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Messages - Matt

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Well of the Souls / Re: Hasbro List Of Cancelled Toys :(
« on: November 1, 2013, 09:31 AM »
Got to be this:

No, Zombie Indy was supposed to be a sneak preview figure from Indiana Jones 5.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: The Walking Dead
« on: October 29, 2013, 09:29 AM »
Can't believe I forgot to mention the bit about the radio. It was quickly overshadowed by the car hijiinks with the herd, but who WAS that on the radio?

Seems like maybe a good way to introduce another comic favorite...drum roll please: ABRAHAM

You read it here first.

News of Abraham's casting got out a couple weeks ago. No one mentioned it here, though.

‘Walking Dead’ Adds Michael Cudlitz, Josh McDermitt; First Photo Of Sgt. Abraham Ford

JD Sports Forum! / Re: JediDefender Fantasy Basketball 2014
« on: October 24, 2013, 10:25 AM »
I'm in. Thanks Brent.

I can't make the draft tonight but I don't have a problem with an auto-draft, as long as everyone promises not to pick Kevin Durant.

JD Sports Forum! / Re: JediDefender Fantasy Basketball 2014
« on: October 24, 2013, 03:14 AM »
Can a brother get an invite?

matt_birchall (at) yahoo (dot) com

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: The Walking Dead
« on: October 23, 2013, 07:27 PM »
Fox News: America's obsession with 'The Walking Dead' is hurting our society

   By Dr. Manny Alvarez

Dr Manny's Notes
Published October 17, 2013

Is watching “The Walking Dead” seriously hurting American society?

I would argue ‘Yes.’  Hate me all you want, or call me paranoid and misinformed, but there is one common theme that is pervasive in American pop culture today: violence.  Even more specifically, zombie violence. The idea of a zombie-infested world inspires fantasies of monsters possessed by an uncontrollable rage to kill, and viewers get a thrill imagining what it would be like to participate in this new world order.

We also see this zombie obsession in many videogames.  Even more disturbingly, these games create environments for young children, in which they are exposed to an imaginary world where they get to play with firearms and place themselves in dangerous situations that they find exciting.  And studies have shown that these videogames can sometimes condition people, especially young children, to be apathetic towards violence.  That’s why they’re labeled M for Mature.

This obsession with the undead in television and other media is quite puzzling.  The concept of zombies has been around for decades, and their mythology has even been studied by scientists to prove that such an outbreak can never occur. Yet, whether it be in books or film, zombie popularity has only increased after having originally been popularized by the 1960s film, “The Night of the Living Dead.”

Now, it seems that zombies on television are part of our daily routine.  The obsession also permeates into other facets of our lives, such as with so-called Zombie Runs, in which people dressed as zombies chase other “civilians” to make them run faster towards the finish line.  Even scientists at the National Institutes of Health have spent time creating an apocalyptic how-to guide on dealing with a zombie outbreak.

Give me a break. As a doctor and scientist, I know one thing for sure: When you’re dead, you’re dead.  Our brains should be less focused on imaginary zombie hordes and more focused on harnessing the tools that we need in order to enhance our lives, whether it be music, education, science or the classics. Entertainment should help us soothe our brains so that we can ease our minds of some of the stress from our daily lives. 

With this country heading towards a socialized system of government, in which officials don’t want you to think or focus on what is important for your own personal growth, I’m sure they’re more than happy to let you obsess over something as stupid as zombies. 

And in turn, you ultimately become the zombie.

Wake up and smell the coffee.  Stop obsessing over eating brains, and focus on cultivating your own.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Favorite Breakfast Cereal
« on: October 19, 2013, 08:03 PM »
Stoltz, yes; Pulp Fiction, no. It's a rare still from The Big Lebowski. Stoltz was originally cast as Jeff Lebowski and shot many scenes as The Dude before the filmmakers decided to go in a different direction and recasted the role with Jeff Bridges.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Favorite Breakfast Cereal
« on: October 18, 2013, 11:25 PM »
Negatory on fruit brute and yummy mummy.  Only Frankenberry, Booberry and Count Chocula are vintage.

The Wookiee Arcade / Re: Star Wars 1313
« on: September 30, 2013, 08:28 PM »
Why would Boba have different outfits? Wouldn't he have gotten his armor from his dad?

Because video games.

The Wookiee Arcade / How LucasArts Fell Apart - Kotaku article
« on: September 27, 2013, 04:24 PM »
This entire generation has been a waste for Star Wars games. This article goes a long way in explaining why.

How LucasArts Fell Apart

It's long, so I won't quote the whole thing, just some most of it:

It’s impossible to pinpoint a single reason for the demise of LucasArts, but an outside observer might look at the revolving door of presidents—three in the four-year period between 2008 and 2012—and wonder how anything got done. Instability ruled the realm; every high-level turnover came with layoffs and cancellations and a total shift in company direction led by whoever would take over next.

Some ex-LucasArts staffers lay blame on the presidents themselves. Others finger executives at LucasFilm for refusing to take the risks needed to make games that people would consider worthy of the Star Wars name. A number of ex-LucasArts staffers pointed to Micheline Chau, who was president of LucasFilm up until September of 2012, as the main factor for the company's decline—and the explanation for the revolving door of LucasArts presidents.

Sources describe Chau as the gatekeeper for George Lucas, and two high-level ex-LucasArts employees both said she had a tight control on Lucas's schedule. She would run rehearsals with the staff before they could meet with Lucas, sources said, and she would micromanage what the team could say and when they could say it.

"[Lucas] understood the nature of play—and games—but we didn't have the time with him that we needed," said one person familiar with high-level meetings at LucasArts.

“It never felt like people at the top cared about making great games,” said another person connected to LucasArts. “A lot of awesome projects never went anywhere because, ‘it’s not gonna make enough money.’”

Although some saw 1313 as an Uncharted clone—and even today, that's how some people look at the cancelled game—one person familiar with development of the game emphasized that the newly-implemented jetpack changed the design entirely, adding a vertical element to the action and platforming that gave things a fresher feel. Even George Lucas was high on the project, especially after the E3 acclaim.

Then, in September 2012, everything changed. LucasFilm enacted a hiring freeze, according to four people who were there at the time. All marketing plans were halted, and the company went into silent mode. Production continued on Star Wars 1313, but without the capacity to continue hiring the staff they needed, the team was crippled.

The freeze also led to endless questions revolving around Star Wars: First Assault, a multiplayer shooter that had also changed shape multiple times since it first began development in 2010. Created because George Lucas wanted to compete with the gargantuan Call of Duty series, First Assault was originally a large-scale shooter set in a time period after Return of the Jedi, according to two people familiar with the game.

Then, following direction from executives at LucasFilm, the game moved back to the Clone War era. This was a common theme at LucasArts, sources say—First Assault, which was code-named Trigger, shifted and evolved because of ever-changing direction, just like 1313. The goal posts just kept moving.

Trigger eventually morphed from attempted Call of Duty killer to multi-step project designed to reintroduce Battlefront to the world. The first game, First Assault, was set to be unveiled in September of 2012 and released in the spring of 2013. The second step was a project called Version Two, designed to show off vehicle prototypes and other Battlefront elements that didn't make it into First Assault.

But when LucasFilm enacted the hiring freeze, they also put the brakes on those marketing plans. Nobody could talk about First Assault, even when the box art was accidentally revealed on Xbox Live at the end of September.

People were baffled. “Everyone took it badly when we were told we couldn't announce or do our beta,” said one former member of the First Assault team. They kept working, but ex-First Assault staff say they had no clue whether or not the game would actually come out.

A month later, it all suddenly made sense. On October 30, 2012, Disney announced that they had purchased LucasFilm. The acquisition had been in place for quite some time, and LucasFilm had enacted the freeze in preparation for the reign of Mickey Mouse.

Yet the hiring freeze didn’t end. And over the next few months, even as LucasFilm made public declarations that everything was "business as usual," staff started to leave the company, and morale was low.

When LucasArts shut down, both Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault were cancelled. It was a heartbreaking experience for those still with the company. And it wasn’t the only one.

Canceled games mentioned:

  • Star Wars 1313
  • Star Wars: First Assault
  • Star Wars: First Assault Version Two, which according to one source grew from the remnants of a project code-named Wingman that was going to be a Wii U title modeled after the old TIE Fighter and X-Wing games.
  • open world GTA-style game set on Coruscant
  • Untitled Indiana Jones game, canceled in 2009
  • Caveland, a 2D physics-based shooter
  • Day of the Tentacle remake
  • Smuggler, a game designed for cross-platform multiplayer that would let you play as a customizable character within the Star Wars universe, smuggling and trading between Facebook, tablets, and consoles.
  • Outpost, the Star Wars take on Zynga's FarmVille that would let players build empires, one click at a time.
  • Death Star, the iOS game in which you'd get to control your very own version of the Empire's iconic space station.

There was the online service that would be LucasArts’ very own version of Origin, EA's network for distributing games and servicing online multiplayer. Like Origin for EA, this LucasArts-branded network would help the company distribute Star Wars games and in-app purchases. According to one person familiar with plans for this network, it would have launched alongside Star Wars: First Assault, which would have had some sort of microtransaction store.

All of these games were connected, and they were all part of one big ecosystem, according to people familiar with goings-on at the company. Eventually, as seemed to be a pattern at LucasArts, they were all axed. Of course, cancellations are not abnormal in the iterative world of game development, where projects shift and disappear all the time. What made LucasArts different was the studio's tendency to cancel finished projects—games like Death Star and Outpost had already gone through QA testing and were very close to being shipped, according to two sources.

"Projects get canceled all the time," a person familiar with LucasArts said. "You'd hope that your process can identify problem projects before they're finished."

So LucasArts spent most of their final years concentrating on two big games—1313 and First Assault—and the smaller project, Version Two.

“Every couple of years, George Lucas would get re-engaged for a period of time,” said another person connected to LucasArts. “The whole company would pivot around George’s interests. And then it would fizzle out.”

The Deal That Fell Through

Could LucasArts ever have been saved? Rumors came hot and heavy following the shutdown, and in April, I reported that EA had considered buying the storied studio up until a combination of factors—like the SimCity disaster and CEO John Riccitiello’s departure—led to the deal falling apart.

More people have come forth to corroborate those EA negotiations, and according to two high-level sources, EA's deal would have financed both 1313 and First Assault—LucasArts would've stayed where it was, working under EA supervision.

According to one person familiar with goings-on at LucasArts, other big publishers considered buying the company as well.

"There were various things on the table," said that person. "Buying 1313, buying the studio, just doing a deal for that game. Multiple people made offers to help finish and publish 1313."

One publisher made an offer that was "above the budget of 1313," according to a person familiar with negotiations, but LucasFilm wouldn't take the deal—licensing out a game like Star Wars 1313 just didn't mesh with their strategies for the upcoming movies, and some top executives were much more interested in putting together a next-gen Battlefront, which EA would go on to commit to.

In hindsight, it’s become rather clear that Disney never wanted to keep LucasArts as it was in 2012—on the day of the LucasFilm deal, Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a conference call that his company would be “likely to focus more on social and mobile than [they would] on console,” referring to console video games like the ones made at LucasArts. Still, most staff remained with the company, swimming onward against the current.

Three different ex-LucasArts employees have told me that in March of 2013, staffers were told they'd "be taken care of"—that is to say, they didn't have to look for other jobs. This was because higher-ups at LucasArts were convinced that the EA deal was coming together, even when it became clear that Disney had no interest in financing their games.

Still, some saw that the end was near—especially when employees were told not to mention Star Wars: First Assault by name even after I'd published details about the game on Kotaku—but up until the last day, there was hope.

I'm hopeful that, say, five or ten years from now, we can look back and say that the Disney/EA acquisition was the best thing that ever happened to Star Wars games.

The Wookiee Arcade / Re: Star Wars 1313
« on: September 25, 2013, 03:30 PM »
I don't know if you oughta read this, Jesse:

IGN: Star Wars 1313: Boba Fett Concept Art and Story Details

Recently, a source showed IGN a 15 minute demo of 1313 that would have debuted at this year's E3. While footage in the demo was still in development and much of it was still using incomplete assets, it was the most extensive look at 1313 we've ever seen, and all of it included Boba Fett in action.

We can’t show you that full demo just yet, but we can tell you how it played out and what the game was about, plus reveal new pieces of concept art that give us the best glimpse yet at how Star Wars 1313 evolved before its cancellation.

    • Star Wars 1313 would have begun with a prologue on Tattooine. Various bounty hunters seen in the game would have worked for different crime bosses, and Boba Fett unsurprisingly served Jabba the Hutt. Here we see a young Fett very early in the game, long before he even has his Mandalorian armor, instead wearing only his most basic outfit.
    • Since Star Wars 1313 was meant to take place between the prequel and original Star Wars trilogies, Fett’s armor would have evolved throughout the story, changing and becoming stronger, more familiar, as he progressed.
    • Coruscant was meticulously detailed, with structures seen here made up of derelict ships and spare parts (including TIE Fighter wings if you look closely). It’s not hard to make out a Corellian freighter here (though our source assured us it isn’t the Millennium Falcon), and you can see the gigantic scale of the environments the development team intended.
    • Our source explained that at one point in the story, Fett would also end up in layer 1314. While 1313 is a corrupt metropolis controlled by crime families, 1314 is a rarely-explored slum that has been shrouded for years in complete darkness. Part of the story of Star Wars 1313 would have seen Fett fighting his way through layer 1314 in search of his bounty.
    • The main thrust of our demo saw Boba Fett chasing a Trandoshan through a sprawling marketplace in level 1313. As Fett chased after his target, he ran through several storefronts, including a sort of butcher shop that featured sliced-open Tauntauns hanging from the rafters. The crime families of 1313 were using these Tauntauns to smuggle spice to other planets, a plot point that our source tells us would have been central to Star Wars 1313’s story.
    • Behind Fett is a droid companion that would have fought alongside him as his partner. We’re told that this droid would eventually have betrayed Fett, but that early in the game they fought side-by-side.

    (click to view full-size)

    Watto's Junk Yard / Re: TeeFury
    « on: September 25, 2013, 02:32 PM »
    Today's (9/25) shirt is a nice E.T./SW mashup:

    A buddy of mine just made a similar shirt with a BTTF theme:

    There's more information on his Facebook page (BTTFParts). All of the proceeds will go to a charity which helped victims of the tornado here a few months ago.

    TV-9D9 / Re: Star Wars: Detours
    « on: September 18, 2013, 12:11 PM »
    Seth Green did an AMA. Someone asked him about Detours.

    [–]Issac_Twamblee 74 points 20 hours ago


    Can you shed any light on what happened with Detours?

    [–]IamSethGreen 164 points 19 hours ago

    So there's actually been quite a bit of talk about this, but Detours is just on hold currently. We have 39 finished episodes and around 62 finished scripts. But that entire show was created before the decision to make more Star Wars movies, so our show (which was created by George Lucas) is an animated sitcom in the world of Star Wars, so we had a lot of conversations with Kathleen Kennedy about Star Wars in not just the next 3 years but the next 30 years, and when you're in as privileged a position as we were to be able to work on Star Wars content with its creator, you get a great sense of responsibility to the whole. I was introduced to Star Wars as a child and it was without any ironic or comedic lens, so I saw Darth Vader as scary, and I saw all of those messages very very clearly. We didn't think it made any sense, in anticipation of these new movies coming out, to spend the next 3 years with an animated sitcom as 3 generations' of kids first introduction to the Star Wars universe.

    I've had a lot of parents approach me in the last few years where they showed Robot Chicken or Family Guy Star Wars before they showed them regular Star Wars. The writers on Robot Chicken and I are seeing this a lot. The same way we were introduced to classic music through Bugs Bunny or Tom & Jerry, kids are taking our ironic interpretations of He-Man or other pop culture icons and never having the opportunity to meet them sincerely. It's a really bizarre thing to wrap your head around, and because I've witnessed it firsthand, it made me more thoughtful about what we were putting it out.

    I do feel that Detours is a timeless bit of entertainment. Media distribution is changing so quickly, so dramatically, that can you even imagine what distribution of content will look like in 5 years? In a day and age when Netflix series are nominated for the top accolades TV has to offer, what is to say what it will look like when the new Star Wars movie comes out? So Detours can sit on a shelf until the Star Wars movie comes out without losing any of its lustre, because what we've created is very funny, very smart and like I said before, timeless.

    It's timeless, y'all.

    Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Top 5 Hotties
    « on: August 27, 2013, 11:42 AM »
    I posted this a long time ago.

    Today, I finally saw a pic of the back. If I had known it was so woefully-inaccurate, I never would have posted it in the first place.

    Sorry, y'all.

    Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Everything eBay! Scams, questions, etc...
    « on: August 24, 2013, 02:04 AM »
    She replies:


    I will reimburse the $73.22 myself under the condition that this person uses it to enroll in a remedial writing course at the community college of her choosing.

    Who dies AFTER they go to rehab though?

    Etc., etc. . . .

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