Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 15:35 on 21-06-2009, Arthur B
Soviet propaganda cartoons from World War II. Plenty of antifascist bile, with a side order of SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL PURGE.
at 21:52 on 18-06-2009, Arthur B
at 21:22 on 18-06-2009, Shim
Come on guys, the moon is blatantly showing itself off here. It was totally asking for it. It was probably jealous because of all the attention other astronomical objects are getting, but now it turns out the attention wasn't what it wanted after all, well, maybe it should have thought of that before it started with all the orbiting.

(Actually, coming up with this stuff is pretty terrifying)
at 14:53 on 18-06-2009, Wardog
He's just *appreciating* the lunar form. It's a mark of respect.

I bet that's exactly what the probe said.
at 14:43 on 18-06-2009, Rami
That's one celestial body
Dude! That kind of talk is unacceptable! You shouldn't be objectifying moons, you should clearly be asking their opinions on things!
at 14:21 on 18-06-2009, Arthur B has more details of the incident, including (grainy, hard to interpret) photos of the actual crash and (wonderfully clear, breathtaking) footage from the probe from shortly before it impacted, as well as fun videos it took before it ruthlessly violated the Moon out in space where everyone could see it.

Oh yeah. Check out the fear in the Moon's eyes. That's one celestial body that's going to get what's coming to it.
at 14:16 on 18-06-2009, Claire E Fitzgerald
Well I, for one, am not OK with this. It means that (a) it is someone's job to build massive big rockets for millions if not billions of dollars, purposely designed to shoot across the solar system and smash into stuff, and (b) that person is someone other than me.

Actually this is quite remarkable, since despite being so short, it contains 4 of my top 5 Ways Of Telling When Someone Has No Idea What They Are Talking About. (It only fails by not being in the Daily Mail. Which is a sentence I never thought I'd type.) At the top of the list is that left-brain-equals-rationality-(equals-science) thing. Actually both hemispheres of the brain contribute equally to both "rational" and "creative" thought, as well as bollocks thought which is clearly neither. Less well known is that scientists - especially Japanese onese - have an extra cerebral hemisphere known as the Awesomal Cortex. This is where they come up with new ideas for blowing shit up. And robots. And, occasionally, blowing shit up with robots.

(Mine is sadly underdeveloped because my class wasn't allowed to play - sorry, *experiment* - with dropping lithium in the sink, after the whole fireball incident. Bah. This is obviously why I ended up in the "soft sciences" and became a professional Internet Psychologist, instead of working as an Awesomeologist at the International Institute of WOAH! DUDE!!! So thanks, second law of thermodynamics. Thanks a sodding million.)
at 19:01 on 17-06-2009, Jamie Johnston
Am I imagining it, or does Morgan Freeman turn into a posh Englishman over the course of the phrase "to and fro across the globe" (at about 00:38 in the right-hand time-counter)?
at 12:12 on 17-06-2009, Wardog
Ohhhhhh! This is WONDERFUL!
at 10:53 on 16-06-2009, Arthur B
io9 have posted a fun feature on their 50 favourite SF movie intro voiceovers.
at 16:03 on 12-06-2009, Arthur B
I think the preview's got the right guess here: Bioware's best brains are already working on Mass Effect 2 (a sequel to a series which is clearly very important to them in the long term) and the Old Republic MMORPG, which is obviously a hugely serious project for them (in terms of what they choose to invest their resources in) since it's a major MMO project for a very big client. I mean, if you had to choose which project to prioritise when it comes to using limited resources like time and money and developers, a new, untested franchise that isn't being developed for an outside client is going to lose out every time.
at 15:45 on 12-06-2009, Wardog
I'm afraid Bioware may have lost the plot.

Firstly there's this utterly ludicrous trailer. I know there's an extent to which it's tongue in cheek but I also think there's somebody in the Bioware marketing department his rubbing his thighs creepily going "virtual sex and violence, oh yeah! That'll make cRPGs cool."

And then there's this depressing preview from RPS.


I want spreadsheets, not heavy metal.

Oh Bioware!
at 22:07 on 11-06-2009, Shim
clearly you will never be employed to write the third book of the third book of the third book of the final book - hardly any of the words you used were invented and you didn't once refer to the Great Wheel, the Weave, magic or an amazing new power that nobody else has ever had ever.

"Do you think they could be coming towards us?" asked Olanaa, smoothing her dark gray tschaan, which was slashed with silk the color of her Ajah, and drawing her heavy black traveling-cloak around her. The kver around her bruised, reddened neck tingled softly as it brushed her sensitive skin; instantly she knew what Alaina had in her deep, silken pockets as the kver called forth her mysterious powers.

Alaina, both tugging her braids and smoothing her skirt, nodded sombrely, wishing she had never entered the Mausoleum of P-Aiaoeiu'l*, and encountered the ancient magics that had gifted her with an extra pair of arms.

*Pronounced "Pool", except in Devenkare, where it is pronounced "Pail" in honour of the heroine Seilnvar (c.f. book 97: "The Bucket of Conjunction", Chapter 19, Paragraph 13.1).
at 18:57 on 10-06-2009, Arthur B
Incredible short film about life in North Korea. It's even more amazing when you consider that this is what they want the outside world to see.
at 18:22 on 10-06-2009, Arthur B
I think we should stop now until we get into a Playpen conversation that just goes on and on for page after page, getting longer and longer and longer until we all die of strange blood diseases. ;)
at 17:49 on 10-06-2009, Rami
@Guy: You haven't been descriptive enough about their clothes!
"Do you think they could be coming towards us?" asked Olanaa, smoothing her dark gray skirt, which was slashed with silk the color of her Ajah, and drawing her heavy black traveling-cloak around her.

Everything is better when we know exactly what kind, color, and style (whether Tairen or Cairhienin) of clothes everyone's wearing!!
at 10:13 on 10-06-2009, Wardog
New Moon trailer is lulztastic.
at 09:14 on 10-06-2009, Guy
Elaine tugged her braids as she saw the giant swarm of wasps approaching.

"Do you think they could be coming towards us?" asked Olanaa, smoothing her skirt.

Alaina, both tugging her braids and smoothing her skirt, nodded sombrely.
at 08:27 on 10-06-2009, Andy G
@ Shimmin.
What - Alayne, Elaine, Alanna, Alaina, Al'Ana and Olanaa all die? Quickly? As in, less than 1,000 pages? That doesn't sound too bad actually.
at 07:25 on 10-06-2009, Shim
A sudden plague of giant wasps happens to them. It's all over very quickly.

Then the planet gets struck by a meteor swarm.
at 10:13 on 09-06-2009, Arthur B
I love the fact that you can push a button and woosh! All the pretty graphics are gone and the original game is still hiding underneath! (It does mean, of course, that the remake is just a glorified skin for the original, but it's such a gorgeous skin I'll probably grab it anyway.)

Also, check out the episodic sequel project. The 3D graphics are ugly but seem necessary for producing episodic games on a regular schedule, and I hear very good things about what they did with Sam and Max.