Sim ArtVideo games, you tend to think, are set in fantasy worlds, so it’s a strange fact that the best-selling PC game of all time is The Sims, a real-life simulation rife with mundane, detailed exactness; characters sleep, go to work, and bicker. There’s no end – the characters just live their lives – but the game has become a cultural phenomenon since its 2000 launch. It has now even inspired “The Sims: In the Hands of Artists,” an exhibit opening Thursday at Chelsea Art Museum. For the show, gamemaker Electronic Arts collaborated with Parsons, challenging students to create Sims-inspired art using everything from basic pencil and paper to machinima, a moviemaking technology powered by the game’s engine. We got a sneak peek at four student projects.
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Grand Theft, Gotham Style
If you thought Spiderman 3 would be the most realistic rendering of New York to hit the gaming market this year, think again: Rockstar Games broke its silence yesterday about Grand Theft Auto IV, on sale in October, and dropped the first trailer. Set in “Liberty City,” it depicts shots of Times Square (complete with billboard for America’s Next Top Hooker), the MetLife building (now the “GetaLife” building), the Cyclone, the Chrysler and Flatiron buildings, and other landmarks, while a seemingly Eastern European man narrates over Philip Glass’s Koyaanisqatsi score. “I killed people,” he says. “Smuggled people. Sold people. Perhaps here, things will be different.” This is clearly the most minutely detailed Grand Theft Auto yet — who knows, we may even be able to see rats crawling up restaurant chairs. —Daniel Maurer
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Use the N/R, Luke, Use the N/RSometimes feel like you’re battling intergalactic evil as you rush through the Union Square subway station? Seems there’s a good reason for it: The I-Beams in the station exactly mimic the first stage of the Death Star level in the old Star Wars arcade game. This dorky observation is made cinematic at the blog Ironic Sans (to which the Morning News pointed us yesterday). There’s a short film to demonstrate, complete with accompanying computer graphics. Interestingly, Leia’s gold bikini seems to have been replaced by a very attractive garbage can.
I See the Death Star [Ironic Sans via The Morning News]
XBox Beats PS3, Saves Relationships
At the PlayStation 3 vs. Xbox 360 Challenge at the Apollo Theater yesterday, H3TV — apparently “the only high-definition flat screen that allows players to simultaneously compete on both gaming systems” — allowed players to, well, simultaneously complete on both systems. (The crowd seemed to prefer the cheaper XBox.) Juelz Santana of Harlem’s beloved Diplomats rap crew — also known as Dipset — sat down for a spirited game of Madden and was all business, dodging both autograph requests and an aggressive pass rush from his opponent, an anonymous Dipset affiliate he swore was the crew’s resident gaming ringer. Santana came up short, but he made it out of the loss with his swagger intact, turning right around to sign those autographs for his patient fans and to extol the virtues of the H3TV. “If you’re always playing your game, your girl can watch Lifetime or something. She ain’t got to leave the room. It’s good for relationships!” Armed with that, we’re sure you can finally convince your girlfriend to let you buy a high-def flat-screen. Amos Barshad
Gamers Roam Manhattan, Seeking Next Level
Say what you want about this morning’s rush of hush-hush Playstation 3 preorder sales — at least it got the gamers out of the house.
Here’s how the whole event — itself reminiscent of a video game — went down: Around midnight, EB Games and Gamestop blasted their mailing lists with an announcement that down payments would be accepted on PS3 consoles, set to go on sale in November 17. And by first thing this morning, fans laid siege to the stores’ Manhattan locations — to find the coveted product doled out in sadistically small doses.