Pleasure Circuit Overload

Jim Munroe’s video art series Pleasure Circuit Overload (42 minutes) is a series of seven pieces about videogames. Through movie preview spoofs, in-game machinima, quirky short drama and documentary interviewing, this diverse collection aims to deepen the cultural discourse around gaming. From his experience as the maker of DVDzine Novel Amusements to the two years writing a games column for alt-weekly Eye to his science fiction novels, Munroe has a relationship with technology that is sympathetic yet critical. CTHEORY journal called one of the pieces “a great work of pop culture commentary,” and other pieces in the collection have been featured on CBC’s, Rooftop Films in Brooklyn and the Oberhausen Film Festival in Germany. It was made possible through a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.

You can watch them all here. If you’re an institution looking to screen this series, Vtape is the place to go.

Jun 162008

libertyskin.jpgPretty nuts: that goofy Grand Theft Auto 3 video I made five years ago for my zine has been watched by the guy who designed SimCity, the Sims and the upcoming Spore. He actually mentioned it last week in a rather brilliant-sounding videogames-as-art speech.

That video (part of my Pleasure Circuit Overload series of vids about videogames) has gotten a ridonkulous amount of attention for what it is and it seems to keeps bumbling into places it doesn’t belong. (CTheory? The New York Times? Whaa…?)

But just so my head doesn’t inflate too much — I didn’t win the Shuster award for best comics writing I was nominated for last week. My new pal Cecil Castellucci won it for her excellent P.L.A.I.N. Janes graphic novel about a clique of nerdy girls transforming their town with art-terrorism.

Undeterred, I’m diving into researching and writing a new comics project, Time Management for Anarchists: The Comic. Which is gonna be drawn by Marc Ngui, the genius behind the My Trip avatar skins (pictured below).

It seems random, but everything in my life connects if you have enough time and graph paper to map it out. Continue reading »

May 052006

Raigan BurnsI’ve done a fair amount of writing about Raigan and Mare, two indie game developers I know. This 10 minute documentary I made was a bit of a revelation, however: instead of writing about how fun and stylish their game was, I could show it. Instead of talking about how they’re not your typical nerd coders, I could show them in person. It’s the cardinal rule at writing school — showing, rather than telling — and with this project I realized that video was really good at this. As the kids say, it’s a powerful medium, but I seem to always have to learn these trite truisms myself before I believe them.

I’m going to be screening this video and my six other videogame shorts at a screening of Pleasure Circuit Overload at the megacool Blim Gallery in Vancouver. Monday May 8th, 8pm, $5-7 sliding scale. If you can’t make it, click through to see my mini-doc.

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Mar 312006

A man alone with his unit.My series of short movies about videogames is being screened together for the first time as part of a really fun event on Saturday April 8th in Toronto. It’s put on by the dorkArmy crew at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street W., 7:30pm, $5) — come for the vids, stay for the Drunken Dance Dance Revolution & karaoke! There’s also a screening at the Blim Art Gallery in Vancouver on Monday May 8th. I’ll be going to both and really looking forward to them — as well as six videos I’ve released on the site and elsewhere, there’s a brand new minidocumentary piece about two indie game makers. Click through to see one of the series, “Mark Slutsky Reviews the Nintendo DS.”
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Mar 052006

Girls don't play videogames.For those of you who’re still in an Oscar mood, Susan and I made this fake movie preview that asks: what if the plucky heroine from Million Dollar Baby was into the Dance Dance Revolution videogame instead of boxing?

This is one of the pieces from my new video series about videogames, Pleasure Circuit Overload. I’m looking for screening possibilities over the next little while so let me know if you know of a good series — I have DVDs I’m sending out. I’ll be posting other new shorts from the series in the next few weeks so stay tuned!

Click through to watch the three minute vid.
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Mario’s Pain

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Nov 102005

Mario at the doctors.Novel Amusements #5, my DVDzine, is available online now. [UPDATE: Sold out.] This issue’s theme is “Games and Shames,” and it’s the biggest issue yet: 85 minutes of short vids, two digital toys to play with, and comes with a 16 page booklet with interviews with the creators. Click for a close-up of the front and back covers, featuring art by Shannon Gerard.

I’ve got two vids on it, Yoga Deathmatch and the brand new Mario’s Pain. To watch the played-out plumber talk about his back problems, click on through.
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Feb 272005

The headstand asanaI’ve just finished making a video about the similarities between the ancient Hindu art of spiritual discipline and the rather more modern art of online gaming. Watch the higher self rack up high scores getting to the next level of consciousness in the transcendentally physical world of Half-Life 2: Deathmatch! It’s a little over four minutes and change, keep reading for the download links and screenshots.

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