April Fools: Google Maps Goes 8-Bit

Confession time sans any shame: When I was a wee boy, I would run around in my backyard, sword-stick in hand, playing in imaginary worlds that were mostly inspired by the 8-bit NES maps in Final Fantasy and Legend of Zelda. These worlds, grand for a little awesome kid, offered the perfect bird’s-eye view of spatial possibilities, offsetting where you could and could not go–that is, until a major weapon, accessory, magic, or tip was found that would be duly employed to blast through any and all obstacles. Needless to say, life was good. But now that I am old and boring and my penchant for whimsically running around in my backyard returns to me only when I am drunk or deranged, such fancies have passed from my everyday existence–until now. Clearly on a similar wavelength, the gamers behind Google Maps dropped an 8-bit April Fools masterpiece on the world. Take a bird’s-eye view after the jump.

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Superhero and Sci-Fi Movies Imagined As 8-Bit Awesomeness.

Eric Palmer dropped the thunder with this collection of 8-bit inspired sci-fi and superhero posters. ‘Cause god knows us geeks of the older caste enjoy getting our pop culture moments filtered through our Nintendo.

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DEFEAT. 045 – after words.

[DEFEAT. is a   coming-of-death novella. Brian Galiano lends his artistic talents to each episode. this is the post-coital cigarette.]

Rimina Jacoby sat in Bandini’s Café, leisurely smoking a cigarette and drinking coffee. Black. Bandini himself had tried to persuade her to try the espresso but she said she’d seen what it was capable of. And frankly, she laughed, she didn’t think it would be quite strong enough for her taste.

With her gray sleeves rolled up to her elbows, Rimina handled a newspaper. Her eye searched the front page, settling on the date. “Yes, yes, yes…that is when today happened.

The little bell above the door jingled. The Woman in Gray Robes didn’t look up to see who was entering. She already knew. She had planned on meeting him here, at this moment. In fact, years later she would tell him to make sure he was there so that they could palaver. As equals.

Or as close to equals as they would ever be.

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DEFEAT. 043 – Postscript Four

[DEFEAT. is presented in weekly episodes. the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy. Brian Galiano provides stunning original art for every episode. the end is nigh.]

I’ll never forget how he looked when I finally came face to face with him. Well, face to face with him again. Surely you know what I mean.

Don’t you?

It was just before 10AM when I came across Daryl Millar — just as I had planned it. His entrance at the pep rally would be about a half-hour later, so I figured this was the perfect time to reveal myself. Remembering the route he walked to school, I parked myself somewhere in the middle and waited.

He arrived right on time. Of course.

Before he saw me, his face was filled with fire. Not a blazing inferno of anger, but an inextinguishable torch of determination. There were no words that could persuade this hero to abandon his mission. Not that anyone else would have even approached him to try. After all, don’t forget that he was holding a goddamn sword. Not exactly an inviting image.

When I stepped in front of Daryl, he did not become upset. Perhaps somewhere deep inside, in the same viscera that told him to follow this course in the first place, he knew that I could not stop him. That I was not derailing his train of consequence, but offering a minor detour. With this comprehension in hand, he gave me an honest moment to speak my mind.

I told him who I was. He laughed at first. He told me I was just a pervert who hid in bushes and spied on high school students. I explained that I could understand his interpretation, as he had clearly spotted me on Monday, but that he was wrong. That I was who I was claiming to be. That given the revelations of the week, he should be more open to the idea.

And then I made an allusion to Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Daryl reconsidered his position. He looked as deeply into me as he could. Then he looked deeply within himself. I saw him thinking, considering all of the existential convergences. Intercourse under his belt. A sword that had traveled the world. A genuine gypsy mystic. Visions in basements and coffee shops. Friends in need. An adversary to defeat. His grandfather’s approval for whatever. A final word of warning coming from a traveler from afar. It all clicked.

Universal sequence complete.

We both acknowledged the surreality of the situation. I wanted to say something more to him, but didn’t. He offered his condolences about my right leg. He said goodbye and trudged ahead.

He hadn’t moved more than twenty paces when I called after him. Again, I knew it was useless but couldn’t help myself.

“Daryl! Wait! Are you sure you want to go through with this?”

He stopped but didn’t turn around. Over his shoulder, he called out to me. “Did you enjoy our conversation?

“Yes. Very much.”

“And do you enjoy the ability to have such conversations?”

“Of course! It’s my life’s work — everything I’ve ever dreamed of.”

“Then you know what I have to do.” He continued walking. “Besides, nothing’s stopping you from speaking with me again.”

I watched him unsheathe the goddamn sword and take a sneak preview of its glory. Walking down his chosen path, he was all right.

All right forever.

– E.B.

DEFEAT. 039 – true believers

Daryl’s resolve had been fully reinstalled by Vanessa, the love of his life. He now had a force fortifying him, filling the few remaining empty spots of his soul with purpose. With an emotional connection expressed physically, one is far less vulnerable to the wounds that Life so desperately tries to inflict with His rapier.

That is, of course, unless heartbreak is involved. For as rewarding as is the ascent to the top of the mountain, the tumbling downward is doubly painful. Given enough time, even the most sincere relationships can deteriorate, either losing their vitality or compromising until all that remains is a shadow.

And the shade is fine. Unless you’ve walked in the sunlight.

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DEFEAT. 027 – Stories of the House Millar

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

Daryl Millar wasn’t one to brag. In fact, he held a special disdain for those who gloat about their triumphs. Part of this contempt stemmed from the fact that most braggarts haven’t done nearly as much as they claim. Gum-flapping as a means of self-denial. The rejection of a lackluster life. The other primary set of boasters are those who speak truthfully but only do so as to posture themselves above others. At the end of the day, Daryl believed that most who bragged were either liars or assholes.

Or, maybe even lying assholes.

So it was with some reservation that the protagonist considered phoning his friends. But he just had to tell them about his evening. “I can’t keep this to myself,” he thought, “it was just too unreal. Almost…otherworldly.” Daryl had turned a corner, and was on his street. As he approached his house, he picked up the pace of both his steps and his thoughts.

Thinking on it now, Daryl felt changed, as though shedding the skin of a virgin had not only opened his eyes but granted a third one as well. While he had been trained to connote first sexual experiences with the end of innocence, this was not his current perception. Instead, he felt an overwhelming sense of possibility, as though a door had opened and was urging him to take the final step across the threshold.

Something within had been activated and Daryl was sure that it was pushing him towards redefinition.

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DEFEAT. 022 – Wednesday Morning Wisdom

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

Wednesday morning.

Daryl woke up dizzy and thirsty, but he wasn’t convinced that he could blame it on the Colt 45. No, Daryl remembered that by the time he had come home and gotten into bed he had been sober. Practically. But trying to stand up, he couldn’t shake off his light head and tight chest.

“Why’re my damn lungs on fire?”

And then the recollection. Cigarettes and incense and smoke. He had been totally absorbed. Yes, Daryl now saw images of the mystic who had shown him…well, he knew what she had shown him, but it was too early to start trying to figure out what it meant.

“Hiya there, kiddo!” interjected Gramps, just in time to prevent the dangerous heavy thinking that sometimes follows an evening of heavy drinking. Easing his way through the threshold, Clark moved towards his favorite grandchild. “From the looks of it, I’d guess that someone had a good time last night!” The elder statesman of the Millar tribe slapped his grandson on the shoulder, laughing and remembering his own youthful indiscretions. “I hope she was worth it — and if I know you, I’m sure she was!”

“Nah, Gramps, nothing like that — it was a night out with the boys.” Sitting back down on the edge of his bed, Daryl shot a hand through his hair.

“Oh, I thought I had heard something about you taking out a lady?”

Remembering his plans for the evening, Daryl reassured himself. “Oh yeah! I’m taking Vanessa out tonight!”

Gramps inquired, with a glimmer in his eyes of a man who knows, “And what is it that you’re planning on doing with this Vanessa?”

“Well, I think we’re going to head to the movies.”

“Good idea — nice and dark, you can really make your move in a theater!”


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DEFEAT. 020 (II) – Visions at 88 MPH

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

8-Bit didn’t wait to ask Riff how it went. We walked right past his friend, eager to get his own turn at gazing towards the future. His yearning to the watch the lion tamer had completely subsided when he saw those clowns in mid-coitus, and that previous excitement was now wholly invested in having his fortune read. Any other night, 8-Bit would have disregarded this sort of psychic endeavor as a base attempt to rip off the simpleminded.

But tonight was a night for celebration. A night for trying new things.

Inside the small tent, 8-Bit removed his huge glasses and frantically rubbed the lenses with the bottom of his t-shirt. The glasses were put back on, met with disapproval, and then removed for another scrubbing. With the spectacles back on, 8-Bit realized that they weren’t the source of visual impairment. It was all of the damn smoke.

“Lady, you might want to think about conjuring up some ventilation. I’m not even smoking that stuff, but I feel like I could use an iron lung. I’m cancer-bound for sure.”

Laughing, Rimina gave a sample of her talents. “8-Bit, you’re not going to get cancer from the smoke in here. If you do get cancer, it will be a brain tumor. And it will kill you on your ninety-third birthday. So don’t blame my incense. Or my recreational use of tobacco.”

Sobered by both her words and the nonchalance with which she spoke them, 8-Bit was ready to listen. “Can you…can you tell me more?”

“Of course. That’s why I get paid the big bucks.” Rimina’s cigarette, the fourth since her meeting with Riff, was brought to her dark lips. As before, an inhalation was coupled with the grasping of handsand followed by a hearty exhalation…

Exploration. Lots of exploration, all over… the world. The worlds. In a (not-too-distant) future, the teen with coke-bottle glasses turns into the man with coke-bottle glasses, and for the first time in this existence the look actually helps him fit in. It is the realm of academia — real academia, not just the optional four-year layover before going to work. There are schools and professors and textbooks stacked higher than one might think they should be. That’s dangerous he thinks they could very well fall over. Of course, worrying even now, during a glimpse past the present circumstances and into the future. Stop worrying the female voice, communicating without speaking, reminds him. Seemingly endless work is piling up, but the academic does not cave into the pitfalls of frustration. For this man, defeat is not an option, for the knowledge-seeking of the vision bearer is not a matter of being worthwhile in its own right — it is a deliberate attempt to construct a means to an end. There is a goal. Of discovery. Of impossibility? Many think so. But not the scholar. For he is atypical. He turns to the unconventional, the dangerous, and even the manipulation of the mind through use of the illicit.

But now, the future has slipped away and it is 1986 again. It is yesterday, before school. It is yesterday, at the arcade. It is today? At the circus? Now, is this the end of the week? The pep rally? Is this now or later? Both? It is unknown, but there are feelings of success and gratitude and love and accomplishment. There is work to be done.

“Heed my words — this is but one of the many, a mere sliver of a broken shard from the entire mirror of existence, whose inward reflections of itself far outnumber the outward. This fate has been neither determined nor surrendered. If it pleases you, think of it with cautious optimism. If it displeases you, change yourself so that you may best fit within this world.”

[to be continued]

DEFEAT. 015 – Blood and Ink

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

The day had been going especially well for 8-Bit. He had aced his physics exam. Daryl had returned his copy of The Dark Knight Falls without a single crease or blemish to be found. And the evening held the prospect of a trip to the circus. So, it was with an understandable enthusiasm that the teen entered the bathroom to wash his hands before lunch. The pre-lunch routine was adhered to daily, if only for a comforting sense of continuity.

Unfortunately, Brady Moore also knew of this routine. Hiding in a stall, Brady waited for 8-Bit to be about halfway through his hand-scrubbing before making a move. Although not really a consideration anyways, the fully lathered hands would prevent any attempted resistance; yes, he was a prick of an inexcusable magnitude, but Captain Moore’s strategy was commendable in its own way.

Kicking open the stall door, Brady terrified his prey. With a bewildered eye turned over his shoulder, 8-Bit knew that nothing good was on the horizon. Brady spun the gamer around. Grabbed him by the collar. lLifted him off the ground. Shoved him against the wall.

“Listen here, you fucking dork — I don’t like you.”

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DEFEAT. 013 – Get Off of the Roads!

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

The car stopped just long enough for Daryl to explode out of its passenger door. As eager as he was to get into school with enough time to return 8-Bit’s copy of The Dark Knight Falls, Daryl’s mother was twice as eager to see Jane Pauley and Bryant Gumbel interview whoever. And so the Volvo screeched, peeling out just as Mrs. Millar’s foot told it to.

This provided the man in the gray trench coat the voyeuristic advantage that had eluded him the previous morning. The man got an unencumbered look at the accelerating teen. And since Daryl had no clue that he was being watched, the man in the trench coat afforded himself the luxury of peeking over the top of the sunglasses that barely rested on the tip of his nose. “Yes,” he muttered to himself in near-disbelief, “this is exactly right. It’s so surreal. No, no, that’s not it. Just real.”

From the trench coat a ratty spiral bound journal was removed by a slightly trembling hand. The spy, now seemingly aware that others may question his lurking, scribbled his notes quickly. Returning the journal to the safety of his oversized coat, he snuck behind the bushes and out of the scene.

At the same time, 8-Bit was admiring the graffiti and clever bits of vandalism adorning the inside of his locker.

Where’s the beef?
Charlotte gives good head
Led Zep rokks!

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