Fun with lax input parsing

This is what happens when your handwriting recognition engine insists on interpreting anything the user scribbles with the stylus as an integer. (Warning: do not use this video as a study guide for arithmetic.)

This is what happens when you’re too lenient when your function for fuzzy matching on strings is a little too fuzzy. (Warning: some NSFW language.)

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The pilot episode of A Bit of Fry and Laurie isn’t particularly remarkable, except for this virtuoso performance by Hugh Laurie:

Man, Hugh Laurie sure looked different in the late eighties, before he started popping Vicodin.

Anyway, once you get past the pilot episode, the bits of Fry and Laurie on display are significantly improved. If you forced me to pick out a favorite from Season 1, I’d have to go with anything with Control and Tony in it, or, if you prefer your sketch comedy with a valuable moral, Doctor Tobacco.

Who’s Copying Me Now?: Robot Edition

I scooped Colbert:

Never forget.

Next time: a blog post that has nothing to do with sex robots. Hopefully.

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Watch this

With The Daily Show and The Colbert Report on hiatus this week, you may be running low on sequences of still images shown in rapid succession to give the illusion of motion, synchronized with low- to mid-frequency atmospheric vibrations. Allow me to help alleviate this problem.

The fourth season of The Venture Bros. (aka one of the greatest animated anythings ever) started on Sunday. Here’s the trailer, and here’s Season 4 Episode 1. Of course, you’ll probably need to watch the first three seasons to understand what’s going on, but that’s what DVDs are for. (Colbert junkie bonus: he voices Professor Impossible in the first two seasons!)

Keeping with the animation theme, Tripod recently introduced me to YuGiOh – The Abridged Series, which is much funnier than I was expecting. It’s a gag dub of an anime about a children’s card game and ended up launching loads of imitators. Luckily, you won’t need any familiarity with the source material… in America! Or anywhere else, for that matter.

Finally, there’s That Guy With The Glasses‘s stuff on the eponymous His Video Game Confessions series was what I first game across (learning the shocking truth behind Ms. Pac-Man, and more than I really needed to know about Link and Zelda’s “understanding”), but most of That Guy’s stuff is worth watching too. Be warned, however, that stuff from the other contributors is hit or miss.

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Your daily dose of distraction

First: in case you ever complained that Mega Man 2 didn’t have enough rap in it, here you go [thanks to Josh for alerting me to this]:

(Their Final Fantasy rap is also pretty good, if you’re into that sort of thing.)

Next: in case you ever complained that Super Mario World didn’t have enough stuff-happening-even-though-you’re-too-lazy-to-press-any-of-the-buttons, take a look at this ROM hack:

Even with the level-editing tools that are out there, it’s impressive to imagine how much work must’ve gone into the level design to pull that off.

Finally, it’s unfortunate that I hadn’t been reading MS Paint Adventures until now. It’s what you’d get if you crossed a webcomic with an old-school adventure game. Is it weird if what’s sold me on it is how the character’s inventory system in the current “game” is explicitly based on a stack implemented in a circular buffer? And how it’s suggested it’s possible to upgrade to something more featureful:

EB: it’s so frustrating.
TG: whats your modus
EB: what?
TG: how do you retrieve artifacts from it
EB: oh. like one at a time i guess. and if i put too much in, something falls out.
TG: stack?? hahahahahaha
EB: what is yours?
TG: hash map
TG: my bro taught me a few tricks he basically knows everything and is awesome
EB: what the hell is that?
TG: you should probably brush up on your data structures

While I’d probably deque anyone who made a real game with such an obnoxious inventory system, in comic form it’s awesome. It may be the character’s birthday, but he won’t be LIFO the party with just that.* Hopefully whatever upgrades are in store will let him skip lists entirely and explore the rest of the wide array of options out there. Because dude, a stack? With that limited interface he’ll be in a heap of trouble. As What’s Her Face would say, DAG, yo.

Of course, in real life we have data structure based inventory systems too. We’re typically limited to a pair of five-element finger trees, sometimes augmented with a bag.

* Yes, I know that technically having a stack would very much make him LIFO the party almost by definition, but I’m trying to make a series of data structure puns here. If you trie it yourself, you’ll find it’s harder than it looks.

Archive of Fools: Two Person Story

In the process of setting up my new backup hard drive, I came across a small cache of Ship of Fools videos dating back from April 2004. Here’s one of them; I’ll let the description I wrote for YouTube set it up:

Two Person Story – two performers tell a story based on suggestions from the audience. Like all good stories, it starts with “once upon a time” and ends with a moral. The catch: they can only speak one word at a time. Here, Scott Yost (left) and Paul Kuliniewicz (right) relate the timeless classic, “Charlotte’s Web of Fighting”. Colin Reindl is the emcee.

I think this was from a performance at Tarkington Hall, but I can’t tell from the background for sure which residence hall this was at.

There’s another four videos where this came from. Stay tuned.


Since I’ve had this running through my head ever since I put last night’s post together, I figured you should have the opportunity to suffer/enjoy it similarly:

(It’s also available in the original Japanese with Engrish subtitles, if you’re in to that sort of thing.)

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Even Stephen Colbert thinks it’s over the top

Is it possible that the most patriotic video game ever created was developed and released exclusively in Japan? I am talking, of course, about Metal Wolf Chaos.

The TV Tropes page for it describes it thusly:

Michael Wilson, veteran of the Arizona Conflict and 47th President of the United States has been deposed in a military coup by his running mate, RICHAAAAAAARD! Hawk. Now, he must take up the guise of Metal Wolf and take back America city by city, armed only with his Humongous Mecha and the power of BURNING AMERICAN FREEDOM.

This game could only have been made in Japan.

Metal Wolf Chaos is an original Xbox game made by From Software, unfortunately never released in America. The game is a Humongous Mecha title focused around the highly American pursuit of blowing stuff up, with a plot and dialog that would be the epitome of American Patriotic Fervor (or the most over-the-top satire of it ever made) were it not coming from a different country altogether. Weaponry includes machine guns, rocket launchers, and a shark gun – Yes, a shark gun – while the plot takes you to shootouts in the southwest, bomb threats in Beverly Hills, battles against giant robots in Manhattan, redecorating the White House with missiles, a showdown with Richard in Vegas, and space, assisted along the way by a resistance force skilled only in blocking tank cannons with their helicopters and the President’s slightly psychotic secretary, Jody Crawford.

Naturally, YouTube has videos of this game in action. Note in particular the sequence where the President (and his giant robot), after battling a heavily armored White House, hitches a ride on the side of the space shuttle, blows up a space station, and then surfs the debris back to the surface. Seriously.

I don’t know what else to say. I don’t know what else can be said, aside from wondering whether this sort of post is going to become a yearly tradition.

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A Tale of Two Doctors

First: did you know that Joss Whedon, of Firefly fame, is working on a musical, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, to be released on the Internet mid-July, for free (initially)? Here is the trailer:

Yes, it’s starring Doogie Howser Neil Patrick Harris. As a pathetic villain. If he’s only half as terrible at villainy as The Monarch, it should still be awesome. Oh, and Mal Reynolds Nathan Fillion is the hero.

Second: You watch Doctor Who, right? Of course you do. Remember last season’s episode The Family of Blood, where The Doctor had recorded a message for Martha before wiping his memories and becoming human? Wonder what he was saying during the parts you didn’t hear?

I Wanna Be The Plumber

If you’ve ever wondered what life would be like in the mirror universe where Shigeru Miyamoto is evil, try playing this fiendish knockoff of Super Mario Bros. (Hint: use Up to jump.)

Or, for the morbidly curious but not masochistic, take a look at this series of videos that show someone trying to play through it:

By popular request

If you like Penn & Teller and zombies, well, this short film has two of those three:

On the other hand, if you need a Penn fix, you can watch Penn talk about stuff instead. (Which, incidentally, is how I learned about the aforementioned video.)

Never invite a LARPer to your nativity play

Or else this might happen:

Just in time for Hanukkah! Or Channuah! Or anything else matching /(H|Ch)an{1,2}uk{1,2}ah?/.

The Winter of Their Dissed Content

Or, why The Daily Show has been in reruns for the past two weeks:

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You know, if I knew tesla coils counted as instruments, I might’ve become a musician:

[...] The music that you hear is coming from the sparks that these two identical high power solid state Tesla coils are generating. There are no speakers involved. The Tesla coils stand 7 feet tall and are each capable of putting out over 12 foot of spark. They are spaced about 18 feet apart. The coils are controlled over a fiber optic link by a single laptop computer. Each coil is assigned to a midi channel which it responds to by playing notes that are programed into the computer software. These coils were constructed by Steve Ward and Jeff Larson. Video was captured by Terry Blake. What is not obvious is how loud the coils are. They are well over 110dB. [...]

And in case you’re wondering if it can get any geekier than that: