The complete spaz’s guide to channel surfing.

Channel surfing is not just a matter of mashing on the clicker; it’s a skill that requires years of practice in order to keep your attention span as short as possible without losing your ability to concentrate on what you’re watching.

Buffy: Season 8, or, How I learned to stop worrying and love fanfic.

Ok, so “loving” fanfiction is an exaggeration, but seriously, the stuff is crackalicious.

Bejeweled 2. (PopMatters)

Continuing with the theme of pleasurable addictiveness that I brought up last week, my review of Bejeweled 2 is now up at PopMatters.

And because I’m too lazy to go look in a thesaurus at the moment: is there a word for “addictive” that doesn’t carry so many negative connotations? I don’t really think that seeking little morsels of happy fun from a video game (or a TV show, or a book, or whatever) is necessarily a bad thing, but words like “addictive” or “compulsive” really make it seem like I’m describing pathology rather than pleasure. I wonder if I could get away with using the word “crackalicious” in a review.

The joys of compulsive behavior.

Ratchet & Clank, manages to outstrip the others, not with its level design or its mechanics or its story, but by being more addictive than the other games.

What a difference a mile makes.

I should be grateful to live in a city where you can’t throw a rock without knocking over a stack of paper cup-warmers.

Skimming more fat off the Internet slush pile.

People send me links to things, I see stuff on other people’s weblogs, I plug random words into Google and hit the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, and pretty soon I’ve got a pile of URLs and no idea of what to do with them, so I’ll just post them here for you to enjoy — unless you’re the person that sent a particular link to me, in which case you’ve already enjoyed it.

Today is apparently the tenth anniversary of the PlayStation’s release. The BBC has a feature on its significance as the console that brought video games out of the “kids and geeks” cultural ghetto and into the mainstream.

The BBC has also put up the first teaser for their revival of Dr. Who (RealPlayer required). I haven’t watched this show in fifteen years, but I’m still all aquiver at the thought of its return.

It makes total sense if you think about it: a comic adaptation of The Secret of Monkey Island. (If you’ve never played that game, be warned: because it follows the game so closely, it basically amounts to a graphical walkthrough, and as such is pretty much a long chain of spoilers.) It’s interesting, though, to see how a video game that derived much of its success by appropriating the language of cartoons is itself appropriated and translated into a third medium, the comic.

The organization H.O.P.E. (Horrified Observers of Pedestrian Entertainment) is sponsoring a CD exchange program: you can trade in an album by Ashlee Simpson, J-Lo, Limp Bizkit, etc., and get back an album that doesn’t suck.

I’ve recently discovered that lurking on academic listservs can be a great form of entertainment, if you can build up a tolerance for words like “problematize.”

I’m not sure what to make of Amazon’s A9.com. It’s a personalized web-annotating… thing… I think. Kind of interesting, but I already have tools to do most everything it does. Between this and GMail, though, we seem to be in some sort of renaissance of JavaScript-based applications.

Web design pioneer Joe Gillespie is retiring his site, Web Page Design for Designers. If you’ve ever used the 212-color web-safe palette or 1-pixel spacer GIFs in your page design, you probably either learned about them from him or from someone who learned it from him.

The debate is over: like those red-vs-blue maps that were circulating after the election, someone has done a county-by-county breakdown of how people use the terms “pop,” “soda,” and “coke.”

It’s not really massive, and it’s not really a game, but Someone Keeps Stealing All My Letters is a persistent multiplayer online environment. Fighting over resources has never been so much fun!

BloodRayne 2. (PopMatters)

My review of BloodRayne 2 is now up at PopMatters. In an attempt to reach new heights of pretentiousness, I led the article with a quote from a Baudelaire poem; my only defense is that I wrote it last week while still hopped up on tryptophan, so my bullshit filters were impaired. Anyway, let me know if you think other parts of it are particularly full of bull, or (less likely) if it’s the greatest thing you’ve ever read.

Zerg rush.

Zerg played a very conservative game, avoiding gambles and mostly just concentrating on making enough to stay in the game. Jennings, meanwhile, couldn’t put her away.