Child’s Play

Last year, Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine had a feature in which they got kids to play classic arcade and console games, eliciting some pretty frank comments of disgust from kids used to the much higher-tech games around today. The feature was popular enough that they have posted the results from Child’s Play Part II, in which kids’ hilarious reactions to Mike Tyson’s Punch Out (NES), Adventure (Atari), The Legend Of Zelda (NES), Star Wars (arcade), Defender (arcade), 720° (arcade), Grand Theft Auto (Playstation), Gunstar Heroes (Genesis), Galaga (arcade), and Street Fighter II: Champion Edition (arcade) are showcased. Here’s one of my favorite exchanges, in this case about Galaga:

Electronic Gaming Monthly: Now imagine you’ve reached the 10th stage, and you’re on your last life. Once you die and you put another quarter in, you don’t just continue from there-you start all over.

Parker [age 11]: Are you serious?

EGM: Yup. When you lose all your lives, you have to start over. You don’t keep going.

Parker: And you guys back then were OK with this?

Man, I feel old… 🙁

Stingy Americans?

A United Nations representative recently made comments to the effect that the world’s richest nations were being “stingy” in how much they were contributing towards tsunami relief, drawing a defensive response from the United States, whose $35 million contribution (up from an initial paltry $15 million) has apparently exhausted its emergency relief fund. The article quotes W as saying that the United States has contributed 40% of all relief aid this year, and I have no reason to dispute that figure. However, the devastation in the wake of the tsunami clearly requires higher contributions from all nations. For example, as I write this Spain has pledged $67 million and Great Britain has pledged $97 million, a clear sign that the United States needs to reevaluate its contribution to relief efforts.

In response to the United States’ alleged emergency relief fund woes, I have a simple solution: take some of the $30-$40 million being spent on W’s upcoming inauguration and put it toward a real cause. That number reportedly doesn’t even include costs associated with security, so the total being spent on the pomp and circumstance associated with this ceremony is probably appallingly higher. I know that such grandiose events don’t come cheap, but this is ridiculous! I think that W should put his money where his mouth is and make an attempt to curtail some of these expenses, putting them towards humanitarian efforts instead. This wouldn’t be the first time he has wasted an opportunity to reach out to the world, and such a massive waste of money doesn’t exactly make America look magnanimous in the face of such hardship and devastation.

If you’d like to contribute to disaster relief, I’ve added a link to the Red Cross to the left sidebar. I also noticed that put a prominent one-click donation banner for the Red Cross on its front page, and at the time of this posting it has collected almost $6 million in donations! Additionally, Google has created a Tsunami Relief page that provides links to relief organization sites and sites with information about the disaster.

Update: In the comments, czar noted that the United States has upped its contribution towards tsunami relief efforts to $350 million, a most welcome increase. I still think W should have taken some time from his vacation at the “Western White House” in Crawford, Texas to respond to this disaster much earlier. The initial pledge from the United States was pretty stingy, but the lack of any kind of official presidential statement for almost three days created just as negative an impression about the American government’s concern over the disaster.

Hank Handy’s Beatles Mash-Up

Boing Boing has a fun post about another great Beatles mash-up: “Where ordinary mash-up mixes mix two or perhaps three songs, this mix is made up by appx 40 Beatles songs, with sometimes five different songs playing at the same time.” There are a good number of download links for you to choose from, so have a listen!

Virtual Apple 2

I’ve posted about arcade game emulators like MAME before. For those of you that haven’t heard of it, MAME lets you play thousands of arcade games on your computer by emulating the original arcade hardware. I haven’t posted much about the classic computer emulators out there, and there are a bunch available. Yesterday I stumbled upon a Virtual Apple 2 web-based emulator that has a huge library of Apple 2 programs and games that are playable right in your browser (Internet Explorer only, though 🙁 ). Still, for those of you pining to play the original Wizardry or other classic Apple games, this is the way to do it. Very cool…

Ricky Gervais To Write For The Simpsons

Ricky Gervais, best known for his portrayal of hapless office manager David Brent in The Office, is set to write an episode of The Simpsons after meeting show creator Matt Groening. For those of you that haven’t watched the BBC’s show The Office, you’re missing out. Although the show was only on for two seasons, you should still be able to catch reruns on BBC [America], or you can buy the complete series on DVD. According to the article, the show probably won’t air for at least a year, but I definitely look forward to seeing it.