The Agent’s Favorite Gags of April Fool’s 2015

I know of a fair number of people that detest the concept of April Fool’s Day, but I just can’t bring myself to hate on it. I love the idea of a day where it’s socially acceptable to mess with people’s heads.

More so than that, I like seeing what established companies and personalities on the internet do to play with the folks that support them. So, let’s take a look at some of my favorite harmless shenanigans of this year.

Ingress One-ups Google’s Prank

“I got In-Gress Fe-ver!”
Source: GeekNative

For those that don’t know, Ingress is an augmented reality mobile game that turns major landmarks and locations into portals that you compete for control over with players around the world.

Now, some of you may be aware of Google turning its maps into playable Pac-Man stages. But Ingress said, “Why play Pac-Man in the streets when you can BE Pac-Man in the streets?”

For one day, the game was Pac-Man themed. Your marker was the titular hero, the portals were ghosts, and the Exotic Matter (XM, for short) that powers your actions became those classic pellets.

It was oddly satisfying to walk through town collecting XM and hearing that classic “Waka-Waka” sound. I would say that an AR Pac-Man game would be a great concept, but I’d imagine a lot of accidents resulting from people staring at their phones and not watching where they were going.

Still, if any of the development team is reading this, could you make the option to make this a permanent change for us? Thanks.

Gaijin Goombah “Loves” Pachinko

I’ve mentioned how much I love the work of Gaijin Goombah here and how he can find value in the things that others either don’t notice or just take for granted. But it seems even he can’t get excited about every game that comes his way.

In a video claiming to “take a critical look into one of Japan’s most thriving gambling past times,” Gaijin blindsides us with a slow clip of a video pachinko machine (he had to buy the game due to strict anti-photograhy laws in parlors). I think the funniest part was just the slow pan on his blank “Pokerface” expression – totally speechless in the face of the repetitive sight before him.

Oddly enough, this got me to thinking about the concept of Pachinko and its appeal. I think it may come from the fact that it’s almost completely automated and requires little effort from the player other than launch power adjustment. I almost want to compare it when I go to the arcade and drop streams of tokens into prize ticket games.

So, thanks Gaijin; You made me laugh and think.

DeviantART Discovers a New Color

“The colors, Duke! The Colors!”
Source: The Daily Dot

Right off the bat this sounds fairly standard. A bunch of DeviantART administrators got together to write an article about a new color discovered via the Large Hadron Collider. Seems like their sort of thing – an art community would naturally be inclined to joke about something that revolutionizes visual media.

But here’s why I like this gag so much; as stupid and obvious as it was, I COULD have bought it.

You see, so-called “impossible colors” technically exist and have been talked about for some time. At first when someone told me about this article, I thought they meant they found a way to visualize them. But a quick read and I soon lifted the veil.

Nice try, folks. Next time, be sure to bring your A-Game.

ProJared’s Fun with Phalli (Warning: NSFW Video)

ProJared normally has a surprisingly refined style in his videos. So you can imagine my surprise when he spent over three minutes in a video talking about dicks (or DYICKS if we’re going by his pronunciation).

The funny thing is that, though I doubt he intended it this way, this video is a nice reversal of the male gaze in gaming. So many games focus on large breasted women. So, seeing guys get similar treatment was kind of refreshing.

I’m some what disappointed he left out Shin Megami Tensei’s Mara. I mean, you can’t get much more DYICK in a game than making a character that is quite literally a giant, sentient DYICK.

Regardless, thank you, Jared, for making us laugh and sharing some SWEET DYICK, BRO.

Powers Combined: Corporate Mergers and the Business of AT&T and Google

 

Yeah, it feels a little like this half the time…
Source: LexisNexis Legal Newsroom

Last Sunday was not of the “lazy” variety if the news I read is to be believed.

According to reports, not only is telecommunications giant AT&T in the process of acquiring DirecTV, but Google is currently negotiating the one billion dollar purchase of Twitch.

Now, the last time I discussed the nature of corporate mergers was back in my college radio days when me and my friends were discussing the Disney/Lucasfilm/Marvel merger. So I guess it’s about time to talk about how I feel about corporate mergers as a whole.

Now, I won’t go on record saying that mergers and conglomerates are an absolute evil. A lot of good can come out of them. Sometimes all a really good company needs is the aid of a powerful financial backer to become truly great. Alternately, a company may have a great product or service that can be made better with technology or tactics of another.

What I’m trying to say is that there do exist legitimate reasons for companies to merge or sell to another larger corporation.

However, the problem with conglomerate businesses is that they have the potential to limit the choice of the consumer while creating the illusion of varied selection. Using Disney as an example again, if you dislike them for some reason and want boycott them or simply not support them in any way, but you happen to love sports and want to catch up on your favorite teams, then you may be surprised to know that you are unknowingly supporting them by getting your news from ESPN.

I typically dislike corporate conglomeration for this reason. I like being able to try different takes on the things I want or need and choosing what’s best for me. What’s more, conglomeration can allow a company to skate by putting only the minimal effort into a product and rarely evolving by riding the success of the other assets they own.

Still, if I must live in a world of corporate mergers, I suppose I’d like them to take the Disney approach. They seem to act more as a glorified financial investor rather then a corporation and allow their assets to have their own identity instead of slapping their brand and trademarked business practices all over everything they own.

As for the mergers mentioned at the start of this story, my feelings are as follows.

I have no emotional investment in the AT&T/DirecTV merge as I don’t have satellite TV (I don’t watch much TV at all, in fact) and most telecommunications up my way are handled by Metrocast and Verizon. I’m certain AT&T can and will handle themselves well through this new phase of life, but I won’t be too broken up if they fail.

The Google/Twitch merge, on the other hand, is slightly more disturbing to me. Remember this; Twitch is primarily a gaming driven community that thrives off of live streams of playthroughs, Google owns YouTube, and YouTube has had a long history of bad user-infuriating decisions when it comes it interpreting copyright law – especially as applies to video game footage. Either Google will finally have to change it’s policies in this manner or Twitch could very easily fail as an entity taking several professional gamers along with it.

At this point, the most we, as the consumer public, can do is let them know what we want out of these changes and pray that they listen to the voice of reason.