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WARNING: Major spoilers for the movie Orphan, including the twist.

Orphan movie poster'

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I am Lord Voldemort

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“Nearly everybody expected spectacular things from Tom Riddle, prefect, Head Boy, winner of the Award for Special Services to the School. …The next thing the staff knew, Voldemort was working at Borgin and Burkes.” —Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince p.430-1

A picture of Lord Voldemort
How do you get a job in a store that sells magical artifacts? Ask the owner, “How much for Kirby’s Adventure?

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The King of Pop is dead.

Michael Jackson’s music is the soundtrack of the ’80s for me. Part of the reason may be that mom banned everyone from Poison to Motley Crüe to Guns N’ Roses from the house (I could want my MTV till the cows came home, but I wasn’t getting it). Still, I think most of it is that everything Michael did was so unique in so many ways that he offered something for everyone–even us drive-in mutants:
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Andy and Chucky: A brown-haired 6-year-old boy looks at a doll with red hair whose wearing overalls and a striped shirt.

“Oh, those terrifying symbols of normality, dolls, I thought.” –Donna Williams, Nobody Nowhere

Don Mancini, screenwriter of all the Child’s Play movies (and director of Seed of Chucky) wants to remake the first movie. From the scarce but tantalizing rumors, it sounds like a series reboot. “[U]nless we really screw it up, I think it has the potential to be scarier than the original,” Mancini told Ain’t it Cool News. On learning about this my first thought (after “Sweet Lord, why? Enough with the remakes, already!”) was “Is a 100% scary, totally unsilly Child’s Play even possible?” Continue Reading »

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A drawing of a girl in a First Communion dress. She is white and has long brown hair, tied in pigtails with blue bows.

A drawing I did of Katie in her First Communion dress, based on two of Katie's own drawings.

Katie is eight years old, and she wanted to take her First Holy Communion wearing a dress like the other girls. But her Catholic school said “no.” According to the Omaha World-Herald article (which reveals Katie’s male name and uses a lot of male pronouns, so be warned):

Eight-year-old [Katie] declared [she] wouldn’t go [to First Communion] if [she] had to wear a suit, and [she] pined for the white dress that girls wear. But neither [her] family nor church leaders thought it would be a good idea to introduce [her] as Katie in the Communion line. Thechurch doesn’t want [her] to be Katie at the school at all.

With her family’s full support, Katie will move to a public school and live as her true gender. “Katie’s waited long enough to be Katie,” her mother said. Katie’s parents took her to another church for her First Communion, so she did celebrate it wearing a dress.

Bad Dollies! Bad! **

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When I was 8, I had a killer doll for an imaginary friend–two, actually. The one that was “mine” I stole from Stuart Gordon; in my head, she was a tiny thing with a big knife who wore a yellow raincoat. In reality, she was a not-tiny My Child doll whose haunted stare seemed perfect for someone who killed people when I wasn’t lookng. Her name was Francine–from some mostly-forgotten Arthur book, maybe–and she spoke with a lisp. The other doll, her brother, was Chucky. Continue Reading »

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A movie poster. On a black background is a toy monkey holding cymbols and wearing pinstriped pants. It's sitting above the words "Monkey Shines," which are written in huge white block letters. Under them, in red letters and underlined, reads: "An Experiment in Fear."

A movie poster. On a black background is a toy monkey holding cymbols and wearing pinstriped pants. It's sitting above the words "Monkey Shines," which are written in huge white block letters. Under them, in red letters and underlined, reads: "An Experiment in Fear."

(Trigger warning: descriptions of horror movie violence)

(Spoiler warning: in-depth discussion of Monkey Shines, including the ending).

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Dokapon Journey preview

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Yellow capital letters spread out on a scroll of parchment. The text reads: "Dokapon Journey." In the center is a compass with a red arrow, of the kind used in some board games.

Yellow capital letters spread out on a scroll of parchment. The text reads: "Dokapon Journey." In the center is a compass with a red arrow, of the kind used in some board games.

Developed by Sting Entertainment, Dokapon Journey is a “friendship-destroying RPG” (slash board game) where up to four players can compete to save towns from monsters and to make themselves rich. It can also be played single-player with CPU-controlled opponents, but where’s the fun in that? Continue Reading »

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A brown-haired boy in a brown suit and white shirt, standing on a dance pad. In the upper right corner is a bar that says "Player 1." Underneath that are four arrows--left, down, up, right. Beneath that is the word "Perfect" and a right-pointing arrow. The scene is on a fiery orange background.

A brown-haired boy in a brown suit and white shirt, standing on a dance pad. In the upper right corner is a bar that says "Player 1." Underneath that are four arrows--left, down, up, right. Beneath that is the word "Perfect" and a right-pointing arrow. The scene is on a fiery orange background.

West Virginia was the first school system in the United States to incorporate a video game (Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution) into its physical education curriculum. Now, West Virginia University, ResCare Home Care and the Special Olympics are conducting a study to see if the series has benefits for people with disabilities. According to the very small blurb I was able to find, “Participants will play the game three days a week, for eight weeks. If it is successful, the Special Olympics may consider making ‘DDR’ a competitive event during its annual games.”

Since this past weekend was my birthday (I got several games, including one I’m ashamed to have taken so long to get to), this week’s post is another trilogy of disability-related gaming news.

A woman with long dark hair stands in front of a factory wearing a white, backless, sleeveless dress. She is facing right, looking off into the distance.

A woman with long dark hair wearing a white, backless, sleeveless dress. She is facing right, looking off into the distance.

Heather Kuzmich, a finalist on cycle nine of America’s Next Top Model who won nine CoverGirl of the Week awards and has a form of autism called Asperger Syndrome, is studying video game-art design at the Illinois Institute of Art. In an interview with founder of Voodoo PC Rahul Snood, she said:

To be honest, I always wanted to do something that included art and creating stuff with my hands. At first I wanted to get into costume design, but that soon changed to game design, especially since I frigging love games and love doing weird designs for characters.

The news, review and community site for gamers with disabilities AbleGamers.com announced on January 30 that Mythic Entertainment’s MMORPG was the most accessible mainstream game released last year. Right from its September 18, 2008 release date, Warhammer Online

include[d] options for the physically disabled such as mapping nearly all actions to the keyboard, or playing the entire game just by using a mouse or special controllers. There is also text for all key events to aid the hearing impaired and the game has also been made accessible to the colorblind.

Despite the features available upon launch, members of the disabled community still had one concern: Warhammer did not work with the On-Screen Keyboard. This is a tool gamers with physical limitations use to type data on screen with a mouse. It is one of the few MMOs that missed this feature.

According to Mythic, a new patch will be released within the next two weeks taking care of the On-Screen Keyboard.

In “Subtitles: Increasing Game Accessibility, Comprehension” over at Gamasutra, Gareth Griffiths provides 16 guidelines to help make video game captions usable by everyone from Deaf and hard of hearing gamers to HDTV owners. One of my favorite recommendations is to make the button that controls the subtitles different from the “action” button, so that players who are reading through conversations quickly don’t accidentally start those conversations over or choose a response they don’t mean to.

(Crossposted at GameCritics.com)