An Irish YouTube user by the name of Duggy uses the Editor function in Grand Theft Auto V to create his own short video works, or as he puts it, “I attempt to put scenes from my head onto GTA’s world.” His most successful pieces are three shorts, created over the course of the last year, that drop GTA scenes under Carl Sagan’s narration from the original 1980 mini-series Cosmos.
These work surprisingly well, and probably not in the way you might be thinking—rather than relying on a collision of Sagan’s optimistic, wonder-filled exposition against the game’s notorious violence to achieve a cheap, ironic laugh, Duggy plays these straight, and the results are actually quite poignant! So yes, some of their effectiveness derives from a holy-shit-this-is-from-GTA frisson, there’s a bit more more going on than that.
It’s become a ubiquitous cliché following any national tragedy, and wouldn’t we know it in light of the fact that we seem to have a new national tragedy every couple of weeks: some devastating act of human misery is unleashed and the instantaneous response is a collective dash to the Internet to offer “thoughts and prayers.”
Finally, someone has taken that narcissistic, attention-seeking desire to engage a tragedy without actually doing anything of tangible value, and turned it into an action-packed video game.
One of our favorite Tumblr accounts, Christian Nightmares, hipped us to Thoughts and Prayers: The Game, a mindless exercise in which you do your best to offer both “thoughts” and “prayers” in response to an ever-increasing epidemic of mass-shootings.
Gameplay consists of hitting “T” for thoughts or “P” for prayers as a U.S. map lights up with shooting spree after shooting spree. What happens when you hit the “ban assault weapon sales” button? You’ll just have to play to find out. Is there a secret trick to winning the game? You’ll just have to play to find out.
How many thoughts and prayers can you rack up? Play Thought and Prayers: The GameHERE.
In a bit that’s become a modern comedy classic, Anthony Jeselnik breaks down the value of “thoughts and prayers”: “When you offer your ‘thoughts and prayers’ you are doing nothing. You’re doing less than nothing. You’re not giving any of your time, money, or even your compassion. All you are doing… ALL YOU ARE DOING is saying: ‘don’t forget about me today.’”
Despite exaggerations to the contrary, very few video gamesactually portray sexual assault. Sure, there’s a ton of murder, and definitely lots of gendered violence, but games that write in actual sexual violence are quite rare, which is actually sort of surprising when you learn about Custer’s Revenge.
The game, which came in in 1982 for the Atari 2600 and cost a whopping $49.95 (making it the priciest of Atari games then on the market), had a very simple premise: you are a naked, erection-wielding General Custer and you must avoid a volley of arrows in order to to rape a Native American who is—as indicated by the cover art—tied to a pole. Yeah, that’s it.
Custer’s Revenge was an early attempt to create and market “adult” video games, but promotion was difficult, especially since Mystique, the publishers and developers of the game, made it very clear that the game was “NOT FOR SALE TO MINORS.” In order to drum up publicity, Mystique actually showed the game to women’s and Native American groups, who were quick to give them free press with outraged protests. Feminist Andrea Dworkin even argued that Custer’s Revenge “generated many gang rapes of Native American women,” a claim that is difficult to prove, to say the least. Compared to say Pac-Man, the best-selling Atari 2600 game of all time, which sold 7 million, Custer’s Revenge was small potatoes, only selling 80,000 total. Regardless, the backlash most certainly helped move copies that might have otherwise simply collected dust on the shelf.
So how does Custer’s Revenge hold up nowadays? Despite the stomach-turning “plot,” the game actually manages to be so very comically low-rent that it falls very short of anything that is actually visually lurid. I mean you really have to use your imagination to connect those abrupt little pixels to the historic atrocities of the sexual violence and genocide exacted against Native Americans. They just didn’t quite have the technology to really depict any detail at the time, a fact which allowed game designer Joel Miller to maintain plausible deniability, claiming that the woman was a “willing participant” (this despite the game’s title and cover art). Nonetheless, Mystique later released a companion game, General Retreat, featuring the Native American woman attempting to rape Custer under cannonball fire, which, I guess, was an attempt at equality?
Ah, such innocent times! When the libidinal horrors of entertainment were technologically limited to blocky little boners and booties!
It’s possible that protests eventually staved off sales of the game, but what’s more likely is that no one really wanted to play it. PC World magazine named it the third worst game of all time, adding to the obvious objections that it was extremely difficult to play and it just looked terrible. The underground infamy of of Custer’s Revenge outlasted the game itself, inspiring a much more graphic remake in 2008, which was notably protested by a indigenous activists, including a female game designer and a video game journalist. Eventually pressure from activists got the game removed from the internet in 2014 (though I doubt too many people felt its loss).
I love everything about this great deck of incredible playing cards that I found at Flickr, they were put up by a user named taffeta whose real name is apparently Patricia M.
They were made by a company called Stemm in France, or maybe S.L.C. Atlanta was the company and Stemm was the product line? I don’t know. The deck seems heavily influenced by Peter Max and the geniuses responsible for the movie Yellow Submarine but it’s impossible to know.
In France the terms club, heart, spade, and diamond translate to trèfle, coeur, pique, and carreau. Meanwhile King, Queen, and Jack are represented as Roi, Dame, et Valet.
The faces are on the cards are French pop stars including Françoise Hardy, France Gall, Johnny Hallyday, Eddy Mitchell, Sylvie Vartan, Sheila, and so on. I’m pretty hopeless at matching the Google pics of those folks with these pics, so I’ll take their word for it. (Feel free to solve the puzzle in comments.)
In my opinion it’s more fun not knowing who the people are—it turns the deck into a gallery of random 60s swingers…...
If you’re as much of a pinball nut as I am, you’ll flip over these fantasy back glass illustrations by Charlie Fogel.
Illustrator/cartoonist, Fogel has loads of amazing work on his Plop Culture Prints Facebook page, but these imaginary pinball games are something special. I’ve been hooked since seeing the first one in his series, Jonestown, featuring a grinning Jim Jones holding a silver ball and dishing out Flavor Aid to busty beauties.
Since that first piece, Fogel has created five more fantasy machines depicting, in order of their release, the band Hawkwind, Jodorowsky’s arthouse classic Holy Mountain, notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar, the nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll, and a Stooges Funhouse piece.
Fogel told Dangerous Minds a bit about the pinball series:
I was lucky enough to grow up with a pinball machine in my house that my dad inherited from the firehouse where he tended bar—I’m just now realizing how the countless hours of staring at it informed the way I draw. I got the idea for these at the Pinball Museum here in Asbury Park, looking at how random and awkward a lot of the subject matter of the old machines are. They’re the basest of advertising art, using totally overt sex, violence, bright lights and loud noises to stand out in a crowded bar or arcade. It’s a perfect vehicle to keep addressing the stuff I’m obsessed with (Jim Jones, for instance) without repeating myself or others work on the subject. It’s also cool because all the machines of that era, from the design down to the electronics, are totally analog—but still manage to overpower your senses without any slick computerized fluff. That really appeals to me as someone who works almost completely in analog methods and materials.
All of these illustrations are 12 inches square, mixed media on Bristol board. Fogel is planning to create six to ten more similar pieces to present in a gallery setting. Until then, you can view his work on his Facebook page or his website plopcultureprints.com.
Very much like “Monopoly,” the enduringly popular board game “Clue” (known as “Cluedo” in the civilized world) has goosed its sales by offering niche-y special editions, mostly for franchises with heavy geek appeal—Firefly, Harry Potter, D&D, Game of Thrones, even that god damn Big Bang Theory crap. But somehow the gaming world has been mighty lean on Twin Peaks tie-ins. I searched in vain for board games, card games, video games, anything. I find this baffling—a murder mystery with a massive ensemble of odd characters would seem a natural for a board game, but evidently the only one that ever existed was regarded very poorly and is now a bit difficult to come by, even in internetland.
So I would Kickstart the absolute living hell out of this: way back in 2007, a Craftster forum user by the handle of “riverwatson” posted a detourned Twin Peaks version of “Clue,” renaming the conservatory, kitchen, study et al things like “The Red Room,” “One Eyed Jack’s,” “The Palmer Residence,” and subbing the show’s characters in for Professor Plum, Miss Scarlet and Colonel Mustard. (I hope it goes without saying that Laura Palmer is Mr. Boddy?)
What’s more fun than humiliating yourself in front of friends and family with a self-inflicted pie in your face?
“Pie Face,” made by Hassenfeld Bros (now Hasbro) in 1968, was a cream pie game version of Russian roulette.
...you placed a whipped cream “pie” on the launcher, then took turns spinning to find out how many times to crank the launcher’s handles. It was randomly set to let the pie fly into the player’s face, positioned within the target.
According to the box “Pie Face” is “The most fun-filled action GAME you’ve ever played!”
The “loser” of this variation on the Russian roulette theme is kind of the winner, though, ‘cause at least they get to eat some pie and not die.
The whole “goo in the face” aspect of the song lyrics in the “Pie Face” commercial jingle would probably have to be revisited if they ever revive this game… And what’s a “mystery handle” aside from a great name for a punk band?
Opposuits, the company that brought you the “Cannaboss” pot-leaf suit, is back at it again with the ultimate in retro tacky-chic.
For the stylish young man stricken with Pac-Man Fever, Opposuits offers this sharp-cut jacket with matching pants and tie covered in Pac-Man graphics. The iconic maze, dots, power-pellets, Inky, Pinky, Blinky, Clyde, and Pakku-Man himself are all represented. The full suit runs $109.99. That seems rather inexpensive to me, but then again I’m not so sure how much use one would get out of a full Pac-Man suit… But maybe you’re that guy who likes to look GQ at the arcade on weekends—you just know that when the gamer-babes see you in this, you’re guaranteed to get SO LAID.
May we recommend that the gentleman set it off with a pair of custom high-top Pac-Man sneakers?
Phineas, Fat Freddy and Freewheelin’ Franklin unwind with a game of Feds ‘n’ Heads
Feds ‘n’ Heads, the pot-dealing board game invented by Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers creator Gilbert Shelton, was released as a special insert in the September 1971 issue of Playboy. (It’s rumored that a boxed version of the game was also manufactured, but if so, copies appear to be quite scarce.) High rollers, so to speak, can procure that issue of Playboy for a few bucks online, while dirtbags like me can print out the board, cards and tokens for free through the good offices of Freaknet.
Even if Feds ‘n’ Heads did not bear a striking resemblance to Monopoly—in place of the Chance and Community Chest cards, for example, there are “Weird Trips” and “Burns, Busts, Bummers & Ripoffs” piles—the game would still be inviting to the resin-smudged and short-term memory impaired, not to mention the resin-smudged. Its rules are simple and few. Note that you are not discouraged from “liberating” the necessary materials from your parents’ Monopoly set, or, for that matter, playing for real money and cannabis:
1. Before starting, you will need a pair of DICE, a TOKEN for each player (any number can play) and $100 per player, plus several hundred dollars for the bank, in fake or real MONEY—in denominations of ones, fives, tens and twenties. You can make your own money out of pieces of paper or you can get everything you need by ripping off a Monopoly set.
2. The WINNER is the player who, moving his token the number shown on the dice in any direction (except on one-way streets), manages to SCORE (collect) a KEY (one kilogram—35 ounces or “lids”) of GRASS and get back HOME with it. (With four players, this usually takes a couple of hours; for a shorter version, you can lower the required number of lids to 25 or 30.) Keep track of your scores with paper clips, matches or, if you’re into it, real lids.
3. Grass (weed, hemp, marijuana, etc.) is acquired by landing directly on a numbered space. You may BUY up to as many ounces as indicated by the number. To find how much you will PAY per ounce, roll the dice again, and pay that amount in dollars.
4. One player has to adopt the role of FAT BANKER. He holds all the money not in play. Players start out at home with $100. Whenever you land on or pass through home thereafter, you may collect $50 from the Fat Banker. At this time you may also STASH whatever grass you have, which then may no longer be taken from you by any means.
5. If you land on the same space as another player, he has to give you one of his ounces.
6. If you land in JAIL, you can get out free on your next turn if you roll a double. Otherwise, it will cost you $50 or five lids.
Mecca Answer Board, Lee Industries, Chicago, c. 1940
There are two facts that a visit to the incredibly terrific Museum of Talking Boards website will cement in any viewer—the high point for ouija consumption was the 1940s and Chicago was the place where most ouija boards were manufactured.
The Museum of Talking Boards has done an excellent job wrangling what must be a chaotic field with a lot of damaged or substandard exemplars. Every board is lovingly photographed, and informational details about the time and place each board was created are always easy to find. Truly, a tremendous job.
These images are enough to drive me to eBay, where you can get many of these design marvels for prices ranging between $20 and $500.
ADIOS, FAREWELL, AU REVOIR, LATER DUDE, RECEPTION BAD, uhhhh, STATIC?
Black Magic Talking board, Gift Craft, Chicago, c. 1944
Crystal Gazer, A Barrel of Fun, c. 1940
Father Time Mystery Talking Board, T. Eaton Company, Toronto, 1945
Guiding Star Board, Palmer and Associates, Chicago