Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Odd Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Tetris

Tetris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For nearly three decades – yes, as in thirty years – the game of Tetris has graced various devices in its infamous, blocked-graphics glory. This simple puzzle game with cheesy Russian background music has tantalized people the world afar for, seemingly, eons. The primary goal – as if you already didn’t know – is to match up colored blocks to create rows, at which point the rows disintegrate and you rack up score; sounds a lot easier than it truly is before you get to the higher levels. While many or most of us have divvied up some playing time to this cult classic puzzle game, there are some interesting factoids that many Tetris enthusiasts may be entirely unaware of.

The theme song is more than 100 years old… That’s correct, that signature Tetris theme song you like is actually the 8-bit rendering of a Russian folk song called “Korobeiniki.” The song is actually about a peasant girl who falls in love with a peddler (no kidding).

The creator, Alexy Pajitnov, made almost no money off the game… The game was created by a student at the Academy of Science Computer Center in Moscow during the reign of the USSR. Due to struggles between Pajitnov, the state controlled USSR, and the licensing squabbles afar, Pajitnov was basically cut out of most or all royalties. When the Kremlin licensed the game to Nintendo in the 80s, Pajitnov didn’t see one ironic Red Cent for it while the Kremlin took home millions (or by 1980s Russian standards: Billions and Billions of Rubles).

The game is named after the blocks in it… The blocks in the game are nothing new. They are actually called “polyminoes.” They represent 12 different kinds of classic puzzle blocks that have been around and have been used in puzzle games since the 20th century.

The game has been played on large buildings… Sounds outlandish, but it’s entirely true. Back in 1995, students at the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands turned an entire building – the Electrical Engineering Department building – into a gargantuan, behemoth-sized real-life Tetris game. It took up 15 floors and was able to be played via telnet (ancient dial-up internet) worldwide.

It actually causes auditory hallucinations… No joke! Playing the game makes people see interlocking shapes and blocks everywhere else they look (after prolonged game play sessions). This odd effect is called the “Tetris Effect” and has been well documented. In fact, it’s been used to help treat patients suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  

How do You Stack up to the Tetris Champ?
Check out this video that was filmed in Asia, where they host championships for Tetris until this very day. This guy is considered to be the fastest player in the world. If you ever thought that you were good at Tetris, wait until you see this person’s smoking fingers and quick thinking. It will truly blow your mind. And if you thought you were good at this game, it may be a bit depressing to watch how lightning quick his fingers are.

Ready to level up? Don’t forget to check out our fine selection of TetrisT-shirts so you can take out blocks like a real champ!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Office Spinoff Stalled, But Not Forgotten

English: Actor Rainn Wilson at Heroes for Auti...
English: Actor Rainn Wilson at Heroes for Autism event, Hollywood, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Rainn Wilson and his now infamous Dwight Schrute character found some of the funniest moments in the entire Office series at Dwight’s family farm. One moment that stands out to me was when Jim Halpert and Pam Beasley decided to stay at Schrute Farms for a mock romantic getaway. As they’re driving up the long dirt driveway, Mose, Dwight’s cousin and occasional character on the show, comes running along the car like an excited child, but he’s an adult and stone-faced. It was one of the funniest visual moments in my opinion in the entire series.

With that in mind, I was actually kind of curious about this potential spinoff tentatively titled “The Farm”. All the crazy hilarity of Dwight in his element, with him in charge of a farm that also served as a bed and breakfast, and with all its odd traditions and quirky family members, it could have been very funny. However, with the lack of success that spinoffs have had in general, but especially on NBC, (See: Joey) they decided to pass on the series. Even though I was a little excited about it, I can certainly understand their angle. Spinoffs are not the built-in audience guarantees they might have been at one time, back when Frasier became one of the most successful spinoffs of all time. However, we still might be able to see the pilot!

It sounds like NBC will air the pilot episode of “The Farm” as an installment of The Office, I assume at some point during their last season. It stars Thomas Middleditch from college humor playing Dwight’s brother Jeb Schrute, and Majandra Delfino would play his younger sister Frannie. Here’s what Rainn Wilson said about the show, according to Hollywood Reporter – “It could be really cool because It would be on his farm, which would be a bed and breakfast, and it would have a crazy menagerie of characters. It would be even more far out and weirder than The Office... it's a good idea.”

If it runs to big success on NBC during The Office season, perhaps there is still hope to see it as a series. Either NBC might decide to grab it again, or another network could snatch it up. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some kind of non-compete clause in the contract as far as the character is concerned, which was developed under NBC contracts. Of course it’s not unprecedented for an entire show to jump networks, so perhaps there is still a possibility. Either way, I’m psyched to check out the episode.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Modern Family Actress Wants Split from Family

Deutsch: Logo von Modern Family

On the ever-hilarious and surprisingly heart-warming ABC hit Modern Family, Ariel Winter plays the nerdy, wise-cracking daughter to Phil and Clare Dunphy. Often times, her wise-beyond-her-years way of thinking and talking will even out smart her own parents, showing that she might be one of the only normal people in her family. Some might argue that she and Jay Pritchett, played by Ed O’Neill, are the only actual straight characters on the show. Ariel’s character Alex Dunphy has what seems to be a good relationship with her mother, despite her ever-changing teenager ways, but in real life Ariel Winter is going through some issues with a parent.

Apparently, according to The Los Angeles Times, Ariel Winter of Modern Family is looking to formally split from her mother. Ariel Winter’s real name is Ariel Workman, and her mother’s name is Chrisoula Workman. Ariel had claimed several levels of abuse, including verbal and physical, and has requested guardianship be transferred to her adult sister Shanelle Gray. Ariel Winter’s earnings from Modern Family are protected in a Coogan Account, named after child star Jackie Coogan, designed to protect earnings from greedy parents.

In a petition for Ariel Winter’s guardianship, her attorney wrote "Minor Ariel Workman has been a victim of on-going physical abuse (slapping, hitting, pushing) and emotional abuse (vile name calling, personal insults about minor and minor’s weight, attempts to sexualize minor, deprivation of food etc.) for an extended period of time by the minor’s mother, Chrisoula Workman.” It goes on to say "(The) Guardianship with minor adult sister Shanelle Gray, is necessary to prevent minor and prevent further physical and emotional abuse. Guardianship of the minor’s work on the television show 'Modern Family' and mother also has control of minor’s Coogan account."

So far, nothing too specific regarding the nature of the abuse has been said, but the fact that there is a claim of physical abuse makes it a big deal, especially for a young and bright star like Ariel Winter, who if her chips fall in the right place could make a full career out of acting. However, if she’s dealing with an abusive family, the succubus that is child fame may turn her into yet another failed story. I wish her the best, and hope she continues to do good work on Modern Family, and her upcoming movies that include Truck Stop and Mr. Peabody and Sherman.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Top Eight Reasons to Keeping Watching Family Guy

Stewie Griffin
Stewie Griffin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For lovers of the sensational animated and over the top comedy on Fox, Family Guy, there’s always a good reason to watch the show when it airs: it’s funny, and you know that you will laugh on numerous occasions. The coarsely written and shock value humor is what actually saw the show canceled after its third season on Fox. Then, when the DVDs sold out of the roof to diehard fans, and when Adult Swim on Cartoon Network started airing reruns that got massive ratings, Fox suddenly brought the show back (what a shocker). Of course, the show has been kept on the air since, and is now in the thick of its 11th season on Fox. As if you really needed any more reasons to watch this show—here are eight more of them.

  1. Shock value humor: Family Guy has always been over the top; that’s half the fun of watching it. And you never know what they are going to do next and how. The shock value humor keeps many of us coming back for another helping week in and week out.
  2. Peter’s antics: Certainly, Peter Griffin is a brazen, poorly educated, moronic alcoholic that barely holds onto a meaningful existence in a clearly broken home. Yet his antics are what makes up half the show. It’s okay to want to tune in to watch Peter fail time and time again; and yet somehow it never gets old.
  3. Quagmire: Everybody thought he would be getting his own show when Fox announced a new spinoff. But ultimately it was Cleveland that left Quahog and departed for his show. Quagmire and his sexist banter will never get old. The sex-a-holic is just plain hilarious to watch.
  4. Stewie: What will Stewie do next and to whom and how? He’s aspired from world domination to playground dictator to time traveler and universe and dimension controller. You never really know if it will be a Stewie episode, and whenever it is, Family Guy certainly pleases with a uniquely woven plot.
  5. Brian: The epitome of a want-to-be intellectual with a super emphasis on “tool” will forever be a mainstay of the show. Perhaps it’s that we just like seeing him get letdown. Maybe it’s because he has such good onscreen chemistry with Stewie. Either way, Brian is fun to watch. And his canine instincts mixed with human emotions make him priceless.
  6. Meg: You can’t leave out Meg, either. She’s the punching bag of the entire cast. In nearly every episode they take swings at her. Even in episodes where she barely has screen time, they are sure to embarrass her by the end of the show… and it’s uproarious to watch.
  7. Flashbacks: The flashbacks are a mainstay and staple of the show. You never know what odd things they will contrive. It’s the flashbacks that make half of the show in all reality.
  8. Popular culture references: One of the things that makes this show relative to the present day (and to the past) is the heaping amounts of popular culture references that are consistently made. If something big happened on the news to a celebrity or a brand, etc… you can bet at some point in the near future it will be parodied on Family Guy.

WATCH: Funniest Family Guy Moments
Tickle your funny bone with these funniest moments from Family Guy. This fan made compilation video has some of the wittiest and most hilarious moments from the past several seasons. It’s certain to make you laugh out loud a few times.

Don’t forget to tell the world that you love Peter Griffin, Brian, Stewie, Quagmire and company by donning your very own Family GuyT-shirts. We’ve got a massive selection of them featuring your favorite lines and quotes from the show and some other side-splitting anecdotes, too. Check them out!