Wii Sports

“What strikes you immediately playing Wii Sports — and particularly Tennis — is this feeling of fluidity, the feeling that subtle, organic shifts in your body’s motion will lead to different results onscreen. My wife has a crosscourt slam she hits at the net that for the life of me I haven’t been able to figure out; I have a topspin return of soft serves that I’ve half-perfected that’s unhittable. We both got to those techniques through our own athletic experimentation with various gestures, and I’m not sure I could even fully explain what I’m doing with my killer topspin shot. In a traditional game, I’d know exactly what I was doing: hitting the B button, say, while holding down the right trigger. Instead, my expertise with the shot has evolved through the physical trial-and-error of swinging the controller, experimenting with different gestures and timings. And that’s ultimately what’s so amazing about the device.” Steven Johnson


“There are many different modes of creating wonder—psychology, misdirection, suggestion. A magician must find out what people are drawn to—what colors, what numbers, what shapes—so that you can kind of get a general idea of what people want to see. We’re kind of in the same business as advertisers, because we give people what they want to see, but on our terms. It’s hard to give an example without revealing secrets.” David Copperfield

The lion sleeps tonight

“As Solomon Linda first recorded it in 1939, it was a tender melody, almost childish in its simplicity — three chords, a couple of words and some baritones chanting in the background. But the saga of the song now known worldwide as ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ is anything but a lullaby. It is fraught with racism and exploitation and, in the end, 40-plus years after his death, brings a measure of justice. Were he still alive, Solomon Linda might turn it into one heck of a ballad.” Sharon LaFraniere, The New York Times

The appropriate time

“I don’t know. I look at our show sometimes, and I don’t know what the appropriate time for it is. I don’t necessarily think it’s 12:30. Sometimes I think it’s a children’s show. You can run huge portions of my show on Nickelodeon. We have everything but green slime coming down on the guests. So I don’t know. I honestly think yes. I’ve done my share of things in prime time, I’ve done my share of things earlier in the evening, and you still find the way to do your sense of humor or execute your sensibility in front of a slightly different audience. You’re always adjusting to what that specific situation is. If you’re hosting the Emmys, you adjust a little. If you’re doing a week of shows in a 4,000-seat theatre in Chicago, you make certain adjustments, but still, it’s basically you. I have to feel it’s the same thing at 11:30. Will the Masturbating Bear still be there? Who can say?” Conan O’Brien, on doing The Tonight Show an hour earlier than Late Night With Conan O’Brien


“How many cows will be killed to keep Roger Federer, the world’s best tennis player, in fresh racquets this year? Do the math: The Swiss master is said to go through an estimated 900 sets of strings a year. Since strings lose tension as they’re played — and since Federer is acutely attuned to his ever-changing equipment — he will use five to seven freshly strung Wilsons per match at this week’s Rogers Cup, which is fewer than the 10 to 12 he’ll use at a Grand Slam event… For the record, it takes three cows to make a full set of natural gut strings. That means Federer, who uses a half-set per racquet, is indebted to some 1,350 cattle per annum.” Dave Feschuk, Toronto Star

Human comforts

“Let me tell you something about hew-mans, nephew. They’re a wonderful, friendly people, as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts, deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers, put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time… And those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people, will become as nasty and as violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon. You don’t believe me? Look at those faces, look at their eyes…” Quark to his nephew Nog, Star Trek: Deep Space 9

Quark and Nog

War of the words

“We find that pretty arrogant. They don’t decide. We don’t decide. Gamers decide.” Xbox Canada’s Jason Anderson, on Sony’s E3 proclamation of “Sony decides when the next generation begins”

I remember

“Remember those asshole claw machines that would constantly rob you of 50 cents? My grandmother’s arthritis ridden hands have a tighter grip than these damn machines.” Travis Hudson, Gizmodo

Big in America

“…We had been contacted by Jim Clark, the founder of SGI (Silicon Graphics Inc.), who called us up one day and said that he had just bought a company called MIPS Inc. which had been working on some things with some great R&D people, and it just so happened that they came up with a chip that they thought would be great for a video game console… We were quite impressed, and we called up Japan and told them to send over the hardware team because these guys really had something cool… When they reviewed what SGI had developed… they basically said that it… had lots of little technical things that they didn’t like… So, the SGI guys went away and worked on these issues and then called us back up and asked that the same team be sent back over, because they had it all resolved… There was sort of the same reaction: still not good enough… Well, Jim Clark called me up and asked what was he supposed to do now? They had spent all that time and effort on what they thought was the perfect video game chipset, so what were they supposed to do with it? I told them that there were other companies that they should be calling, because we clearly weren’t the ones for them. Needless to say, he did, and that chipset became part of the next generation of Nintendo products (N64).” Sega of America president Tom Kalinske, on the inner rivalry that existed between the American and Japanese branches of Sega

Entertainment choices

“To start, I think women are much more discriminating in general than men in their choice of entertainment experience. Men will do the same stupid thing over and over again and be happy. Women tend to want a more complex, creative experience.” Will Wright, creator of The Sims