Drake takes Rolling Stone to task… for honoring the dead
What an awful life Drake, a.k.a. Wheel Chair Jimmy, must live. Not only did his latest album Nothing Was the Same debut at number one, but it also sold over a million copies, and earned him three subsequent Grammy nominations. As you can imagine, life at the top is tough.
So when Rolling Stone magazine bumped Drake’s cover story for one about the recently deceased Philip Seymour Hoffman, it drove the rapper/thespian/Raptor’s Ambassador to a Twitter tirade:
I don’t know about you guys, but I have to side with Drizzy on this one. How dare Rolling Stone use up valuable cover-space for a dead person!? Last I checked, and I did some fact checking on this, Drake is (in fact) alive. As a result, he probably has more to say.
And to Rolling Stone I ask: How do you sleep at night? Don’t you understand you are preventing Drake from giving his music to the people? Clearly the man is hurting for money. He started from the bottom. Do you even know what that is like? Did Philip Seymour Hoffman even start from the bottom?
Actually wait, let me just check your cover story on him…
He didn’t. He came from an affluent family. Can’t you see how this move is putting down the strife of the working man? After all, Drake came from the ghettos of the Toronto’s suburb. Not only was he not the lead actor on a internationally acclaimed television show, he had only an entire basement to himself when he lived with his mother. Right by (at the time) Paramount Canada’s Wonderland, no less. Can you imagine the horrors of living next to Theme Park all summer? Having to hear the distant roar of ride’s like Top Gun and the Tomb Raider all day?
Well, don’t worry Jimmy. We’ve got your back at Vinyl Collective. You have worked insanely hard to get were you are. That’s why you occasionally need to cancel your shows. Or show up to Drake Night at the AAC and not even have the energy to sing for the crowd (Although, still have the courage to stand behind your personal DJ as he spins one of your singles). You are a shining beacon of hope in a world overcome with self-importance and laziness.
Finally, we’re also sorry you didn’t like Kanye’s latest record and had to talk about it behind his back. It must have taken a lot for you to be that blunt about your friend’s work. After all, you two party together.
We can only hope this article helps right the many wrongs you have incurred over the past few months. Take the day off today, Drizzy. You worked too hard at being too good to us.
This article originally appeared on Vinyl Collective
Former LucasArts employees sound off on the inner workings of this legendary studio.
A similar situation arose with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed’s protagonist, Starkiller. “[That name] was only supposed to be a nickname or call sign, not a proper name from the beginning,” a former LucasArts employee says. The development team hoped that Lucas would give Vader’s apprentice a Darth moniker, which at the time, was something that didn’t happen often.
“The team threw a Hail Mary to George, saying the game would have more credibility if the apprentice had a ‘Darth’ title,” a Force Unleashed team member says. Lucas agreed that this situation made sense for Sith royalty, and offered up two Darth titles for the team to choose from. “He threw out ‘Darth Icky’ and ‘Darth Insanius.’ There was a pregnant pause in the room after that. People waiting for George to say ‘just kidding,’ but it never comes, and he just moved on to another point.”
And to think, George still has a say in the upcoming Star Wars films.
Select users are reporting that their Twitter profiles look now look like a cross between Google+, Pinterest and Facebook, complete with large header photos (up to 1500 x 1500 pixels), left-aligned profile images and flat content cards representing each tweet. The entire redesign is a jarring departure from the Twitter norm, but it’s that last element that proves to be the most disruptive: rather than piling up in the normal vertical fashion, the new card layout allows tweets to lay side by side, a fundamental change in how Twitter displays content.
While the design in and of itself is nice, part of me wonders why move away from simplicity? Twitter’s charm comes from its easy to navigate chronological structure. If a major news story breaks, you can wade through a timeline of events. In this new proposal, tweets take on a certain level of abstraction and selfishness. Twitter has been, to this point anyways, about the collective. Not the individual.
So why change now? Well, It could be a reaction to the company’s recent earning’s report. Growth and sharing has slowed, while revenue continues to be non-existent. A stark contrast to Facebook.
Another reason might be seeded deeper in the company’s DNA. As documented in Nick Bilton’s Hatching Twitter, neither co-founder (be it Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone or Noah Glass) could agree on what Twitter was supposed to be. Glass and Dorsey saw the service as a means to share one’s status with friends. Williams saw it as way to broadcast what was happening in the world to the world.
Somewhere along the way, Twitter’s very enthusiastic user-base figured out a way to use the service in whatever way best suited them. It led to the creation of hashtags, @ replies, and parody accounts, some of which was initially frowned upon by the Twitter team but ultimately implemented into the platform. What users are not asking for, however, is an improved timeline experience.
Of course Twitter is now a publicly traded business and with that comes a responsibility to its shareholders and quarterly forecasts. Perhaps bringing the design inline with emerging services like Instagram and Facebook will increase the user-base (Twitter’s 250 million vs. Facebook’s 1.2 billion) and in turn generate more profits. Or maybe it will further aggravate an already growing number of Tweeters who’ve had their favorite apps and services shut down to Twitter’s ever-tightening restrictions.
Simplicity, it seems, may no longer be an option.
Nguyen has several other top app store games, including Super Ball Juggling and Shuriken Block, which are currently #6 and #18 on the iOS store, respectively. Nguyen says that he has no plans to remove those games, which he termed “harmless.” If he thought users were getting addicted, however, he said he would not hesitate to also take them down.
In mulling whether to pull Flappy Bird, Nguyen said that it was guilt – atop the fact that “my life has not been as comfortable as I was before” – that motivated him. “I couldn’t sleep,” he said. He added that his conscience is relieved; he spent the past few days, Internet-free, catching up on slumber.
“I don’t think it’s a mistake,” he says. “I have thought it through.”
It’s strange to see, and I can’t think of a reason why Nguyen would be dishonest about his feelings, a developer looking out for the best interests of his/her audience. EA could learn a thing or two from his debacle.
With that said, should a game’s designer feel responsible for his audience? While I appreciate Nguyen’s insistence that his game was meant to be played “in a few minutes when you are relaxed”, it’s a touch naive to think a game as unforgiving as Flappy Bird might be considered relaxing.
Or perhaps that’s the larger question: What’s happening in Vietnam where hopelessness is considered a past-time?
The Next Web has some interesting numbers regarding desktop marketshare. Despite making some gains since it’s free update in October, Windows 8 has only managed to take over 10% of the market. A far cry from Window 7’s 47% share and XP’s 30.
Another shocker, 3% of the market is still using Vista.
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft is said to be restoring Windows 8 back to its Start-button roots in a upcoming update.
The Leno roller-coaster keeps climbing:
CNN aired a look at Jay Leno's life and career Friday, but the special omitted a key part of the story – CNN head Jeff Zucker’s role in the famous 2009 Leno-Conan O’Brien late night debacle.
Zucker ran NBC during Leno’s first transition from The Tonight Show, and famously promised Conan O’Brien he would get the job in 2009. Seven months later – after slipping ratings and O’Brien publicly attacking the network, Leno was restored to his former perch as Tonight Show host and O’Brien left the network.
Forget protecting his self-image, word is Zucker wants Leno to jump ship to CNN. Middle-Americans stuck in Airports around the world will no doubt welcome this news, since that’s about the only place left that airs CNN.
In other news, remember that 60 Minutes interview with Leno? Turns out he asked for it.
Jay Leno’s Sympathy Tour (Act II) officially begins
Hey, did you hear the one about Jay Leno going on 60 Minutes and acting like a victim?
Jay Leno: I always tell new people in show business. I say, “Look, show business pays you a lot of money, because eventually you’re gonna get screwed. And when you get screwed, you will have this pile of money off to the side already.” And they go, “OK, OK. OK, you ready? You ready?” “I got screwed.” “You got the pile of money?” “Yeah, I’m fine.” I mean, that’s the way it works. I mean, you know, that’s— that’s the way these things are. That’s the way it happens.
Jay is, of course, a saint who has never screwed over anyone for personal gain.
Steve Kroft: You were the bad guy. You were portrayed as being the bad guy.
Jay Leno: Yeah, I didn’t quite understand that. But I never chose to answer any of those things or make fun of any of the other people involved. It’s not my way. And you just go and you be a comedian and you do what you do.
Again, Jay’s selective memory rears its ugly head. Why ever would anyone hate Jay? Not because his bumping Conan from The Tonight Show was oddly reminiscent of his bumping Letterman from The Tonight Show a decade earlier?
Nah, a coincidence no doubt.
Meanwhile, during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jay had this to say about the various slings and arrows from his follow late night hosts:
So you just take it as Kimmel takes shot after shot?
I don’t think it gets you anything [to respond]. You mention Jimmy Kimmel, I’ve never answered any of his things. I pick up The New York Times and it’s, “Fuck Jay Leno,” “Fuck Jay Leno.” And I go, “OK, based on what?” But it’s fine. I think he’s a funny guy. I did his show and I didn’t have any problem with him. He comes from radio where you pick a fight with the other guy. I don’t do that. It’s fine. There’s plenty of room for everybody.
I guess Jay forgot about this little anecdote that Kimmel recalled during an interview with Rolling Stone last March:
In 2008, as Leno was plotting a jump from NBC to ABC, he started calling Kimmel “three times a week,” Kimmel says. Leno intended to do an hourlong ABC show at 11:30, which meant persuading Kimmel to move back a half-hour, to 12:30. “He needed me to be OK with it, because my time slot is written into my contract,” Kimmel says. “If they move me out of my slot, I become a free agent – and I had tons of interest from other networks at the time.” When Leno’s ABC deal evaporated, however, Kimmel says, Leno’s calls abruptly ceased, giving the lie to what had seemed like a burgeoning friendship. Kimmel’s feelings were hurt. “That made me feel stupid,” he says.
Meanwhile, Back at 60 Minutes:
Steve Kroft: You would have liked to have stayed?
Jay Leno: It’s not my decision. And I think I probably would have stayed if we didn’t have— an extremely qualified, young guy ready to jump in. If they said, “Look, you’re fired. We don’t know who we’re gonna get. We don’t know what we’re gonna put in there. But anybody but you, we just want you out of—” I would be l— hurt and offended. But this makes perfect sense to me. I understand this.
Steve Kroft: You would have preferred to stay?
Jay Leno: Well, it’s always nice to keep working. Sure it is. Sure it is. But am I extremely grateful? Yeah. Do I understand the circumstance— yes, of course.
That sound you hear is Bill Carter securing another book deal.
Jay Leno: —I think because you have— talented people will only wait so long before they get other opportunities. And you don’t want to lose that opportunity. That makes sense to me. And I thought Jimmy’s (Fallon) been extremely gracious and polite.
Steve Kroft: You said all of the same things, exactly about Conan.
Jay Leno: Huh? Did I say the same things? Yeah, prob— well, maybe I did, yeah. Well, we’ll see what happens.
Oh, Jay. Will you ever learn?
On March 28, 2011, a man who calls himself Kurt J. Mac loaded a new game of Minecraft. As the landscape filled in around his character, Mac surveyed the blocky, pixellated trees, the cloud-draped mountains, and the waddling sheep. Then he started walking. His goal for the day was simple: to reach the end of the universe.
Really great piece about the nature of exploring in an all digital world.
Gregory Schmidt reporting for the Times:
When Hasbro conceived its Transformers toy line 30 years ago, the concept was simple: robots that turned into vehicles faster than you could say “more than meets the eye.”
But as the brand evolved over the years, the toys became more complex, some involving dozens of steps to complete a single transformation. In the eyes of Brian D. Goldner, Hasbro’s chief executive, they had lost their magic.
“We’ve made incredibly sophisticated robots,” he said, “but it can be like a 1,000-piece puzzle.”
Enthralled by the special effects in three big-budget “Transformers” movies that enabled the robots to convert in a matter of seconds, Mr. Goldner decided the toys needed to return to their roots. So he challenged his design team to reconceive them. Now, on the 30th anniversary of the brand, Hasbro is revealing a new look for the toys, including simple maneuvers that will complete a transformation with the push of a button or flick of the wrist.
God forbid kids be challenged these days.
Last week’s ongoing story about video-game payola just got more interesting:
Unknown to viewers, however, is that some of the games that O’Brien features are actually paid endorsement deals with the game companies, a show spokesman confirmed. And although paying for exposure does not guarantee the game will be featured, in at least three examples, Re/code has discovered that companies that did not pay received negative or lukewarm reviews or comments.
One source familiar with the show’s practices said about a quarter of the games that were featured on the skit were paid endorsement deals. None of these deals are disclosed to the public.
This story strikes me as sad more than scandalous. As spokesman for Conan’s show points, “These Clueless Gamer segments are not serious reviews nor endorsements — they are strictly comedic sketches.” This much is true, and considering Conan’s move to TBS has been far from lucrative, its unsurprising that his producers would look to other avenues for revenue.
In a Halloween special aired in October, O’Brien reviewed three survival-horror games: Parsec Productions’ Slender: The Eight Pages, Frictional Games’ Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Red Barrels’ Outlast. After dissing the first two titles — “forgettable,” he quipped of Amnesia — O’Brien spent most of the segment playing Outlast, praising it as “fantastic” and saying “love this game” by the end.
Parsec’s founder Mark Hadley and Frictional’s creative director Thomas Grip say no money changed hands between their studios and the show. But a spokeswoman for Red Barrels, through its PR agency TriplePoint, said the studio paid $35,000 for Outlast’s inclusion.
Outlast will be included as part of Playstation’s free PSN+ offering next month. I didn’t know much about the game, until I stumbled upon the aforementioned Halloween segment in a NeoGaf thread. Conan’s attitude towards Outlast - especially when compared to the other two games in the bit - definitely drove up my excitement about the title’s inclusion in PSN+*. In my eyes, that’s problematic. Conan’s representatives say a positive review of the game wasn’t stipulated as part of the payment, however, my opinion was still swayed favorably based on this sketch.
There’s also a larger issue here regarding the “comedy” of the sketch itself. Clueless Gamer was born as means to pit Conan (the non-gamer) against the growing juggernaut that is video gaming. It feels very fish out of water, with Conan often struggling to understand the popularity of the medium while playing through recently released titles. In better hands, this might have become a vehicle for exploring the cultural gap between post-baby boomers and millennias. Instead, the segment degrades into stale commentary about nerds, their probable virgin-status and other gaming stereotypes. It is, much like his current stint on TBS, occasionally funny.
However, given this report, it brings the comedy of the sketch into question as well. When re-watching a segment, it becomes increasingly difficult to gauge if Conan’s shtick is a result of his actual outsider status with video games, or an attempt to appease an advertiser. After all, the worst jokes are always the ones that require lots of explanation. Conan should know better.
* Although the timing of the two are unrelated.