Brought to you by asap and The Associated Press, The Slug tastes pop culture for you — just in case it's been poisoned. E-mail us at theslug@ap.org.


Friday, September 28, 2007

It's a DigitalLife Afterall

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(AP Photo/Hillary Rhodes)

Yesterday, we attended the first-day festivities at the DigitalLife technology, gaming and entertainment event here in New York. As far as video games go, there wasn't anything new. "Lord of the Rings Online." "BioShock." "Gears of War." Been there. Played that. (Of course, that didn't stop us from playing them again in this week's installment of "Up Down Left Right.") What was new at DigitalLife was a barrage of robot products. Spy bots. Cleaning bots. There was even a robotic Elvis. No thanks, DigitalLife. Didn't we learn anything from the "Terminator" movies?!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Looking Back at E3

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(AP Photo/Stefano Paltera)

After spending a week in Los Angeles with Becks, Posh and gaming geeks, The Slug is back on the East Coast, baby. This year's E3 Media and Business Summit will probably be remembered for its controversial decision to downsize and focus on compelling new content. Nintendo introduced two innovative controllers. Sony paraded its social networking platform "Home" and continued to tease with "Killzone 2." And Microsoft is putting its money on more family-friendly fare and something called "Halo 3." Find out what The Slug thought about the swag, setup and more as we ask ourselves questions about E3, after the jump.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Building a Virtual World Out of Legos

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The Slug received a startling press release from Denmark today announcing that the Lego brand is being turned into a new massively multiplayer online game titled "Lego Universe." WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD?! Legos are supposed to be a tangible toy used to build castles, cars, pirate ships or other insanely blocky primary colored structures that hurt if you accidentally step on them. Lego-themed video games and online celebrity paper dolls are one thing, but an online world made of digital Legos with mini-fig avatars running around is taking this whole virtual world trend a brick too far.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Our Favoritest Things in 2006

122906clay (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Our long national nightmare is almost over! The year-end lists that plague this time of year will be null and void at the stroke of midnight Sunday. So before we take off for a three-day weekend full of speculating and drinking, here's, um, yet another year-end list! We skipped the crap and just went for our favoritiest pop culture nuggets from 2006. If you disagree or think there was something better, we probably didn't see it — or you're just wrong.

Favoritest Viral Video: Reverend Alecia. She simply spun, spun, spun around on a gold lamé-covered office chair to "give praise to the name of the Lord," but there was something so hilariously beautiful about it. And just when you thought you've had enough, she spins via split-screen.

Favoritest Song: "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. Sure, it's played out now, but we remember when, we remember, we remember at the beginning of the year when the infectious beat and repetitious lyrics shook our tush. While OutKast was busy making a movie, Gnarls Barkley's Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo filled the genre-spanning void with the bestest ditty of 2006.

Favoritest Commercial: Little Richard for Geico. Usually we cringe at celebrities shilling in ads. (Case in point: Alan Thicke offering a "second honeymoon" at the Tahiti Village in Las Vegas. Oh, brother.) But Little Richard steals the show while hawking car insurance with the best description of Thanksgiving dinner ever. Whooo!!!

Favoritest Reality TV Show: "Survivor: Cook Islands." It started with a scandal and could've gone horribly wrong. Instead, viewers of this aging reality show were treated to a season of interesting twists that had nothing to do with that racial divide. By season's end, we were left with a dominating multicultural alliance who concluded the potentially viscous game with more integrity than any previous season.

Favoriest Movie: "Borat" and "The Queen." We know. We know. We're lame for the tie, but we couldn't pick just one. Surprisingly, we sorta loved both for the same reason. These scathing looks at two very different cultures successfully undulated between real and fake, fact and fiction. "Borat" did it for laughs. "The Queen" did it for chills. And we're better for watching both.

Favoritest Roller Coaster: Tatsu. Opened in April, this soaring Japanese-themed coaster, which suspends riders horizontally, whirls 170-feet above Six Flags Magic Mountain's other rides and — gulp! — the ground. When we visited Los Angeles in October, we rode in the front and truly felt like Superman.

Favoritest Game Show: "The Price is Right." You can keep "Deal or No Deal," "1 vs. 100," "Identity" and all those other prime-time game shows. They're boring and, frankly, seem phony. We'll take the crazy everyday men and women who compose "The Price is Right" audience any day of the week. And although Bob Barker announced he's retiring next year, we think he's still got it.

Favoritest Scandal: Clay Aiken's hand. When the "American Idol" runner-up put his hand over Kelly Ripa's mouth on "Live with Regis and Kelly," it ignited a firestorm across daytime television. We're surprised it didn't cause any havoc in Harmony on "Passions."

Favoritest TV Show: "Heroes." While "Lost" was busy dragging out its tiresome mysteries — there, we said it — this superhero drama moved forward with superhuman speed, improving upon a very ehhhh first episode and veering clear of copying "X-Men" by focusing intriguing they-could-be-real characters. We can't wait until 2007 to find out if we're on the list!   

Favoritest Video Game: "Loco Roco." Our favorite game this year wasn't on Wii or PlayStation 3. It was on — gasp! — the PlayStation Portable. With spirited graphics, addictive soundtrack and innovate gameplay, we think this gelatinous puzzle game was more vanguard than anything on those next-generation consoles.

Favoritest Blog: Adrants. We love this marketing and advertising blog for exposing bizarre commercials, flogs and silly P.R. campaigns. In a year when the line between entertainment and advertisement became even thinner, Adrants was there to point its finger and giggle. (And no, we didn't pick Adrants because they linked to our HeadOn post.)

Favoritest asap Story We Did: Waiting for Cats. This past year, we had the opportunity to create stories about amazing people (Mr. T, Bazooka Joe), amazing animals (Lassie, mascots), amazing places (Costa Rica, Flea World) and amazing things ("Second Life," Mardi Gras), but our favoritest was simply tailing a group of talented teenagers who were putting on an amateur production of "Cats."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Slug Gift Guide: Yellow, Yellow, Yellow, Blue, Argh!

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Holy crap. If you're still relying on the Slug Gift Guide for gift giving inspiration, you've got problems. You really should have completed your holiday shopping by now. There are only five days until Christmas and three days of Hanukkah left. Ouch. The Wiis, PS3s and Elmo TMXs are probably all out o' stock at your local Wal-Mart, buddy. You might get lucky and find a Rubik's Cube though. Just get that. Tell whomever you're giving it to that it's retro and therefore it's totally awesome. And that it was in a PS3 commercial. Yeah. That'll do.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Slug Gift Guide: Give the Force

121806saber (AP Photo/HO/Walt Disney World)

Need to get a naughty or nice "Star Wars" fan something for the holidays? Skip the latest latest edition DVD. Give the lil' Jedi in your life (or Sith, but you really shouldn't encourage evil behavior around the holidays) a custom-made lightsaber. For $19.95 at Once Upon a Toy Store at Walt Disney World in Florida, Obi wannabes can customize their blades' color and handle configuration. You can even craft a double-bladed one like Darth Maul! Can't hitch an X-wing to Disney World? This or that will have to do.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Slug Gift Guide: Something Fishy

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Imagine the look of shock and awe on your daddy's face on Christmas morning when he goes into the bathroom to do his first No. 1 of the day and he sees that his standard porcelain throne has been replaced with a Fish n' Flush toilet tank aquarium. Could anything say Happy Holidays more than that? For $299, the Web site says the undersea commode will turn "the bathroom into the center of attention with its unique design of an aquarium that wraps itself around a clear inner tank." Fish not included.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Slug Gift Guide: Masters of the Universe

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Forget granny and junior. For the ultimate geek, we suggest you hunt down an Eternia playset. In the 1980s, this epic "He-Man" battleground was the Barbie Dream House for boys and girls that weren't afraid to punch boys. We had one as as a kid. (Don't get jealous now. The Slug was an only child.) The king of toys featured three towers (Eternia, Castle Grayskull, Snake Mountain) and an interconnected monorail system for your action figures. Dude, they don't make toys like this anymore. Obviously, you can't get this bad boy in stores, but a mint condition Eternia recently sold on eBay for $325. Assembly not included.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Slug Gift Guide: Give 'Em a Hand

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Generate is a great (albeit slightly expensive) design store that sells stuff like bulletproof roses and banana-shaped doorstops. Our current not-must-but-would-really-like-to-have item on their virtual shelf is one of these mountable resin hand hooks designed by Harry Allen. (He created them with his own hands — literally!) They come in the following styles: offer, grab, c'mere, om and bestow (seen above). Imagine giving the weirdest person on your shopping list one to use as a soap dish. Creepy and cool.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Slug Gift Guide: Draw a Blanket

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Tickle me who? Playstation whatever? The gift of 2006 for kids big and/or small just might be the Linus blanket. (It's already sold out at UrbanOutfitters.com, but you might be able to find one in stores.) This satin-trimmed, ultra soft blankie has a portrait patch of the codependent "Peanuts" character on it and comes in a big box that reads: "A Little Security for the Holidays." It's nostalgic. It's cute. It's enough to make even the crabbiest of Lucys say "Awwww." And $5 from every blanket sold — Urban has them for $34 — goes to Project Linus, an organization that supplies handmade blankets to sick kids.