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Today's look at the emerging trend of games with minimal or nonexistent heads-up displays (HUDs) got us thinking about how games have traditionally laid out critical information about the player's status. We've come practically full circle from the days of the earliest video games, which were unable to display any status information or even keep track of basic statistics. In between, we've seen HUDs ranging from the realistic (Ace Combat 2) to the ridiculous (World of Warcraft) with everything in between. Recall for yourself by clicking through our gallery.

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Last night I watched the 1954 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and this is stuck in my head.

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Focal Press’s excellent “Film Craft” books series ( see Cinematography, Directing, Production Design ) continue with Editing, again featuring illuminating interviews and anecdotes from the very best editors working in the industry.

Some of the editors showcased include Walter Murch (The Godfather, The English Patient), Anne V. Coates ( Lawrence Of Arabia, Unfaithful ), Tim Squyres ( Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Life Of Pi ), Michael Kahn ( most of Spielberg’s films ) and more. ( 17 in all )

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The critically acclaimed French/Belgian animated documentary Approved for Adoption has lined up some US release dates. Distributor GKIDS will open the film beginning November 8 at the Angelika Film Center in New York, and November 22 at Laemmle Music Hall in LA. Expansion to other cities will follow. The film, directed by Jung Henin and Laurent Boileau, has picked up numerous awards on the festival circuit, including the Audience and UNICEF awards at Annecy in 2012.

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/Film reader Paul Bullock discovered an awesome television profile on 34-year-old director Steven Spielberg which was aired on Japanese television in the Christmas of 1982, and has been virtually unseen by American audiences. If you’re even half the Spielberg-fanatic that I am, you’ll need to watch the entirety of the special. The special features a tour through Steven’s early Amblin’s offices and his Los Angeles home, behind the scenes footage of Spielberg directing his segment from Twilight Zone: The Movie. We get to see interview clips featuring Spielberg’s mother Leah Adler, Melissa Matheson (screenwriter of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial) and his young secretary just turned producer Kathleen Kennedy (now the head of LucasFilm), Spielberg’s thoughts on 1980′s television (Cheers, St Elsewhere, Hill St Blues…etc), his then attestant Kathleen Switzer (later a producer on movies like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Apollo 18), and many others. We get to drive with Spielberg to the studio lot with his dog on his lap, Robert Zemeckis talking with his two mentors John Milius and Spielberg while they eat eel and pumpkin pie together. We get to spend some time with Spielberg sitting at the piano with John Williams talking about their music collaborations. Interspliced with clips from his early films and even some behind the scenes b-roll footage. The special also features all the vintage commercial breaks, filled with fun Japanese commercials. Watch this now, or bookmark this link to watch later.

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

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In 2011, Emma Coats, a now-former Pixar story artist, tweeted out a series of twenty-two storytelling tips she’d picked up during her time at Pixar.

The Internet, as is wont to do, misinterpreted Coats’ tips as ‘rules.’ Innumerable major media organizations and blogs republished Coats’ tips as the “22 Rules of Pixar Storytelling,” some even going so far as to illustrate them with stills from Pixar films. The unfortunate effect of this irresponsible distortion was that the average person now believes Coats’ tweets represent some kind of definitive rulebook about Pixar’s storytelling process.

While it may be true that Pixar, in its maturity, has slumped into formulaic story structures and characters relationships, it is still a gross mischaracterization to suggest that all of the studio’s story artists use the same playbook of warmed-over story tips.

Industry veteran Mike Bonifer, a founding producer of the Disney Channel who was instrumental in the classic documentary series Disney Family Album, has written a thoughtful corrective called “Rule #23″ that addresses the creative hazards of misreading Coats’ tweets. In his piece, Mike looks at the rules through the prism of a personal friend, Joe Ranft, Pixar’s original head of story who died tragically in a 2005 car crash.

Bonifer writes eloquently about Ranft’s approach to creativity and his refusal to put himself into a box:

When it comes to Joe Ranft, he had more than 22 games or rules, or whatever you call them. It went way, way deeper than that. He was a magician, a card-carrying member at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, so he had sleight of hand games and gestural games. A gifted mimic, he had voice and impersonation games. He had a Tell it Like James Brown Would Sing It game, a Conga Line game, a Sling Blade game, a Fake Teeth game, a Boxcar Children game, he had games for losing weight, games for raising his children, games for what to do with the money he made at Pixar. He had a game for deciding which side of the street he’d walk on. He had a game for appreciating how precious water is. He even had a game whereby he’d take a sabbatical from Pixar every few years to work with his pal, Tim Burton. No one else at Pixar could’ve gotten away with that one. See, he was a rule-breaker, and he had as much game as anyone I’ve ever known. He didn’t call them games, that I know of, although he was a Groundlings alum, and surely would’ve recognized his moves as being games in the improvisation sense. Whatever you call them, they were gifts that made things better in a thousand different ways, it didn’t matter if it was storyboarding on a Pixar film or waiting in a supermarket checkout line. Joe’s participation in it guaranteed it’d be better than it would’ve been if he had not been involved.

Bonifer goes on to suggest a perfect rule #23: “There is always another Rule.” It’s worth your time to read the entire piece, which can be found on Bonifer’s site GameChangers.com.

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Henry Gustave Molaison was a man who couldn't make memories. Better known to neuroscientists as "HM", the late Molaison suffered from seizures as a young man and struggled to lead a normal life, but things took a dramatic shift after he received a lobotomy in August 1953. Doctors removed large chunks of HM's temporal lobes and most of his hippocampus, on the assumption that these regions were responsible for the patient's neurological problems. The operation did cure HM's seizures, but it left him in a unique case of anterograde amnesia; he could remember his childhood and his personality remained unchanged, but he could not form new memories.

As Steven Shapin writes in a piece for the New Yorker this week, the operation left HM in a constant state of discovery and confusion, but it also gave scientists remarkable new insight into how the brain processes and stores memory.

"The operation could not have been better designed if the intent had been to create a new kind of experimental object that showed where in the brain memory lived," Shapin writes. "Molaison gave scientists a way to map cognitive functions onto brain structures. It became possible to subdivide memory into different types and to locate their cerebral Zip Codes."

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Alamo 100

We all love a good top ten list, but the Alamo Drafthouse has gone ten times better. They’ve taken the end of 2013 as an opportunity to create the “Alamo 100,” the 100 favorite films of all time according to the theater’s programming team. These films, which predictably run the gamut from undeniable classics to super-specific genre gems, will begin screening at Alamo locations nationwide in the new year. Each month will bring a new slate of films and January gives a great cross section of the list. In January, Drafthouses will screen Brazil, City Lights, The Goonies, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Raging Bull, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Sixteen Candles. And that’s just the start. See the full list below.

You can read more about all the films, and see each programmer’s top 100 that worked down to this list, at Alamo100.com. Here’s the list in alphabetical order

Alamo100-List

And here’s a trailer for the January films:

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Now in its 25th season — with a 26th on the way — The Simpsons has taken to producing elaborate homages to other works of entertainment. In October, the show's creators recruited Guillermo del Toro to put together a lengthy Halloween-themed intro sequence that toasted classic horror films and referenced the director's own work. Now The Simpsons has created a similar tribute to the films of Studio Ghibli's Hayao Miyazaki.

Miyazaki bid farewell to film-making last September after the Japanese release of Studio Ghibli's The Wind Rises. The director and animator is best known for his work creating anime as iconic and well-loved as My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, and the short Simpsons segment above — part of forthcoming episode "Married to the Blob" — is packed with references to his 11 movies. Highlights include Otto's stint as a Simpsons-ized Catbus, and Patti and Selma riding broomsticks borrowed from Kiki's Delivery Service. You'll be able to see the whole episode and pick out additional nods to the esteemed director and his influential animation studio this coming Sunday on FOX.

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