The Weird, Weird Games of Nintendo 64
Back when the Nintendo 64 was still known as the Ultra 64, Super Mario overlord Shigeru Miyamoto told the Japanese press: “We are going to make lots of weird games from now on.” And he wasn’t lying.
Despite a comparative lack of product when compared to its competitors in the fifth-generation console wars, the N64’s seven-year lifespan offered many fascinating anomalies alongside theZeldas, GoldenEye 007 and influx of Mario Party games. And in their own way, each of the following titles were attempts at launching a gaming future that we now accept as the present—even if they were handled clumsily or marred by top-level corporate concern.
As Nintendo inches towards fixing the reputation of the Wii U and forgetting a cataclysmic financial year, we look at a history of mismanaged N64 ambition.
HEY YOU, PIKACHU! (1998)
To this day, Nintendo has a cagey relationship with third-party developers. Its late president, Hiroshi Yamauchi, was notorious for charging outside companies license fees to create no more than five games a year. His business plan was meant to improve Nintendo’s quality of stock and give them the edge over their rivals. During the Sega-era console wars, this strategy allowed Nintendo to keep a stranglehold on third-party developers, but also gave Yamauchi a dictatorial reputation. Speaking to Games Informer earlier this year, the author Blake J. Harris shared what these third-parties recalled: “Nintendo had you by the balls, and they knew it.”
This Guy Is Trying to Collect Every Single Copy of the Movie ‘Speed’ on VHS
Ryan Beitz owns over 500 copies of the movie Speed on VHS. He also owns 26 laser discs of the film, but those aren’t part of the collection. He just holds onto them so he can use them as bargaining chips to get more on VHS. His goal is a simple one: To collect every copy of Speed on VHS ever made. His other goal? To trick out his 15-passenger van to look just like the bus in the movie.
In order to see the World Speed Project in action, I decided to visit him at his current residence in Moscow, Idaho, where he has scattered all his copies of Speed throughout the van in anticipation of my arrival, and lined the ceiling with them. As we talk, he drives me and a handful of his friends out through the woods via a restricted-access sheep farm on his college campus. As he drives, copies of Speed periodically fall from the ceiling onto the floor.
VICE: Are we allowed to be back here?
Ryan Beitz: Yeah, whatever. The signs just say “No Public Access.” We got official business. I don’t have car insurance now, but that’s OK because I only drive the van around for show. We’re going like 35, and I feel like we’re being respectful. We’re not trying to scare the sheep or like, steal them. Although we could put a sheep in here.
Why don’t you tell me what got you started collecting the Speeds?
I lived in Seattle and was super broke, and I had to come up with Christmas presents for my family. Usually I would just, like, dumpster-dive books or something and give them to them, but when I was at the pawn shop they had six copies of Speed, and I thought it would be really funny to get everybody in my family the same gift, even me. I wanted to watch them open them one at a time and go, “Oh, Speed. Don’t we already have this?” Somebody else would go, “Oh, Speed. Really funny, Ryan.” Then by the time you went around, everybody would have gotten the same gift from me. Then I could tell them that I love them all equally, you know? Just some bullshit.
Then when I bought all six it was, like, way too good. I realized it was really fascinating to have that many, like, same copies of a thing. What really cemented it was when I went to another pawn shop, and they had, like, 30 copies. I said, “I’ll take them all.” They sold them to me for 11 cents a copy.
How many copies do you have right now?
I don’t know, like 550 or something. I haven’t counted in a while ‘cause who really cares?
And you’re going to collect them all.
Yeah. People always go, “Dude how many of these things are you going to get?” And I’m like, “All of them, duh.”
Can MDMA Make You Racist?
You don’t have a lot of time for rational thought after dropping a pill. Three Mitsis in and you’re almost entirely preoccupied with finding out what people’s scarves feel like, or trying to focus on literally anything through your rapidly flickering eyes. So you’d have thought that amid all the euphoria and heart palpitations there surely wouldn’t be space to get hung up on the ethnicity of the people around you.
It turns out, however, that the brain’s biochemistry during a blissed-out club night may not be too dissimilar from its status at a KKK rally. This is thanks to a hormone called oxytocin, which has been described by many as "the love hormone" or the "cuddle drug." The hormone has been linked to developing trust between mother and child during breast feeding, and between partners after intercourse. Its release is also triggered by MDMA, and that loved-up feeling you get after swallowing a pill has been attributed to the effects the hormone has on the brain.
However, research by professor Carsten de Dreu at the University of Amsterdam showed in 2011 that oxytocin had a slightly more sinister side. His experiments revealed that what many thought of as the “moral molecule” actually contributed to what scientists euphemistically refer to as “ethnocentrism,” or what the layman would call racism.
Participants in de Dreu’s study were presented with a dilemma in which they had to deny one person access to a lifeboat in order to save five others. In the double-blind experiment, Dutch men were given either oxytocin via a nasal spray or a placebo. The results showed that those taking oxytocin were more likely to spare men with Dutch names while sacrificing those with Muslim- or German-sounding names. For those who were given the placebo, however, the name of the potential victim didn’t matter.
How Friends Created a Generation of Neurotic, Self-Obsessed Idiots
Twenty years ago last month, a new sitcom debuted. Originally titled Insomnia Cafe, it was supposed to catch some of the heat that Seinfeld had generated, some of that post-Woody Allen, New York-y neurotic humor about relationships and everyday life. But the original pitch that was sent to NBC revealed it to be a very different kind of show:
"This show is about six people in their 20s who hang out at this coffee house. An after hours insomnia café. It’s about sex, love, relationship, careers… a time in your life when everything is possible, which is really exciting and really scary. It’s about searching for love and commitment and security… and a fear of love and commitment and security. And it’s about friendship, because when you’re young and single and in the city, your friends are your family."
Unlike Seinfeld and just about every other sitcom before it, with their misfit ensembles of slob dads, nagging moms, drunk priests, stoner sons, and pervert neighbors, Friends was to be the first aspirational sitcom. A comedy where the primary cast were young, good-looking metropolitans without drinking problems or STDs.
Playing on our desires to be just like those kinds of people, it was a resounding success. In the resulting years, Friends became an international phenomenon. The characters’ New York dating language entered the 90s pop-lexicon in a way that Bart Simpson’s “eat my shorts” never could. In fact, could the strange syntax of Chandler’s jokes BE any more subtly woven into the natural speech patterns of almost every Westerner aged 20 to 40? Everyone knew about “the Rachel,” and Matt LeBlanc was in a really great movie about abaseball-playing monkey. It’s ridiculous how much influence this decade-long romantic comedy had.
Epicly Later’d – Geoff Rowley, Part 2
In part two of the Geoff Rowley series, he talks about moving to California with the Flip team, skating with the Tempster, shooting pics with Sturt, and how slamming is almost as good as the make.
Watch the video
Is Pauly Shore Trying to Troll VICE?
A couple of weeks ago, we ran a piece by Jonathan Daniel Brown about the time he interned for Pauly Shore. As you would expect, the article was about how Pauly is a douche and interning for him was miserable.
A couple of days after the post was published, a video called “More Disgruntled Pauly Shore Interns” was uploaded to YouTube.
The video was uploaded with this description: “Thank God finally someone let the cat out of the bag. Pauly Shore is the worst boss and I truly think he’s crazy. I am currently one of Pauly’s interns. After I post this hidden camera video of Pauly (being who he truly is) that another intern and I did I’m sure we will both be let go, which will be a relief. We are sick of his abuse! Thank you so much Jonathan for letting everybody know: Pauly Shore truly is an asshole.”