Oscar Nominations

Anyone who’s come into contact with any news source today is no doubt aware that the Oscar nominations are out. Here begins a long few weeks of lobbying, smear campaigns, and general sucking up as the current darlings of Hollywood look to their fellow Academy members for validation. It’s always fun to watch even if the eventual winners are crushing disappointments – someone explain to me how Bill Murray wasn’t Best Actor for Lost in Translation and A Beautiful Mind was better than Fellowship of the Ring, please.

I’ve briefly perused the list and there aren’t any big surprises. Batman Begins’ nomination for cinematography is well deserved (no doubt its genre precluded any other categories), Wallace and Gromit will surely keep up the English end with a Best Animated Feature win, and I can humbly accept that a Best Picture nomination for Serenity would have been too much to ask, even if my rampant fanboyism will continue. Joaquin Phoenix is about the least surprising Best Actor nom ever when you look at the hype, and George Clooney will definitely be partying tonight thanks to some major recognition for Good Night, And Good Luck.

What’s utterly hilarious is that Star Wars hasn’t even got a nomination for visual effects. Yay to the Academy on that one, and kudos to the Razzies for nominating Hayden. Was Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds worthy of a Worst Actor, though?

Firefly Season 2?

As reported by The Inquirer, there’s a group that seems to be gaining momentum in their efforts to bring a new series of Firefly to our screens. As something of a Browncoat myself (that sounds wrong) this is me doing my part to spread the word. Can’t stop the signal and all that.

There’s a survey from the people who want to do it here, and it gives some interesting nuggets of information as well as providing market research which could decide whether or not they can do this, so for fuck’s sake fill it in. From what I can gather the plan is to buy the rights from Fox and then turn it into some form of pay-per-view endeavour (assuming that Fox won’t look at the incredible DVD sales and bring it back themselves, like they did with Family Guy and Futurama) which can be played on iPods and computers, with possible DVD seasons at the end of it.

It’s not ideal but if they can pull it off this will be the first that I’ve heard of anyone keeping a show alive in this way, and even Star Trek didn’t get anything high profile like this after its cancellation. Just to make sure you go and fill in the survey I’ve linked this whole sentence to it. A TV return would be better as it would ensure a decent budget and increased exposure, but beggars can’t be choosers in this situation.


MTV aren’t the first outlet that I think of for quality games coverage but they actually have an interesting little feature up on the FAQ-writing community, which you can find here.

I used to be fairly active in that community over on GameFAQs, which was one of the first gaming sites that I visited after EGM featured it in a guide to importing games back around 1997/98 (must have been before Ocarina of Time came out because that was on the cover), and you can find all my stuff here. Yes, I was fairly liberal with the perfect scores back then.

My first FAQ ever was the Shenmue guide and it was actually my first work to be published in any form which had me quite excited at the time. It was the first ever complete walkthrough of the game on the Internet, even if it’s slightly slim by the standards of the other guides.

I repeated the achievement with Shenmue II, when I also managed to have a full walkthrough of the first disc on day one and had the guide serialised on one of the Shenmue forums for the people in the fruitless wait for the American Dreamcast release. I got a couple of paid jobs from those guides, and when I wrote the Shenmue II guide for Dreamcast Magazine I got access to an advance copy of the subtitled version and so turned my guide into the first one to feature the English translation.

In case you can’t tell I still have great fondness of those times when I could be in the vanguard of new game releases and spread my knowledge to others, and even if writing it for magazines pays a lot better it was good fun to get emails every day personally thanking me for the help. Almost more gratifying than getting a paycheque. Almost…

DS Lite

I’m not known for my ability to resist pretty new kit, so I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that I plan to buy a DS Lite when it comes out in Japan. Nintendo have extorted the money for three different GBA models from me so the DS looks to do the same thing.

Nintendo DS Lite

Looks very nice and iPod-esque, but the fact that Nintendo are being rather coy about GBA compatibility suggests to me that it’s being dropped since that big cartridge slot can’t help keep the size down. I won’t miss it since I find the DS uncomfortable to play GBA games (that’s what my GB Micro is for), but even if you like that feature surely Ouendan deserves to be played on something as sexy as the Lite?

The slight concern that I do have is that it might be awkward to hold and use the touch screen. The DS may be on the chunky side but that does facilitate the use of the stylus-heavy games without needing to rest it on a table. We’ll just have to give this a try, I guess.

The Lite fits in with the whole minimalist aesthetic which the GB Micro and Revolution seem to be following, which might actually help the consoles sell each other, especially with the current booming popularity of the DS. Well done, Nintendo – you’ve got more of my money.

Disney Have Bought a Soul

So the Pixar purchase of Disney seems to have gone ahead, making Steve Jobs the most powerful man in the universe, but the good effects haven’t stopped there. Disney may have lost their soul some time ago but it appears that the positive influence of the top dogs at Pixar is having some effect.

First of all Toy Story 3 has been canned by John Lasseter, and now the animation wings of Disney and Pixar won’t cross each other’s boundaries. Lasseter and Ed Catmill told Pixar Feature Animation employees:

Sequels should only be made if there is a really great story that demands it, and should be the domain of those who created the original film.

So, in other words, Toy Story 3 won’t be made simply because it’s a cash cow, and Pixar’s movies are Pixar’s movies. Pixar didn’t want to be involved and even the likes of John Ratzenberger (Hamm) had refused to reprise their roles, so it was going to be another soulless Disney DTV sequel.

If that wasn’t enough this appeared in the New York Times (registration not required):

Another hotly discussed question among artists has been whether Mr. Lasseter – despite having made Pixar’s fortune with a brilliant series of computer-generated hits – will bring back the traditional 2-D animation on which the Disney empire was built. Mr. Lasseter and other Pixar artists are known for their enthusiasm for the classic Disney films, and for the drawn features of the Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki.

Mr. Cook commented, “I’ve talked about reviving 2-D with John for some time, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if these a project emerged that we would want to do in 2-D.”

Lasseter is the man responsible for the excellent treatment of Studio Ghibli movies in the localisation process and he obviously realised what the rest of us knew – the last few Disney movies had shitty box office receptions because they were shit, not because people didn’t want to see the hand-drawn medium. With Pixar remaining autonomous but actually showing influence over Disney, are there any negative sides to this purchase?


Just thought I’d spread the word about this fun little game, Fastr. You get shown a series of ten images, one at a time, and have to guess what the common Flickr tag is between them. My best is 53 points in one round so see what you can get.

What surprised me with it is that out of the hundreds of millions of photos on Flickr that could have come up, when I played it the second batch of images to appear included my entry to the often-hilarious Crappy Pirate DVD Covers Pool (mine is this one and is also by far my most-viewed photo), under the tag “pirate”. I couldn’t believe the coincidence of that.