Super Mario Goes Surrealist

How cool is this? A Tumblr blog called Super Margritte is bringing Super Mario and surrealist paintings together as one, in a series of works that re-imagines the art of Belgian artist Rene Magritte. Many of Magritte’s works challenged the observer’s perceptions of reality. Now Super Magritte is doing the same thing, only challenging observer’s perceptions of the Mushroom Kingdom instead.

Works that have received the 8-bit treatment include Golconda, Castle of the Pyrenees, and Time Transfixed. Love it.

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Source: PSFK

Yahoo Adds Fantasy Sports App

One of Yahoo’s biggest draws for customers is its fantasy sports division, and Yahoo’s new Fantasy Sports app brings all fantasy sports together into a single app for Android and iOS. The app lets users sign into their Yahoo accounts, draft teams, and keep track of their teams from any mobile device. Fantasy Sports also gives players notifications about what’s happening on the field so they remain up to date on what’s happening in their league.

One of the big new features of the app is the ability to partake in mock drafts, which allows players to prepare themselves for the big draft day. When draft day does come, the app will also allow players to do the entire draft from their mobile device, and then allow them to manage their team on the go. For now, these features will only be available for fantasy football, but soon Fantasy Sports will extend to hockey, basketball and baseball.

The app integrates technology from Yahoo’s recent acquisitions Bignoggins Productions. Bignoggins Productions has had previous experience with fantasy sports, including their Fantasy Monster and Draft Monster apps which have been used in this new app. The app is available now in the App Store and the Google Play store.

Source: The Next Web

Mad Catz Reveals Android Console

Peripheral developer Mad Catz has decided to jump into the Android console business against Ouya, GameStick and Gamepop by releasing the Mad Catz Mojo this holiday season. The console will run standard Android (avoiding the customized interface of the Ouya) and provides access to games from the Google Play Store, Amazon, and Nvidia’s TegraZone. Certain touch screen games will not work with the console, but Mad Catz claims they are working on the issue.

One of the selling points of the console is that the Mojo is a standard Android device, so players can download their already purchased Android games on the Google Play Store. “We are totally open. No walled garden, no small selection of games, no subscription fees. We bring the hardware, gamers bring the games. Buy games from where you want, when you want and how you want,” said Alex Verrey, global PR director for Mad Catz.

The console supports HDMI and USB connections, and it will ship with a Bluetooth 4.0 controller resembling the Xbox 360 controller. The console can stream video in 1080p, and will also have access to Android apps such as Netflix. Mad Catz claims Mojo “will be the most powerful Android micro console available at launch” and will feature “no less than 16GB internal storage”, with microSD expansion supported. No retail price has been announced yet.

Source: CVG

Australian Tycoon Makes Jurassic Park Real

Clive Palmer, an eccentric Australian multimillionaire, has decided to build his own Jurassic Park complete with more than 165 robotic dinosaurs and real vegetation. Palmer is a mining tycoon who is already building a full-size replica of the Titanic, and has decided to build the park on the grounds of the Palmer Coolum Resort in Australia.

Development of the park is under way with 40 of the dinos already delivered from China and another 70 scheduled in the coming months. All of the dinosaurs will be able to move their limbs, blink, and emit ‘lifelike’ roars. All of the dinosaurs will be the same size as the original beasts, such as the Deinosuchus model that’s 20 meters long.

“Work is well underway at the site to ensure the dinosaurs blend seamlessly into the natural vegetation and create a realistic prehistoric environment that will be entertaining, informative and educational,” according to the park’s web site.

Humanity has taken one more step toward creating Jurassic Park.  Just watch your step so you don’t become a raptor’s lunch.

Nvidia Exceeds PS3 Graphics On Mobile

Tech talk time!  Nvidia just revealed its next gen mobile processor Project Logan at Siggraph yesterday, claiming the processor is 1.6 times more powerful than PlayStation 3.  Remember, this is a mobile processor, so all of that horsepower is pretty impressive in the palm of your hand.

Of course, we all know how we need to do a mid-day recharge of our smartphones, but Nvidia says Project Logan uses less than one third of the iPad 4’s power.  Rounding out some of the tech-y terminology, Project Logan features support for DirectX 11 and OpenGL to enable advanced rendering that isn’t possible on current mobile devices.

“More than ever before, we see the opportunity for developers to create high-end games and ship them across multiple platforms on a wide variety of devices, including tablet, smartphone, Windows, Mac, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One,” Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said, adding that there will be a version of the Unreal Engine 4 available for Project Logan.

Check it out.

Nvidia announced that the processor will be shipping in mobile devices during the first half of next year, and will also be integrated into a new version of the Nvidia Shield handheld console.

Source: GamesIndustry International


Fear The Wrath Of Steve

Scribblenauts has always been about making almost anything the player wants by unleashing their creativity, and now Scribblenauts Unmasked takes the idea one step further by using the vast DC Universe as the setting.

The game’s trailer shows off the potential of creating heroes, such as Cyborg-Super-Aqua-Doomsday named Steve. Comic book legend Jim Lee also makes an appearance to give Steve some necessary enhancements.

Hot off of the global success of the motion picture Man of Steel and the Comic-Con announcement of an upcoming Batman/Superman movie, DC Comics is making a real push to match the power of Marvel’s strength, and we’re looking forward to all of it!

Cosplay Levels Up

We were just at the San Diego Comic-Con and one of the best parts of the show is being able to see Master Chief, Heisnberg from Breaking Bad, Wolverine and more cosplayers in just a ten minute walk.  This video by Sneakyzebra shows off some of the most elaborate, creative and downright awesome cosplayers that showed up at SDCC last weekend.  Yes, it’s nuts, but it’s pretty awesome to see how fanatical the SDCC audience can get!

Earthbound Returns On Wii U

It’s been almost 20 years since Earthbound made its way to the US on the Super Nintendo. New, pristine copies of the original game go for as high as $800, giving you a sense of how rare it is on the open marketplace.

Now, Nintendo is bringing Earthbound back to the fans through the Virtual Console on Wii U.  The fan favorite is now available through the Nintendo eShop on Wii U for $9.99, both in a bid to provide Nintendo fans one of the more beloved, underground hits at a competitive price.  It’ll also give consumers a chance to dust off their Wii U systems, which have been suffering a minor software drought since its launch late last year.  Thankfully, the rest of the 2013 calendar looks better thanks to this release and next month’s big Pikmin 3 launch.

‘Super Zero’ Diaries: Turning Setbacks Into Opportunities

Ayzenberg creative lead and filmmaker Mitch Cohen is running a Kickstarter to get his first feature film off the ground. The goal is to raise enough money to produce a proof of concept for Super Zero, a purely original take on the well-established zombie apocalypse genre. Cohen has agreed to document his experience with running the Kickstarter campaign on [a]list daily. 

In this second article in the series, Cohen looks at challenges with getting visibility and dealing with momentum swings with a Kickstarter campaign. To read part one, go here.

‘Super Zero’ creator Mitch Cohen

I remember writing the first entry for this series with the [a] list daily like it was yesterday. Just an optimistic guy with a dream, a dream to make a simple film about an outcast gamer who builds insane weapons to annihilate hordes of ravenous zombies in order to save humanity. I would reach out to friends, family, and maybe a few kind strangers and raise the money to bring my little love letter to the “geek culture” community to life. Then off I went to promote my Kickstarter campaign while taking notes of my adventures along the way.

It is now a month later and with my fundraising campaign close to ending, I have stopped to share some findings before my I make the final push to hit my goal. If nothing else, this trial by fire has been a fantastic experience and a mix of every emotion imaginable.

So, what’s the biggest takeaway from my campaign. It was obvious.

Outside of the support and promotion you get from the ones closest to you, most of the world isn’t going to give a rat’s ass about you and your little Kickstarter campaign. This was a painful lesson to learn, but one that I have worked to change and maybe just in time, too.

To be clear, I’m not implying people are coldhearted jerks because they don’t care about my project or other even cooler projects on Kickstarter. Read the rest of this piece and you will see it’s been the exact opposite. The willingness of people to champion something they believe in and connect with is utterly overwhelming and has led to some amazing developments in my campaign. What I mean is that it’s incredibly difficult to expect complete strangers to stop and hear about a small creative endeavor that has no reference point to them.  People, products, entertainment brands and everything on this planet are in a constant battle for time and attention. Your project may be the greatest thing a media outlet or an individual person has ever heard of, but they will never know because it just takes too much time and effort to read an unsolicited email or click on some random link to find out.

On a mass scale, websites and media outlets have to run stories that will get their content read and grow their audiences. Featuring a story about a Kickstarter campaign for a unique feature film might have been newsworthy in the past, but not anymore. Kickstarter and crowd sourced films have blown up the last 12 months and news outlets get inundated on a daily basis from everyone and their brother trying to get exposure. The exception to this rule is the new wave of star-driven Kickstarters. Those projects that come ready-baked with a well-known celebrity at the helm will absolutely get attention. (My thoughts on this phenomenon are another story)

Websites need to maximize their real-estate for the big entertainment stories and content they know will get eyes. They need to maximize their site traffic so they can see revenues from advertisers. The idea that a big website would run a piece on a Kickstarter campaign for a short film that’s only a proof of concept for a feature is pretty laughable.

The other route to raise awareness and hopefully raise funds for a crowd funded project is to target people directly, but that’s a long, difficult road. The most obvious place is to find them on social networks, but again the chips are stacked against the asker. Even with followers, friends, and connections who step in to help a Kickstarter project by posting about it amplifying it, the half-life of that message is extremely short and is drowning in a million other posts on someone’s feed. To further complicate things, not only does a user have to see your random post and click on it, they then have to leave that social network to go to the Kickstarter page to read an in-depth presentation of what you are doing. That’s a lot to ask, and it doesn’t even stop there. Even if they are actually into your film, they would have to still be willing to donate at that moment, because they may never come back or find their way back. There are numerous points for them to drop off or hit barriers on the obstacle laden path to backing your project.

It took less than a week for me to see this trend developing and understand why it was happening. I did ample research into Kickstarter and how to operate a campaign and where the pitfalls were. I knew I had to have thick skin and be tenacious. Call it being naive or too gung-ho, but I really thought it would be much easier to tap into a community that would rally behind the film. Kickstarter does a great job of showing off their success stories, but if you dig deeper you will find a vast graveyard of failed campaigns. Looking through other projects in my category – $20K+ budget short films – many of them never raised more than a couple thousand dollars or even less.

So at an early point in my campaign I took stock of my situation. There was still a ton of time on the clock, and I had actually banked a bit of money, but it also suddenly stopped coming in. I had two options, quit and call it a day or roll the dice and forge on to hopefully make it happen. I decided it was time to look ahead.

First, I have what I think is a truly innovative and accessible concept. Second, I intimately know my audience, what motivates them, and where to find them. Finally, I designed this film around celebrating geek culture itself, authentically embracing who we are and what we are passionate about. I have no doubt that I have something that has merit, and I was willing to bet others that feel the same would eventually discover this.

One week in and I was already changing strategies. If the big sites won’t feature me and the individuals can’t find me, whose left The answer came from one of the only emails to media outlets that I sent out where I received a response. Bloggers. Just like up and coming filmmakers, up and coming writers want to practice their craft and share their thoughts. And in the world of geek culture, blogging is huge and these people need interesting and relevant things to write about. Sometimes their content is in direct competition to the big media outlets, giving their own spin on what’s happening. Like any artisan, they are looking to establish themselves as different and in their world even it means deviating from the story everyone else is talking about.

This is my second takeaway. Don’t try and force attention, just talk to the people who want to listen. I acted on my hunch and reached out to many relevant bloggers who might be able to relate to what I’m doing through the lens of their own creativity. And luckily, a good many responded and were happy to oblige. Across the net there have been really enthusiastic and well-written posts on my project, and I have earned new backers directly because of it. I began seeing traction for this new strategy from an array of small outlets, and it still continues to grow. As press often does, some bigger outlets picked up on my project from coverage by smaller sites.

My campaign is again showing signs of life. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

So that’s my story to date. It’s been a little crazy, but I have yet to lose my mind. There are only six days left to make Super Zero happen and it can go either way. Research shows that many successful Kickstarter campaigns in my category receive 80 percent of their funding in the last 7 days, and up to 50 percent in the final 48 hours. I am actually trending a little above that, so fingers crossed. Stay tuned to see what happens.

About the Author

Mitch Cohen is creative lead in the original content group at Ayzenberg Group, working on live action videos and digital influencer campaigns. Cohen started in filmmaking as part of Chicago’s independent film scene, working with directors from the legendary Second City comedy troupe. Since moving to LA, he has sold one feature horror script and had two others optioned, and has had his short film “Peter’s Price” sold to renowned distributor Shorts International. That’s when he hasn’t been writing, directing and producing commercials and trailers for games such as Batman: Arkham City, Borderlands, Lollipop Chainsaw, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and The Darkness 2.

Chipotle Admits Twitter ‘Hack’ Was ‘Adventurrito’

Chipotle has admitted that the brand was behind the series of what seemed like strange tweets from a hacking last weekend, fessing up to Mashable.

On Sunday, their account @ChipotleTweets began posting odd messages such as “Find avocado store in Arvada, Colorado” and, “Hi sweetie, can you please pick up some lime, salt, and onions twitter.” Shortly after, a “Joe” from the company’s social management team posted a message that seemed to confirm a hack.

“Sorry all. We had a little problem with our account. But everything is back on track now!” the company posted.

Brand accounts getting hacked on Twitter seem to be frequent these days, and now apparently so are fake hacks orchestrated for publicity. Earlier this year, Burger King and Jeep both experienced real hackers taking over their Twitter accounts. Shortly afterwards, Viacom-owned networks MTV and BET pretended to be victims of hacks.

According to Chipotle’s admission, their “hacked” tweets were actually part of the restaurant chain’s “Adventurrito” promotion, a series of 20 puzzles in 20 days celebrating its 20th anniversary. The fake hacking puzzle was of course about the ingredients that go into guacamole.

“We thought that people would pay attention, that it would cut through people’s attention and make them talk, and it did that,” company spokesperson Chris Arnold told Mashable.

That, it did. According to Arnold, Chipotle’s Twitter account added more than 4,000 followers the day of the “hack,” compared to its normal rate of adding about 250 followers a day. And the tweets in question – which have not been deleted by the way – were retweeted about 12,000 times. By comparison, Chipotle’s Twitter account usually sees about 75 retweets per day.

Some social media and PR pundits are already mourning the loss of reliability that a brand can suffer by lying to its fans. What do you think of the marketing strategy?

Source: Ad Week