Hypothetical Goods and Services

I am proud to say that the little robot I drew for the site has inspired Tony to do some blogging, a friend to ask me to draw another robot on commission (of beer or sweatshirts), and Dan to request Doombot business cards. All this artsy-craftsy stuff has got some of us thinking about t-shirts, too, which resulted in some interesting conversations about how one might go about doing that.

As Hamed and Dan can attest, I have a pretty lousy track record at making t-shirts in a timely fashion. So, given my general cursed nature in this arena, I’ll probably keep doing what it is I do day in and day out and not make stuff (besides blog posts) for Doombot, for the time being at least. But if I were to make stuff, I’d make t-shirts, zippered hoodies (the most versatile article of clothing known to humankind), and beard badges. I don’t know that there would be enough demand for actual “merchandise” per se, rather than just general “craftiness.” But in my fantasy world where I am not doing schoolwork and playing bar trivia games all the time, that is what I would do.

That is not all I would make in my hypothetical fantasy world. No sir. I would also get to design The Complete Buttercup Festival. Buttercup Festival is one of the best comic strips I have ever read, and it deserves the same kind of republication treatment that Krazy Kat and Peanuts are now finally getting. Currently, three of its volumes exist as tape-bound collections of copy paper printed up at Kinkos, sold once upon a time by my friend Dave in the UMass Amherst Campus Center. Two more volumes and numerous color drawings are available online at the ButtercupFestival.com archive. This could all fit in a book or two, and I’ve had a million ideas on how to package it. It was wise of Dave to ignore this offer when I first made it some years ago, as I knew basically nothing about graphic design at that point. Even then, I suspect he could’ve taken it to Top Shelf and Drawn and Quarterly—or maybe he did, and they were crazy not to snatch it up. I only remember him taking it to Highwater Press, which was probably not a good fit at the time, and I think is now defunct. Anyway, yeah: in my fantasy world, I’d get to dress up Buttercup Festival for the world.

In your own hypothetical fantasy world (which must still at least be bound to the laws of physics and kinda-sorta to economics), what would you want to make?

Apple and Oranges II: The Revenge

Last night, I was having trouble sleeping, so I did what people with blogs do: babbled semi-coherently about my interests (and maybe inadvertently insulted a nice guy, a corollary of John Gabriel’s Greater Internet F***wad Theory). Much to my surprise, however, my babbling does not exist in a vacuum: see exhibit A, in which Dan gets paid to ride my coattails, and exhibit B, in which Tim (the blogger I said was wrong about user interface consistencies on the Mac) delivers a response. Well, this time I will be nicer, though I’ll still disagree somewhat.


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Short Trailer Review: Fantastic Four 2

The Silver Surfer: what a dick.

Apple and Oranges

From Subtraction (a very nicely-designed blog I stumbled upon tonight), I found a blog post about “The Genius of Apple’s User Interface Themes.” The writer of this article did some stumbling of his own over an article about “15 Things Apple Should Change in Mac OS X.” He disagreed with this article’s take on Apple’s user interface design. I’m having trouble sleeping tonight, so I figured I’d try to explain why I’m pretty sure he’s wrong.


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Short Movie Review: The Good German

This is noir by the numbers, basically. The trailer is an absolute failure, attempting to promote this as a standard high-budget Hollywood drama/thriller when the style you’re really getting combines grainy film, old-fashioned wipes, and authentic-sounding, dramatic music with unpleasant sex scenes and more than a few F-bombs. As a take on film noir, I guess I kind of respond in the same way I received Tom Scioli’s work, which is basically a straight-up imitation of Jack Kirby: okay, so it’s clear what you’re doing, and you do a decent job of it, but are you really bringing anything new to the table? Maybe I’m just harboring some lingering resentment that the movie turned sweet-natured-looking Peter Parker (aka Tobey Maguire) into a complete jerkass. What is it about black and white movies that ruins the nice guys? I haven’t been that bummed since Sin City turned Frodo into a deranged ninja-cannibal.

More Than Meets The Eye..?

Dan recently showed me the latest trailer for Michael Bay’s Transformers movie. Our reactions differed somewhat.

Dan felt the tone of the trailer overly implied (if I remember correctly) a sense of “danger”—more like a war or disaster movie than an action-packed science-fiction romp, I guess. He said he’d go see it, but he expressed concern that trying to make it too serious would make it look stupid and lose the sense of fun of the original.

Personally, I found the trailer pretty promising—not because it lives up to the ideal vision of the property immortalized on my old Transformers sleeping bag, but because the effects looked pretty good. Generally, I’m not inclined to go see a movie just because it has good visual effects, and I’m not certainly not expecting this movie to be a work of art. I’ve been saying for years, however, that Japanese cartoons shouldn’t have the monopoly on the “giant robot” genre, and this movie could help change that.

Okay, it makes sense that the theme of “augmenting the human self with the benevolent power of robotic technologies” is particularly relevant to postwar Japanese national and cultural identity. Still, though, I think American audiences have a special place in their hearts for super-sized monsters and heroes, and Hollywood has had the technology to make those stories itself for some time now. We caught a glimpse of this possibility with the robot suits in Matrix: Revolutions, and I thought we might see more with the U.S. releases of the live-action Evangelion adaptation or Casshern. Both of these, however, would probably be very bizarre to American audiences (and Casshern‘s robots aren’t “giant” so much as “plus sized”). As ridiculous as Michael Bay’s Transformers might end up being, I don’t see a better way to convince the Hollywood movie industry that the giant robot genre is doable than to try it out on an established franchise.

As for the tone of the new movie being too “serious,” or whatever: have you seen the 1986 Transformers animated movie? As others have noted, there’s something seriously heartbreaking about watching your robot heroes die before your eyes.

Effects of Violent Gaming on Other Stuff

I was out at a bar the other night when I got into the whole “so what do you do” conversation with a friend’s boyfriend. I explained that I study media and culture, including video games, and he asked what my take is on video game violence. I gave him the usual run-down—effects may be there and very small, but media violence research too broadly operationalizes “aggression,” and so on.

He admitted that the question of whether media violence causes real violence doesn’t interest him, though: he’s more interested in desensitization to media violence, say, on the news. More specifically, does playing “war” video games (e.g., Call of Duty, or even our military’s own promotional game America’s Army) make a person less sensitive to our own soldiers dying overseas, and therefore more likely to support foreign wars?

I told him that I hope someone does this study because I would like to read it.

Limitless Potential Squandered on Beating Up Hookers

Game Politics brought to my attention a trailer for a Grand Theft Auto multiplayer game, created by GTA modders. The GTA mod community’s other accomplishments include unlocking a hidden sex simulator in GTA: San Andreas and using the game’s engine to create a parody of anti-game lawyer Jack Thompson.


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How to Strike It Rich on the Interweb

As some of you know, Doombot is built on a foundation of trust, honor, and Kai’s free web space. When the internet was young—back when you might have insisted upon spelling it with a capital “I,” and seriously wondered whether “a series of tubes” was just a funny metaphor or God’s honest truth—Kai joined a collective of web developers maintained by a fellow who owned a hosting company. It seems almost sinful not to use that free space, so we slowly fill it with blog posts about TV shows and video games. But why not, you may ask, come up with a way to leverage that for some cash?


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Search Terms Are Totally Awesome

I tried installing Google Analytics on Doombot’s front page so we could get a sense of who’s actually reading the site. I’ll be honest: I probably failed. Our hosting company provides software to keep track of page requests, but it doesn’t really track unique visitors, and the page requests are really dominated by spam bots. I will say, however, that it is totally awesome to see which search terms bring people here:

Listing the top 20 queries by the number of requests, sorted by the number of requests.

#reqs search term
21 doombot
9 hover board
6 firefly online game
5 hoverboard
5 hoverboards
4 innocent prey
4 how to build a hoverboard
4 wii
3 enoch root
3 wii help cat
3 the wire hbo
3 mattel hoverboard
3 gears of war short
3 what makes a good game
2 duck billed platypus mammals
2 built by wendy kathleen hanna
2 sukia tercer sexo review -amazon
2 phentermine online site:www.thephenterminepharmacy.com
2 gears of war water polo sharks
2 hbo wire

Dan probably didn’t realize that this post would be such an online sensation, but apparently the netizens need their hoverboards. I’m especially proud that we came up for “what makes a good game” and “sukia tercer sexo review” (without those dirty, dirty Amazon results), and I hope our writings on these matters have been helpful for you intrepid searchers.

Also, I have absolutely no idea who was searching for Gears of War and Water Polo Sharks at the same time, but I must admit that I’m impressed that we were able to accommodate you.