Sausage Party Preview

You ever have one of those days where everything is planned out perfectly or so you thought, but then when the moment is done there was one little thing you missed that derailed everything. This is what occurred in what was my fantastic interview with directors Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan on their latest film Sausage Party.

(They were so cool, we’re so sorry we couldn’t fix this)

The raunchy adult animated comedy shows us the lives of food at your local supermarket and what happens when their dreams of being taken to someone’s home turns into a nightmare. My nightmare began after having a great discussion with Mr. Conrad and Tiernan about various subjects only to find out we had a serious technical issue which made the audio unusable. It was pretty much like seeing your fellow grocery store friends being butchered to death like in the films trailer.

Sausage Party 1

Sausage Party was a 10-year endeavor with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg among many others working to get the film made. While there have been other R-rated animated films before it, it is still considered a new frontier. However, Rotten Tomato’s currently gives Sausage Party high marks and with movie goers asking for more mature rated features after the success of films like Deadpool, the time is right for a comedy such as Sausage Party.

sausage party 2

The voice list features a ton a talent including Michael Cera, James Franco, Salma Hayek, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Edward Norton, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and Kristen Wiig.  The animation style looks smooth and bright and the unrated trailer and leaks about a food orgy just makes me want to check it out more.

So while I was hoping for a cool video to post for you guys and gals at least you know there is a good movie to be seen here. Check out the trailer and then go see the film that is out in theaters now.

World 1-1 Review

World 1-1 Review

World 1-1 is an amazing video game history documentary movie created by the team made up of Jeanette Garcia and Daryl Rodriguez, two awesome, young but thorough movie makers from Miami. Although World 1-1 automatically might make you think of the world start screen from Super Mario Bros., the film is actually about what I call the rise and fall of the original Atari (I would have probably called the film The Rise and Fall of Atari). The film covers the birth of video games from their origins in scientific labs, onto games being played on what at the time were time-shared supercomputers, to the creation of arcade video game machines, and onto the rise and fall of early video game consoles (video gaming at home).

world 1-1 movie poster

To say the film is thorough would be an understatement although the movie mainly focuses on arcade and console game development. Although I love this film a lot, I can criticize that it barely touches on what was going on in the home computer field, which although Nintendo saved the console gaming market (probably what World 1-2 will be about), home computers also saved video games and people’s interest in electronics and computers with great machines such as the Commodore 64, Atari computers, and later Commodore Amiga (much before IBM clones and DOS become popular).

Getting back to what makes World 1-1 so great, the film has many great interviews with not just most of the important people that worked in Atari and Activision but also many interviews by people who work in Microsoft (and other important companies) and many famous people in the video game world such as arcade specialists and many of what I consider to be experts in video game history. This movie is like entering a time machine and seeing what it was actually like to have worked at Atari. There are many great stories of crazy things that would happen or also recollections describing how many breakthroughs came about. Some of the interviews also talk about the important business decisions that took place both from the managerial perspective and how the engineers and the rest of the employees responded to such decisions. Just like everything in life all things must come to an end and the movie deals with the death of the original Atari corporation in a very classy and dignified manner.

I highly recommend you view the movie as part of what I call some of the best movies and shows in video game, internet, hacker, and computer history such as: Pirates of Silicon Valley, Micro Men, Middle Men, The King of Kong, The Social Network, TRON, Takedown, Silicon Valley, and Halt And Catch Fire. World 1-1 and those shows and movies are what I call to be essential to watch if you a true interest in video game history. Chances are that if you’re reading this you already have such an interest.

You can buy the movie directly from the creators’ website or you can even get it over at Steam.

If I have to give the movie a numerical score I would say it’s a 9.5 out of 10. Stop reading this and go watch it NOW! 🙂

Here is an interview we did with the creators from when they were trying to get the funding for the film:

Here is a further interview we did after it got funded. It talks more about the making of the film:

Top 5 Movies Based on Video Games

Top 5 Movies Based on Video Games

The film industry is always looking for the next big thing.  Film execs gain the rights to make movies based on novels, children’s stories, and comic books.  One source that on the surface seems to have incredible synergy with Hollywood is the video game industry.  Games have already benefited from using Hollywood-style production values, including professional actors and actresses for both voice and live parts.  You’d think that both being visual mediums would lead to incredible movies being made based upon video game properties.

But you’d be wrong.

Thus far the Hollywood video game movie selection has been mediocre at best, and laughingly dismal at worst.  Just for fun, let’s look at the best movies of the genre (all my personal opinion, of course).

Mortal Kombat movie poster

1.  Mortal Kombat. This incredibly popular fighting franchise made its way to the silver screen in 1995, bringing the Elder Gods’ martial arts tournament to life.   The film received “mixed reviews” which is a fancy way of saying some critics enjoyed the fight fest and others thought it gave a whole new definition to “suck.”  It managed to take in over $122 million worldwide, as well as spawning a sequel, so more than a few people thought it was a good movie.

Resident evil movie poster

2.  Resident Evil. A flawed but fun zombie movie based on Capcom’s horror games and starring the incredibly hot Milla Jovovich wiping out the infected workers from the top secret Hive installation controlled by the Red Queen.  Critics generally panned the film, but it grossed over $100 million worldwide and spawned two sequels (with one more to be released in September, 2010).

Silent Hill movie poster

3.  Silent Hill. This film was based on Konami’s horror game franchise, and incorporated elements from the first three games.  A few pretty decent scares and a couple of weird scenes gave this film a good vibe.  It did not receive great reviews from the critics, but scored where it counted with $97 million grossed worldwide.

Tomb Raider movie poster

4.  Tomb Raider. Angelina Jolie in tight spandex. How could this film possibly be bad?  That’s what I told myself before watching it, and afterward marveled at the film’s creators’ ability to do the impossible: make a live-action Lara Croft dud.  It still managed over $300 million worldwide, so a LOT of people must have gone into the theater with the same expectations I did.

TRON movie poster

5.  TRON.  The list is so meager that I decided to take a movie whose premise is about the video game industry and put it on this list.  And it’s a good excuse to includeTRON to the mix; it was a fun movie, and pulled in over $33 million worldwide, which wasn’t bad in 1982. End of line.

Every other video game movie was awful.  Putrid awful.  Perhaps it’s time that the industry stopped trying to translate the video game experience to the big screen, and keep going on as many comic book properties they can lay their greedy little hands on.  After all, given the choice, I’d rather watch Batman: Dark KnightSpider-Man or Iron Man than the very best the video game movie genre has to offer.

Must watch video gaming documentaries

Seldom do video gamers get any mass produced video games related programs. But, the few that have been made and released, should be added to any self respecting video gamers library. The three video games based documentaries that are a must watch are:

Tetris - From Russia with Love

Tetris: From Russia with Love

Synopsis: Fortunes were made and lawsuits fought as Tetris swept the world in the 1980s and killed a million conversations. But 20 years after the creation of this technological phenomenon, its inventor Alexey Pajitnov is only just beginning to make any money.

Released: 2004

website: BBC Four

Chasing Ghosts - Beyond the Arcade
Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade

Synopsis: In 1982, at the dawn of the video-game age, the world’s giants of gaming gathered together in a now-legendary meeting at Iowa’s Twin Galaxies arcade. This documentary from director Lincoln Ruchti looks at the players then and now, offering an insightful and nostalgic look at the history of gaming fanaticism.

Released: 2007


The King of Kong - A Fistful of Quarters
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Synopsis: The King of Kong follows the exploits of the two best Donkey Kong players in America, the cocky and current world record holder, Billy Mitchell, and the challanger, the ever gracious, Steve Wiebe.

Released: 2007


Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters

Ecstasy of Order

Following in the unexpected success of The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, a small army of video game documentaries have come out in recent years.

The latest, Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters debuted Friday night, October 7 as the Austin Film Festival.

Before starting my review, I’d like to disclose that I personally know a number of people in this film.  While part of the Twin Galaxies staff from 2008 until early this year I personally verified and entered many of the scores of the Tetris players who appear in this film.  I also competed in the Nintendo World Championships 1990, an event that is important over the course of this film.  Overall, I will have a unique point of view on this film that others won’t, and may see this film differently than most.

Ecstasy of Order centers around the 2010 Classic Tetris World Championships, an event set up in Los Angeles by NWC  1990 runner-up Robin Mihara.  While Tetris had long been one of the most iconic video games in history, there was no one person considered THE Tetris champion, so Mihara rounds up the top ranked players in the Twin Galaxies database and some others, including NWC 1990 Thor Aackerlund, to come to California and compete on the classic Nintendo Entertainment System version of Tetris.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″][/youtube]

The film spends a great deal of time on the back stories of the various men and women invited to Los Angeles to compete along with some deep looks into the deeper strategies of the top Tetris players.   Viewers will get to see some reunions and some first-time meetings as the champs converge on Southern California, with the film wrapping up with the big Classic Tetris World Championship event and some surprise moments.

First of all, I’m thrilled to see a film that features this group of gamers.  Those who’ve watched King of Kong, Chasing Ghosts, High ScoreDoctor Kong and the rest might think that Twin Galaxies is only about arcade video games and the same general group of players.  Far from it.  Every gaming platform is tracked by Twin Galaxies and the Nintendo Entertainment System crowd is often more competitive than the arcade side of things, from top players such as Tom Votava and Andrew Furrer to the many players included in this film.  Something that features them in this manner is long overdue.

It is also very nice to see vintage footage and mention of 1990s gaming contests such as the NWC 1990 and Sega’s Rock the Rock from 1995.  These were very large scale events with very big prizes that somehow fell by the wayside in gaming history, despite being bigger than most of the events before them and since.


The comparisons to King of Kong will no doubt come up in most reviews, so they might as well be touched on here.  Ecstasy of Order does not have an underdog good guy, a blow-dried bad guy, a conspiracy theory, talk of gummy substances or a guy in a Halloween costume complaining about cherry pit spitters on Jay Leno.  If that is what you want to see you won’t find it here.

What you will find, however, is a video game that is at least as iconic as Donkey Kong, a great number of charismatic players showing respect to one another and the thrill of live head-to-head competition.  You will get a true view of the camaraderie that exists in many gaming communities as you meet players from all walks of life.

Ecstasy of Order may fire up players to chase down 999,999 scores on the NES Tetris much like competition on Donkey Kong fired up into full swing after The King of Kong.  Tetris max-outs and Level 29 could become the “Donkey Kong kill screens” for the NES generation to chase down.   I know it made me want to fire up Tetris again, and unlike original Donkey Kong arcade games anyone can obtain a chance at becoming the next Harry Hong or Jonas Neubauer with a quick trip to eBay or Amazon to purchase the classic NES stuff needed to become the next Tetris master.

Ecstasy of Order - Movie image

Overall, Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters is a fun trip with an all-time classic video game where the viewer gets to meet some fun new gamers along the way.  A relaxing and fun 92 minutes that should appeal to both the hardcore Nintendo Entertainment System fans and the casual viewer who might want to see what exists within Twin Galaxies and classic high score chases away from the arcade scene.

You can learn more about Ecstasy of Order, including upcoming screenings, at


Modern TV & Movies as Retro Video Game Art


This is pretty cool. Over at Geek Tyrant you can see a number of modern televison shows and movies turned into retro video game cartridge art.

Check out the article here –

Pirates of Silicon Valley movie review

Pirates of Silicon Valley movie review

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates

If you care at all about computers or technology or business or the future, this is a movie you MUST watch. The movie goes hand in hand with other amazing technology business movies such as Micromen and The Social Network. This movie shows you how the megacorps we know as Microsoft and Apple started, according to writer and director Martyn Burke. It was also based on the book “Fire in the Valley” written by Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine. I’m not saying it’s exactly what happened, but it’s close enough. I used to obsess as a kid wanting to know the exact details of the true history of something but I’m not a time traveler so such details no longer bother me.

It’s easy to watch the movie as they have multiple copies of it on youtube.

The movie shows two camps: Apple with its technology loving engineers and hippie turned businessman turned devil and Microsoft with its college nerds who love to play poker and jocks turned executive geniuses. You get to see Steve Jobs go from this rebel non-conformist into him signing over his soul to the devil to then becoming the devil himself. Gates is just ambitious from the start and his ambition never wanes.

Like all pioneers, nobody at their time took them serious or understood what they were trying to do. They were creating a revolution in technology, in the way we live our lives (especially if you’re a computer person like me). Think about where we would be without the personal computer. Even the things that came after, like cell phones, smart phones, laptops, mp3 players, the internet, social media… none of that would be possible without the work of engineers and businessmen such as these. I’m not saying they were the definite cause for all this but they were major contributors. We must also accredit other people such as all the fine people at Altair, Commodore, Atari, Nintendo, IBM, Sega, Sinclair, Acorn, and more.

Back to the movie… The movie shows both sides eventually doing whatever it needs to get ahead. The movie is not called The Super Nice Nerds of Silicon Valley, it’s The Pirates. Yes, they WILL cut your throat if you are in their way to success. Now, I’m not saying they’re as evil as wall street or the banks that just robbed the world, but they’re no saints!

A recurring theme in the movie is to get people to want what they don’t really need necessarily, which you might not even have yet but you want them to want it, creating demand (and getting the money to get it made).

One of the most important scenes is at the 1977 tech show when Gates tries to talk to Jobs, explaining what they were doing at Microsoft, only to get blown off by him, which in turn starts part of their war against each other.

The best part of the movie is probably when Microsoft sells DOS to IBM. I’ll let this clip speak for itself:

The other best scene of the movie is when Apple gets the GUI from Xerox. I couldn’t find a video of that clip to post here. It is also really interesting when an Apple employee confronts Gates telling him that instead of Apple thinking IBM is big brother that they don’t realize that Microsoft is their true enemy. He points this out to Jobs while he was trying to woo the Apple employees during a conference by showing them the famous 1984 Apple commercial.

Microsoft had the foresight to see that without software the hardware did nothing. Sure, you could have the most incredible monster machine but if nobody can do things with it, who would buy it?

Gates reminds me a lot of myself. He is characterized as being a very good poker player, the kind who will never let you know how good or bad of a hand he has and will make you make the wrong decision. Especially in the beginning, he uses a strategy of making you think that he has many business deals going on, when in reality he had none. Both sides did that actually. He got in trouble with the law, especially speeding (that’s me!), and doing other crazy things (not so much me, well, actually…) such as wrecking his friend’s car. Throughout the movie and in real life, he is a very competent negotiator.

Steve Jobs was just evil to me all throughout the movie. In real life, I still don’t like him, which is funny because I hated everything Microsoft for many years when I was younger, but in reality I didn’t like how he reacted to being informed at the number of record suicides at the Foxconn factories, which make a LOT of Apple products. The transformation this movie shows goes from stoner hippie to egoist pioneer to evil business genius. I just think he’s a real asshole. Through the movie he kept denying that his daughter Lisa was actually his.

Throughout the movie, the characters I enjoyed the most were Steve Wozniak (the Woz) and Steve Ballmer. I felt bad for the Woz because he just wanted to create and then he had to deal with all the drama and bullshit from Jobs, as well as seeing Jobs putting down people and destroying the Lisa. Woz was always trying to do the right thing, like not fuck his friends out of stock or treat employees like subhumans. I felt terrible for him when he quit the company after Jobs had pretty much created a civil war inside Apple (Macintosh vs everything else). Ballmer was just a total trip. He was this crazy jock that would always have the common sense, especially when it came to getting girls, that Bill Gates and Paul Allen did not have.

As a movie critic I give this movie a score of 7 out of 10. As a computer geek I give this movie a 9 out of 10. I think Micromen was a much better movie, about a similar topic. The music selection throughout the movie is excellent and I was really shocked by this as this was a made-for-TV movie. Noah Wyle as Jobs just blew my mind, which you might know as the science teacher from Donnie Darko. John DiMaggio was great as Ballmer, which is a real treat because he is usually known for his voice work in cartoons such as Futurama and also voice work for many video games.

Go watch it.

Commercial Wars: The Celebrity Women of the Nintendo DS

Beyonce playing Nintedo DS
Beyonce playing Nintedo DS

Like the Gameboy before it, the Nintendo DS is a winner with boys and girls, men and women alike. What makes the DS work so well is the wide array of games on it that some hardcore gamers would call a waste of time, but casual gamers will think is the bee’s knees.  If you watched any sitcoms during the early days of the Gameboy you would be hard pressed not to find someone playing it. Today it is all about the internet and YouTube specifically.

Here we have five Nintendo DS commercials featuring celebrity women; you pick which ones is the best.

Nicole Kidman

So which Nicole should I be thinking of when watching this, the Eyes wide Shut Nicole, The Others Nicole or maybe Cat-woman Nicole? Poor Nicole may not be able to score high in Brain Training, but she knows how to hire a decorator that loves white, Martha Stewart maybe?

I love her shocked expression when she saw her score and then followed up by her determined look while playing again. Honestly, with her voice alone you know she is really smart regardless of what some game says.

Carrie Underwood

I know whenever I am chilling on my tour bus after a show I lay back and play my Nintendo DS. I would think Carrie would have more people in that bus of hers (I volunteer by the way) perhaps she just needs to be alone with her virtual puppy.

She does seem generally pleased with the game as the camera man seems pleased getting full body shots of her chilling. In the end we find out she is not alone and has a real dog of her own. Damn lucky dog!

Liv Tyler

The scene is what Liv did right after Armageddon, ok maybe not, but she does enjoy whatever she started off playing. Is it just me or is she just a bit too excited by signing her own name. It’s almost as if she was playing something else and they switched the screen, perhaps naked poker.

It is good to see Liv continues to practice her music at all hours of the day and her virtual piano skills are top notch. I wonder if they asked her to talk and sing to herself or did she do that on her own. I know personally I scream mad expletives every time I’m playing Halo or Uno online.


Damn I wish I was rich then I could play Rhythm Heaven from my penthouse apartment. I see the theme here now. Another singer playing a song related game and Beyonce is right on key. She is really enjoying that game with the facial expressing and singing along. Did you know this is how most pop songs are created?

Lisa Kudrow

See Lisa wasn’t dumb it was those around her that pulled her intelligence down as seen by this commercial. Dr. Kudrow would have solved that puzzle in a second were it not for interference. Maybe she was a little mean, but wouldn’t you be if they still refuse to do a Friend movie?

It’s not advertising its reality T.V.

Five celebrity women showing their love for the DS, so which one did you like the best. Operators are standing by.

[poll id=”16″]

King of Kong Movie Review

King of Kong Movie Review by Honorabili

“A modern day video game version of the story David and Goliath.”

Steve Wiebe at the arcade
Steve Wiebe at the arcade

This movie is about people who strive to be the world champions at the games they love the most. In this case we are talking about classic arcade games such as Donkey Kong, Pacman, Ms. Pacman, Galaga, and Defender.

Throughout most of the movie, we see this build up of rivalry between Steve Wiebe, the underdog, and Billy Mitchell, the top champion for many arcade games. Billy Mitchell comes off as an arrogant person but after having seen this movie many times I do see the point behind some of his speeches. For example, he says that you will know in World War I aviation who the Red Baron is because he was the top ace fighter pilot but you probably won’t know the name of the other aviators because they weren’t number one.

The movie has many famous arcade top players and influential people such as:

Steve Sanders, Billy’s friend and the author of Master’s Guide to Donkey Kong
Walter Day, top referee for video game world records and founder of Twin Galaxies
Brian Kuh, a Donkey Kong expert, was the number 2 DK player for years
Robert Mruczek, head referee at Twin Galaxies
Greg Bond, the MAPPY world champion
Roy “Mr. Awesome” Shildt, the Missile Command champion and a controversial player
Mark Alpiger, Crystal Castles (foot category) champion

Billy Mitchell
Billy Mitchell

The movie touches on what it takes to be a champion. Not only that but it explains that these old arcade games require a level of dedication and reaction that is no longer found typically in modern video games. Getting higher and higher scores in these classics is a real achievement that requires true skill building and mastery.

King of Kong shows world class competitive gaming since its roots in the 80s. It shows that people lie about their achievements and that when that lie won’t protect you when it’s time to compete against a real champion that does get a real high score at an official competition. In this case I’m referring to the competition between Billy Mitchell and Steve Sanders, where Billy Mitchell humbled Steve.

The competition shown reminds me a lot of the kind of drama and competition behind world class chess games. Bobby Fischer and some others always come to mind.

Pacman Kill Screen
Pacman Kill Screen

We see Billy Mitchell succeed in his gaming, personal, and business life. He owns a chain of restaurants and sells Rickey’s, a very successful hot sauce as well. In 1999, he played a perfect game of Pacman reaching the kill screen, the point where the game crashes because it runs out of memory. He even says that he feels as though all this good fortune happens to him there’s probably some poor bastard out there with the reverse fortune.

The movie presents us with Steve Wiebe who at the time got inspired to go for the Donkey Kong world record, was unemployed, and looking for something to do with his life. His family and friends talk about him saying that he was never the best at anything but he always tried and failed. He played sports and music and drew but they say he never did anything successful with those talents. Steve Wiebe is a good guy that’s a teacher and a family man. He’s the average Joe.

The experts talk about Donkey Kong and picture it as pretty much the most brutal arcade game ever. Billy Mitchell himself says that the typical Donkey Kong game lasts less than a minute.

Walter Day at Funspot
Walter Day at Funspot

We are presented with Twin Galaxies, the international score keeper organization for video games for the world. They were created by Walter Day and started out as him going around to different video arcades and eventually opening up his own arcade. Twin Galaxies has grown into the official record keeper for video games according to the Guiness World Book of Records. In the movie, we see the meticulous review process that these gaming world record referees go through. They must analyze every second of every footage submitted either through VHS or DVD usually, unless it’s a record that is taking place live at a tournament.

Roy “Mr. Awesome” Shildt
Roy “Mr. Awesome” Shildt

The conflict in the movie starts when Steve Wiebe beats Billy’s high score for Donkey Kong and the Twin Galaxy people discredit the achievement by going to Steve’s house when he wasn’t there and inspecting the insides of Steve’s DK arcade console. Since Roy “Mr. Awesome” Shildt had sent Steve the motherboard for his DK machine, they said it was not authentic and disqualified the high scores. There’s bad blood between Mr. Awesome and Twin Galaxies with Mr. Awesome saying that they approved a bunch of scores which weren’t valid and TG saying that Mr. Awesome is a liar.

Since Steve’s high score was discredited, he decided to travel to Funspot, one of the top classic arcade tournament locations in the world, where Twin Galaxies would see him perform live. Steve calls Billy to challenge him to go to Funspot to compete live against him.

Billy Mitchell and Doris Self
Billy Mitchell and Doris Self

Now although the movie paints Billy to be an arrogant villain, I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. Sure, he might be arrogant but that doesn’t mean he’s evil. We see him donate a Q*bert machine to Doris Self, an old lady that wants to enter the tournament. I don’t agree with all of Billy’s actions through the film but if you follow up on what happened with Steve and Billy after the film, the story gets much more interesting.

When Steve goes to compete and Funspot, he’s met with people that treat him well like Walter Day but also he’s met with people that are spies and asskissers to Billy like Brian Kuh, the former 2nd place record holder for Donkey Kong. Kuh even hangs out behind Steve, watching him play, which adds stress to Steve as he tries to attempt a live world record on the machine. Billy doesn’t go to the tournament but he has Doris Self deliver a video tape with a new high score that Billy shot for “fun” to further try to discredit Steve’s attempt. Doris even says that Billy is a pretty devious person as towards his strategies of attacking his competitors. Steve actually beats Billy’s score live at the event and even triggers the kill screen for the game, which crashes the game. It was the first time ever that the kill screen was triggered at Funspot. As the machine was going to reach the kill screen everybody at Funspot was standing in awe around Steve Wiebe as he earned the high score and the achievement. However, Billy submitted a video taped game with a higher score, around a million points, undermining Steve’s attempt. “Not even Helen of Troy had that much attention,” Billy says regarding people watching the video of his achievement. I thought it was an underhanded thing for him to do, sending in a video rather than show up in person to compete against Steve like a real warrior. When Steve wants to see the tape, they refused to show it to him which was a dickish move from Brian Kuh.

Robert Mruczek
Robert Mruczek

What’s kind of fucked up for me, according to what the movie shows, is that although they discredited Steve’s original video tape after they spent much time dissecting it, they pretty much immediately accept Billy’s tape as a legitimate submissions although he sent in a copy of a tape and it wasn’t really a good copy. The copy had VHS lines and the tape skips during some moments, something that according to what Robert Mruczek says earlier, is not allowed for a video submission. You see Steve’s face full of pride for getting the high score and the next day his face is filled with disappointment as Billy even from Florida steals his moment remotely from the comfort of his home. This part of the movie ends with a heartbroken Steve Wieve crying as his attempt and achievement is undermined yet again.

The movie shows Walter Day playing his guitar and that was kind of neat to see him at his home doing an everyday normal thing. He’s been running Twin Galaxies for a long time and although he should be retired from it he continues to do it for the benefit of his friends and colleagues.

Sad Steve Wiebe
Sad Steve Wiebe

9 months later, Steve starts to train to compete live again because Twin Galaxies let him know that the Guiness Book of World Records will hold a new tournament. It’s funny to hear one of Steve’s kids quote Billy Mitchell, “Work is for people who can’t play video games.” The way the movie is made obviously favors Steve and it’s kind of one sided in that way, with Steve calling and leaving Billy messages (since Billy doesn’t pick up from what the movie showed) but I thought Billy could have done a better job trying to defend his honor. I felt like Steve had everybody against him, even his family from the things they said to him like his girl saying that some people ruin their lives to break records.

Billy Mitchell with Steve Sanders
Billy Mitchell with Steve Sanders

So Steve Wiebe goes down to Hollywood, FL for the tournament, which is Billy’s hometown and expects to compete against him but Billy never does. Steve Sanders, which is one of Billy’s close friends even goes to the competition and he’s enough of a good sport and decent that he introduces himself to Steve Wiebe and his family. I thought that was a noble thing for him to do. He was even talking to him and praising him and his efforts and this is a guy that wrote a world famous strategy guide on the game. What’s kind of disappointing is that Steve Wiebe isn’t as well off as Billy yet Billy won’t compete against him even in his hometown. That seemed like a really cowardly thing for him to do. Wiebe even goes to Billy’s restaurant but Billy refused to talk or see him.

Mitchell ignoring Wiebe
Mitchell ignoring Wiebe

Billy does eventually show up to the tournament but he walks in and ignores Wiebe. Steve Wiebe says hello to him and Billy passes by and says “There’s certain people I don’t want to spend too much time with” which is kind of like a slap to the face. I wished he would have been a better sport and although yeah you can say the movie favors Wiebe’s view, even this should have been obvious to Billy that he was making a mistake reacting like that, especially when he knew he was being filmed. Billy says that if you don’t compete when the pressure is on that you’re not good enough but he refused to do that during this movie. He painted himself as a hypocrite by saying that and then not following his own words.

Steve Sanders thinking 'are you serious?'
Steve Sanders thinking ‘are you serious?’

I was particularly proud of Walter Day and Steve Sanders for the way they treated Steve Wiebe and recognized his struggle and true merit. One of my favorite scenes in the film is when Sanders is sitting next to Billy and Sanders says he believes Wiebe is trying to do the right thing and then Billy says that he’s not familiar enough with the situation and they’re just sitting there with Sanders looking like “are you seriously going to be like that?” Walter Day apologized to Steve Wiebe for the way that Twin Galaxies had treated him and they made peace finally.

Although the film is now outdated because the rivalry continued, you can always check up on the Steve Wiebe vs Billy Mitchell rivalry at Twin Galaxies.

To view the latest scoreboard for Donkey Kong, click here. When I wrote this article Steve Wiebe was the current world record holder for Donkey Kong. You can view the high scores for Donkey Kong Jr. here.


Steve Wiebe cheers
Steve Wiebe cheers

Overall, the movie I thought was shot with good taste and it was put together in an exciting way that keeps you glued to the screen. Even people I know that don’t care too much for video games thought it was an amazing movie and were glad to have seen it.

I recommend anyone who has an interest in video games to watch the movie.

You can visit Steve Wiebe’s website here.

You can read up more on Billy Mitchell at his wikipedia page here.

In conclusion, Steve Wiebe’s struggle is an inspirational story to all of us.

Video Game Movies: The ones that got it right

Video Game Industry the movie
Video Game Industry the movie

We already discussed the video games that got it wrong, but what about the movies that were at least good enough to not walk out of? Now, we are not saying these movies are perfect or even that they were completely true to the game, but that they were good enough to have a positive consensus across many gamers.

First we will start with my top pick and then look at a few others. Later we will ask our panel of industry insiders which video game movie was their favorite.

Silent Hill

Some people will disagree with me, but I felt they did the Silent Hill movie pretty well and this is coming from someone who beat all the original games and then watched his sister do the same. It is true there was a lot of tweaking not only to bring in new fans, but to mold the story to be more emotional. Many were upset that the movie mirrors Silent Hill 2 more than part 1 and making the main character a woman people though was just because having a woman in a horror film adds more than a male character would.

Believe me, I understand the critic’s objections, but this was a case where I believe the changes did not kill the Silent Hill story too much. The visuals and especially the music was excellently done. At first I was afraid the transition between worlds would not have been shown and only displayed by the entire screen going dark. I was presently surprised to see the entire transition shown and it looked awesome.

As said the music was taken out of the games with a few tracks added that fit in perfectly with the game and the movie. The story itself was modified and many felt the cult aspect of the story was not there the way it should be and I could understand that. You did understand how messed up the people were, but you weren’t drawn into their world until the very end.

The studio worked closely with Konami and that is the reason the visuals from the broken city to Pyramid head to the killer nurses were spot on. On the flip side audiences not familiar with the Silent Hill game or game story telling in general thought the long explanation of what was going on at the end of the movie seemed out of place and killed the pacing.

The ending can be a tossup. Many felt it left to many questions. Some did not understand it and more felt it was a bad way to try to lead into a follow-up movie. The movie itself did well considering and there was talk of a sequel. If/when Silent Hill 2 is made we will see what direction it goes in.

Resident Evil

You’ll have to forgive me on this one I enjoyed this movie. Sure, it was not very true to the game, but honestly having a loan character walk around for 80% of the film would not work. What I liked was they did try to incorporate the original mansion from the game with the Umbrella Corporation. The action sequences were well done and adding in the evil little girl Red Queen gave you at least another reason why the team sent in became trapped.

There was a lot they could have done with this film making it a better story, but honestly after watching the follow-up movies I am surprised this one came out as well as it did. What was really sad was the ending really made me want to see part 2 which turned out to be a horrible disappointment for me.


There are a number of well-done video game movies, but let’s hear from our panel to see what were their choices.

Danielle Davis from Zombie Studios wrote:

Wing Commander

Give your brain the night off…

Most games are made with very iconographic heroes and villains. You don’t have to worry about plot or story as much, and can focus on the core gameplay. Nearly everything is black and white. The Heroes are universally good, and the Villains are the purest of evil.  As we get older, we learn life is really just shades of grey (or from “a certain point of view”).

Wing Commander can be viewed the same way.  As a whole, Wing Commander (Movie) can be cheesy and flashy, but in reality that is pretty much how it is in the game franchise. Wing Commander (Game) followed the general curriculum of building characters plot like any other Action\Army movie (just like Aliens or Predator). You’ve got your classic “Girl trying to compete with the big boys”, or “Leader struggling under the burden of leadership”, or “Overly Aggressive Hot Shot “, and of course “Cool as Ice and plays everything by the book”. Is it cliché? Yes. But do stereotypes help identify personality and move the plot forward quicker? Sadly yes.  Since it was established in the Games, so must the continuity be maintained for the Movie. The amount of Cheese and Awesomeness in the movie, is equal to the Cheese and Awesomeness in the game.

Back to the shades of grey. A two hour movie of continuous dog-fighting, would be pretty hard to accomplish (Memphis Belle is the only one I can think of). By introducing personal flaws, strategic mishaps, personal failures, and over-ambition, you can subtly add secondary antagonist. For example: Maniac. He’s reckless and going to get his teammates killed. Does that make Maniac a bad guy? Depending on your point of view, you could say Yes. So, you have your primary Villians (the Kilrathi), and you have the secondary villains (ambition, fear, self-doubt).

By now, you’re asking yourself “You’re INSANE! How do you enjoy such a crappy movie? I mean, seriously, are you high?”. And the answer is, well kinda “Yes”. You can’t enjoy a movie like this by comparing it to other movies that have freedom of script and design. You have to simply take your brain out, and give it a two hour break. Relive what it’s like to be 12 years old again, and just enjoy the Good Guys, Bad Guys, and big explosions. Enjoy the simplicity of “this guy’s a douche bag”, “wish this dude would chill out”, and “this chick is awesome” without thinking about the deeper context and military discipline (let alone plot). Enjoy two carriers slugging it out point blank range. Just relax and enjoy it. Why? Because that’s exactly what you did when you’re played it as a game. You gave your brain the night off…

David Warhol from Realtime Associates wrote:

Tomb Raider

The shower scene was HILARIOUS!  (And if you don’t remember or know what I’m talking about, watch or re-watch it…. it’s for real.)

J.A. As a bonus here is the funny shower scene.

J.A. As a super bonus here is Angelina Jolie in the shower.

Corey Dangel from Detonator Games wrote:

King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

It is, without a doubt, my favorite video game related movie. The story follows Steve Wiebe on his quest to achieve the “official” high score for Donkey Kong. Along the way he must defeat several different adversaries, the least of which is the actual score needed to reach the top. It’s a classic underdog tale, only the heroes and villains are real and contemporary, and a great documentary…exploring themes like obsession, vanity, dedication, and legacy all wrapped in a cloak of classic coin-op arcade games. Besides, who doesn’t love Donkey Kong!?

Juan Gril from JoJu Games wrote:

Tron and Wargames!


Motivation Monday: Bad video game movies

bad video game movies demotivational poster
bad video game movies demotivational poster

Motivation Monday: Bad video game movies

Let’s just be honest with something, when it comes to nerds and geeks and gamers trying to agree on something is as hard as getting a Senate bill passed. It really does not matter what the question is from which Star Wars movie was the best or who has the best gaming console, you will find an argument and a ton of varied answers.

However, Hollywood is to blame for this as well. Far too often you have a video game or even comic book story for that matter that with a little tweaking and good market research can be turned into a hit. Sure, you won’t satisfy everyone, but a least people won’t hate your film. I believe the problem occurs when the suits in tinsel town decide to make a video game movie for those who never heard of the game or even worse when they just take a name and wrap it around a star thinking name power will win the day alone. As a fan of Star Trek I knew long time ago that you start out with a film for the fans and then tweak it for the general audience not the other way around.

It is almost impossible to make a video game movie everyone will love, but if you give it your best and at least honor the source material and not toss in pulp culture crap or a flavor of the month actor you will get more cheers then rotten tomatoes.  But we are not here for the good, we are here for the bad and there are way too many to choose from.

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li

I remember reading comic book forums about how they hated Kristin Kreuk so much in Smallville and then I heard she was going to play Chun Li and almost died. There was a lot wrong with this movie even if they somehow was able to create the real Chun Li and put her in it, but with Kreuk it was doomed to die a slow painful death.

Dungeons and Dragons

How in the holy hell do you ruin a D&D movie? I mean you take some adventure looking actors, toss in magic, sword fighting a dungeon and a dragon and you win. It’s like finally getting alone time with the girl of your dreams and you ask her to make you a sandwich. Don’t blame Marlon Waynes for this one, they told him to act like that.

Wing Commander

This is another movie that could have been so good and it even had some good cast members but when you have a bad script there is not much you can do. You know you are in a bad place when the cut scenes from the game look better and tell a better story than the movie.

Double Dragon

It’s like Saved by the Bell Double Dragon style, how can you go wrong? This movie suffers from the fate many video games and even comic book movies do and that is adding in too much to the story. The writers could have tailored a simple save the girl story and with good acting and choreography it could have done well, but they go all Golden Child or Mortal Kombat the series on us and ruin it.

Super Mario Bros.

What did I just say about adding too much to a story? You know honestly, I believe if they were to somehow stay true to the Mario Bros. story that people would respect that as abstract and weird of a movie that would be, or maybe not. You know how sometimes taking something that is not real and adapting it to real life can be fun like Enchanted? Well, this is the other side of that coin where you have bad plastic enemies, animated Dinosaurs and jump boots. This is the ninth level of hell; this is the Super Mario Bros. movie.

Not even worth the download

We know Hollywood is blind, deaf and stupid, the Superman movies tells us all we need to know. The problem isn’t the game it is the people and mostly people who know nothing of the game or the gamers who love them. There are a few good video game movies out there, but it could be some time before we get our Dark Knight for video game movies. Perhaps the Halo or World of Warcraft movies, nah.

Commercial Wars: Best use of Awesome

awesomeness demotivational poster Barley
awesomeness demotivational poster Barley

A great commercial like a great movie trailer can really hype people up to go see or buy it. Sometimes the video is much better than the game, but sometimes you are surprised to find the trailer matches the film. When a company takes the time to put real money and effort into a video game commercial and it comes out awesome it earns respect regardless of the game. This week we take a look at some of the best video game commercials that just look awesome in the way it was put together.

Sega Dreamcast: Thief

The Sega Dreamcast was one of the most awesome consoles that never really got the credit it should have. This commercial embodies the awesomeness of the console and the games behind it. You have to love when a company takes a movie-like approach to a game. The action, the humor and even the dialog all match and you spend the entire time into what’s going on. By the time you see the final splash telling you about the Dreamcast you’ve already purchased it.

Call of Duty: A Soldier in All of Us

Sure, this is a brand new commercial, but as we said Obsolete Gamer profiles good games regardless of when it was made. In this case the game takes a cool thought that we are all playing this war game and we come from different backgrounds. I love the fact that they add many different types of people and it comes together so well that you have to give it its praise. There was just enough humor and spirit to complement the action, beautifully done.

Halo Reach: Deliver Hope

Yet another modern game and yet another spectacular display of visuals with a perfect blend of music, heart and action. You did not need to hear loud booming explosions. You did not need to hear the screams of the dying. You did not need to hear one word, all was told to you visually with a light side dish of audio mastery. Yes, a commercial can do all that and “Deliver Hope” did it.

Vote or Die

Here we have three different action oriented videos that deliver awesome and so much more. Now the question is which one of the three did it best? The choice is yours.

[poll id=”11″]

Commercial Wars: Best use of Phil Hartman

Phil Hartman
Phil Hartman

Using celebrities to sell products is as old as commercials themselves. One thing many people don’t know is that very famous stars still do commercials, just not in America where they would be seen. On the other hand some celebrities did commercials while they were trying to make it. Finally, some just do it because they really like the product.

For those that don’t know, Phil Hartman he was a great and funny actor that stared in a bunch of movies and television shows. Most people would know Phil from his work on Saturday Night Live, News Radio and by his voicing of the Simpsons characters Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure.

What many people may not know is that Phil Hartman appeared in a number of commercials for video game companies. So let’s see which company made best use of Phil.

Atari 2600: Crazy for Ice Hockey

The first thing that struck me was that ol’ Phil looked like he was creeping up to the adult section in the video store. The man behind the counter looked at Phil as if he was going to rent “Chicks with Sticks”. From there the old man did what you had to with graphics of the time, hype the hell out of it verbally. How Phil reacts is how Wii players need to act to pretend they didn’t just waste their money.

CD-I: Multiple personality

This is SNL Phil displaying his ability to act as difference characters. You have to love the cool calm voice in the beginning as if you called a phone sex line for depressed people. We see Phil take on a number of roles, to bad one of them wasn’t a lawyer warning us of how bad the CD-I was.

CD-I: Awesome

This is pretty much a part two of the first video, but it is another chance to see Phil go from cool hand luke to SNL character skit master in thirty seconds. Is it just me or does Phil love dressing in drag and sadly he didn’t look half bad. Wait; strike that from the record please.

We miss you Phil

Sadly Phil Hartman was taken from us all way before his time. All we can do is look back on his old work and enjoy his natural comedic abilities. As seen here Phil overshadowed all the products he was selling, but the question for you is, which company best used Phil Hartman?

[poll id=”10″]

Commercial Wars: Best use of a Rap

parappa the rapper
parappa the rapper

Rap is universal, sure it may be dominated by African American artists, but rap is for everyone. Well, everyone except video game companies. Don’t get me wrong, you have to do what you can to grab a younger generation but most of these were just really bad commercials. Also I have yet to find an old video game commercial using rap that has actual African American kids. Oh well, on to the voting!

Atari 2600: The Fun is Back

The fun is back oh yes er re it’s the 2600 from Atari. Oh my lord you know that guy went on to make millions in the music industry.  When Atari packaged its system for a new low price of just $50 you know it was time to make a rap about it.

Nintendo: Zelda Rap

Oh Lord where to start. Okay first, does anyone else get the vibe that the kids are looking at an adult magazine and not Nintendo Power? I mean besides the “”Nice Graphics” quote it sounds like something I would have said while checking out Playboy.

Next is the “rap” I have to guess this is a parody of rap because even Solider Boy isn’t that bad. Not only is the beat box out of something you’d see on rapping granny, but the “lyrics” sound like they were pieced together from a fortune cookie.

Finally and again the way they talk about the game toward the end, “Ya go Link ya, get some.” Is that not a line from every Ron Jeremy movie? I just think these children need more parental supervision and a kick in the ass.

Sega Genesis: Toe Jam & Earl

I can’t hate on this one too much because it does fit the style of rap at the time and the game was to have a “hip hop” vibe. Does this rap not sound like the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” theme? I know when I saw this commercial the first thing I did was call my home boys for some two player action. Err…wow that just doesn’t read right.

This Ain’t American Idol

However, we need your vote. Which rap best fit the theme and style of the commercial?

[poll id=”9″]

If you could have any video game made into a live action movie which one would it be and why?

Resident Evil movie
Resident Evil movie

Ah you have to love Hollywood. At one time the paper suits of Tinseltown would never even look at a video game or comic book for a movie adaptation and today they are throwing themselves against the wall trying to produce the next summer popcorn choker based on a game. Now we have seen some horrible movies based on video games and there have been some pretty decent ones as well. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good – Silent Hill

Sure this movie wasn’t perfect, but you have to give them credit for trying hard to bring all the elements of the game to a movie audience who may have never played it. I have no problem that they went with a woman for the first one instead of a man. I understand why it works better at least for a first movie. The visuals and music was stunning from the ash covered town of Silent Hill to the Hell themed environments of the Dark World. Seriously when you first see the transition from “purgatory” to “hell” you had no choice but to be impressed.

I thought the story was well done considering and though some criticized the “recap monolog” toward the end of the movie I felt that was well in line with how the game does its storytelling. I mean come on, the film had drama, suspense, horror, a little mystery, a thought provoking ending (for better or worse). The film also had car crashes, pyramid head, the razor blade nurses and nudity. Ok, the last one was that part where pyramid head tore off the clothes of that crazy lady before killing her, definitely not a Fapp moment, but it still counts as nudity.

The Bad – Street Fighter

Wow, even the trailer is bad. I just don’t understand how you ruin a movie like this. I swear they could have hired a bunch of stunt fighters and just had them fight it out in costume for ninety minutes and it would have been light years better than this. Honestly, I even feel bad for Van Damme because while he might not be a five star actor some of his action movies have been fun to watch and I believe he could have been decent if the overall movie was better.

I just don’t know where to even begin with this movie, but damn, having Ryu and Ken as backup characters was just one of the many things that killed me. Trust me it was just bad and the only debate is which was worse the 94 Street Fighter or the awful Legend of Chung Li.

The Ugly – Any Uwe Boll Video Game Movie

So if Hell is a place of your own creation then Uwe Boll should be hired to direct a movie about Hell then be forced to life within it for all of eternity. Seriously, I rather watch stick figure porn than an Uwe Boll video game movie where he uses horrible music including game sounds that don’t fit the scene. If you think that’s bad it gets worse. He has been known for sticking in actual video game footages into his live action movies. The word Hack does not even fit here.

It is said that you should not talk unless you can do better, trust me I and a ton of people out there can do better. Just search for his other video game movies and see. What’s sad is many of these movies could be decent, but there is a disconnect between what the public wants and what Hollywood thinks we wants.

What would I like to see?

How about a movie based on the game Magic Sword. It would have to be done Lord of the Rings style, just a massive toward and a ton of bad guys and keep it exactly as the game plays. I think a hack and slash video game movie can work.

So we asked our panel of insiders what movie they would like to see made:

Grace Snoke from EOGamer wrote:

I thought about an answer to this question since I saw it, and recalling all the horrid video game movies there are out there (Street Fighter, Mortal Combat, etc.) I have a hard time wanting to see any game turned into a movie.  Perhaps the Dead Rising series would work, or even Dragon Age, but in all honesty, turning a video game into a movie never goes well and I wouldn’t want that to be the downfall of any good game out there.

Juan Gril from JoJu Games wrote:


Chris Skaggs from Soma Games wrote:

Oblivion. 1 because I really haven’t had my Fantasy itch scratched since LOTR and 2 because anything with Patrick Stewart is worth watching.

David Warhol from Realtime Associates wrote:

During the peak of Everquest’s popularity, there was a rumor going around about a movie being made out of it.  This spawned a few joke lists of potential titles.  My favorite, due to the frequency of precipitation in the game, was: “Everquest: It Begins To Rain.”

Now is your turn. What video game would you like to see turned into a live action movie?

High Score movie review

High Score movie review

In the same kind of movie category as The King of Kong, High Score shows us the struggle of a video game champion trying to topple the top score for Missile Command.

The full movie can be seen in hulu or just click play on the embedded video below:

Let’s talk about the film… (I’ll assume you watched the film or that you don’t care if I talk about a spoiler, in this review)

Overall Score: 8 out of 10

Although the movie is only about 50 minutes long, the movie is done with good taste and character and the gamer Bill Carlton is a good sport and has a great attitude when it comes to life and his gaming goals.

Bill Carlton
Bill Carlton












Bill is a world champion at Asteroids as well as Missile Command. The movie is about his fight to try to beat the Missile Command machine as he stays up for many hours and days trying to reach and beat the top score of 80 million. The problem is that the machine that Bill bought kept crashing, resetting, or overheating and as soon as that happened, it was game over.

If you have seen The King of Kong or you know about Twin Galaxies you will understand how he videotapes every hour of gameplay to try to submit for an authentic world record. If you don’t know what Twin Galaxies is, they are the Guiness World Book of Records approved association for keeping track of all authentic records for high scores for all video games. Click here to visit the Twin Galaxies website. They are very serious about their job and in order for a score to be accepted, you must be either playing at a world tournament or you have to record yourself playing on a machine that has been authenticated as being an original, unmodified machine.

The movie brings up some good points, such as showing that in some places of the US other than drinking and drugs, video games are one of the few escapes from reality people can have. Other than that, we see a fellow gamer that does not play modern games, bringing up that his kid can wipe the floor with him on PS2 gaming, but his son is afraid to even dare challenge him in Missile Command.

Many old games, like Missile Command, take a very long amount of time in order for you get high up there as far as world class high score record breaking goes. Bill anticipated that it would take him a good 2-3 days to reach the 80 million mark. A problem though is that the machine could not take the strain of his challenge.

Bill Carlton is frustrated
Bill Carlton is frustrated












Like brought up in The King of Kong, some machines will simply have a kill screen where the game will simply crash and you will simply just keep dying, giving you a Game Over screen. Usually this is a problem of the game running out of RAM or having it’s design limit reached.

I wish the movie would have been longer and that they would have bought Bill another Missile Command machine so that he could take himself to the limit and see if he could really topple the number one score help by the now gaming-retired Victor Ali.

Bill is still in the number 10 position currently for the Twin Galaxies scoreboard, and it would be nice to see him rise in ranks. Keep it up Bill!

If you want to see what the current scoreboard looks for Missile Command, click here! Otherwise… keep on gaming!

Takedown Movie Review

Takedown movie poster
Takedown movie poster

Takedown movie review

Although there is another movie called Freedom Downtime about Kevin Mitnick, which is a lot more true to his real story, Takedown, to me, is the most exciting hacker movie yet made.

The movie is about two friends, Kevin Mitnick and Alex Lowe, who have been having fun hacking and doing crazy things for years but now they’re getting older and it’s riskier for them to keep doing things that can get them into trouble. Kevin at the start of the film is on probation over some past hacking exploits. They find out about different interesting technological secrets and they do what they can to get access to those secrets. They don’t necessarily break-in using computers, as people are sometimes easier to trick than computers. Many times Kevin gets a contact number for one of the tech support desks or a middle manager that works for a company that has a government contract, he calls them, gives them the name of somebody else that works there, and gets the information from them (social engineering). Sometimes, he makes fake IDs or gets information from garbage they throw out.

They meet other hackers sometimes, which sometimes are federal cops, and they do as much as they can without entrapping themselves, just to fool around and waste the Feds’ time. The movie plays out not just as a hacker movie but also a spy movie. At times it feels like Catch Me If You Can. Kevin since the start of the movie has had the heat from the cops on him with them trying to entrap him. The friend Alex is often making fun at how the media label Kevin as something sort of like a terrorist.

The main story of the movie is that Kevin is this hacker maverick which the government wants to catch, he makes an enemy out of Tomu (Tsutomu Shimomura), a hacker that is employed by the government, breaks into his computers after Tomu had dissed him after showing off in front of Congress, and Kevin finds some files that are dangerous (they can potentially crash large parts of networks/the internet) which Tomu had generated. Kevin is slowly trying to put together the files (since they are encrypted), while on the run from the cops, as Tomu helps the cops hunt him down.

The movie poses a lot of good questions. Why should individual hackers be so hunted when there are people working for the government (FBI/CIA/NSA) who are doing much worse things but they have a badge? It makes you think that the “cops and robbers” are the same thing, except that one has a badge and the other one doesn’t. How far would you be willing to go to pursuit the truth?

On one hand you have this guy Kevin pranking and tricking people, finding out stuff that corporations and the government hide from us (some stuff regarding national security, other nasty tricks used to spy on people, like the ability to tap into any phone, etc.) then you have the government hackers which are protected by the law and then you have these suit wearing federal cops that in the movie don’t really know how to combat a hacker but they’re not entirely useless with their old policing strategies. Kevin pursuits these truths to know. He brings up in the movie that he could have a lot of money by doing fraud and other things but he just wants to know the truth.

There’s a bunch of fun details in the movie such as instead of having some servers be by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), they are by Binary Equipment Corporation (BEC), which doesn’t exist but their logo is created in the same font as DEC’s. Some machines have the real logos and interfaces, such as some of the IBM servers.

The movie takes place in the early to mid 90s and the computers, software, and equipment used is pretty authentic. I thought the actors were really well chosen, especially Skeet Ulrich as Kevin (you can see the tension of being hunted at all times), Donal Logue as Alex (he plays a very happy-go-lucky best-friend that seems like a real smartass), and even Christopher McDonald as the FBI agent (he is very comical in this role).

A lot of people hate this film because it is a twist on what really happened to Kevin Mitnick but this is just a movie. Again, if you want to see what really happened to Kevin, watch Freedom Downtime. I wish they would have changed the name of the main character rather than call him Kevin Mitnick but I guess at the time his name was still hot on the press and they kind of took advantage of that. If you watch the movie by itself, ignoring the real story, you may still enjoy it. I did.

TRON Movie Review

TRON original poster
Tron original poster

TRON movie review

“Greetings program!”

What’s really going on?

The movie is about a company that’s being secretly run by an A.I. which eats other programs and keeps gaining functions and intelligence. Even the CEO of the company, Dillinger, is controlled by the A.I. called the Master Control Program (MCP). The MCP analyses the internal network of the company, Encom, as well as hacks into other companies’ networks, and government networks, even military networks for the US and the Russians. Think of the MCP as the grandfather of Skynet. The MCP keeps growing more each day. At times it reminded me of Colossus from the movie Colossus: The Forbin Project. The MCP can even talk, like Colossus can, in the later part of that movie.

One of the heroes of the movie is a hacker Flynn, who keeps sending programs he writes to try to infiltrate the company but they keep getting caught and deleted. Everything that we make happen in the real world through computers, has an analogical parallel in the world of computers. Alan, a programmer that still works at Encom is having problems at the company because the MCP confiscated his security clearance and he can no longer work on TRON, a security program that Alan created, which monitors internal and external network activities and transactions.

Flynn used to be one of the top hotshot programmers at Encom but Dillinger canned him after he screwed him over, stealing the copyright to arcade hits that Flynn authored, but Dillinger put his name on. Ever since then Flynn has been trying to hack into the Encom network to try to get the original source code for his games that show his signature on the code, as well as any other dirt on Dillinger.

After getting his access suspended Alan goes to see his girlfriend Lora, which happens to be Flynn’s exgf. Alan tells her how Dillinger (nobody knows the MCP is running Encom, except Dillinger) suspended his security access, crippling his work. Lora convinces Alan for them to go talk to Flynn because he would be able to do more damage from the inside of the corporate HQ as opposed to dialing in through a dial up modem to try to hack the network. Flynn, despite having written many arcade games which made Encom a megacorp, runs his own arcade. After Flynn explains how Dillinger screwed him, he gives Lora and Alan the idea for them to sneak him into the Encom building so that he can forge a new security ID and retrieve the data that would prove Flynn is the original author of those games, as well as would get Dillinger thrown out of the company.

Dillinger is enough of an asshole that you see him arguing with Walter, one of the original founders of the company. The argument ends with Walter saying that “sometimes I wish I were back in my garage”, where he was when the movie was a start-up. Dillinger replies “That can be arranged, Walter” and “Don’t worry about Encom anymore. It’s out of your hands now.”

Lora and Walter both work in a department for Encom that has been developing digitalization. Basically, digitalization entails using a special beam, a laser, which translates matter into data. This kind of technology would allow near instant global travel and shipping. Think about it. Even back then you could call places internationally. Imagine how this would allow global teleportation over the speed of the internet.

Lora sets Flynn up to do his hacking in her workplace, which happens to be in front of the digitizing laser. The MCP tries to dissuade Flynn from his hacking but Flynn just laughs at him. “Remember the time we used to spend playing chess together?” The MCP threatens Flynn that he’s going to put him on “the game grid” buy Flynn laughs again. That is when the MCP fires the digitizing laser and turn Flynn (a user, a god in the computer world) into data in the computer world. See, all the things that get digitized appear into the computer world that I mentioned is paralleled to actions by computers and electronics earlier. This is when the movie starts.

Concepts that will help you understand this movie better:

Users, in other words US, are gods to programs. Programs look like avatars of their authors or users, depending on the story of the movie or whoever uses them the most or has influence on them. The last part I believe the most as a theory, since the Users are their deities. It’s also illegal on the network of the MCP to worship Users.

Video games are all gladiatorial battles for survival. They can represent playing actual video games on this world and forcing programs and pixels to die for us, as well as program battles between different pieces of code trying to delete each other or hack each other across different computer systems. I believe that most programs killed in the video games get absorbed by the MCP.

There’s a religious war and a guerilla war happening inside the Encom network. Believers in the Users are all sent to die in the video game arenas. Non-MCP-approved programs that have been caught spying around are also sent to die in the arenas.

When program die (get deresed [deresolution]) they stop existing, either becoming part of the MCP if they were killed by it or they break apart, freeing up the resources that made them up, releasing energy in the computer world. In the real world, such a death would be freeing up storage capacity (whether floppies, tape drive, or hard drive space, considering that this movie takes place in the 80s) as well as RAM for local systems where they ran and processing power.

The music:

Of electronic music fame and even more so for the soundtrack of A Clockwork Orange, Wendy Carlos created an even more unique soundtrack for TRON.

Here is one of my favorite songs from the movie, Sea of Simulation:

The soundtrack is both tenseful and sounds very electronic, which goes along great with the unique atmosphere of the movie and the TRON universe. I loved the soundtrack enough that I bought the original CD for it.

The visuals:

Although TRON came out during the same year as Blade Runner, this movie was the most advanced movie to have pure computer generated visual effects. The feel of the movie is completely unique.

To explain the wonder of how they created this world, I would recommend reading the wikipedia entry.

How the world saw it and its effect:

Many critics did not understand this movie. The typical movie goer did not understand it either. There’s even a joke in an episode of the Simpsons where Homer shifts into a 3D world where stuff looks like TRON. They ask him what it’s like and he says “Has anybody seen TRON?” Nobody understood what he was talking about.

Many techs and science fiction fans did however get the movie back then and as the movie gets older, it’s easier for us to understand it even more because unlike most sci-fi movies, which usually age badly, TRON gets more realistic as time goes on. Sure, the technology might be primitive but most of the concepts of what’s going on in relation of the computer world to the real world make perfect sense today.

Although I didn’t see this movie until around 1988-1989, and I had already considerable interest in computers, this movie further cemented that passion. This has happened to many of my computer friends. This similar like of the film and its vision of the future/present was even shared by avid sci-fi fans that are not necessarily computer people.

The actors:

Flynn is played by Jeff Bridges. He does a great role, playing a much more smartass version of what would later be “The Dude” from The Big Lebowski but with a geeky, hotshot twist to his character.

TRON/Alan is Bruce Boxleitner. He does a great job, especially as TRON. He’s a dedicated warrior on a mission to take down the MCP on the orders from his User Alan. What’s interesting is that Bruce Boxleitner was later Captain Sheridan in Babylon 5, along with Peter Jurasik, which was Crom in TRON, one of the gladiators that Flynn has to duel against. Peter Jurasik is one of my favorite actors of all time, especially for his role in Babylon 5 for his role as Ambassador Londo Mollari. J. Michael Straczynski must have been a big fan of TRON.

David Warner plays the roles of Dillinger, Sark (the lieutenant of the MCP), and the voice of the MCP. He does such an amazing job, especially as Sark. Many scenes in the movie are pretty powerful, especially when things go wrong for Sark and he gets angry and violent. The look of rage in his eyes is really well captured. David Warner has been in a lot of movies and even does voices for cartoons (such as in Batman’s Raz Al Ghul).

Cindy Morgan plays the role of Lora/Yori. Cindy Morgan is just so yummy. Thinking of her as either the geeky Lora in those nerd glasses, coding away, designing lasershas been like my doom, as that would be my ideal girlfriend/soulmate. She even looks super cute with her hair covered as Yori, and a girl without some hair is usually a deal breaker for me. Just thinking of her makes me want to make nerd babies with a Lora/Yori/Cindy Morgan clone! Anyways…

Dan Shor plays a most memorable Ram. Ram is just a poor program which somehow wound up in the Encom network, probably kidnapped by the efforts of the MCP. Originally, he was an accounting program for an insurance company. He’s skinny, and weak, and a really nice guy. Dan Shor does such a good job portraying the best character in the movie.

Tron 2.0 and Tron Legacy:

Although the sequel to TRON, Tron Legacy is coming out near the holidays this 2010, in 2003 a really great FPS game came out on computer by the name of Tron 2.0. See, I was never expecting anything like Tron Legacy to happen, especially since I read years ago that some people in Disney were bitter about having paid to get TRON made. However, Tron 2.0 was made and that was even better than TRON!

I’m sure that the movie studios will just ignore the existence of Tron 2.0, although based on the latest teaser trailer, it does seem to take a bit from it.

I will try to find my original copy of Tron 2.0 and put out a review for you guys. The game is extremely hard to find these days. It’s been out of print for a while and even the pirated version is impossible to get. If you have it, consider its value. If you know somebody that has it, I urge you to play it!

The teaser trailer for Tron Legacy is the following:

The original trailer is better, I think. Click here, since the embedding is disabled, to see it.

Based on the trailers, the main character is probably Flynn’s kid, and Flynn which has been “dead for years” is now the new MCP. Who knows how time differentiates on the computer world vs the real world. Oh yeah, Wendy Carlos is out for this one, Daft Punk is in. Although I like the music of Wendy Carlos, the Daft Punk sound might fit in well, especially since they are probably fans of the original film.


TRON is a milestone sci-fi computer movie. The franchise is coming back to life in the era of District 9 and Avatar. I always think that times of recession are great times for science fiction and horror. Sci-fi makes people think about problems other than their real lives. Horror has the violence that people crave in times of trouble. But enough of my theories… go watch the movie. And look below for some pictures from the movie!

Pictures from TRON:

The trio of programmers in the real world
Alan, Flynn, and Lora
Flynn the hotshot
Flynn the hotshot!
Tron – Evil Sark
Evil Sark!
Tron – Ram my buddy
Ram, my buddy!
Tron and Yori together
Tron and Yori together
Tron – Lora the prototype for a perfect girlfriend
Lora, the prototype for a perfect girlfriend!
Tron – Yori on the Light Sailer
Yori on the Light Sailer
Tron – Cindy Morgan is perfection
Cindy Morgan is perfection!

Micro Men movie review

Micro Men movie
Micro Men movie

Micro Men movie review

Micro Men is a movie about two rival men and their companies, taking place between about 1978 to 1985 (in the course of the film). The two main characters are Clive Sinclair, played by Alexander Armstrong, and Chris Curry, played by Martin Freeman, which I recognized from the UK version of The Office and the latest movie version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

The movie starts out with Sinclair running his electronics company, for which whom he lost a controlling interest in (the British Government bought into in). His company is researching and building different products which are having problems with design flaws and quality control and the government is tightening up the finances of the companies, making it harder for him to operate it according to his vision.

One of his top engineers is Chris Curry, which is like a close friend of his at the beginning. Curry convinces Sinclair that they should start manufacturing personal computer kits because it would encourage enthusiasts and hobbyists, as well as electronics buffs to start learning more electronics, the inner workings of computers, as well as learning to program computers. Basically, Curry tries to offer him some feedback, Sinclair gets very mad at him, and Curry quits to go make his own computer company, Acorn Computers with his Austrian friend (as shown in the movie). Sinclair’s company gets shut down, he sells some assets, and starts up a straight up computer company, Sinclair Research Ltd.

The movie chronicles the war that happens between the companies and other companies as well as the rivalry between the heads of Sinclair and Acorn, in England during the early days of what we now define as a personal computer.

The trailer for the movie is the following:

I recommend watching this movie if you are interested in retro computing, everything 8-bit, computer history, computer businesses, business rivalries, emerging and collapsing markets, business strategies as applied in the real world, business development, and so on. Chances are, if you are reading my site, you will enjoy this kind of film. It reminded me at parts of Pirates of Silicon Valley.

The movie shows what happens when two similar companies take different strategies as how to attack an emerging market. Initially, pretty much Sinclair was selling lower end, cheap computers, and Acorn selling a more high end, faster and more powerful but more expensive machine. We have seen these kind of approaches happen many times in the technology fields. The movie shows the battle of the BBC Micro (Acorn) vs ZX Spectrum (Sinclair), as well as their older and later systems. On that topic, you can even compare within the US the market of the Commodore Amiga vs the Apple Macintosh (during the 80s), two similar machines. Not saying that the Amiga was inferior (I prefer it in fact and was my first 16-bit computer) but it was certainly much more inexpensive.

You can view clips of the movie here.

You can view the first part of the movie here on youtube:

You can watch the whole movie on youtube actually if you follow this link and scroll down.

The movie has a very good 80s feel, especially with some of the music they picked for it.

The movie shows the rise of video games, the flooding of the computer market, the rise and fall of that market.

I don’t want to describe the entire movie in detail because I would rather have you watch it and interpret it for yourself. Parts of the movie have been exaggerated simply for entertainment value. The movie is done in good taste and even has a couple of comical parts.

Overall, Micro Men paints a great picture of those days and reminds me as well a lot of stories similar to the ones found in the book Hackers by Steven Levy (my favorite book about the early computing days).

Don’t waste a minute and go watch it! Leave your comments below, on the Obsolete Gamer forums, or on our social sites. Enjoy!