Browse Month by March 2018

The Boxer

We here at the SLN Videogame Depot welcome back correspondent Jax Hamleg, who has returned from extended medical leave as a broken yet very opinionated man. Take it away, Jax.

Look me in the eye and tell me something, motherfucker. How many loot boxes have you purchased? With real money. Real dollars that could’ve put food on your family’s fucking table. You make me fucking sick.

Ironically, it was in being sick that my spiral into gaming and despair began. Sick with a case of legs torn off by hurricane force winds and a penchant for buckling my belt four or five notches tighter than was necessary. Sick with a case of hubris. Without my legs or my work but with a steady paycheck and benefits package, I wasted away into a horrid little gremlin, spending hours playing terrible videogames on my overpriced Razer laptop (replete with rainbow light-up keys) and my durable but off-brand android smartphone.

I have seen things that would make a normal person laugh awkwardly and find an excuse to leave. Things that would send a chill down your spine if I also explained the very esoteric and technical context surrounding them. I will never again be able to look in the mirror and see a man. I only see something so disgusting it shakes my belief in a loving God. I see a gamer.

Before my Kafka-esque transformation I used to travel to interesting places with a talented and brave cameraman, and I too was brave, because I delivered the news live, as it happened. What do I deliver now? Advice. Advice that comes from a place of deep suffering, in the hope that I can save you from the hell I have made for myself. Advice on which videogame loot boxes offer the best value.

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Spring Cleaning: 5 Notable Projects Being Pruned From For Inactivity

A GPL-licensed clone of the ClustrFuCK development framework and its accompanying compiler, API, IDE, and STD.
Last Commit: Fixed buffer overflow when converting an imported FurthestCK database containing malformed emojis. (Nov 14, 2014)
Cause of Death: One of the two lead developers had his brain removed and frozen by a transhumanist tech startup, and the other had his brain removed and frozen by an escaped convict during a terrifying 18-day killing spree and FBI manhunt.

A free and open source software suite for both GNU/Linux and regular Linux that assists the user in tracking the frequency, amount, consistency, color, scent, velocity, and “urethrafeel” of their urination.
Last Commit: Added additional shades of chartreuse to the color library based on recent unusual samples. (Jan 4, 2016)
Cause of Death (not literally this time): Lead developer disillusioned with the internet piss community after involvement in the PissCoin cryptocurrency scam.

The “expanded release” fork of ClustrFuCK-based multiprotocol messaging client YouFuCK, YouFuCK ER aims to provide a robust alternative to messaging giants like Pidgin, Slack, AIM, MSN, IRC, XMPP, YMCA, DMCA, and dreaded closed-source wickedness locus Trillian.
Last Commit: Fixed memory leak when sending entire PS2 game ISOs to your shitty script kiddie friends via AIM file transfers, KEVIN. (May 8, 2015)
Cause of Death: Kevin and his script kiddie friends did a denial of service attack on the lead developer’s anime fanshrine site, causing him to break down and leave the internet forever.

Hey, remember Net Nanny, that thing that parents would install to block naughty websites? Well, they open-sourced it!
Last Commit: Added a previously innocuous fanshrine to Jan Killblood from the anime Hellghost UltraMAX to the naughty list, since now it just displays the text “KEVIN RULZ” with the letters made out of penises. (May 10, 2015)
Cause of Death: Kevin and his script kiddie friends got into the lead developer’s email with a brute force password attack and hijacked all of his accounts, including his account on

EmuMaster Perfect Collection: Do You Remember Love?
The ultimate NES emulator is here, combining the best parts of all the various forks over the years of Japanese PC-98-based NES emulator EmuMaster into a single perfect hybrid that runs on Windows, Mac, GNU/Linux, and regular Linux.
Last Commit: Added additional checks to prevent crashing when trying to launch malformed ROMs. (July 19, 2016)
Cause of Death: Lead developer’s brain removed and frozen by Kevin and his script kiddie friends, who are escalating their acts of violence and must be stopped.

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Humours, TV

Pitch Document for the Proposed Universal Network’s Jaws: The Series (Part 2)

In 1981, Universal was preparing their planned Universal Broadcast Network, for which one of the tentpole series would be Donald Bellisario and Steven de Souza’s Jaws: The Series. Twelve episodes were included in the initial pitch document.

“Last Limbo in Bogota”

Deputy Lefty announces to the media that Sheriff Hawk, now known to Hooper and the gang as Ricky Delgado, drug-trafficking gangster, has disappeared and is feared dead. In reality, Lefty is still receiving his orders from Hawk, who is fleeing the pursuit of Agent Rocco, who hasn’t yet found a way to prove Hawk is Ricky, or connect him to the Colombians. Lefty attempts to distract the public by raising the prize of the wine festival’s beachside limbo contest to an outrageous $10,000, drawing an unsafe number of participants to a beach still under threat of a massive, man-eating shark who might be going through intense cocaine withdrawals. Panic ensues at the limbo when a bloody Hawaiian shirt washes ashore, but Brody recognizes it as belonging to a local drug pusher who helped Rocco track down the cartel. Is it possible the shark was driven to hunt humans when the drug runners used them to “dispose of some evidence”? Mac and Tiffany set up Becky on a blind date with guest star [GUEST STAR], unaware of her budding relationship with Cartwright.

“Swap Meat”

The festival’s swap meet is shut down when a porcelain statuary breaks, revealing that it’s filled with packages of cocaine, and the drug smugglers are using the festival to distribute their product. Brody uses this as an excuse to tell the public to avoid the festival without creating a panic over the very real risk posed by the shark. The chairman of the festival, guest star [a George Segal type], wants Brody’s head for such an affront, but his intimidation of Brody is interrupted by the boat they’re on being attacked by a strung-out great white shark. [Why are they on a boat? – Steve] The shark, as it turns out, was attracted to the boat by the smell of drugs – the chairman is in league with the cartel! Mac encounters tension when his ex-wife brings her new boyfriend to the festival.

“Speed Kills”

Lefty has Mac arrested on spurious charges, with his bail set so high the gang need $5,000 just to put up for the bond. Fortunately, the cash prize for the wine festival’s half-marathon is exactly five thousand dollars, and Dr. Cartwright just happens to be a former high school track star! But danger strikes when Lefty enters a ringer into the race, who is faster than Cartwright and willing to cheat…with deadly consequences. The race is on to catch this crooked runner in the act before he can cross the finish line. Becky tries to raise Rich’s spirits before the race with a surprise luau. [How long is this goddamn wine festival? – Steve]

“Shark and Roll”

The festival’s charity concert, a perennial highlight that draws massive crowds, is moved to a floating stage just off the beach at the request of flamboyant rock star Ricky Jump, the concert’s headliner. Obviously, Brody is terrified at the prospect of drawing a huge crowd of people to the beach for a rock show, but Dr. Cartwright hatches a risky plan: since the waters themselves will have to be cleared for the stage, the band’s massive amplifiers could be set to a frequency that will attract the shark, then dumped into the water to electrocute the beast, all before the last act make it onto the stage. Brody is convinced it’s too dangerous, but Tiffany unexpectedly sides with Rich. Will cooler heads prevail? Mac stands trial with the only lawyer who would take his case: his ex-wife!

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A History of Foreign Blockbuster Knockoffs: Part 1 – Pre-1700

The historical record now makes it quite clear that the history of low-quality foreign knock-offs of popular franchises and characters vastly predates what was previously thought. For every so-called Turkish Star Wars or Panamanian Ghostbusters, most of which do have original titles in their native languages despite what they borrow from their mainstream equivalents, there is an older, even ancient work that plays in similar space.

As recently as a decade ago, we naturally assumed that the vaunted “Cradle of Infringement” was the Turkish city now called Batman, named of course for the costumed crimefighter who despite his seemingly modern origins has existed in various forms since at least the Iron Age (the hypothesis that the Egyptian Anubis was a sort of “proto-Batman” is extant, but not roundly accepted). However, reevaluations of some ancient texts have made it clear that blockbuster knockoffs are as old, perhaps, as written language.

While the title Mesopotamian ET is something of a misnomer, the true title of this sequel to the Epic of Gilgamesh literally translates to “Further Enkidu Hijinks Record,” or more colloquially, Enkidu is at it again!? It’s easy to see the comparison, though. The prominent subplot where the goddess Ishtar leaves behind her beloved hairless sloth near the home of a widower farmer and his two young sons is certainly reminiscent of the story we previously attributed to Spielberg, who it now seems only updated an ancient theme, the “alien and telephone-home” narrative that would later be seen in Moorish Spain in texts like Foreign Large Eyes Monster Unchained, et al (Spooner, 2010). Whether he was aware of these then-obscure tales is not known. Enkidu also gives us the first known occurrence of the long-standing “Bicycle and the Moon” motif, although “bicycle” is a very modern term for the kind of crude two-wheeled wagon present in older sources.

After the Classical period, blockbusters fell out of fashion in the Old World. The Greeks and Romans favored their own inventions, stories like the Iliad, or the Odyssey, or Pretty Woman. But miles away, another pocket of cheap foreign knockoffs was taking root that wouldn’t be seen by Europeans for centuries to come.

When the Spanish made contact with the Mayans, newly discovered records previously thought burned for heresy show that they were stunned to find that, somehow, the Mayans had independently developed Spider-Man, a superhero known to the Spanish as “the Mysterious Champion of Spiders.” Their figurines were crude, but showed every detail now considered definitive of the character’s visual design. Strangely, the Mayan Spider-Man is a more morally ambiguous figure than modern iterations, probably owing to the spider’s long association with trickster figures.

To be fair, though, the foreign knockoff “dark age” was really only a European phenomenon. As near as India or even further west, in modern Kazakhstan or, some would contend, the eastern reaches of the Byzantine Empire, the model still flourished even through Roman and later medieval times. One could hardly walk through any densely populated area of India without seeing thousands of toys depicting Godzilla in crude 11th-century plastic. Of course, Godzilla’s origins changed considerably over time before he reached the silver screen and his Atomic Age backstory became indelible. India’s Godzilla myths date back to a short but quite familiar passage in the Brahmanas detailing a plume of mystical fire that awakens a giant creature of the depths, although he is seemingly more amphibian than reptilian, as befits a sea monster.

In Europe, the Renaissance was, appropriately, a rebirth of the foreign knockoff archetype across the board. Just look at Michelangelo’s (the sculptor) immortal marble figure of Michelangelo (the Ninja Turtle), an enduring icon for the ages. Leonardo himself even got a jump on Marcel Duchamp’s debasement of his Mona Lisa with his own “Renaissance Italian Jessica Rabbit,” as we often call it today, his Voluptuous Lady of the Rabbit, posed and barely smirking just like its more famous sister.

Next week: a deep interrogation of colonial-era heroes like the Scarlet Pimpernel, progenitor to the roguish Zorro, and John Shaft, the black private dick who’s a sex machine for all the chicks, if you can dig it.

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