The Halting Point

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Spike Video Game Awards. Makes your ears puke.

As I was sitting at home playing World of Warcraft last night someone told me to turn on Spike TV for their Video Game Awards (VGAs). Why pray tell? Oh...they're showing the new WoW: Burning Crusade trailer, cool, I'll watch. BIG mistake. You see, the reason they showed the trailer at the END of the VGAs was because otherwise they would lose 99% of their audience who was only watching it for that since there really was no other reason to watch it.

First, you have Samuel L. Jackson hosting it. It was obvious after only 5 minutes of watching him that he was hired SOLELY to swear a lot. A few of the things he said were actually funny, but I'm convinced that he was making those parts up as he went along since all of the scripted material for both him and the rest of the presenters was painfully boring and dumb. The World of Warcraft chatrooms, filled with what could be argued as a fair representation of "true" game geeks across America (and other countries) were ablaze with people mocking the lines that the talent was forced to read. Even witty people like Seth Green were dumbed down to old internet cliches. At one point Tony Hawk started talking about Zero and made All Your Base references to which his female co-presenter gave the most awkward look in the history of award shows. It was clearly obvious that many of the presenters had not even read their script until they got up on stage. You can see a video clip of that fiasco here. Apologies for the appears to be a cam recording of a TV, but the audio is fine.

But hey, if I was being paid as much as they must have been to get up there and read a few lines and then head to the crazy Hollywood afterparties I wouldn't mind reading something dumb either.

The level of product placement was also extremely intrusive. I didn't think you could get more pointless sponsorships than what they have in professional sports but thank you Spike TV for proving me wrong.

You can check out the SpikeTV VGAs website at and then you must navigate through their crappy Flash navigation to get to the VGAs online coverage. Totally not worth it.

At least the WoW:BC trailer was awesome. Blizzard really knows how to make their CG intros and this is no exception. The attention to detail is amazing and the focus in this trailer (as opposed to the original one) was to show off all the cool new stuff while still adding plenty of tidbits that fans will go nuts over (such as the sheeping).

You can find both a .FLV streaming Flash version of the trailer as well as a higher quality DivX version on the World of Warcraft website's video page.

Sunday, December 03, 2006, discover how the world feels.

I'm a sucker for nice visualizations so I thought I'd share a cool one I discovered recently. It is called WeFeelFine. They employ a search engine spider that crawls various blogs for certain key phrases indicating emotion. They catalogue this data, and display it in a beautiful interactive visualization and if you click on any of the moving symbols, you can read the phrase of the place it came from. Click on the full phrase that just appeared and be taken to the originating website.

The level of interaction is not to be passed over. It is very thorough and provides a lot of interesting things to look at and different ways to break the data up. I will note however that I wish there were more description of what I was doing/looking at. While a lot of it is very self-explanatory and intuitive, I still couldn't shake the feeling of "I don't really know what this will do but i'll bet it'll be cool". So as a statistical tool I wasn't in love with it, but still very cool nonetheless.

Be sure to note subtle differences in things. For example, while there are an overwhelming number of bouncing circles floating around, look for the squares as well. These have photos attached.

All in all, very cool and nice for those small moments when you're curious what is going on elsewhere in the world.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Amazing pixel art poster of Digg and other Web 2.0 companies

Eboy, masters of pixel art goodness have released their latest poster, FooBar. Click the image for a larger version. I've always been a huge fan of pixel art as the artists tend to put an INCREDIBLE amount of detail in each piece. Be sure to hunt down all the little fun things going on in this one, there's a bunch that are a lot less obvious than the giant robot arms punching through to the surface from under the street in the middle.

For those interested in getting started with their own pixel art creations, check out these resources;