WordPress once again put Yesterday’s Salad on its list of growing blogs, this time sliding us in at number 90 between “drowned world” and blogshul. A 50% jump in traffic will do that. What can I say, we’re famous. Actually, “fame” is a pretty interesting word/concept. Fame comes from the Latin “Fama” which means “report.” The first English use is “That which people say or tell; public report, common talk; a particular instance of this, a report, rumour.” That definition is now rare, but the idea hasn’t been lost. The current definition is, “The condition of being much talked about. Chiefly in good sense: Reputation derived from great achievements; celebrity, honour, renown.” The idea of being reported, or spoken about, is at the root of the word’s meaning. Consider: his fame precedes him. It’s also different from the Hebrew word comes from the root, le-pharsem, meaning to publish, publicize. There the idea is not what people are talking about, but what someone publishes, what some wants people to talk about. So, in which state is Yesterday’s Salad? Are people on the street stopping others and engaging in YS themed conversation? Are our fellow bloggers and bloggettes shining forth?

Other than our good friends at hashbrownsandtoast and jewbiquitous, we don’t consistently receive links from other websites, so my wordpress stats page doesn’t reveal too many universal truths. So, in my hour of need, I turn to technorati, and I find something magical: a poem alluding to Yesterday’s Salad. Here’s the relevant stanza:

“I laid everything on the table

And offered it to anyone who could use it more than I

And did everything I could not to let them see me cry

And it was all tossed aside like more insane ramblings and yesterday’s salad” (and the rest)

The author is clearly making a dual reference in this line, hinting at both the actual salad (tossed aside) and the website (insane ramblings).

I couldn’t be prouder of our achievement: myspace poetry equals the big-time.

From VH1’s I love the [insert decade here] programs to the many other shows featuring has-been, b- and c- list celebrities, it is clear that we live in a culture that is eminently conscious of its own recent past, the retro. As a result of pandering to these self-referential sensibilities, retro-remakes are abundant in many media, and computer games are no exception. Recent remakes have included 80’s staples such as Pong, Pitfall, and Dig Dug (but not Wall Street Kid), and typically feature graphics that are often as crappy as those in the original products. Yet, out of all of these unimaginative remakes, comes a game which not only bucks this trend of carbon-copy remakes, but fulfills David G. Roskies’ criteria for “creative betrayal,” when an artist re-imagines the works of a previous generation or movement, and in so doing, creates a new work that often surpasses its predecessors in terms of quality or even perceived authenticity.

Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden (trailer here) is a vibrant pastiche of early 90’s role-playing games such as SquareSoft’s Final Fantasy Series and Enix’s Dragon Warrior; indeed, many of the sprites look as if they have been re-purposed from games like Secret of Mana, and the combat system is nigh identical to that of most of the early Final Fantasy games. The game also steals classic plot elements (freedom fighters, repressive governments, mythic destinies, etc.), but rather than politely rehashing them, it outnumbers them in the transition, makes a fast break-away, and sticks it to the hoop — perhaps the provided plot synopsis explains best:

“The Great B-Ball Purge of 2041, a day so painful to some that it is referred to only as the “B-Ballnacht”. Thousands upon thousands of the world’s greatest ballers were massacred in a swath of violence and sports bigotry as the game was outlawed worldwide. The reason: the Chaos Dunk, a jam so powerful its mere existence threatens the balance of chaos and order. Among the few ballers and fans that survived the basketball genocide was Charles Barkley, the man capable of performing the “Verboten Jam”…

Flash forward 12 years to the post-cyberpocalyptic ruins of Neo New York, 2053. A Chaos Dunk rocks the island of Manhattan, killing 15 million. When the finger is put on the aging Charles Barkley, he must evade the capture of the B-Ball Removal Department, led by former friend and baller Michael Jordan, and disappear into the dangerous underground of the post-cyberpocalypse to clear his name and find out the mysterious truth behind the Chaos Dunk. Joined by allies along the way, including his son Hoopz, Barkley must face the dangers of a life he thought he gave up a long time ago and discover the secrets behind the terrorist organization B.L.O.O.D.M.O.S.E.S.

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