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  Boston Guerrilla Marketing Scare’s Chilling Effects on ARG Design  
 
 
Posted 2007-02-03 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Boston Guerrilla Marketing Scare’s Chilling Effects on ARG Design
Angry Mooninite flips the bird at you.
A publicity stunt misinterpreted as a terrorist attack against the city of Boston could limit the ability of grassroots marketers, artists, and alternate-reality game developers to engage the public, if the city's Mayor gets his way. Boston was the target of a stealth marketing campaign last month that managed to spark fears of a terrorist attack this week. Illuminated mini-billboards featuring a pixellated cartoon character from the TV show Aqua Teen Hunger Force were reportedly placed in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and other major U.S. cities. Boston's police force shut down parts of the city while the billboards (thought to be explosive devices) were sought out and destroyed. Authorities are describing the billboards as "hoax" devices (many bloggers have already pointed out the devices were never intended to masquerade as explosives), which apparently entitles law enforcers to press felony charges against the perpetrators.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, obviously steaming from having wasted vast city resources on a publicity stunt, has reportedly called for a ban on all guerrilla marketing campaigns due to concerns about public safety. I am reminded of how authorities overreacted to a zombie dance party last summer, or how the Revenna, Ohio police sent the bomb squad to investigate giant Super Mario Bros question blocks placed around town. Artist Space Invader affixes game-inspired ceramic pixel art to walls around the world, but he'd better stay away from Boston, lest authorities in that city imagine a real space invasion is taking place.

Continue reading: Boston Guerrilla Marketing Scare’s Chilling Effects on ARG Design
 
     
 
   
 
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  Zombies vs. Humans in ‘Left 4 Dead’  
 
 
Posted 2007-01-15 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Hot damn, I'm looking forward to eating brains for breakfast as one of four playable zombie characters in the upcoming PC/Xbox 360 game Left 4 Dead. Gamespot's published a Q&A with the developer--the game's your basic pandemic-based survival horror, and pits four human survivors against four virus-infected victims. By the sounds of it, players can drop in or out of the co-operative game at any time. Humans seem to be forced to run and gun, while the infected are more sneaky. And mutated.

I enjoyed the PC game Aliens vs. Predator II for the same reasons I think I'll enjoy playing a bad guy in Left 4 Dead: I find stealth play more challenging and more rewarding than Rambo-style assaults. Here's hoping there are ample one-off multi-player maps and scenarios to round out the story-based campaign.
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘Warcraft’ Corpses Speak  
 
 
Posted 2006-11-01 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Players of World of Warcraft have been swapping stories about the art of "corpse graffiti," a phenomenon I've seen before but didn't realize had a name. In my first few months of play, I regularly spotted a corpse named Jeff Buckley floating face-down in a pool of water in the dwarven city of Ironforge (Buckley was a real-life recording artist who drowned in 1997). Others have found lighter fare, such as "a pile of gnomes with names like 'Oompalumpa' outside Orgrimmar. At the top was a dead [Night Elf] named Willywonka."

Corpse graffiti, a form of emergence, is created by building a character with a clever name, i.e. "Mailbox" and dropping dead in a contextually-appropriate location, i.e. a mailbox in a high-traffic area. As long as the player refuses to resurrect the character (a feature in the game), the named corpse remains for all to see. The primary use seems to be humour, but some players have used corpse graffiti to criticize the game design of World of Warcraft. I don't think it's a very effective form of criticism, but it certainly is a novel one.
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘Disturbing’ Zombie Dancers Arrested  
 
 
Posted 2006-07-25 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Members of a "zombie dance party" were jailed in Minneapolis last Saturday, according to the Associated Press (via kstp.com). While not actually undead, the zombie dancers were reportedly arrested on suspicion of carrying deadly weapons of mass destruction. The cops apparently saw bags with wires sticking out, but a zombie representative moaned that the group's "weapons" were merely stereos carried in backpacks. The Associated Press quotes a police spokesperson as saying those arrested were exhibiting "suspicious and disturbing" behaviour. In my book, any zombie not acting suspicious and disturbing is just not doing a proper job, but American law-enforcement obviously doesn't read it that way. This doesn't bode well for Zombie Walks in the U.S.A. but maybe there's still hope for Canadian flesh-eaters.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Press the Geek Buttons  
 
 
Posted 2005-12-29 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Sick on Sin, a mail-order weirdwear shop (operated by a couple of friends of mine) are hawking wares aimed squarely at dorks. Their "Geek Speak" button packs [1,2] feature 3- and 4-letter internet colloquialisms useful in a variety of social situations. You know, like if somebody kicks sand in your face, you can just show them your "WTF?" button while they "LOL."

Also of note: Zombie-wear.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Toronto of the Living Dead  
 
 
Posted 2005-10-18 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Canada's richest and stuffiest city will soon be crawling with brain-hungry zombies. The Toronto Zombiewalk begins at 2pm on Sunday, October 23, 2005, on the western edge of Riverdale Park, and shambles across town to Dundas and Yonge. The destination spot is the home of one of Toronto's busiest shopping districts, arguably frequented daily by real-life zombies. Ironically, most of the Toronto zombies are likely to be dressed better than the city's homeless population.

I intend to snap some pics, if possible.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Head of Meat  
 
 
Posted 2005-09-30 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Crafty site Not Martha suggests making a Meathead for Halloween. The deadly delicacy involves slathering a lifelike plastic human skull in red jelly and ham for use as an appetizer. While the illustrated how-to delivers what it promises, it fails to suggest the obvious: Removing the top of the skull to reveal a salmon mousse, meatloaf, pumpernickel dip or liver pate. Eating someone's face off is fine, but the brain is the best part! [thanks to my wife for the link]
 
     
 
   
 
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  Politics of the Living Dead  
 
 
Posted 2005-07-04 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
LA Weekly's Scott Foundas dissects zombie king George Romero's body of work, putting the filmmaker's bloody politics on a stainless-steel platter. Foundas highlights Romero's previous motion-picture statements, and examines the growing humanity of his zombies. Oh, the humanity.

Foundas: Michael Moore notwithstanding, it still seems risky to make a movie this political in what is effectively a risk-averse Hollywood climate. I'm thinking particularly of those scenes where we see captive zombies turned by their human captors into Abu Ghraib-style sideshow freaks.

Romero: I'm not sure if you showed this movie at the White House that anybody would get it, except when the money burns at the end -- then they might feel a little pang of sadness.

Read the full article at AlterNet.
 
     
 
   
 
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  “Urban Dead” Browse the Streets  
 
 
Posted 2005-07-03 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
The city of Malton has been evacuated and quarrantined against a virulent outbreak. Remaining citizens now scramble for safety or loot abandoned buildings. The military intends on forcible evacuation. The police and firefighters struggle to maintain order. The dead have risen, and wander Malton's streets. Can they be possibly stopped?

If exploration, profit, protection, or evacuation is what keeps you alive, the newly-launched Urban Dead might be for you. This browser-based massively-multiplayer game is painfully low on tech, but high on imagination, hearkening back to the age of dial-up modems and ASCII graphics. Improvements to the system, such as text chat between players, are already in the works. While the game's zombie population is currently sparse, "a lot more" are promised. I created a Firefighter character for the game, and can't wait to get my axe stained with undead ichor.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Corpse-Art Coming to Canada  
 
 
Posted 2005-06-24 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
The Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, Canada plays host to Dr. Gunther von Hagens' ghoullish exhibition "Body Worlds 2." Von Hagens uses human corpses in his work, preserving the cadavers through a technique called "plastination," most recently demonstrated in the movie House of Wax, starring Paris Hilton as herself. Ok, I made that last bit up.

Body Worlds 2 will feature over 200 partial and whole dead people, including 25 entire bodies. There's a corpse-factory in China that processes 100 bodies annually for our enjoyment. And by enjoyment, I mean dinner table.
 
     
 
   
 
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Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... http://www.dino.co.uk/labs/2008/45-tips-when-designing-online-content-for-kids/ Hope it helps someone... Dino...
in Dino Burbidge's '10 Things To Remember When Designing For Kids Online'


yes, many of the free little games are crappy. but as an artist who has recently published free content on the itunes app store,…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


I vote for popup radial menus. Highlight a bit of text, the push and hold, Sims-style radial menu pops up with Copy, Paste, etc....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


Hey Tony! A client of mine is looking to hire an internal Flash game dev team to build at a really cool Flash CCG…
in Dipping Into Toronto's Flash Pool


Yeah, there's a lot of weird common sense things I've noticed they've just omitted from the design. No idea why though....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


It also bears noting there's no mechanism right now for a developer to offer a free trial for the iPhone; the App Store isn't…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


@GeorgeR: It's on my shopping list :) I've heard good things about it as well. And Cro Mag Rally. @andrhia: meh, I don't know…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


...you get what you pay for, you know? I actually bought Trism based on early buzz, and it's truly a novel mechanic. I've been…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


The only one I've heard good things about is Super Monkey Ball. Have you given that a whirl yet?...
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


Advance warning: this frivolent comment is NOT RELATED or even worth your time ... But whenever i hear "Collada", i think of that SCTV…
in Electric Sheep Builds Its Own Flock


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