A Five-Year-Old Reviews Five NES Games

Mike Diver for Waypoint:

I managed to get my hands on a Classic, and immediately wanted to share these old games, ones I remember from my childhood, with my own kids. I’ve a five-year-old son, who loves Super Mario Maker and Minecraft. He’s taking his first steps into video gaming, as I was at his age, and he was willing, if not quite eager, to check out some of these vintage experiences. And, naturally, I thought about a way to turn this father-son playtime into #content.

I asked him to give me his opinion on five of the featured games, selected with no influence from me, after five minutes of play. First impressions are everything when you’ve 30 options at hand, after all. Plus, the attention span of your average five year old isn’t all that incredible. Here’s what he thought.

Spoiler: a lot of kids (well, probably not a lot; Nintendo made like seventeen of these things) are probably going to be disappointed with their Christmas presents this year.

But I’d agree with this five-year-old in that Kirby’s Adventure holds up a lot better than many NES titles. It’s still great.

News of the Weird

The Last Lemp

St. Louis Magazine:

On October 18, 2012, the Riverfront Times published a story headlined “One of the Last Lemps,” identifying “Andrew Lemp Paulsen” as “the last remaining descendant of Anna Lemp” and describing his tours of the crypt, with “insider history.” Paulsen told the reporter he’d never known that people were so interested in his family’s ghostly history until he was in college and happened to see a magazine that named the Lemp Mansion one of the “top 10 most haunted places in America.” The RFT article included photos of Paulsen and of William Lemp Jr., the latter captioned “Proof that well-defined jawlines and strong schnozes run in the family.”

There was one small problem. According to her obituary in The New York Times, Anne-Marie Konta died on April 16, 1973—11 years before Andrew Paulsen was born.

The story of the Lemp family is a weird one. It’s supremely intertwined with the history of St. Louis, and parallels its own rise and fall over the years.

That someone engaged in what can only be described as a long con to prove himself a Lemp family member is fairly bizarre, but interesting to read about.


Live Another Another Day?

Man, Live Another Day wasn’t the best 24 has ever been, so I guess that’s over and done with, even though they ended it on a cliffhang—

During the 2015 FOX upfronts press call, Dana Walden and Gary Newman, chairmen and CEOs of the Fox Television Group, revealed that another edition of “24” is in development.

Oh, hm.

Well, I’m not sure I would be all that interested in another one of those; what else could they—

Details are scarce at this time, but perhaps the seed for a new “24” season was planted on the “Live Another Day” Blu-ray/DVD release. A special feature on the discs shows Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) in solitary confinement, offering to spill secrets to the Department of Justice in exchange for release from solitary. The request is denied, but someone plants some secret plans for escape in the lawyer’s glasses and in the end, Tony is seen looking at the escape plans.



Critical Discussion

The Billionaire’s Typewriter

Matthew Butterick with probably the most astute and complete takedown of Medium as a platform for your writing I have read:

In truth, Medium’s main prod­uct is not a pub­lish­ing plat­form, but the pro­mo­tion of a pub­lish­ing plat­form. This pro­mo­tion brings read­ers and writ­ers onto the site. This, in turn, gen­er­ates the us­age data that’s valu­able to ad­ver­tis­ers. Boiled down, Medium is sim­ply mar­ket­ing in the ser­vice of more mar­ket­ing. It is not a “place for ideas.” It is a place for ad­ver­tis­ers. It is, there­fore, ut­terly superfluous.

“But what about all the writ­ing on Medium?” The mea­sure of su­per­fluity is not the writ­ing on Medium. Rather, it’s what Medium adds to the writ­ing. Re­call the ques­tion from above: how does Medium im­prove the In­ter­net? I haven’t seen a sin­gle story on Medium that couldn’t ex­ist equally well else­where. Nor ev­i­dence that Medium’s edit­ing and pub­lish­ing tools are a man­i­fest im­prove­ment over what you can do with other tools.

If you use it, I would personally urge you to leave Medium and take control of your writing. WordPress is easy-to-use, easy to set up, and you can put together a basic site on a host for around $100 a year or so. (If you want to give this a shot, for most beginners I usually recommend DreamHost.)

Or if you don’t want to worry about hosting and all that stuff, come host your site on You own your content, you can take it with you if you leave for a self-hosted WordPress installation, and it’s backed by world-class support. (I work there; I know these people and they are the finest.)

(h/t to Matt for the link)


Destiny Dumpster Fire, February 19

The crazy that is Destiny continues, via Kotaku:

Today’s revelation: the weekly heroic strike will soon turn into a “matchmade” activity—in other words, players will be forced into matchmaking whenever they start it with a fireteam of less than three people. No more soloing or running the weekly heroic with a single other friend—you’ll now be stuck in a team of three based on Destiny‘s matchmaking algorithms, like you are whenever you try to run a regular-level strike.

Is it that hard to implement an LFG functionality at this point?

High Fives

2014 at VIP

My colleague Steph just posted our year in review post for the VIP team at Automattic, and it’s a cool read if you want to see the kinds of things I work with on a daily basis:

2014 has been a big year at VIP. So far, we’ve served more than 28 billion pageviews (or, 28,250,403,658 the last time we checked). We’ve also added 350 new sites to the VIP network and 13 new members to our team (including an acquisition)!

As the leading WordPress solution for enterprises, we pride ourselves on working with your team to ensure that your code is optimized, secure, and fast. This year our customers have deployed changes 31,000 times, comprising more than one million lines of code—and we’ve reviewed every line. (And in case you were wondering, 4pm ET on Thursdays is the busiest hour in our deploy queue).

2014 is the first full year I’ve been on the VIP team, and I couldn’t be happier with the challenges we attack, the problems we solve, and the clients we serve every day. And to boot, I get to do this from wherever I want to be, working alongside some insanely intelligent and thoughtful people.

It was a good year, and more is yet to come. :)


Unencrypted Boarding Passes

Dani Grant:

On Delta, you can change the URL of your boarding pass and get someone else’s boarding pass.

The image is unbelievable:


High Fives

Nick Denton: Back to Blogging

Nick Denton, in a memo to Gawker staff:

[…]I want to resume the activity that brings the best out of me: blogging.

As a company, we are getting back to blogging. It’s the only truly new media in the age of the web. It is ours. Blogging is the essential act of journalism in an interactive and conversational age. Our bloggers surface buried information, whether it’s in an orphaned paragraph in a newspaper article, or in the government archives. And we can give the story further energy by tapping readers for information, for the next instalment of the story, and the next round of debate.

The natural form of online media is the exchange, not the blast.

The blog is dead. Long live the blog.

Fails Movies

PG-13 As Failure

Chris Klimek, The Dissolve:

I still had to pedal my bike to a video store to get these movies back then. In 2014, the idea of impressionable tweens requiring protection from upsetting material they encounter in a movie theater is a similarly quaint notion. The most lasting effect of the PG-13 rating seems to be that it’s kept most mainstream pictures clear of the profanity and sexual candor that populates critically acclaimed cable dramas. Is it coincidence that while major studios have never been less inclined to invest in movies that won’t sell toys, or open huge in non-English-speaking countries, the quality of television storytelling is the strongest it’s ever been?

It’s long been obvious that movie studios’ blind adherence to “keep it PG-13 so the teens can give you their money” has been holding back artistic vision. As the article later states, once the budget reaches a certain value, it’s likely that creators lose control over the audience they wish to target.

Games High Fives

…And We Know What I’ll Be Streaming Late This Year

Bandai Namco makes about two-thirds of the gaming friends I have giddy with joy:

We are very excited to announce that next month it will be possible for players to migrate their Dark Souls: Prepare to Die games, saves and achievements from the Games for Windows Live platform to Steam.

I have regrettably never played through Dark Souls, but I think shifting it away from GFWL will push it onto the list of things I’ll end up streaming later this year. (If I can ever get my streaming act together other than the yearly marathons.)