Stories for December 2008

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Tuesday, December 30

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Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff (DS)

Considering that Tecmo is clearly going for the old-school crowd, they'll certainly please them thanks to the fact that this game is nearly identical to its predecessors in many ways.

Monday, December 29

2008: The year that wouldn't die

A retrospective in sound, pictures, and made-up words

What can be said about 2008 other than, "Please, God, make it stop!" We laughed, we cried, and we probably threw up on ourselves—and that was just during the New Kids on the Block concert.

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Style Scout: Nas Alazzeh

I like Ed Hardy stuff, and straight-leg jeans.

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Tomb Raider: Underworld (360)

It boggles my mind that this buggy, glitch-filled mess must have passed through the hands of dozens and dozens of QA testers, developers, and Eidos management, and they all said “Yep, this seems like a perfectly finished game to me!”

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Style Scout: Anna Waskowski

I'm obsessed with Vanilla Coke.

Friday, December 26

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Left 4 Dead (360)

It shamelessly borrows from every zombie movie cliche in existence, but that's exactly why fans of the genre will love this game. You've got your ragtag group of diverse characters, hordes of bloodthirsty zombies, and plenty of "stand on top of this thing and shoot everything that moves with your shotgun" moments.

Thursday, December 25

The Year in Lawrence Music 2008: Not bad. Not bad at all.

A look back at the year in local music, including a podcast of the year's 10 best releases and downloads from many more...

Tuesday, December 23

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Lips (360)

Karaoke games might be huge across the pond, but they've yet to catch on much here. This game's party-compatible features could help, although it's single-player side is weak.

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Holy Spirits

Booze and the Bible mingle at Theology on Tap

On Thursday nights, in a peculiar phenomenon which might inspire a spit take from ascetic fuddy duddies, Henry’s Upstairs transubstantiates from a secular saloon into a slightly sloshed seminary. Theology on Tap is serving up Bible study anointed with beer, and all are welcome.

Sunday, December 21

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Townie guide to… Awava in a manger

Kate von Achen, Founding Director of Awava

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Style Scout: Stuart Perry

I pull out my eyebrows incessantly.

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Style Scout: Aimee Howard

I got my belly button pierced when I was 18, and I just can't bring myself to take it out for some reason.

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Save & Splurge: Kurt Lane

Drummer, dual citizen of Lawrence and New York

Friday, December 19

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Hark! The Local Musicians Sing!

Two new Christmas albums FREE exclusively on lawrence.com

Sick of being hit over the head with Mannheim Steamroller and all the other crappy Christmas music out there? Download two new Christmas albums by Lawrence musicians Sam Billen and Josh Atkinson—and rediscover the true meaning of decent Christmas music.

Thursday, December 18

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Prince of Persia (PS3)

It's disappointing that it's so easy to love the game during the impressive platforming segments, then quickly hate it once an enemy pops up. With some more polish and a better combat engine, a sequel to this game could be stellar.

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Cute as a Transmitten

Adorable Lawrence couple crafts crushworthy indie pop

Lawrence's Transmittens traces its roots back to Cincinnati, where Jen Weidl and Danny Rowland met and started making lovely music together.

Tuesday, December 16

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Namco Museum Virtual Arcade (360)

There may be some confusing elements to the overall presentation of this package, but what's really important are the games. Thankfully, there's a lot of them, and a good chunk of them are worth your time.

Monday, December 15

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Actual news*

*...based on actual news

Highlights from the news that was new last week.

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Merry Slickmas

Troubadour Slick Rhodes is drunk on Christmas cheer, eggnog

You might know Slick Rhodes as the song-and-dance man from Galveston, TX with a taste for whiskey-soaked women, or you might know him as the protégé of Lawrence musical institution Arthur Dodge who looks uncannily a lot like Arthur Dodge.

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Mondo Santa

The mother of all bad Christmas specials screens in Lawrence

Scandinavian Santa versus the Ice Cream Bunny. Santa the Ambassador, teaching African children about the great United States. That’s the stuff of “Holy Yule: Santa in a Strange Land,” a film of mashed-up arcane video that’s touring the Midwest.

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Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (360)

Nuts & Bolts is simultaneously a great throwback to classic 3D platformers and a breath of fresh air in the genre. The level progression may seem straight out of Mario 64, but the new vehicle system makes it more than just nostalgia.

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Save & Splurge: Stephanie Bell

Server, student, enjoys Spanish and ambulating.

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Style Scout: Michaela Boman

I like classic pieces that you can dress up or down

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Style Scout: Jake Webb

I like rocking the fedora

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Townie guide to… Hindu for the holidays

Growing up Hindu in the United States, did you ever feel like a Democrat at a Bass Pro Shop?

Sunday, December 14

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Active Life Outdoor Challenge (Wii)

It's been two years since the Nintendo Wii hit (and subsequently flew off of) the shelves, and there have been two major success stories: minigames and Wii Fit. It seems that Namco Bandai saw a couple of emerging fads and tried to capitalize on them, as Active Life Outdoor Challenge is an odd combination of both minigame and "fitness".

Wednesday, December 10

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Resistance 2 (PS3)

Resistance 2 doesn't quite keep up with the level of quality of today's AAA shooters, but it still delivers a campaign worth playing through and an impressive multiplayer component.

Tuesday, December 9

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Townie guide to… the gift of fab

Leslie Kay, screen printer, rock show booker, junk refurbisher, cat whisperer

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A Carol Full of Monkeys

Sock monkeys fling holiday cheer at LOLA

Twas the weeks before Christmas, when all through the economy, Not a shopper was stirring, not even at Anthropologie.

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Guitar Hero: On Tour Decades (DS)

The difference between Guitar Hero and On Tour Decades is that one is meant to be played in a living room with friends and some beers, and the other is meant to be played portably. Oh, and one is impossible to play without looking like a massive tool. If you doubt me, please watch the commercial for the game herein...

Monday, December 8

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Actual news*

*...based on actual news

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Save & Splurge: Emily Rose Patrick

I actually subscribe to the stimulating-the-economy theory, where I just spend money to encourage a resurgence in the economy.

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O Christmas Free

Recession-proof party plans

With the economy in a seemingly endless nosedive, many holiday parties are being scaled back or simply canceled. Even Vanity Fair is planning to tone down its standard-setting Oscar bash. In light of all the news, whatever is a humble holiday house party (and its broke hosts) to do?

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Armoryaggedon

Lawrence’s The Armory heralds “The New Depression”

Saturday, December 6

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Midnight Club Los Angeles (360)

There are a few frustrating hiccups in the quality of the actual races, but fans of the genre shouldn't let that dissuade them from picking this up.

Friday, December 5

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Style Scout: Kyra Sims

I'm pretty obsessed with Spongebob Squarepants. I try to watch it every day.

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Style Scout: Alex Carnales

I think there should be a mall in Lawrence. I'd also like to have more clubs for younger people.

Monday, December 1

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Gears of War 2 (360)

When the first Gears of War came out, I remember hearing many gamers say it was good for tiding the masses over until Halo 3 hit. Now, it can certainly be said that the Gears of War franchise is just as much of a heavy-hitter as Microsoft's other big exclusive.

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Actual news*

KU wins! KU loses. Economy loses even worse. India, Batman, Planned Parenthood gift cards, Barack Hussein Obama ... all reviewed from the week that was.

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Save & Splurge: Cassy Ainsworth

Small business owner, minimalist, bliss lover, and friend

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Review: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (360)

The cartoonish DC heroes and villains fit right into the ridiculous MK universe. It's jarring at first to see MK mainstay Scorpion plunge his spear into the Joker, but these DC characters really help to add a new element to Midway's franchise.

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A Perfect Hell

Art show ponders whether we’re on the cusp of utopia or Armageddon

A leaf blower doesn’t leap to mind as the likeliest harbinger of hell-on-earth, but that’s a matter of perspective. It was that unassuming power tool, being used to manicure a lawn behind Hobbs Taylor Lofts in a futile attempt to fend off natural decay, which inspired Dave Loewenstein and Heidi Zeller to curate a modern convenience vs. inevitable destruction art show.

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Before I Die...

How two artists use death to amplify life

What make some people more aware of their own mortality than others? What motivates people to take action in their lives? What values do we hold as a society? Artists Nicole Kenney and ks rives address these questions in their global survey of human attitudes toward death in a project called "Before I Die I Want To..."