This is an edition of Fringes, my roughly weekly newsletter about my travels on the fringes on the internet. Often about games, sometimes about... other things.
No new long-form piece this week, but plenty of rabbit-holes to go down.
Music theory... in space
So it started from a rather innocuous video shared by David Perell by Andrew Huang on "Why pop music is obsessed with this one note". It's super watchable, and requires no prior music theory knowledge to enjoy. You'll also learn why so much of The Weeknd's music sounds the same.
I enjoyed the content and presentation so much that I started some of Andrew Huang's other videos. I haven't followed his YouTube channel regularly, so I picked at random... and that's when things got weird. The next video I watched was this one on the Microcosm effects pedal. It looks like a normal product review – he shows off the different effects it can produce as he walks through the all the features on the pedal. All perfectly normal stuff for about 5-and-a-half minutes when, uh, Andrew then appears to walk through his spaceship, put a spacesuit, and land on some alien planet. What?
It turns out that for the last month, he's been continuing to post music content like always, but has also been telling a story about how he... is in space. Here's the first video in the series, titled "Final song before I leave" (for space, that is). Again, the first half of the video is about a new song he's producing that uses a vocoder... and the second half is a remarkably well produced montage of him... going to space. It was so convincing that it prompted a Newsweek fact check on whether or not he actually went to space.
It's pretty clear at this point that he is, in fact, not in space if only because in a later video he says the reason he's even in space is to look for... time crystals that let him time travel. But still – where is this set he's filming all this at? Look at the size of it in this spaceship tour! I don't really understand what is going on but I love it. He seems like a mad genius.
Sometimes a banana is just a banana
In the gaming world, the Epic/Apple lawsuit continues – for anyone not following along, this is a big deal. Basically Epic is suing Apple over the App Store's restrictive policies after Apple kicked Fortnite out of the App Store when Epic tried to bypass Apple's 30% commission on all in-app purchases. There's plenty of good coverage out there already that you can read (I like Protocol's ongoing coverage). And of course the stakes are high: working at a mobile game company means 30% of all player purchases go straight to Apple – cutting down on Apple's take means a direct increase to our bottom line (and every other app developer as well).
Given the stakes, I find the following exchange about Peely, Fortnite's humanoid-banana mascot, extra hilarious. From Kotaku's coverage:
“We have a large yellow banana here in a tuxedo.”
“Yes, that is Peely,” Weissinger [Epic's VP of marketing] said.
“And that’s Peely, did you say?” the lawyer continued, clearly swallowing the Lovecraftian dread consuming him at the sight of the beast. “And in fact in the tuxedo he’s known as Agent Peely, correct?”
“We thought it better to go with the suit than the naked banana since we are in federal court this morning,” the lawyer said.
And then a little bit later, referencing the above:
Lawyer: “There might have been an implication that to show Peely without a suit would have been inappropriate, do you recall that?” “Is there anything inappropriate about Peely without a suit?”
Weissinger: “No, there is not.”
Lawyer: “If we could just put on the screen a picture of Peely — is there anything inappropriate about Peely without clothes?”
Weissinger: “It’s just a banana, ma’am.”
A return to normalcy & board games
Finally, in personal news, I had my first in-person board game night since the pandemic began yesterday. We played The Gallerist by Vital Lacerda. Despite being someone who is "very into board games", I'd still never played anything by Lacerda. It's a heavy / complex euro-game where you play the role of a hybrid art gallery manager / artist promoter / art dealer trying to make the most money by the end of the game.
It was a lot of fun to meet up and play again, though I'm exhausted today – maybe I can't handle being around people anymore...
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Until next time,