWIW, the Tomatometer is at 92%.)

Virtual Surreality

This is an actual ad for some company that's giving away iPods. I suppose we're just trying to get accustomed to the idea of clicking buttons to make the BadGuys™ go away. I mean, America's Army -- the one created by the US Army -- is one of the top downloads at MacGameFiles. (Of course, this may say more about the dearth of Mac games than the quality of the Army's game.)

Now, don't get me wrong -- I love violent video games as much as the next sugar-addicted, caffeine-guzzling young American male. (It's one of the various contradictions inside of which I live.) But there's something distinctly unnerving about video games which are apparently trying to get us to approve of the killing. It's one thing to go around slaughtering unarmed genetically-modified security guards in a shopping mall. The violence is horriffic, but the game is fun. But when you throw politically-motivated intentions into the mix, it seems more sinister; it's so easy to blend our video-game conception of the BadGuys™ with real human beings.

Of course, the entire concept behind State of Emergency is that an evil corporation has taken over the country, and killing the security guards is a way to support democracy -- so that's a politically-motivated scenario, too. Maybe this is a disingenuous distinction. Still, it feels like the danger is much greater that America's Army will pave the way for the radical desensitization of future soldiers than State of Emergency will do so for young political activists.

Meanwhile, I've become addicted to the first "E"-rated game I've played in years: Gran Tourismo 3. This game has taught me more than any other I've played on the PS2. (About cars mostly, but also my own shocking levels of addiction.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go write an article about NCLB.


Check out these cool movies from Chemistry Comes Alive! I particularly like the ice bomb.

Today I'm listening to: Winds of Warning!