GamesRead : Hasbro sued for illegally using a font in My Little Pony marketing

The hard work that goes into designing a font is not apparent to those of us who use them, and this occasionally makes people scoff at the idea of paying a boatload of money to license a particular font. For instance, someone at Hasbro thought they’d surreptitiously use a font from Minneapolis-based FontBros to promote My Little Pony, and now they’re getting sued over it. Piracy is not magical.

The font in question is called Generation B, and it’s described by FontBros as a “playful and offbeat” font inspired by the opening title of The Parent Trap (1961). It’s an all-caps serif font with large and small versions of each glyph. If you personally wanted to use Generation B in a non-public capacity, a license would cost you $20. The cost goes up based on how many people are likely to see it. For example, an ebook license costs $50 and a mobile app is $200. For large-scale use, customers have to contact FontBros to work out a deal, but Hasbro didn’t do that.

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Does this count as infringement?

There is no doubt that Hasbro is using Generation B in its My Little Ponies website and marketing materials. Not only does it look like Generation B, Hasbro’s website tattled on it. Hasbro pulled the font down, but the Internet Archive still has a copy of the old CSS style sheet listing the webpage’s font as Generation B.

FontBros contacted Hasbro about the alleged (but very obvious) piracy, but the company refused to license the font. So, now there’s a lawsuit. FontBros is asking for $150,000 per infringement, which would run into the millions if it wins the case. These suits rarely make it all the way to trial, especially when it’s so clear that someone screwed up. Hasbro will probably pay up to make this go away.

GamesRead : Watch The Chickening, an indescribable short comedy remix of The Shining

Here’s a problem this post is going to give you: how does one accurately describe the short film The Chickening to someone who hasn’t seen The Chickening and probably is not prepared for what The Chickening has to offer?

Here’s the basics: The Chickening is a five-minute long short film in the style of a spoof movie trailer that has been making the film festival rounds, including the Sundance Film Festival. The short was made by visual effects artists Nick DenBoer and Davy Force and started off as a pilot for a TV show where the pair would “remix” classic movies into new and humorous plots. The first idea they had was to use Stanley Kubrick’s loose adaptation of the Stephen King horror novel The Shining but change the hotel into a fast food chicken restaurant.

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According to an interview with Nick DenBoer on Birth Movies Death, the two guys originally planned to expand this project to a full 22-minutes, but ultimately hit up against the realities of working as a duo on this type of project: “Davy flew up to my studio in Toronto and we shot the shit for about a week, writing and rough editing to force our new narrative on the original film. We then parted ways and cranked on it for about two and a half months, Davy from his studio in LA and me in Toronto,” says DenBoer. “We collaborated remotely and I assembled it as it came together. This was intended to be a 22-minute piece, but we did this for zero budget in our spare time, so we did as much as we could until it worked as a balls-out trailer.”

The remnants of the full piece live on in the plot description for the short, which details a reasonably coherent plot about an evil corporation developing a secret barbecue sauce that turns whoever eats it into a chicken. But don’t let the fun fact that there is an underlying plot lull you into a false sense of security. The Chickening is still a crazy audio visual assault the first time through it.

Let’s attempt that first viewing now!

Damn!

Using elements shot against a green screen, DenBoer and Force carefully composed every shot in that trailer to alter the Overlook hotel of the movie into…that.

It sounds like a lot of work, but also, according to DenBoer’s interview, was a lot of fun.

Describing what happens in The Chickening is hard, it’s best just to watch The Chickening. After you do, though, this overly detailed plot description that comes with the press materials for the film might add some clarity for later viewings.

Jack Torrance takes a new job as senior chief night manager for “Charbay’s Chicken World” —a state­-of­-the-­art, volcano­-fried, fast-food poultry production facility and resort strategically built on an active volcano. Jack travels to the remote facility with his wife, Wendy, and 42­-year-­old man­-child son, Danny.

During orientation, Mansturd Nurlman (regional manager of Charbay’s) mentions a new experimental product that is currently under development: “The Shiny” — a brand new BBQ sauce created in the research laboratory deep within the radioactive volcano. Strange things start happening to Jack after he tries the sauce, and he slowly begins morphing into a chicken creature and becomes unstable and aggressive.

Scatmok (a hyper­dimensional alien) conspires with Danny and his little friend Tony (a snarky Italian man who happens to be Danny’s index finger) to steal the recipe for “The Shiny” but their plan is compromised when they realize the horrific side effects of the experimental BBQ sauce. Danny and Scatmok decide they must destroy the BBQ sauce pipeline in order to stop the spread of this condition that has mutated Danny’s father.

Meanwhile, Jack has learned some of the restaurant’s darkest secrets from some of the other employees, including a potential cure for his condition. In the end, the restaurant is destroyed in a spectacular exploding BBQ sauce conflagration, with Wendy, Danny, Tony, Scatmok and a now­-cured but frozen­-solid Jack, who grumpily curses his former employers as they drive off in the Beak-Machine into the sunset.

GamesRead : Unaired Game of Thrones pilot showed Jon Arryn’s death

You wouldn’t know it with how successful Game of Thrones is on HBO, but the original version of the show’s pilot was apparently an absolute mess. Producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss didn’t have a lot of experience in plotting television and sat a bunch of their friends around to get their notes on the first episode.

The lore is that it was so muddled of an installment that most of the producers friends didn’t catch that Jamie and Cersei Lannister were brother and sister. There were different actresses playing Catelyn Stark and Daenerys Targaryen, and according to the actor who ended up appearing just as John Arryn’s corpse: a whole opening scene that would have revealed Cersei to be a more active villainess.

Actor John Standing played the former Hand of the King Jon Arryn in the Game of Thrones Pilot, and by the time the episode made it to air, all we saw of Jon Arryn was this:

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To refresh your memory (it aired in April 2011), Jon Arryn was the Hand of the King for Robert Baratheon immediately preceding the events in the series. He dies in the first episode and Robert and the Lannisters ride North to Winterfell to appoint Ned Stark the new Hand of the King. Ned doesn’t want to go, but his wife Catelyn gets a letter from her sister Lysa, who was Jon Aryn’s wife. Lysa told Catelyn that she thinks the Lannisters poisoned her husband and Ned decides to go to King’s Landing both as the Hand and to investigate Jon Arryn’s murder.

Through the course of the first season, things don’t go well for Ned in King’s Landing. He discovers that Arryn was visiting the bastard children of King Robert and looking into the lineages of the major houses in Westeros. In the books, Jon Aryn dies muttering to tell Robert that “the seed is strong,” but on the show Ned Stark comes across the revelation after the audience has a pretty good idea: Cersei’s children aren’t Robert’s but Jaime’s.

John Standing has given a new interview where he reveals that they originally shot Jon Aryn’s death as what could only have been an alternate opening scene for the series. Instead of Aryn dying where he could get the world out to a living soul that the seed was strong, it sounds like his poison worked slowly as he attempted to write a note, perhaps to send a raven. But Cersei, it seems, was there to stop him and…stomp on his hands?

Now, Standing’s story isn’t one-hundred percent easy to understand. Him citing an American director doesn’t clarify if it was Thomas McCarthy, who directed the original pilot, or Timothy Van Patten who directed the one that aired. Also, Jon Arryn was not Sean Bean’s (Ned Stark’s) father, he was a father figure.

As to what Aryn could have been writing, it seems obvious it was “the seed is strong.” Then again, maybe the scene was cut for entirely different reasons. Namely, we didn’t get to find out who really killed Jon Aryn on the show until the fourth season, and it’s not Cersei, so that could have been confusing. Not that we could have understood the solution or motives in the first season, but it turns our that Petyr Baelish (Littlefinger) was having an affair with Lysa Arryn and convinced the wife to poison the husband to sow discord between the Starks and the Lannisters. The show saved that little revelation until well after most of the Starks and Joffery were already dead.

The unaired pilot for Game of Thrones has never seen the light of day and as of right now, HBO hasn’t expressed any plans to release it. Not that it’s interesting beyond these few foibles, there is a whole book and a successfully aired Pilot that cover the same material pretty admirably.

GamesRead : TappLock is the “smart” padlock you unlock with your fingerprint

Keys? Combinations? There’s got to be a better way to open a padlock, right? The creators of TappLock think so, and they’re pitching biometrics as the solution.

TappLock is roughly the same size as an ordinary combination lock, but instead of a dial full of numbers its face has only a small, black square in the center. It’s a fingerprint scanner, and a quick tap on it is all it takes to unlock.

Enrollment  is done via a mobile app, and you can add fingerprints for yourself and up to 99 of your closest friends. You can even program an access schedule into a TappLock, and you can manage multiple locks from a single dashboard login. If someone tries to gain unauthorized access — or cuts the lock — a built-in alarm will sound off

Some biometric locks we’ve seen before offer you a second way to unlock in the event that the power runs out. TAPP’s only option other than your fingerprint is Bluetooth, so pay attention to those low power alerts it sends to your smartphone. Carrying a USB battery pack around when it’s in the red zone might not be a bad idea, either, since recharging is the only way to get it open.

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That’s not a problem you should run into often, however. TAPP claims the integrated 1200mAh lithium battery in TappLock will handle about 3 years of normal use. The smaller TappLite lock uses CR2032 cells and they’re good for about six months.

TappLock will retail for around $60, and TappLite around $40. You can secure one now at a decent discount ($13 off TappLock and $10 off TappLite) if you head over to TAPP’s IndieGoGo project page and offer up a pledge.

GamesRead : Even if you don’t like wrestling: watch Lucha Underground

Today, January 27, 2016 sees the season two premiere of Lucha Underground at 8pm ET on El Rey, the network owned by director Robert Rodriguez and Spanish language television juggernaut, Univision. Even if you haven’t watched wrestling in years, even if you’ve never watched professional wrestling, even if you’ve watched wrestling recently and hated it, you absolutely need to give Lucha Underground a shot.

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Only one hour

One of the toughest things about keeping up with WWE, the world’s largest and most popular wrestling promotion, is that the promotion’s flagship show, Raw, requires a 3 hour, weekly commitment. Once you take into account secondary shows like SmackDown and NXT, monthly pay-per-views and loads of other content online and on the WWE Network…being a WWE fan can start to feel like a full-time job. Fortunately, Lucha Underground is one hour, once a week, that’s it. Not only is it much easier to keep up with, but there’s also less recap and a higher concentration of big matches that actually matter.

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Actual seasons

The other major difference between Lucha Underground and the vast majority of other wrestling promotions is that it operates based on seasons – just like most other fictional television shows. This is great because, once again, watching Lucha Underground is a finite time commitment. But, perhaps more importantly, using a season-based format means that the Lucha Underground writers, producers and creative team can approach their art much like the creators of your favorite serial drama do theirs. And that means they get to demonstrate…

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Foresight

It’s not a knock on other wrestling promotions to say that they don’t often have the benefit of perfect foresight. A promotion like, WWE, ROH, TNA, NJPW or countless others has to concentrate on making sure that they can keep running shows most every night for the rest of eternity, forever and ever, amen. That, combined with the unpredictability of signings, injuries and even fan response, means that even if those companies planned ahead extensively, they’d likely end up changing things around eventually anyway. Lucha Underground, however, is able to plan their entire season as a single, ongoing, interlocking storyline, and it definitely comes through in the final product.

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Production values

Most wrestling promotions produce their product – at least the backstage and interview portions – with a look that goes back and forth between “gritty” and “found footage movie.” Most of the time, this is done to great success, as it helps put forth the idea that what we’re watching is an actual sport-based promotion. Lucha Underground goes another direction, however, producing its intense, fascinating backstage segments in the same way you would expect from a well-done cable drama. If you’ve ever been put off by the overall “feel” of wrestling, Lucha Underground aims to change that with their approach.

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Aesthetic

Closely related to Lucha Underground’s production values is the show’s overall aesthetic, which is not only the best in wrestling, but arguably the best in all of television. From the marketing materials and logos, to the wrestler’s costumes and their ornate masks to the very building that the show takes place in, Lucha Underground is clearly the result of people who knew exactly what look they wanted the program to have, and went after it with wild, almost reckless abandon. It’s absolutely stunning how they were able to create an aesthetic that is at once so pleasing to the eye, while also paying homage to Mexican Lucha Libre culture, but never in a patronizing or colonialist fashion.

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Intergender matches

Intergender matches aren’t for everyone. In fact, they can be extremely polarizing for a bunch of reasons that have been well, well, far-too-extensively covered elsewhere. But, if intergender matches do happen to be your particular cup of tea, if you like seeing women go head-to-head with men inside the squared circle, not as an oddity or curiosity, but as actual, serious competitors…Lucha Underground might very well be the only place stateside that you can see it happen weekly on your television.

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The crowd

No matter what wrestling promotion you’re talking about, the crowd is a massive part of how absolutely everything is received. A hot crowd can make a good match great and they can make a solid contest fizzle – they, as an active participant in the drama, are a crucial component of the art of professional wrestling. Fortunately, the Lucha Underground crowd – which is largely comprised of East Los Angeles locals – is absolutely riotous, and makes every match feel more important with their boundless energy. It’s the perfect blend of a phenomenal aesthetic, great wrestling and fun environment, including Spanish language bands that play live in between filming, and it all serves to whip the crowd into a frenzy.

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The talent

We’ve talked around it enough, it’s time to discuss the real main course of any wrestling promotion: The actual in-ring talent. And Lucha Underground has in-ring talent by the boatload. From Mexican wrestlers who you might not get to see otherwise, like Pentagon Jr, Fenix, and Drago, to American independent stars like Joey Ryan, Brian Cage, and Son of Havoc, aka M-Dogg Matt Cross, Lucha Underground has a roster that’s not only amazing, but chockablock with brand-new names to fall in love with. Plus, on top of all of that, the second season of the show features the debut of one of the greatest, most influential, innovative and transformative professional wrestlers of the last 20 years: Rey Mysterio.

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It’s an alternative

For years, to most people, wrestling in America – and much of the world, actually – has meant one promotion: WWE. As a result, diehards and nonfans alike have come to associate the specific WWE approach to wrestling as being the only real option. I don’t think that Lucha Underground will be challenging WWE for professional wrestling supremacy any time soon, but it’s always good to have competition, especially something as different as Lucha Underground is from the standard American wrestling baseline. By watching Lucha Underground, you’re helping to diversify the medium of professional wrestling in terms of talent, approach, and style.

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Free videos on YouTube

El Rey is becoming available on more and more cable packages, but at the same time, a lot of people are cutting the cord and getting rid of cable altogether. While Lucha Underground isn’t available on any streaming services – their own or aggregating services like Netflix and Hulu – the show’s producers are smart enough to realize that they need to give the growing number of people without cable a way to enjoy the show. They aren’t full episodes, but the El Rey YouTube channel regularly uploads not only highlights and recaps, but entire matches from the weekly shows, meaning that you can keep up with things without becoming a dirty, immoral, pirating, torrent-watching thief.

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Gateway drug

But the best part about Lucha Underground? It’s a gateway drug. Sure, I bet some people who stumble across the show might leave their wrestling fandom at an hour a week during Lucha Underground seasons. But I think the larger percentage will start to branch out, whether by checking out the LU-affiliated AAA wrestling, the WWE work of Lucha Underground stars like Mysterio and Johnny Mundo nee Morrison or even a local wrestling promotion that might have booked Cage, Ryan, or Ricochet (aka Prince Puma). Whatever you choose, Lucha Underground is a great way to ease yourself into the crazy, awesome, crazy-awesome world of wrestling fandom.

Lucha Underground season two premieres on Wednesday, January 27 at 8pmET on El Rey Network. Do you plan on checking it out?

Aubrey Sitterson is the host of The World’s Smartest Rasslin Talk Show, STRAIGHT SHOOT, available on YouTube, iTunes, Stitcher & Podomatic. Follow him on Twitter or check out his website for more information.

GamesRead : Playing The Witness is making some people sick

Games that use the first person perspective have always made a certain segment of the population physically ill. The latest game that’s making people sick is The Witness. Over on places including Reddit, NeoGAF, and the game’s Steam forum, users who have purchased the game are complaining about how they can’t play it for very long before becoming sick.

The most common symptoms reported are nausea and dizziness. Some speculate that it’s the games field of view (FOV) or the game’s color palette that’s causing this reaction. Many who have experienced these symptoms claim that becoming sick from a game rarely or never happens to them.

Johnathan Blow, the game’s creator, has heard these complaints and is working on a way to fix this.

Though this sort of stuff is rare, it might be something we hear more about in the future thanks to VR. I’ve been to several events where we got to play games on the Oculus Rift and at least half the people who put on the headset experienced vertigo. Some developers I’ve spoken to have told me that preventing this from happening is actually somewhat of a priority for them since they obviously don’t want people getting sick from playing their games.

It will be interesting to see what solution Blow and company have for this. While there are those who are having an adverse reaction to the game, the majority of folks who are playing it are having no issues. It’s entirely possible that there may not be a one size fits all solution to this problem and some folks will just be out of luck when it comes to playing The Witness.

GamesRead : Raspberry Pi Zero turns a Motorola Lapdock into an actual laptop

Some of you might have a Motorola Lapdock laying around from your days as an Atrix or Droid Bionic user. It might be time to dust it off, because it turns out it’s quite easy to turn it into a full-on laptop.

It won’t cost you much money to do the conversion, either, if you follow the plans laid out by blogger Ax0n over at H-I-R.net. All it takes is a Raspberry Pi Zero and a couple of cables. Heck, even if you have to go out and buy a Lapdock this still isn’t an expensive build.

The Raspberry Pi Zero sells for just $5. You can pick up the two cables you need — micro USB to USB OTG and female micro HDMI to HDMI — from Amazon for around $8. You should be able to find a working Lapdock on eBay for $60 or $70. That brings the total bill to roughly $80.

The Pi Zero’s 1GHz Broadcomm processor isn’t going to turn a Lapdock into a Microsoft Surface competitor, but it’s powerful enough to rock your favorite emulator, do a little web browsing or word processing, and watch some 1080p videos.

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This isn’t the first time someone has hooked a Raspberry Pi up to a Lapdock, but it’s one of the more elegant setups because Ax0n managed to fit nearly everything inside the case. After tucking things behind the Lapdock’s keyboard, Ax0n made a couple of other quick modifications to the chassis.

He drilled out two holes — one to allow easy access to the Pi’s micro SD card slot and another just over the Lapdock’s reset button. If he has to coax it into starting up properly, it’s a whole lot easier to poke a pinkie in than to pull out the spudger and pry the case apart just to access the button.

GamesRead : Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling start shooting Blade Runner 2 in July

For everyone wondering what the deal with the Blade Runner sequel is, here’s one more solid piece of information: the movie begins filming in July! The news comes along with the announcement that Sony will distribute the film internationally for rights-holder Alcon Entertainment. Warner Bros. will handle distribution here in the States.

At this point, the only two cast members announced so far are returning star Harrison Ford as Richard Deckard, and newcomer Ryan Gosling. Seven months is plenty of time to cast-up the rest of the film, which most likely has a variety of other people in mind if not already signed on.

Director Denis Villeneuve might not be a household name at this point, but he has some intense films like Prisoners and Sicario under his belt. His next project, Story of Your Life — the movie adaptation of Ted Chiang’s short story — will show how he plays with sci-fi elements when it hits theaters sometime this year. Story stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker, and revolves around a linguist recruited by the military to attempt communication with recently landed aliens. 

The Blade Runner follow-up is being executive produced by original director and co-writer Ridley Scott, and written by original co-screenwriter Hampton Fancher and Michael Green. Fancher’s only non-Blade Runner writing credits are The Minus Man and The Mighty Quinn, while Green’s credits include Smallville, Heroes, Green Lantern, and the upcoming Scott-directed Alien: Covenant. Of course, none of the details about the script are publicly available.

While he’s still involved in the Blade Runner 2 process, Scott seems to be focusing more on Alien: Covenant, which begins shooting in a few months and is scheduled to hit theaters on October 6, 2017.

GamesRead : Thieves make off with $75,000 in rare Magic cards

The Austin, Texas police are hot on the trail of a burglar, which would not warrant our attention; however, the thieves stole something quite unusual — $75,000 in rare Magic: The Gathering cards. On the plus side, the list of potential suspects can’t be long. I mean, how many people can there be in Austin who would actually think, and then decide, to steal rare Magic cards?

The heist took place at 1AM on Sunday at Pat’s Games, which bills itself as “the premier store for Magic: The Gathering.” Talk about putting a target on your back. The perpetrators clearly didn’t know there was a night vision security camera watching the door, because they lingered in full view of it for several minutes as they attempted to force the door open with a water meter key. Check out a news report on the robbery below:

What’s particularly telling here is that after spending six minutes prying the door open, the pair needed only 20 seconds to grab the cards and get out. They knew exactly what they were going for and where it was. They nabbed about 200 rare cards, some worth as much as $5,000. So we can safely assume the much more valuable Black Lotus is not among them. Their familiarity with the loot and where to find it should make this a rather straightforward investigation, or so I would assume.

The Austin police are on the case, and according to Pat’s Games on Facebook, they assigned an officer who plays Magic, even though he usually only handles residential burglaries.

GamesRead : CERN needs to figure out which 9,000 cables to disconnect for LHC upgrade

You thought untangling the rat’s nest of cabling behind your computer was pain? That’s nothing compared to what scientists at CERN are dealing with as they prepare for the Large Hadron Collider’s (LHC) next big upgrade. A team of 60 engineers is currently digging through the innards of several of the LHC’s particle injectors to identify 9,000 obsolete cables to make room for new equipment.

CERN has admittedly not always been good about taking out old cables, and that has left little room for new components, and it’s time to clear some space. The old cables are mostly associated with the Proton Synchrotron Booster (PS Booster), the Proton Synchrotron (PS), and the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS). These machines accelerate protons before sending them into the LHC. Years of upgrades and maintenance have led to a tangled mess of cables that no longer serve a purpose (some up to 50 meters in length). The cables mostly deal with control and safety systems dating back to the early years of CERN; many of the instruments predate the LHC by decades.

If this sounds unpleasant, it really is. CERN’s Sébastien Evrard admits that it has been hard to motivate people to accomplish this soul-crushing task, but the clock is ticking. The LHC is only offline for a few months in winter, and this is delicate work that shouldn’t be done when the array is operational. If the wrong cable is disconnected, the researchers could lose data or the LHC might go into failsafe mode and stop working.

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The goal is to get all the unused cabling removed in time for the next long shutdown in 2019. At that time, the instrument will get a significant upgrade that requires the installation of a lot of new cables. Hopefully these ones will be properly labeled to make future maintenance easier.

So far, the team has identified 2,700 of the 9,000 obsolete cables that are believed to exist in the three instruments. Evrard believes they will be able to find 8,000 of them before the LHC comes back online, which should make it feasible to get all the cables out of the way when the time comes for installing new cables in 2019 and 2020.