"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 29 January 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Sublimating Aggression


[Microsoft NFL NBC Super Bowl]

$40K a second? 58 30-second units

of commercial time inhaling

roughly $70 mil in less than 6

hours? Pinch me.



Not the Super Bowl - as far as we

could tell, the whole thing was

a crude warm-up attempt to

finesse the hour-long Friends

special into something

approximating compelling TV.

Admittedly, Anheuser-Busch's sly

plot to frame the Budweiser

Blimp's travels into a media

event was inspired if only for

their choice of a vehicle whose

velocity roughly matched the

tempo of the game, but

Oscar-Mayer brand proliferation

notwithstanding, our interest in

the spectacle was primarily



[Bud 3D]

As Bud Dry percolated through the

dazzled cerebrums of several

million august land whales,

visions of rolling green hills

cascaded through ours. By now,

it's gospel that the next year

or two will see the net hosting

recapitulations of television's

most grinningly cynical moments.

Amongst the onslaught of witless

click-junkies, however,

half-wits jonesing for royalty

status will have to strain to

distinguish themselves with deft

appropriation of media's most

obvious gimmicks. For us, the

motivating money shot was an

anonymous Steeler slurping goo

from a Gatorade-emblazoned



[Behind The Scenes]

Those Visa-sponsored

foreshadowings of the Olympic

Summer Games didn't hurt,

either. For a moment, we were

able to see past the tedium of

steroid-jacked frolicking and

appreciate the sporting industry

in more healthy terms: a vast

canvas of ripe brand-name-ready

real estate. As if shellacking

one's logo onto stadium walls,

scoreboards, billboards,

aircraft, and sundry promotions

weren't enough, think about all

that virgin space on the bodies

of the players proper! How could

we forget the Dream Team

receiving their gold medals, all

clad in Reebok ornamentals save

Nike-owned Michael Jordan? And

damned if those nifty

product endorsements don't bring

out the best in an athlete!


[ESPN SportsZone]

Given that the precedent of a

freebie economy is likely to

steer the Web towards an

overarching sponsorship model,

the marriage of sports and the

net is liable to cause

Wienermobile-size swellings in

the pockets of the net's

savviest ministers. But before

you sink your savings into ESPN

SportsZone-type projects, keep

in mind that it hardly requires

cable-modem bandwidth to tool

around with your buddies in an

invigorating Marathonesque

bloodbath. And considering how

easy it'll be to massively scale

such multi-player escapades when

the brunt of the graphics

processing takes place on the

client-side, it's not difficult

to see games like Doom and

Descent as crude

proofs-of-concept. The

Super Bowl? An equally crude




If millions of AOLers find value

in irritating strangers in

chat rooms, how much more jazzed

would they be if given the

chance to eviscerate, or at

least humiliate, flocks of

blockheads? While the chat

spaces of late 96 will most

likely feature gun racks at the

door, those of 97 will likely

have progressed to faux-elegant

gamespaces, where schoolyard

classics like dodgeball,

capture-the-flag, and

bludgeon-the-gimp will have

evolved into arena blockbusters.

We imagine the glimmering

texturemaps will be saved for

the AmEx half-time extravaganza.


[Game Analysis]

Those whose fingers have lost the

will to twitch might be inclined

to watch. In a frenzied virtual

space, any given audience member

might forego control of their

personal panopticon for the more

reliable cinematography of an

MSNBC-controlled tour guide. If

the idea of snooping on the

antics of sponsor-clad

net.gladiators bores you to

tears, and you can't picture

hordes of barbecue-happy tubs

and hollering fratboys glued to

their monitors, add semi-legal

gambling to the caldron and

stir. Oh, the joys of a

decentralized world-wide digital

economy! With my pile of

Marlboro Miles wagered against

your stash of Camel Bucks, who

needs Wall Street?


[We Win!]

As your 250-polygon Sherman tank

cruises towards ground zero, all

we ask is for you to pause

momentarily and direct your gaze

up towards the effervescent

artificial horizon. Floating

gingerly amongst the pixelated

cloud-blobs, we're sure you'll

be pleased to spy the primitive

shape of the official Suck blimp -

bandwidth, technology, and

audience evolution aside, we

doubt we'll ever lose our

affinity for hot air.

courtesy of the Duke of URL