Thriller Zombie Out Of Plants Vs. Zombies

One of the more recent updates for Plants vs. Zombies changed out the Dancing Zombie (which bore a striking resemblance to Michael Jackson from the Thriller video) to a disco themed zombie. While it was one of the more distinct and well-liked zombies, apparently legal pressure forced the change.

“The Estate of Michael Jackson objected to our use of the ‘dancing zombie’ in Plants vs. Zombiesbased on its view that the zombie too closely resembled Michael Jackson, said PopCap in a statement. After receiving this objection, PopCap made a business decision to retire the original ‘dancing zombie’ and replace it with a different ‘dancing zombie’ character for future builds of Plants vs. Zombieson all platforms. The phase-out and replacement process is underway.”

While the portrayal is likely all right in a legal sense because of parody laws, perhaps PopCap agreed with the estate of Michael Jackson that the joke is no longer funny, since the performer is now dead.

Source: MTV’s Multiplayer

Rare Rejects Fan Documentary

Many websites start off as fansites and become more professional as time goes on, meaning they become a career for whomever is running them. Some sites make the transition properly, but others don’t make it, like MundoRare.

Early in May, we showed Rare our most ambitious project to date. We planned to film an hour long documentary about their 25 years of history, to be shot on location in England, presented in HD and ready to be distributed freely via Xbox Live and Internet, posted the MundoRare team. The project was formally introduced through a briefing that included a fact sheet, script, interview guidelines, several resumes and a demo reel. The crew behind the movie consisted of none others but us, since we also happen to be a team of filmmaking and journalism graduates with very good knowledge of Rare’s history. And best of all, the project was going to be shot at zero cost, because we had access to all the equipment we needed through a variety of professional sources.

Unfortunately, some days ago, Rare’s PR department finally denied our permission to shoot arguing that the film wasn’t going to be ‘on message,’ they continued. Shutting down the website was an option we were already considering in case we couldn’t make the process of working on it worth the effort. Therefore, we designed a win-win deal that could have resulted in a wonderful project for us and a terrific treat for fans everywhere. Despite its ambitious scope, we felt it was an irresistible offer. In fact, we are still puzzled over their response. It was a risk-free operation to be carried away with all legal safety measures deemed necessary and full of good intentions. It simply makes no sense. It has changed our perception of Rare forever and leaves us with no other option but to end our support for them.

They go on to indicate that the direction towards the uninspired Kinect Sports also pushed them towards this decision. Whatever the case, it’s brought more bad publicity to Rare in a time when they could use all the publicity they could get.


Amazon Signs Up For Facebook this week has announced a program that uses friend’s preferences to give recommendations. This beta program lets Amazon users log in with their Facebook profiles, giving Amazon more information about themselves and what their friends like.

The information only goes one way, and Amazon does not send information back to Facebook without permission and Amazon hasn’t integrated the Like button into its preferences. Customers can disconnect from Facebook and have information sent to Amazon via that method at any time they want.

Darkspore Mutates Into First Teaser

While the first Spore game went the light and fluffy route with its aesthetics, its ‘dark’ successor won’t look or really play anything like it. Darkspore is a sci-fi action RPG, and as you can see from the trailer below, has a much harder edge.


Dexter Deals With Death

Dexter has been among the hottest dark dramas over the past few years. After the big twist at the end of season four, Showtime has unleashed the trailer that will set up the events of season five.


Disney’s Magic Playdom

Confirming earlier rumors, Disney has announced that they are acquiring Playdom. Disney will pay Playdom shareholders $563.2 million and might shell out an extra $200 million, depending on certain performance-linked conditions.

We see strong growth potential in bringing together Playdom’s talented team and capabilities with our great creative properties, people and world-renowned brands like Disney, ABC, ESPN and Marvel, said Robert A. Iger, President and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. This acquisition furthers our strategy of allocating capital to high-growth businesses that can benefit from our many characters, stories and brands, delivering them in a creatively compelling way to a new generation of fans on the platforms they prefer.”

We are at the start of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way people of all ages play games with their friends across devices, platforms and geographical boundaries, said Playdom Chief Executive Officer John Pleasants. Disney is an incredibly forward-thinking company that shares our vision and is the ideal partner to further our mission to bring great entertainment to people around the world.

Sony Looks To License PlayStation Logos

Sony has kicked off their PlayStation Logo Licensing Program. This new program is targeted for a variety of lifestyle products from apparel to everyday items.

Licensees who enter into an agreement with SCE through the Logo Licensing Program can design their product using the PS3 / PSP/ PSP go / PS2 / PlayStation / PlayStation Family Logo and iconic triangle, O, X and square marks on a variety of lifestyle products such as apparel, accessories, house wares and more, reads the statement by Sony. Also, licensees can use the Official Licensed Product (OLP) logo on product packaging and other promotional tools. The OLP logo certifies that a peripheral or accessory has been designed for the respective PlayStation and has been confirmed by the licensees to meet SCE’s standards.

Sony clearly wants to make the PlayStation brand ubiquitous like many others in entertainment, though it remains to be seen what consumer interest will be.


Geeking Out On Ads

The geeks are inheriting the Earth, if you believe a study from Geeknet. Their study in the U.S., Britain and Germany with Forrester Consulting says 66 percent of online respondents have “geek tendencies.”

This means that many people online work in IT jobs and might also have “Technology Enthusiasm” and Geek Passion in that they keep up with new tech trends and like to understand how things work. Some, however, are “Non-Tech Geeks,” where they like geeky things but aren’t as technically oriented.

On nearly a two-to-one basis, self-identified geeks were more likely to read a lot about things that interested them, liked solving problems and thought that technology made their life better. The term geek itself has turned around from a negative into a positive.

“We’ve certainly seen a turning of the corner — more than a turning of the corner — about that,” says Scott Kauffman, CEO of Geeknet. “because there’s a deep intelligence behind it. I used to call myself a music fan. Now I call myself a music geek.”

While this group might appear ad adverse, they are actually twice as likely to say that an ad helped them make a purchase decision, and are similarly likely to check out a website of a product or make a purchase online.

Interestingly, geeks are also more brand-loyal and spend more on a product associated with their image. “They take pride in using information to get the best products, which probably doesn’t mean the most expensive,” says Kauffman. “They’re confident in the decisions they’ve made. They have higher educations and higher incomes, so they’ve got the purchasing power.”

Geeks are receptive to ads, if it is on their terms and integrated into their lifestyle. “If the information is relevant to them — no longer a 30-second spot, but more integrated into their lifestyle — then their response is not so much ‘I’m getting hit with a commercial message’ as it is ‘I’m getting information that’s relevant to me,'” says Kauffman. “These are smart people, and their antennae are way up.”

Importantly, geeks are often touchpoint consumers that others turn to for advice on purchases, whether technological or not. “Geeks are getting the last laugh here,” says Kauffman. “Technology is no longer exclusionary. Geeks were there first, so now it’s easy for them to be setting the agenda.”

Source: AdWeek