A Disturbance In The Force For The Idiots May 25th
Imagine the following three paragraphs are on a field of stars fading away from you. (You know, like in those Luke movies.)
It is a dark time for The Idiots. They are standing on line on opening night of Episode One: The Phantom Menace. It is the third line that they have waited in that night. They had meticulously pre-ordered their tickets, and waited patiently in the rain for over an hour in the first line, trading barbs with other Star Wars fans, one who told a confused woman straight-faced that this was the line for A Walk on the Moon...
Later, after procuring great seats in the dead center of the theater, The Idiots faced their second line of the night. The concession stand line was at least twenty minutes long. The dark side was luring many fans, and anger was becoming evident, especially after it was announced that the soda machine didn't work. The Idiots felt that the force was with them as they purchased the last of the bottled water...
The Idiots returned to their spectacular seats, with their Milk Duds and bottled water to enjoy the most anticipated film of their adult lives. The movie cranked up, but there was no sound for them. After a near riot and viewing the first scene of the Episode 1 twice, in almost complete silence, The Idiots found themselves in the third line of the evening. The long, slow death-march to the box office, this time from inside, to receive their money back and two free passes to another show...
Randy: What's wrong, melon-head?
Gary: I feel a great disturbance in the force. As if a million souls cried out at once.
Randy: Are you reliving what happened to us on opening night? I don't think it was quite a million souls.
Gary: Sure sounded like it, though. You will believe a nerd can fight.
Randy: Okay, first of all, that is from Superman. And second of all, we got to see the movie, even if it was four days later.
Gary: Yeah, it was completely worth the wait, too.
Randy: You got that right. Once we chose another, more competent theatre, we had the times of our lives. Episode 1 kicks ass!
The special effects were phenomenal. It is true. The computer-generated characters blend amazingly well with the live actors. We would love to be specific in our glowing review of Episode 1, but out of respect for fans out there who may not have seen it yet, we offer no spoilers whatsoever.
Gary: We will say this, though. Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father.
Randy: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Episode 1 is set in the most incredible scenery that I have ever seen in a movie, and each setting is more stunning than the next. The acting is well done (contrary to some critical opinion). The one thing I must be specific about is the light saber fighting. They include some of the most incredible sequences I have seen on film. The combination of special effects and wicked choreography leave you asking if you actually just saw that.
Gary: Now, dear readers, you are probably asking yourselves right now, "Why the hell are The Idiots talking about Star Wars, when they write a Macintosh gaming column?"
To you, I say, "If you don't like it, get your own freakin' column!"
Randy: Gary really took opening night hard. He'll get over it in time.
However, we are writing this column because we think Episode 1 is worth it, and also because we managed to squeeze in a connection to Apple.
It began with the Star Wars trailer that was only distributed in QuickTime format. As Steve Jobs put it in his keynote at WWDC, "They [LucasFilm] came to us and said, 'We would like to have our trailer to be available on the web in QuickTime only.' We said, 'Sounds good.'"
Gary: That resulted in over 10 million downloads of the Stars Wars trailer, and to-date over three million downloads of QuickTime 4, and perhaps one of the biggest marketing coups of the new Jobs era at Apple.
Randy: In a weird twist, Play, Inc., makers of Electric Image, posted a public letter in an entertainment trade magazine, begging Industrial Lights & Magic to publicly acknowledge that Electric Image, and Macs, were used in many of the special effects in Episode 1. It had also been reported widely that Macs were used extensively, if not almost exclusively, for the new effects in the Special Edition of the first trilogy.
Gary: Play claimed that LucasFilm had signed a non-disclosure agreement with Silicon Graphics. They said that if LucasFilm touted other technologies that they used to create effects in their movies that Silicon Graphics would no longer provide LucasFilm with cutting-edge machines. There is some evidence that such an agreement may exist, but both LucasFilm and SGI deny it.
Most people agree that this was not the smartest move the Play could have made. LucasFilm responded by saying that they don't talk about any of their effects until weeks after the release of a film, and that they were not picking on Play.
Randy: And finally, we do know for a fact that Macs were used in the making of Episode 1. That's because, true to our form, The Idiots sat firmly in their seats until the last credit had rolled off of the screen. Toward the end, in the right column of blue text, were the words:
Gary: If enough of you guys ask, we might just be persuaded to tell you some of the effects in Episode 1 that were done on Macs. That is, if we feel like it.
Randy: I've got a bad feeling about this .
Stay tuned next week...
Use The Force to contact the Idiots, if that fails, write them.
Gary Randazzo and Randy Soare are the co-founders of IWS Interactive, a New York based game developer for Macintosh. The IWS in IWS Interactive stands for Idiots With Sticks. How that came about is a long and boring story, but suffice it to say that at four in the morning, it seemed like a good idea.
The demo for IWS Interactive's upcoming mystery-adventure game, Manhattan Apartment Hunter, has recently been released to rave reviews. The Idiots have been into gaming on Apple computers even before the Mac was around. Does anyone remember Choplifter on the Apple IIe? (Boy, we know we do.) Now, they are committed to help ensure that the Mac remains the premiere gaming platform on the planet.
You can email your comment and suggestions to Randy at , and Gary at .