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So I’ve been burning a bit of time lately playing the Ukranian-developped S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. It’s a fairly stock-standard FPS in terms of gameplay (albeit wth some nice ballistic models), but the the game’s setting is what shines. You’re stuck inside The Zone, a cordoned off area surrounding the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor. Inside The Zone, weird shit happens, animals have mutated, and everything’s been left to rot. No-one’s quite sure if the military blockades are in place to keep the world out of The Zone, or to protect the world from The Zone. Despite all of this, Stalkers and others prowl about securing the strange artefacts that the anomalies of The Zone produce from time to time. There’s a story to follow, but I’m not too far along that yet.

Anyhow, back to the ass-kicking bit. The game’s atmosphere is phenomenally mind-blowing. The wind howling and thunder crackling as you wander through deserted farms and abandoned buildings send a chill up the spine. The Zone seems both terribly empty and yet strangely alive at once: even when you’re alone there’s always the hint of something lurking not too far away, be it the baying of a sick hound or the eerie rumble of an anomaly sitting on the next ridgeline. The visuals are simply stunning.

(With some shame, I admit I’ll experience some difficulty getting to the end of the game. There’s no doubt in my mind that some horrific mutant thing will surprise me and make me shit my pants, and I’ll have to save and walk off for a bit. Ask my mate Richard if you don’t believe me – he’s seen one of those floating eyestalk monsters in Doom knock me clean off my chair. On one hand, it’s rather awesome to be pulled in to an experience so completely, on the other it’s not so great when System Shock makes you wee yourself. Even if it’s just a little bit.)

D’oh.

But wait, there’s more! The real kicker is that there’s a Russian film by the name of Stalker that has obviously been a source of inspiration for the game. The mood and feel of Andrei Tarkovsky’s film have been ported perfectly to the world of DirectX and video processors. Some of you may have seen 2002’s Solaris, starring George Clooney – a remake of the Tarkovsky film of the same name. If you can find Stalker, I highly recommend giving it a view. Keep in mind that Tarkovsky was a filmmaker who didn’t like genres, and his science fiction films are no exception. Stalker is beautiful to watch, but the pace is slow, in a limp arthouse kind of way

Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker

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Visit the Daily Mail for more stupid-awesome photos of that volcano that’s tearing the crap out of Chile.

Mark Vidler AKA Go Home Productions has come out of mashup retirement (I wish I could say the same), releasing a whole album of mash goodies.

Not every track appeals to me, but you could say the same thing about every person’s reaction to every album, I suspect.  There are some standout tracks (featured below) and even on the songs I’m not enamoured with, you still have to marvel at GHP’s ability to extract audio and make a killer edit.

Go Home Productions – Luther’s Orange Crush (Luther Vandross vs REM)

Go Home Productions – Main Bloom (Nirvana vs Alan Parker)

Remember the Teletubbies? That crazy post-apocalyptic vision of a simple life under a hill, tended by robot minders? I’ll wager that not one of you has considered that the Teletubbies is – rather than simple visual pablum for toddlers – in fact science fiction of the darkest caliber.

Don’t worry about it though, plenty of others have already done it for you. There is speculation that the Teletubbies are in fact a sample group for a future dystopian society’s public obedience ordinance – the television show being an example to our children of how to obey without question. Sound like Brave New World to anyone?

Others tell of a grim X-Files style conspiracy, where the enslaved Tubbies are failed genetic expirements, destined to serve the government against their will as agents of propganda.

Or, are the Teletubbies remnants of a Nazi alien-hybridizing eugenics program? You may think it sounds somewhat far-fetched to think the simple fuzzy things with cathode ray tubes in their stomachs are actually helping acclimatize our youth to accept the soon-to-be-announced presence of our alien overlords, but as the article warns in its haunting last line: ‘don’t lament when your child becomes an alien-sympathizing, subvocal, homosexual, technocratic Nazi.’

If your stomach is strong, you can view photos of the infamous Teletubby Autopsy on the internet.

The library of Teletubby sci-fi even extends to historical science fiction, as documented by Captain Gibert Bryant-Norris of Lord Hamilton’s Light Dragoons in the Teletubby Uprising of 1883. Consider it a companion piece to The Difference Engine.

The most likely of these grim tales, however, is a rather detailed analysis of the Teletubbies as mutant descendants of government super-soldiers. Engineered to survive the harshest germ, gene, memetic and chemical warfare, the TeleTroopers were eventually the only genus of Homo Sapiens able to survive what world war after world war has done to our planet. The article’s strength is bolstered significantly by its breakdown of the operation of the Teletubbieland underground complex.

Viper Pilot Audio

Looking for music by Viper Pilot? This blog is the current home of Viper Pilot's Munition Works, where he stores all of his mashes and mixes.

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