Bucs Blog! What to do during the Bye Week?

Well, since the Bucs are off this week, I figure this is as good a time as any to post something entirely unrelated and even irrelevant.

So, here’s a couple of pictures of me playing Space Paranoids.

(Click to enlarge…a bit.)

That’s right, Space Paranoids, one of the games created by the legendary Kevin Flynn back in the early 1980s. Of course, that was before Flynn’s sweet arcade game ideas were swiped by Ed Dillinger, fellow programmer and total douche, while both men were working at software giant Encom.

Hey, it was either this, or a picture of a bunch of women reading one of my books while sunbathing topless. Of course, we know those only exist in my imagination, so…uh…there. Take that.

The Bucs Blog will return next week!


Trailer for Tron: Uprising!

Greetings, programs!

Several movie and genre news sites have been posting articles over the past day or so about the new trailer for Tron: Uprising, the animated series coming next year to DisneyHD. The new series is a prequel to Tron: Legacy, which you may have heard something about at one or two points during the past 24 months or so. The series looks to be taking a page from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, by filling in backstory between the two Tron feature films.

With a veritable plethora of sites to choose from, I finally settled on Cinematical.com (otherwise known as the Moviefone.com blog), because their web gurus present a nice, clean site that doesn’t look like a class project for an “Introduction to Web Programming” course at the local community college, and doesn’t take five years to load while all the scripts, flash animations, ads, and other crap spins up.

Not than I’m bitter about such things.

Anyway, the trailer! Check it out here:
blog.Moviefone.com – Tron: Uprising – the Trailer
I can dig it.

According to the reports, the series will run for 10 episodes beginning next summer, and will itself be preceded by a 10-part “microseries” set for this fall (also, it seems, similar to the two sets of Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated shorts which came before the current incarnation.

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More Tron: Legacy viral swag.

Back in March, the Flynn Lives site (the “MCP” of the Tron: Legacy viral marketing campaign) presented a challenge: venture to Arcade Aid and traverse the snappy looking old-school computer-pixel cityscape, in which were hidden visual clues to help you identify the names of 57 video games. Those who solved this puzzle (and did so while logged into the site with their FlynnLives.com ID and password) were given the opportunity to create their own “ENCOM Employee” ID badge. Being a nerd, I completed the challenge, set up my badge, and it arrived in the mail a few days later, complete with a snappy lanyard bearing the Encom logo.

In late October, the ArcadeAid.com cityscape got an update, adding more city and 110 additional clues. This one took a bit longer, but since I was having a bout with insomnia that night, anyway, I eventually completed this challenge, as well. That was a couple of weeks ago, and today’s mail brought with it a reward for that bit of geekery:

(Click to enlarge.)

The top pin is a guard from the Tron “computer world,” and the other pin represents the visual clue from a video game called Face Off. From what I’ve found so far, there are two additional pins being distributed: a Tron light cycle and one representing the clue from a game called Knock Out.

Of course, I’m still on the hunt for a pin from an earlier challenge/puzzle that I missed:

Grr. Argh.

Is it December 17th yet?

I want this shirt.

The Tron shirt I’d want.

For what it’s worth, I Googled the phrase and found no use of it. I actually said something similar to it a while back on Twitter, while participating in one of those hashtag games…soemthing like “Nerd Fights” or whatever. As for this, I “drew” it the other night while watching TV with the Mrs. (she’ll be embarassed to confirm this, if asked), and the shitty “B” should be proof enough of my artistic skills.

End of line.

Tron Night 2010.

Greetings, Programs!

So last evening, the Mrs. and I joined Kevin at a special sneak preview of the upcoming Tron: Legacy, part of a huge promotional effort taking place at theaters around North America and scattered countries around the globe on October 28th. The event was advertised as a special look at 20+ minutes of finished footage from different scenes in the first half of the film.

Check it: Tron Night 2010.

We got there about an hour before showtime as instructed on our passes. Everybody got a special wristband, and they handed out some posters and postcards. The security folks were seriously enforcing the “no cameras/cellphones/recording devices of any kind rule” to a pretty absurd degree, including wanding people and threatening folks with prosecution under anti-piracy laws. “Well, no,” I’m thinking (some of it out loud, I admit), “it’s not against the anti-piracy law to have a fucking phone in your pocket, but whatever.” Once I finally heeded my wife’s advice, and accepted that they really were going to treat us like children, things went smoother.

So, we get in there and they roll the preview. The 23-minute presentation hop-skotched through what I guess is the first half of the movie (as advertised) including an extended sequence from the beginning with Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner, reprising his role from the original Tron), and Sam Flynn, son of the mighty Kevin Flynn, who’s been missing for more than twenty years. Alan’s been paged (yes, paged) from a phone number that’s been disconnected for about the same amount of time, located in the building that houses the now-dormant “Flynn’s Arcade.” Sam goes to check it out, and….

Well, let’s just say he takes a little field trip….INTO TOTAL FUCKING AWESOMENESS.

I have to admit, I have a soft spot for sequels/follow-ups that are made many years after the original/preceding film or episode or whatever. “Reunion movies” for beloved television shows, or films like The Color of Money or the first Star Trek movie or (to a lesser extent) Live Free Or Die Hard and even the last Indiana Jones flick, tickle my nostalgia bone. Hey, I even have The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission and The Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman on DVD. That’s how big a nerd *I* am.

This, however, is something else, and I can’t quite put my finger on whatever’s different about it. It’s definitely fun to see Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner back in these roles, but this movie seems so far removed from the original film in terms of how it looks, it’s weird to think of it as a sequel to that Disney flick from 28 years ago. But, here it is, and I gotta tell ya, I’m frikkin’ pumped for it.

The footage we saw looked incredible. The stuff you remember from the original Tron is there, but it’s been given a super-duper makeover and then some, but there also were a handful of callbacks to the first film even in the scenes we saw. Like Avatar, the “computer world” as rendered in CGI and 3D is immersive without being obtrusive, and I forgot I was wearing the stupid glasses after a moment or two. Even for this short presentation, the music and sound mix was superb, and I can’t wait to hear the whole thing (as well as the film’s soundtrack when it’s released in just a couple of weeks or so).

December 17th can’t get here fast enough.

End of line.

More Tron nerdity.

In a post I made yesterday, one of the things I mentioned about the Tron: Legacy viral campaign was the recreation of “Flynn’s Arcade” from the original Tron film Comic-Con International in San Diego. I missed seeing it when it debuted at last year’s con, so I was excited to find out that it would be “open” again at this year’s con as part of the ongoing marketing buzz. Heck, the thing was a block from the hotel where Kevin (Dilmore, not Flynn…that other guy’s still missing, you know.) and I were staying. If we didn’t make it this time, I was probably going to cry.

But, we were successful.

(Awwww, yeah.)

Among the treats to be found inside the arcade? Sprinkled among the collection of classic 80s arcade games (Joust, Donkey Kong, Defender, and so on…and yes, even Tron itself) were fully-functional versions of Space Paranoids, one of the games created by Kevin Flynn and swiped by Ed Dillinger (the dick) prior to the events of the original Tron movie. Don’t forget that you can also play this game on your computer by heading to SpaceParanoidsOnline.com.

Of course we got to play the game, and thanks to Kevin, I finally have proof:

(Click to enlarge…but just enough to protect you from being infected by the nerdity.)

I want one of these games. I’ll put it right next to the Sega Star Trek cabinet. Of course, I’m still pursuing that holy grail of games, Discs of Tron, as well.

Maybe one day….

More Tron: Legacy gamer and viral campaign goodness.

Anybody following the ongoing viral marketing campaign for the forthcoming Tron: Legacy already knows about the different sites which have gone up over the past months:

Flynn Lives
Home of Tron
Encom International
Pit Cell
Arcade Aid
Encom Employee Intranet
Unlock Sam Flynn
Hello, Flynn

I’m sure there are others, but I honestly can’t keep up with them all, and there might even be other sites out there, just waiting to be stumbled upon. There also are other events such as scavenger hunts at Comic-Con, with free previews, swag packets, and of course the opportunity to play 80s-era video games in a recreation of Flynn’s Arcade from the original Tron film.


They did that again for this year’s Comic-Con, and Kevin and I got to check it out, play the games, and see the other secret stuff waiting for you. Mwu-ah-hah-hah. They even gave us a “coin purse” with the Tron logo and game tokens, each with the “Flynn’s Arcade” logo on one side and the logo from one of Flynn’s video games on the reverse. Those coin purses are going for $25 and up on eBay.

There have been “press conferences” held by “Encom CEO Alan Bradley” (Bruce Boxleitner, reprising his role for the new film and giddily playing along with the whole pre-movie hype machine) announcing new Encom products, such as Space Paranoids…Online!

Another marketing bit started up just a few days ago, resulting in lucky people obtaining free passes to sneak preview screenings of the first 23 minutes of the new movie (in IMAX 3D!), which will be held at theaters across the USA and Canada as well as a handful of other countries on October 28th, with more dates/events planned internationally in the coming weeks.

Why, yes, I do indeed have my ticket. See if you can still snag one by heading to Tron Night 2010. Good luck!

Space Paranoids Online is a fully-playable viral game, and of course it has secrets and codes built into it (by running into certain walls with your tank, bar codes appear that lead to all sorts of places where you can see concept sketches and photos and other teases from the new movie.

But wait, there’s more! Something I totally missed, and it’s been around since before Comic-Con: Another viral game, Circuit Cycles, available at the “Encom Games Japan site:

Like Space Paranoids, this game also is fully playable, and completing its 32 levels will apparently result in a little special something being sent to your snailmail box: a limited edition set of 7 postcards featuring artwork for Encom games, including Paranoids. I don’t know if they’re still doing that, but since I completed the 32 levels last night (instead of…you know…sleeping), I’ll be checking the mailbox in the next week or so.

Anybody interested in trying to trace through this stuff should start at FlynnLives.com and register. You’ll get stuff sent to you via e-Mail and snail mail, and pretty much all of it contains some clue to some other bit of the overall viral campaign. Further, using your login info from FlynnLives.com at the other sites sets you up to receive MORE stuff if you finish whatever game, quiz or other puzzle waits for you at those locations. Sometimes, visiting one site requires you to have played the game or whatever from another site. For example, you can’t access the Encom Employee Intranet without the User ID that comes on the Encom International ID badge you win after completing the Arcade Aid quiz, along with your FlynnLives.com password. I mean, GEEZ PEOPLE! Working on this marketing campaign has to be a frikkin’ dream job.

Anybody got any other sites they know about that I haven’t listed here? I’d like to see what else I’m missing. It looks like the Tron: Legacy Viral Wiki is a pretty good clearing house for the most up-to-date information on the whole campaign. It includes info on most if not all the codes and such that have been revealed

Oh, and for me, I’m hoping it’ll be even more fun: the movie opens on December 17th, the day me and family depart on our roadtrip vacation to Florida to visit the rest of Clan Ward. We plan to spend a couple of days at Disney World, and I’m told Tomorrowland in particular will be decked out in full on TronSkin Mode. I plan on blowing a lot of cash on Tron stuff for me and Kevin while I’m down there.

I have to admit, I’m pretty pumped for this movie.

End of line.

I Heart TeeFury.

Kevin turned me on to this T-Shirt website, TeeFury.com, a while back. For those who don’t know, the site’s hook is that it offers “limited edition” T-Shirts featuring the work of independent artists from all over the world. Every day, they put up for sale *one* shirt design, and offer it for a period of 24 hours, for the awesome price of $9, plus $2 for shipping (a buck or so extra for size 2XL). Once the “design of the day” is gone at the end of the 24 hour, it’s gone, and a new shirt design is put up for sale. Artists whose designs are picked by the TeeFury gang get $1 for every shirt sold, and they retain the rights to their designs.

The designs run the gamut, with a lot of music, pop culture, and genre/fandom stuff thrown into the mix. In the past couple of weeks alone, nerdy shirt offerings have included designs inspired by:

Breaking Bad
Star Wars
Doctor Who
Star Trek

I’ve been amused or jazzed by many of the designs, but it wasn’t until I happened across this little gem a couple of weeks ago that I made my first ever TeeFury purchase, titled End of Line by artist Matt Dearden:

It showed up today, and I gotta tell ya, the quality of the shirt is damned good. Certainly way better than that CafePress crap (I made the mistake of ordering a couple of Trek shirts via StarTrek.com a few years ago. Talk about money wasted….). This one will make a fine addition to my already bloated T-Shirt collection.

See you on the game grid, but watch out for those Smokeys….

Two pictures that amuse me.

Bitten by one of reannon‘s “Morning Random” bugs, I offer up two pictures that amuse me for different reasons.

The first? This is the “Congratulations!” screen you receive once you complete all 15 levels of Space Paranoids, the awesome video game created by bright, young ENCOM computer programmer Kevin Flynn way back in 1982:

(Click to enlarge.)

I wonder whatever happened to ol’ Kevin?

As for the screen and the game that spawned it, I must confess to being unable to decide whether I should be proud or ashamed that I reached it through actual game play.

The second picture? It comes during our bit from the celebrity roast of friend and fellow scribe Michael Jan Friedman at last month’s Shore Leave convention. I offer it without any further context, other than to say that this Kevin’s expression is priceless. I’m pretty sure it was in response to one of my numerous uses of the word “Fuck.”

(Click to enlarge. Photo by Jen Snyder)

Okay. That, and don’t I look pretty swank in that jacket?

Feel free to post an amusing pic in the comments. In fact, don’t bother with any explanations. We’ll make up our own.