Insert Disk 7: TXDOT implodes bridge over Lake Marble Falls


Video Page

In which the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) demolishes (in part at least) a 1930s-era bridge to make way for a new one. Kinda counter to all those movies where chained explosions, even ones specifically set up by the bad guys, are slow enough to allow the protagonists to escape in the nick of time. There’s probably a perfectly reasonable explanation for that, like the big bad’s ego or something.

Still, for those penning a work of fiction with a huge thing that needs to explode quickly but dramatically, this might be worth watching for a little inspiration. Outside of a mecha anime, anyway.

If it needs to be one epic all-destroying boom, though, try The Good, The Bad and the Ugly‘s bridge scene.

Video by LCRAvideo
Found via Boing Boing

Insert Disk 7: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games – Damsel in Distress Part 1

Video Page

Last year, Anita Sarkeesian announced this project on Kickstarter, a website for this newfangled crowdfunding that’s the in thing at the moment. Sadly, she got a lot of needless shit for it. In fact, she got worse than that, as the most vile abominations ever to inhabit the web crawled out of their internet-holes to voice their somewhat incendiary disapproval (understatement), one arsehole even going as far as making a Flash game asking players to punch Sarkeesian in the face.

Dicks.

Despite this, the project got funded more than 26-fold. She only asked for $6,000 and found herself with a whopping $158,922 to work with. You can’t hear me giving that arcing whistle that denotes how awesome I find that, but I am doing exactly that.

Fast forward to this week, and the first episode has seen the light of day, covering perhaps one of the oldest tropes ever (in terms of both age and “my gods, not this same-old again”), the Damsel in Distress. Watching this video is a complete mind blower, especially the ball game analogy. ESPECIALLY THE BALL GAME ANALOGY.

Depressingly the arseholes of the Internet came out to play once again. Comments have been disabled for the vid, but that hasn’t stopped them. I don’t recommend seeking them out if you value your sanity, your computer and your nearest window.

So, why the hell is this in an Insert Disk 7 post? Well, a lot of the crap detailed in this vid isn’t exclusive to video games. And there’s no denying that this and future videos will detail many of the traps writers have or are likely to have fallen into, whether it’s in games, books, film or any other form of media.

I’m pretty sure I’ve fallen into many myself over the course of the past four NaNos, and I’m far from proud of that.

Also, I’m appalled that I hadn’t fully realised what a steaming turd Nintendo truly made of Dinosaur Planet. I’ve considered it a stain on the StarFox franchise for some time now, but now… ugh.

Insert Disk 7: Apocalypse Miau by SlurpTV

Apocalypse miau from slurpTV on Vimeo.

This has to be the trippiest vid I’ve seen in a while. From the looks of it, it’s promoting a nightclub, but I can’t say for sure.

What I do know is, I can’t get e-frickin’-nough of it. It’s hypnotic as hell. A hell full of kittens that want to stare into your soul.

Insert Disk 7: Return To Labyrinth-Movie Poster by VladislavPANtic

Labyrinth, the story of a teenager’s quest to save her baby brother from Jareth the Goblin King with the help of a gang of nightmare-fuel Muppets, is an awesome movie. Don’t deny it. Sadly, the closest thing it got to a sequel was the four-volume original English-language manga Return to Labyrinth. Authorised, but whether it’s considered canon, I know not and I care not. I honestly give zero damns about it. Aside from… seriously, what the crap, TokyoPop?

I’m not even sure that it needed a sequel to be honest, anyway.

That said, if – in some ideal alternate universe – Return was a true live-action sequel, this masterpiece by DeviantArtist Vladislav Pantic would totally be its official poster He has a couple of other Labyrinth posters too, one of which became a Daily Deviation. I much prefer this one, though.

Image © Vladislav Pantic

Insert Disk 7: Summer of 84 by KAPPAKAVI

Pink Ferrari? YES Please.

I’ve said before that DeviantArt is a pain to trawl, but somehow, among all the brony porn, Justice League fancasting, and terrible attempts at manga, I stumbled across this gem inspired by Golgo 13.

I think I need to be watching that movie sometime soon.

Comment and critique on this artwork here.

Image © KAPPAKAVI

Insert Disk 7: Binary Flow by Conspiracy

Before I continue, here’s a brief explanation of what the demoscene is. It’s from Wikipedia, but warnings to take it with a pinch of salt aside, it still probably does a better job of explaining it than I can.

The demoscene is a computer artsubculture that specializes in producing demos, which are audio-visual presentations that run in real-time on a computer. The main goal of a demo is to show off programming, artistic, and musical skills.

The demoscene first appeared during the 8-bit era on computers such as the Commodore 64ZX Spectrum,Atari 800 and Amstrad CPC, and came to prominence during the rise of the 16/32-bithome computers(Mainly the Amiga or Atari ST). In the early years, demos had a strong connection with software cracking.[citation needed] When a cracked program was started, the cracker or his team would take credit with a graphical introduction called a “crack intro” (shortened cracktro). Within a year or two,[1] the making of intros and standalone demos evolved into a new subculture independent of the software (piracy) scene.[2]

Now, onto the main event. This has caught my attention of late:

Binary Flow is a demo released in 2005 by Hungarian demoscene group Conspiracy. As well as being an award-winning, first-placing demo, it doubled as an invitation to a “demoparty” in Helsinki, Finland. And it’s all crammed into 64KB (Well, 57KB according to Windows).  Out of many of the demos I’ve seen so far in my life, this one definitely strikes me as the most impressive. Everything from the music to looks to direction is just spot on.

You can download the demo itself from Conspiracy’s website. The ZIP file comes with two versions of the demo, one for ATi graphics cards and one for Nvidias, so try and remember which brand of GPU you have in your system. For the record, I’ve had no difficulty running it in Windows 8.

Insert Disk 7: Shatter – Official Videogame Soundtrack by Module

When most people think of good music, videogames aren’t usually the first thing to come to mind. Then again, neither are movies unless a major label pushes out an OST with OMG-THE-BEST-BAND-EVER on the tracklist. An appalling reality, actually, considering these days a specifically-written score can outdo Michael Bay’s playlist of the year by a mile. Yes, I am glaring with contempt at the emo-plagued OSTs that back up the live action Transformers movies while at the same time regarding Steve Jablonsky’s scores as beautiful audio porn.

Game scores tend to be a different beast to those of movies, due to their nature requiring them to loop for as long as they’re needed. More often than not, this leads to music not entirely suited for releasing as an album (not that it’s stopped anyone trying to listen to it outside of the game anyway), mostly because it’s the same bit that loops after only a minute and gets pretty old after about three. Some artists, though, like Module with this soundtrack, manage to create some of the best 5-minute-plus tunes in an OST perfectly capable of serving as a standalone album in its own right. And he pulls it off like a godly boss to boot.

I’m going to assume most of you won’t know what Shatter is. In the worst possible layman’s terms it’s a stained glass take on Arkanoid that pours napalm over its rulebook and proceeds to rewrite it from scratch by etching it onto pretty windows. Brilliant game. Get it from Steam or PlayStation Store. The soundtrack, meanwhile, is beautifully fitting, mixing 16-bit with stadium space rock like it was it was going out of fashion. If it was even in fashion to begin with. Frankly, if it wasn’t in fashion, it should have been, dammit!

Highlights include:

Amethyst Caverns: My favourite track on the album. Absolutely haunting to listen to and, putting aside its namesake stage in the game or even the masterpiece of an official music video that saw tiny toy robots seeking out an energy source (in the form of the song itself) in the hopes of escaping Earth, it’s a track well suited to creeping through crystalline caverns (okay, that was actually kind of the whole deal with that level aesthetically), the Fortress of Solitude or perhaps the lair of a cybernetic siren or banshee.

Granaular Extractor: You’re storming a villain’s factory and all the apparatus is moving to the beat of this song.

Argon Refinery: An espionage theme if there ever was one, with the guitar solo near the end possibly backing a moment of pressure. Like “OH SHIT THERE’S A BOMB!” or someone trying to break into a computer system on a limited timer. Similarly, Xenon Home World works as well, but may be better suited to less time-sensitive scenes or chapters.

Boss Music (all sections): This is going to sound a bit “DUH!” but this is the kind of music I want to be hearing when facing a big bad. There needs to me more music like this, in games and in cinema. Seriously.

Aurora: For when you need your resident good guy genius character to get their ponder on, I think, or if your take on cyberspace is, like the flawed take on Norse mythology that was Too Human, a fae-filled forest. With glitter, perhaps. Wait, why do you have that pitchfork?

The digital album’s available for $2.99 here. Alternatively, if you’re as much of a vinyl whore as I am (don’t you even DARE misread that!) or are just feeling generous, you might still be able to get the lovingly-crafted translucent blue 12″, with throws in a Steam key for the PC version and the digital album too. I’d say it’s worth it, speaking as the guy with number 006.

Insert Disk 7: The UNO III Streetbike

UNO III

Image from Firebox.com

The UNO III is an awesomely strange beast. It’s an electric bike that automatically contracts itself at low speeds, leaving it rolling entirely on its two back wheels until it picks up the pace again.

It’s not a speedy vehicle, offering only 30MPH tops – half that in its two-wheeled “UNO” mode – and offers only an hour’s travel at that top speed on a full charge but from a fictional standpoint, if it were on par with a petrol-powered streetbike, you’d have a crime fightin’ machine on your hands, even more so with some gadgets and weaponry fitted to it (Micro Missiles Make Motorcycles Magnificent!) and perhaps the option to override the automation of UNO mode.

Any street-level crimefighter, though, may want to give it a more intimidating lick of paint. Orangey red just doesn’t scream “pee yourselves in the face of street justice, evildoers”, does it? Throw in an 80s synth theme to go with it, too. Worked for Street Hawk, right?

The totally non-fictional non-crimefighting UNO III is available at Firebox if you happen to have £8,500 and/or a reckless disregard for money. Seriously, do not use this to pancake the chavs selling illegal ciggies around the corner. You probably won’t live long enough to regret the stupidity of it. That should be a sufficient enough disclaimer.

Insert Disk 7: Right Back to You by Electric Youth

I’ve already tweeted this beauty as Battle Music, but I feel it’s worth making it a Disk 7 too. It’s ’80s car chase music for the 2010s, though my opinion may be a little skewed by the way I discovered this song (an unofficial music video on YouTube put this to footage from the movie Black Moon Rising). Busy motorway, middle of the night and white hot pursuit that leads to an unexpected diversion into a nearby town or city where the real chaos begins. Perfect soundtrack.

SoundCloud user SKELETON HANDS, for example, also reckons:

this is so 80s film montage music. any filmmakers out there? if there’s a montage in your film about building something as a team, or training for a fight or competition of some kind, this song needs to be in the film. it’s perfect!

That I’m not so sure about, but I think I see where he or she is getting at.