Snacks from Around the World – WIF Fast Food

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Delicious Global

Snacks

You Should Try

There are many, many reasons to travel: to meet new people, to explore new cultures, to see awesome cities, to hike through spectacular scenery. But what about food? For some, sampling the cuisine of another country is like peeking inside the mind of an entire culture.

We’re not talking Michelin-starred, fancy, five course dining, either. From Europe, to Asia, to the Americas and Africa, some of the best eats on the planet are stuff you can pick up at markets and from street vendors. Here are ten delicious snacks from around the globe that will blow your mind and leave you craving more.

10. Okonomiyaki (Japan)

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It’s said that you haven’t really tasted Japan until you’ve tried Okonomiyaki. In the land of sushi, noodles and seafood, Okonomiyaki stands out by being exactly what you wouldn’t expect. A sort of cabbage-based pancake traditionally served with aonori seaweed flakes, bonito fish flakes, super-sweet mayonnaise and the heavenly Okonomiyaki sauce (not unlike the UK’s HP sauce with a hint of soy), this snack is eaten across the country by the truckload.

Garnish aside, it’s tricky to say what actually makes an Okonomiyaki. The name itself loosely translates as “what you like, grilled.” This means the combinations are essentially endless. You might nab a shrimp or octopus one in Osaka, then high-tail it to Tokyo for a pork filling. There are even local variations on how to cook it. Hiroshima style means putting the ingredients on top; Osaka style means mixing them all into the batter.

You can grab one of these taste-explosions at one of the many Okonomiyaki bars across the country. Just rock up, place your order and prepare to have your tastebuds blown.

9. BeaverTails (Canada)

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The standard joke is that America is a nation of bulging waistlines, while Canadians are svelte and trim. Judging by the existence of BeaverTails, the only rational explanation for this is that those north of the border are riddled with tapeworm. A fried dough pastry stretched into the shape of a beaver’s tail and loaded with more sweet stuff and condiments than you can shake a proverbial stick at, BeaverTails are a delicious heart-attack-in-the-making.

Just look at this picture, for example. Really, look at it. For those of you who hate right-clicking, it’s a pastry snack the size of your face, coated in chocolate and topped with Smarties (chocolate buttons that inexplicably aren’t available south of the Canadian border). It looks like everything you never knew you wanted while mildly drunk at an ice hockey game.

A branded snack, BeaverTails have only been around since 1978. But our sweet tooth would take them over poutine any day.

8. Kürtoskalács (Hungary)

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If you’re ever wandering around the top of Budapest at night, follow your nose to the ancient castle. That sweet, doughy smell tickling your senses and making your mouth water like Niagara Falls? That’s probably coming from the Kürtoskalács stalls. Known as Transylvanian Chimney Cakes, these Hungarian bad boys are even tastier than they smell.

Supposedly, the dish originated in modern-day Romania (hence the Transylvania part of the name), among the Hungarian community living there. Today, Kürtoskalács are called the oldest pastry in Hungary, and pop up at street food stands everywhere. So, you might be asking, what the heck are they? It’s pretty simple, really. Chimney cakes are made by rolling dough slowly round a wooden spoon (or similar vessel), coating the outside in sugar and oil and heating it over a fire. So you get a sweet, crunchy exterior and a warm, doughy inside. Just to send the calorie count even higher, plenty of Hungarians take them with chocolate spread.

The absolute best time to try Kürtoskalács is when it’s so cold out you can see your breath. Then the heat of the dough and the sweetness combine to feel like an elixir of life.   

7. Tamiya (Egypt)

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Everybody in the Middle East does falafel, and most countries do it excellently. No one, however, does it as well as the Egyptians. Only they don’t call it falafel, oh no. They want to keep a dish this good a secret. If you’re ever in Cairo or Alexandria (according to food critics, the two best places for Egyptian falafel), keep an eye out for Tamiya. It’ll change your ideas of just how freakin’ good falafel can be.

The secret here is fava beans. While most Middle Eastern countries use chickpeas to make falafel, Egypt bucks the trend by using fava beans. The result is a falafel that’s moister and lighter than anything you’ll find elsewhere. It’s cheap, too. Stalls will sell you a tamiya wrap for around the equivalent of 30 cents a pop. According to the experts, though, the place to head for is Mohammed Ahmed, a cheap eatery in Alexandria. There you can combine it with fuul (a bean paste) and eat yourself into a coma. In fact, tamiya is so cheap and delicious and plentiful that many joke Egypt is the best country for making vegetarians fat.

6. Red Red (Ghana)

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West African food is famous across the continent for its intense flavors and inventive style. But in West Africa itself, the country that takes the crown is probably Ghana. While there’s plenty to be said for Nigerian or Senegalese food, Ghana just edges its neighbors out the running. Part of the key to that success? Red red.

A kind of simple tomato stew made with black-eyed peas, red red is practically Ghana’s national dish. People eat it at home, on the way to work, while hanging out and at restaurants. The reason being that it’s delightful. The texture of the beans, combined with the vague, smoky flavor of the meat all combines to make a mouthwatering dish. Then there’s the red palm oil. Supposedly, the mixture of this oil with tomatoes is why the stew is called red red in the first place.

Although Ghanaians eat red red at pretty much any time, apparently the time to really appreciate it is breakfast time. It’s a fair point. We’re trying and we honestly can’t think of any better way to start the day than with a spicy, smoky, tomatoey African stew.

 5. Klobasa (Czech Republic)

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The Czech Republic consumes more beer per capita than literally any other country on God’s green Earth. Yes, that includes Ireland, Austria and Germany. As such, you’d expect their best street food to cater to the needs of drunks; i.e. warm, fatty and deeply delicious. Enter the infamous klobasa. A smoked, German-style sausage traditionally served with mustard and two slices of brown Czech bread, its 1:00 a.m. drunken street food elevated to an art form.

All this is a pretty recent development. In 1948, the Communists took over what was then Czechoslovakia and immediately started being jerks about it. One of the things they were jerky about was what people could eat. A book was published, called Recipes for Warm Meals. If you cooked and sold anything that wasn’t in it, you’d get yourself thrown in jail. Combined with meat shortages in the ’70s and ’80s, this led to Czech sausages almost vanishing. When the Communists were overthrown in 1989, Czechs went klobasa crazy.

Today, klobasa is so popular that English-speaking locals even runinternational blogs about where exactly to chow down on the best Czech sausage. One to study before you go.

4. Hormigas (Colombia)

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In the heart of Colombia’s Santander department sits a little, whitewashed village called Barichara. Legendarily beautiful, it looks like a slice of southern Spain relocated to South America. That’s not why people go there, though. For foodies and snack fans, there’s one overwhelming reason to visit this sleepy village. Barichara is where you can buy hormigas.

The slightly gross part first: Hormigas are ants. Specifically, they’re female leaf-cutter ants with a butt so big it could star in music videos. Harvested in the spring, they’re toasted with salt and served from little packets, just like peanuts. But this isn’t an entry we’ve thrown in just to make you go “eww!” Hormigas are considered a local delicacy, with high protein levels and aphrodisiac qualities. They’re so renowned that upscale restaurants across Colombia use them to make expensive sauces. But the best way to try them is to grab a pack in Barichara and chow on down.

Salty, earthy and a little strange, hormigas in Santander are traditionally eaten under the blazing sun with an ice cold beer. You take a sip of beer, eat an ant, then take another sip, and so on until the packet is empty.

3. Chilli Crab (Singapore)

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Singapore is one of the smallest countries on Earth. How small? Well, you could fit the entire nation into Rhode Island four whole times and still have a bit of space left over (confused UK readers can replace “Rhode Island” with “Cornwall”). At such a reduced size, you might not expect any incredible foods to come out of Singapore, but you’d be wrong. The micro state’s chilli crab is some of the best street food in Asia.

The snack does what it says on the tin. A stir fried crab, coated in a sweet and super spicy sauce, it comes served with deep fried buns. But that explanation can’t convey just how tasty chilli crab is. CNN ranked it the 35thmost delicious food in the entire world. There are more shops, restaurants and stalls selling it in Singapore than there probably are people in Wyoming. People fly to Asia purely to sample it. That’s how good we’re talking, here.

Chilli crab is so widely available in Singapore that there’s no point in us telling you where to go for it. Just step off the plane and head towards the nearest group of people. We’re like 99% sure one of them will be able to point you to a stand within walking distance.

2. Tacos (Mexico)

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Yeah, we know what you’re thinking. Tacos. Of all the street food in the world, they go and choose the dish that inspired the abomination we call Taco Bell. Well, hold your horses there, pardner. What you probably think a taco is, is light years from what you’ll get on a street in Mexico. Forget the Tex-Mex thing with the crispy shell, real tacos are as close to them as your fourth grade art project was to the Sistine Chapel.

Let’s start with the basics: Proper Mexican tacos come in a flat, homemade tortilla. They also contain more than just a begrudging serving of meat and some salsa. El Chupacabra’s taco stand in Mexico City, for example, claims over 100 different ingredients go into each and every one of their tacos…and that’s before you get onto the sides. Here’s a picture of their truck. See those endless vats full of sauces and garnishes and deliciousness? If you want to, you can pile in stuff from each and every one of those (plus many others off camera) to make a taco exploding with so many flavors you’ll wind up accidentally recreating that scene from When Harry Met Sally.

Basically, get away from the border cities, and tacos in Mexico go from being cheap junk food you eat when you hate yourself and no longer want your pants to fit, to awesome, working class street food that deserves its spot on this list.

1. Burek (Bosnia-Herzegovina)

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The Balkans have easily some of the best food in the world, and that includes the best street food. Pljeskavica meat patties in Serbia, shkembe chorba soup in Bulgaria…the list goes on. For our money, though, there’s one clear winner. Burek (also called Borek) from Bosnia-Herzegovina is perhaps the tastiest snack in the whole of the Balkan region.

Originally from Turkey, this pastry snack really came into its own in Bosnia, where it was brought along with Ottoman rule in the middle of the last millennium. Basically, you take some pastry, fill it with aromatic mincemeat, goat’s cheese, spinach and herbs, roll it up, lightly spice it, glaze with oil and bake until it is golden and delicious. The result is a kinda-sweet, kinda-savory dish that’s crispy on the outside, and has the consistency of al dente pasta on the inside.

 The best place to grab burek is on the streets of Sarajevo, where a serving goes for around the equivalent of $1.70. Awesomely, it tastes good both drunk and stone cold sober, meaning it’s probably, therefore, the most perfect snack in the entire world.

Snacks Around the World

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– WIF Fast Food

Video Games and You – WIF Pop Culture

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Video Games That Are

Part of Enormous

Pop Culture Franchises

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Though not all agree, video games can be considered as being a new art form. Moreover, video games are seen by many as a form of art with which one can actively interact. From the breathtaking landscapes, to the incredible soundtracks and general atmosphere, as well as the enticing plot, some video games can bring together much of what other mediums already have.

In fact, some video games out there were inspired by various bestselling novels, or in turn generated a whole book series with thousands of fans of their own. Some video games have even inspired movies. Be it a strategy game, a shooter, or a role-playing game, it doesn’t really matter as long as it has a good back story, a whole universe, and an extensive lore surrounding it. Here are 10 such video games, even though many others also deserve a spot in this list.

10. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth

Developed by Headfirst Productions and published by Bethesda Softworks, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth was released in 2005. First came the Xbox version, and then a PC version one year later. The game is an action-adventure/survival/horror genre that perfectly combines a first-person perspective with many stealth elements. The story is set mostly in 1922 and follows a mentally unstable private detective hired to investigate the fictional town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts. Unlike many other FPS games, Call of Cthulhu features no heads-up display, and everything from the player’s condition to his ammunition and other stats are represented as realistically as possible. A broken leg, for example, would be shown as the character limping, while a broken arm by a loss in accuracy. Each injury needs its own type of remedy and the player even needs to count the ammunition he’s got left.

All in all, the game received only positive reviews from critics and was considered by some to be among the best horror video games of all-time. However, the game itself was an economic failure, with the planned sequels being cancelled when Headfirst Productions went under. In recent years there has been a revival of the series, and in 2017 a new video game is expected to be released. Dark Corners of the Earth is inspired on H.P. Lovecraft‘s 1936 novella, The Shadow over Innsmouth. Lovecraft was also author of The Call of Cthulhu and several other related stories all within the Cthulhu Mythos.

 A recurring theme in Lovecraft’s works is the complete irrelevance of mankind in the face of the cosmic horrors that exist in the universe. Cthulhu himself and other cosmic deities exist, but have fallen into a deathlike sleep. After Lovecraft’s death in 1937, August Derleth took on the challenge to synthetize and expand the Cthulhu Mythos.

9. Mass Effect

Mass Effect is a sci-fi/action/role-playing/third person shooter first released in 2007. Two later installments came out in 2010 and 2012. A fourth game is expected to be released sometime in 2017. If you’re a fan of this style of video games, it’s almost an impossibility to have not already heard about or played Mass Effect. Developed by BioWare, the trilogy starts off in the year 2183 and revolves around Commander Shepard, who’s entrusted to save the entire Milky Way galaxy and all its inhabitants from a mysterious and overwhelmingly powerful race of machine beings known as the Reapers. And while the plot and story itself are quite complex and enticing, there is an extensive lore surrounding the game series.

To date there are four novels centered on various protagonists other than the ones in the video game. But the plots take place around the time of the games themselves. These not only better explain ambiguous facts from the game, but also expand the history of the Mass Effect universe. A fifth novel, Mass Effect: Andromeda Initiation is set to be published sometime in 2016. Two more books are scheduled for 2017 and 2018. There is also a fan written, interactive novel circulating out there called Mass Effect: Pick Your Path, from 2012, as well as numerous other comics. Also in 2012, an anime film version was released, and there are even talks of a Hollywood production in the works.

8. Mortal Kombat

 This fighting game has been around for a very long time. Originally developed by Midway Games, Mortal Kombat hit the arcades back in 1991. Its idea was thought up even earlier, in 1989, along with its storyline and game content. Mortal Kombat is a fantasy/horror themed fighting game, renowned for its high levels of gore and bloody violence. One of its most notorious parts, the finishing moves, also known as Fatalities, are in part responsible for the founding of the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board). Modeled after movies like Bloodsport and Enter the Dragon,Mortal Kombat aimed to be a bit more realistic and serious than its cartoon fantasy-style counterpart, Street Fighter.

After Midway’s bankruptcy, Mortal Kombat was bought by Warner Bros. and rebooted in 2011. The game became highly popular among young people and is now one of the few successful fighting franchises in the history of video games. Since its inception it has spun off into a series of comic books, card games, a theatrical live tour, countless game sequels, two TV series, and two movies. These two major motion pictures, Mortal Kombat (1995), and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation(1997) grossed in $122 and $51 million, respectively. While not particularly good, the movies gathered a cult following; especially the first one. The second installment, however, was poorly received by both critics and fans alike, resulting in it bombing at the box-office. Though entirely unofficial, an 8-minute short film was released back in 2010, revealing that a new Mortal Kombat movie is being planned in Hollywood.

7. Warhammer 40K

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Without a doubt, the Warhammer 40K franchise has among the richest lore and backstory in video game history. That’s because the whole idea of this fictional universe first came into being way back in 1983. Back then, the game was known simply as Warhammer, and was created by Games Workshop as a tabletop war game. That game still exists, and continues to expand even to this day. Then in 1987, a futuristic version was developed, sharing many of the game mechanics. This is the 40K, which stands for the year in which the fictional action now takes place. We won’t bother going into detail with the original Warhammer games, since they deserve a top 10 list of their own, and instead try to focus on what’s at hand; namely their video game versions of the 40K universe.

The story takes place during the 41st millennium in a fictional, gothic-looking dystopian universe. The Imperium of Man, as it is called, is a galaxy-spanning human interstellar empire, dominating most of the Milky Way, though it’s not the only power out there. The most iconic and finest warriors of the Imperium are theSpace Marines, a combination between sci-fi super-soldiers and fantasy knights, who are sworn to defend their empire from all the other alien races in the galaxy. The Warhammer 40K universe has a total of 31 different style video games. The most notable of these are eight real-time strategy games and expansions, part of the Dawn of War series.

Four novels have been published alongside this series, somewhat following and better explaining the actions taking place in the games. But the entire list of novels, novellas and other short stories surrounding the 40K universe is humongous, enough to completely fill up a big personal library. And that’s without mentioning itscomic book series. In 2010 the CGI Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie was released to DVD. Terence Stamp, John Hurt, and Donald Sumpter, among others, voice some of the Space Marines.

6. Resident Evil

Making its debut in 1996, the Resident Evil series first appeared for the PlayStation. Initially called Biohazard in Japan, its country of origin, Capcom’s director decided to change its name since it was impossible to trademark it in the US. An internal contest was held within the company regarding the game’s name, finally settling on Resident Evil. Even though the director believed it to be “super-cheesy,” it makes reference to the original game, which took place in a mansion filled with evil monsters.

In its 20 years of existence the franchise has expanded into 11 main games and 22 other spin-offs. As of 2015, Resident Evil has sold over 61 million units worldwide. Originally, the game series was more of a survival horror genre, based mostly on horror film plotlines, exploration and puzzle solving. Since Resident Evil 4, however, the series took on a more third-person shooter approach, focusing on gunplay and weapon upgrades.

The plot revolves around the sinister Umbrella Corporation, a worldwide company with ties to every major industry, and which secretly makes extensive research into bio-engineering. More exactly, they are aiming to create an extremely potent virus that can transform any individual into a super-powerful, yet perfectly obedient being. However, most of these experiments were wildly unsuccessful and have backfired with some truly gruesome results. In their several attempts to create the perfect weapon, the Umbrella Corporation initiated a series of viral outbreaks and mass infection of the civilian population, transforming humans and animals into mindlessly aggressive zombies. Players take on the role of various characters trying to survive and unravel the Corporation’s many secrets.

 The Resident Evil movie series loosely follows the same plot, even though much of the original content is missing or has been changed. The main protagonist, Alice, played by Milla Jovovich, was a security operative working for Umbrella. But with the start of the first movie, she becomes an enemy of the Corporation. Though the movie received poor reviews from critics and fans alike, mostly because of the inconsistencies between it and the game series, the Resident Evil film tripled its budget, and got four more sequels over a span of 10 years. A last installment,Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, is set to premiere in 2017. A more faithful CGI animated movie series also exists, and another film, Resident Evil: Vendetta, will also be released next year. Moreover, the franchise also has its own seven book series.

5. Halo

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Halo is a sci-fi/first person shooter franchise set in the 26th century, in which humanity has achieved faster-than-light travel speed and colonized numerous other planets across the Milky Way. The series centers itself on an interstellar war between humans and an alliance of aliens known as the Covenant, also inhabiting the galaxy. The player takes on the role of Master Chief John-117, a member of a group of super-soldiers known as the Spartans.

Since its first release in 2001 with Halo: Combat Evolved, the franchise has been praised by many and is considered to be among the best FPS video games played on a console. Managed and developed by Microsoft Studios under one of its subsidiaries, 343 Industries, Halo benefited from a tremendous marketing campaign and four more original sequels and their respective DLCs. In total the franchise sold over 65 million copies and earned a record breaking $3.4 billion from the games alone.

These incredible sales and its increasing fandom have allowed Halo to expand into other media as well. Besides the various spin-offs of the game, including a real-time strategy installment entitled Halo Wars, the franchise boasts its own five-part TV mini-series, called Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, released in 2012. Another miniseries was released in 2014, called Halo: Nightfall. A full length movie adaptation was set in motion back in 2005 by 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios, but due to financial reasons, the project was dropped two years later. However, a future TV show on Showtime is said to be in development, though the exact details of the production are still largely unknown. In any case, up until that moment arises, fans of the video game series can also expand their knowledge of the Halo universe by taking a look at its 13 novel canon.

4. The Witcher

The Witcher started off as a series of fantasy short stories written by Andrzej Sapkowski, which are now collected into two books. The first of these stories, entitled simply The Witcher, was written in 1986 as part of a contest held by a magazine, winning third place. The subsequent five novels, which became known asthe Witcher Saga were written and published throughout the 1990s in Poland, and later translated into English and other languages. Before gaining international notoriety with the release of the first video game in 2007, the saga was adapted into a movie and television series in 2001 and 2002, respectively, with both being called The Hexer. In fact, this was the preferred translation of the first story’s title by the author. But with the release of the first video game, however, the publishing company CD Projekt RED decided on the name Witcher instead.

With two more video games in the series, the story follows the Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, (a sort of travelling monster-hunter for hire) as he struggles to regain his memories and prevent the destruction of the world. Set in a medieval fantasy universe, The Witcher is an action/role-playing hack and slash video game. The use of Geralt’s amnesia in the game allows the player to make decisions that the character from the books would not have necessarily made. It also permitted the developers to introduce those who weren’t familiar with the backstory with certain aspects of the Witcher canon.

Sapkowski uses a tone that is slightly ironic and with subtle links to modern culture in the books, which are also apparent in the games. Unlike most other similar fantasy stories, The Witcher also emphasizes the duality of human nature, with nobody being 100% good or bad. These aspects have helped both the novels and the video games to be widely claimed by fans as the best of Polish fantasy. Back in 2011, President Obama received a copy of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings video game from the Polish prime minister in one of his visits to the country. Obama later confessed that he didn’t actually play it.

3. Assassin’s Creed

 Another video game series that’s made frequent headlines in recent years is theAssassin’s Creed franchise. With a movie set to be released in December, the series made its debut in 2007, and has since released another eight sequels, 17 spin-offs, several short films, as well as a number of other supporting materials. Developed predominantly by Ubisoft, the various games can be played on almost every platform conceivable, and its gameplay, varying only slightly from game to game, is set in the historic action-adventure genre, with a particular emphasis on combat, acrobatics, free-running, and stealth. The protagonist of each sequel changes, as the action takes place in different moments and locations throughout history: from the time of the Third Crusade, to the Renaissance period, the Colonial Era, the French Revolution, and the Victorian Era among others.

The overall plot of the series revolves around the centuries-old, fictional struggle between the historically-accurate Order of Assassins and the Knights Templar, who each desire world peace but through different means and ideologies. On the one hand, the Assassins believe in peace through free will, while the Templars consider it achievable only through world domination. Inspiration for the games came from a Slovenian novel, Alamut, written by Vladimir Bartol, as well as from concepts borrowed from the Prince of Persia series. In all, the Assassin’s Creed series has been very well received by critics and fans alike, and as of April 2014 over 73 million copies have been sold, making it Ubisoft’s bestselling franchise. Aside from the comics, Assassin’s Creed also has a book series. Each of the eight novels are tie-ins to their respective video games, following the various assassins throughout the centuries, in their ongoing war with the Templars.

2. Warcraft

No list like this is complete without mentioning the Warcraft universe. Developed byBlizzard Entertainment, the franchise is made up of five core games, the most notable of which are Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, a real-time strategy game, and its expansion pack The Frozen Throne, as well as the infamous World of Warcraft (WOW), a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) and bestselling title here. At its peak in 2010, WOW had 12 million simultaneous subscribers worldwide, becoming the world’s largest subscription-based MMORPG.

The latest title in the series, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, is a digital collectible card game. Another notable game in the franchise, though only a mod for Warcraft III, is Defense of the Ancients (DotA), a multiplayer online battle arena. In this game, two teams of players are pitted against each other in an attempt to destroy the enemy’s heavily guarded structures at opposing corners of the map.

All of the games in the series are set in or around the high fantasy world of Azeroth. The story begins by focusing on the human nations that make up the Eastern Kingdoms and the Orcish Horde that arrived to Azeroth through a dark portal, igniting the great wars between the two. Over the years, and with the subsequent game releases, the developers have expanded the planet by creating new continents. With them, there’s been the emergence of other new playable races.

 Unsurprisingly, the series has since spawned its own sizable collection of novels, covering a broad range of characters in various timelines, vastly expanding the lore and backstory of the Warcraft universe. Many comics have also been published alongside these books, delving even further into the canon. In June 2016, its first Hollywood movie was released by Universal Pictures. With only 5.5 million subscribers to WOW as of 2015, the film arrived a little too late, and bombed in the US. However, it did manage to gross over $422 million worldwide, making it the highest grossing game adaptation of all time.

1. Neverwinter Nights

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Neverwinter Nights is a third-person role-playing video game developed by BioWare, and was released in 2002. In the following years the game got several expansions and premium packs, and due to its growing popularity, a sequel was released in 2006. It, too, had its own series of expansions. The story follows the player’s character as he tries to stop a plague from sweeping over the city of Neverwinter. The city is located along the Sword Coast of Faerûn, in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting of Dungeons & Dragons. As it is in the original tabletop D&D games, players of Neverwinter Nights are able to create their own character from scratch at the very beginning of the game. Everything from gender, race, character class, alignment, abilities, and name can be customized to suit the preferences of each individual player. Overall, the video game was met with positive reviews and universal acclaim.

GameSpot referred to it as “one of those exceedingly rare games that has a lot to offer virtually everyone, even if they aren’t already into RPGs,” while PC Gamer called it “a total package—a PC gaming classic for the ages,” and said that its “storyline [is] as persuasive as any I’ve encountered in a fantasy roleplaying game.”  It has its own collection of books entitled the Neverwinter Saga, written by R.A. Salvatore, which is made up of four novels. However, these are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of literature surrounding the Forgotten Realms universe, since the saga itself is just part of an even larger, Legend of Drizzt series. And for those who really want to immerse themselves into the canon of “The Realms” and probably never emerge out again, the entire book series is a whopping 302 novels.

 


Video Games and You

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– WIF Pop Culture

Bad-Sad Christmas Songs – WIF Holidays

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Least Essential Christmas Songs

 Christmas music is like pornography—there’s good stuff out there, but you’ve got to search through a lot of crud and some weird German things to find it. Musical taste is subjective so we’re not here to tell you what you should like, but we can share 10 songs that pretty much any sane human will agree doesn’t deserve a place on your Christmas playlist.

10. New Kids on the Block – “Funky, Funky Xmas”         

This live performance of “Funky, Funky Xmas” so perfectly encapsulates the worst parts of the ‘80s that historians from the future will use it to argue that we were a backwards and simple people. It features the New Kids dressed like Vanilla Ice, prancing around like they’re at a gay bar’s line dancing night and rapping about how they left their fireplace burning and it singed Santa’s ass. That’s not a Christmas carol, that’s admitting to criminal negligence.

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And we expected better from such upstanding young men.

They tell Santa to “kick the ballistics,” but we have no idea what that means and we even asked three black people. They also ask, “How could you be booing [Christmas] with Donnie D doing it?” because apparently Christmas was once a holiday that people hated until Donnie D arrived to make it funky. Thank you, Donnie D. You’re the real Christmas miracle.

9. Lou Monte – “Dominick the Donkey”

 For every classic Christmas carol that’s been popular for several generations there’s a tacky novelty song that rightfully faded into obscurity shortly after its release. “Dominick the Donkey” is one of those songs. Recorded in 1960, it tells the story of a Christmas donkey that delivers presents to the children of Italy, because apparently you’re allowed to just make up national icons if you do it in song. It’s the stupidest thing we’ve heard since we were told about B.B. the Bastille Day Snail. Wikipedia claims “Dominick the Donkey” was funded by one of New York’s major crime families, which we believe because releasing this tripe on an unsuspecting public should be considered a criminal act.

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“Hi, kids! I’m Dominick the Christmas Donkey! I’m legally considered mentally handicapped!”

“Dominick” has seen a revival in recent years, because someone decided to unearth old Christmas songs without stopping to wonder why they were buried in the first place. In 2011 a British radio show started a campaign to make it a number one hit, because Britain is still ticked off at Italy about the war. It managed to reach number three on the UK sales chart, which is something to remember whenever Britain makes fun of America for Lady Gaga.

8. Lady Gaga – “Christmas Tree”

We didn’t bring up Lady Gaga as a random example. She wrote a holiday song that invites listeners to bask in the sexy majesty of her Christmas tree, which, depending on how you interpret the lyrics, may be a metaphor for her secret penis.

There are double entendres, and then there are single entendres, and then there’s Lady Gaga communicating with all the subtly of a horny rhinoceros that hasn’t gotten laid in years. We’ve watched pornography that’s less aggressively sexual than “Christmas Tree.”

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And we’ve seen Christmas trees that are sexier than Lady Gaga.

It starts with Lady Gaga singing “light me up, put me on top, let’s falalalalalalalala” and if you don’t know what she’s censoring you should go back to watching Sesame Street. She then says she’ll take off her clothes underneath the mistletoe, which is supposed to be erotic but just comes across like she doesn’t know what mistletoe is for.

The most baffling part of the song is when she repeatedly says that her “Christmas tree is delicious.” There’s only one part of the anatomy that even vaguely resembles a Christmas tree, and most women don’t have one. Admittedly, we’re assuming that someone put a thought into these lyrics beyond “What if Lady Gaga had sex with Christmas? She’d immaculately conceive money babies! House made of cocaine, here I come!”

7. Jingle Cats – “White Christmas”

The Jingle Cats are what happens when a crazy cat lady takes charge of a record company through a series of wacky misunderstandings. This “song” replaces the words of “White Christmas” with the meows of cats, because nothing enhances timeless classics like shrill caterwauling. It sounds like a musician is playing a cat organ while the rest of the band is playing traditional instruments, and they all hate each other.

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“You think I look cute, huh? I’m going to throw up in your bed. While you’re sleeping in it.

The low-budget music video looks like the stargate scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey if you dropped catnip before watching it. It’s only two and a half minutes long but by the time it’s over you’ll have aged a decade. And this is just one song from an entire novelty album. If you thinking of committing suicide this Christmas, listen to the 10 hour remix of the Jingle Cats’ “Silent Night” to put you in the mood.

6. Hanson – “Everybody Knows the Claus”

After New Kids on the Block were put out to stud or whatever it is they do with aging boy bands, it was decreed by the music industry that Hanson would be the next big thing. They followed up their smash hit MMMBop with 1997’s Snowed In, a Christmas album featuring holiday staples mixed with original songs because despite the name of the album they were unfortunately able to reach the studio.

“Everybody Knows the Claus” starts with a warning that if you take Santa’s cookies he will mess you the hell up, which suggests that the Hanson brothers are the only ones on the planet who don’t know the Claus. He’s known for his generosity and good nature, not his violent reaction towards unauthorized cookie consumption.

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And if they’re snowed in, why are they outside?

We then learn that Santa wasn’t fat all along, but then he started cooking one day, and now you better not try and take that turkey away. That’s right, Hanson, tell us he’s an angry man not to be trifled with and then joke about his obesity. Ignoring your own warnings always ends well.

Lines like “you’ve never seen this side of him before” and “don’t mess with the boss” would be awfully dark if it wasn’t for the generic pop-rock beat. If Alanis Morsette covered this song it would sound like Mrs. Claus filing out a domestic abuse report. Then again, I’m not sure how seriously we should take Hanson after they use the phrase “riding down the air highway.” It’s called “flying,” Dances To Crappy Songs. You don’t need to use mystical phrasing to describe something humanity mastered a century ago.

5. Cyndi Lauper – “Christmas Conga”

Cyndi Lauper has done a lot of great things. Singing “Bonga, bonga, bonga, do the Christmas conga” is not one of them. “Christmas Conga” sounds like Lauper just discovered conga music and hadn’t yet discovered an understanding of inappropriate cultural appropriation. We’re pretty sure one of the reasons Lauper works so hard to promote LGBT rights is to make up for being the worst thing to happen to US-Latin American relations since the States helped overthrow their democracies.

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Santa isn’t waving, he’s signaling for help.

Lauper wishes us “joy that never ends” while she’s torturing us with a song that feels like it will never stop. There are professional torturers in black site prisons that can’t use irony that cruelly. Both the song and the album cover tells us to “have a nice life,” which in this context sounds like a threat. Live a nice life, everyone, unless you want to find yourself tied up with a bag over your head in an Eastern Europe warehouse while the CIA blasts Lauper’s shrill invitation to hold onto her hips loud enough to rattle your skull. “Tell us where you’ve planted the bomb, or we’re doing the Christmas conga again!” an agent yells, and then you confess to everything.

4. NewSong – “The Christmas Shoes”

“The Christmas Shoes” is auditory poverty porn. From the opening notes you know that you’re going to be drowned in so much sap people will mistake you for a tree. Then the lyrics kick in and you’ll wish that you actually were a tree, because trees don’t have ears.

The singer’s breathless voice makes him sound like an annoyingly soulful wimp, the kind that tells you he gave everyone in his family a charitable donation in their name for Christmas, but it’s totally cool that you got your loved ones toys instead. This is in sharp contrast to how the narrator is portrayed in the music video, which is as a sex offender lurking over his unsuspecting victim.

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The song is about an impoverished little ragamuffin who wants to buy his sick mom a pair of shoes, because if there’s one thing the terminally ill really need it’s sweet new kicks. The kid comes up short on scratch, but our heroic narrator makes up the difference.

Switching to “Gospel Chad Krouger” voice, our singer says that God sent him the boy to remind him of the true meaning of Christmas. Then the children’s choir kicks in, which God sent to punish us for all the sins we’ve committed this year. It’s implied that the woman dies, which means God killed a woman just to teach our singer a listen. Damn, that’s some Old Testament stuff right there.

“Christmas Shoes” was apparently based on a chain email, which is pretty much the worst form of artistic inspiration imaginable short of kidnapping hobos and forcing them to fight to the death to entertain your cruel muse. If we’ve resorted to writing music inspired by emails that escape our spam filters it’s only a matter of time before we’re listening to holiday classics like “Barrack the Communist Red Nosed Cryptoislamifascist” and “Stp Letting Downn the Ladies & Get A Bigger M@nh00d Today for Chr!stmas!!!!11”

3. Crazy Frog – “Jingle Bells”

You may remember Crazy Frog as the anthropomorphic nightmare that punished you for staying up too late to watch TV by starring in annoying commercials for ringtones. Crazy Frog also had a musical career, and the fact that his original name was The Annoying Thing should tell you all you need to know about how that went.

After what sounds like a drunken Mr. Bean yodeling “It’s Christmas” we get a rendition ofJingle Bells that was recorded when a synthesizer mated with a bell choir. Most of the words are replaced with grating sound effects, although to be fair that’s just keeping with the spirit of electronic music.

“Jingle Bells” was released as a single, and the B-side was “U Can’t Touch This.” This was in 2005. You’d becrazy-frog-christmas less out of date if your calendar for next year was dated 2014 B.C. And yes, it’s not just your filthy imagination—Crazy Frog has a clearly visible penis for most of the video. Festive frog fetishists rejoiced at the crossover between Christmas carols and frog porn they had been waiting on for so long.

Merry Christmas! God bless us, every one!

2. The Echoing Green – “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

“Do They Know It’s Christmas” is at best a ham-handed attempt at sending a good message and at worst a condescending mess that portrays the entire continent of Africa as impoverished and populated by idiots who can’t read a calendar. Half the continent is Christian, we’re pretty sure they know it’s Christmas.

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The real tragedy is that photo editing job.

But at least the original song sounds like a Christmas carol, albeit a modern, poppy one. Synthpop wimps The Echoing Green decided to turn “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” into an electronic song more fit for playing in clubs with bad DJs than around Christmas trees. Because nothing gets people in the mood to shake their ass like lyrics about drought and poverty. Why not drop some ecstasy while you’re at it and make out with someone in the bathroom to the sexy vibes of cultural ignorance? We can’t wait until someone releases a dubstep version. “Don’t let aid to Africa drop like this sick beat, bros!” the DJ will shout, and someone in Sudan will shudder without knowing why.

 1. The Robertsons – “Hairy Christmas”

There’s a Duck Dynasty Christmas album, because of course there is. It’s called Duck the Halls,because of course it is. It’s absolutely terrible, because of course it is.

So either a family that stars in a reality TV show as the embodiment of every lazy redneck stereotype you can imagine coincidentally has preternatural musical talents, or a marketing executive was walking down one of Walmart’s official Duck Dynasty aisles while Christmas music played and suddenly had dollar signs pop into his head, and which story you believe will determine whether you’re intelligent enough to have understood this sentence.

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Duck the Halls is a mix of awful takes on classics and awfuler originals. One of the ladies in the family does have a voice that’s either legitimately good or good enough for technology to make up the difference, but her primary contribution is on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” and songs about date rape are disqualified from being considered Christmas classics.

The worst offender is arguably “Hairy Christmas,” so named because the men all have long beards and making a reference to that is what passes for intelligent on this album. It’s a honkytonk nightmare that references camouflage, hunting and shopping at Walmart, because nothing says the spirit of Christmas and simple, wholesome country living like namedropping the mega-corporation that’s the number one supplier of your massive product line. That’s like hearing the story of the Three Wise Men and coming away with the message that frankincense is the only scent officially endorsed by Jesus. If anyone buys this album, ducks should be allowed to hunt them.


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Christmas Songs

 

BS or Truth – WIF Confidential

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Facts That Sound

Like BS

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When you’ve been doing this job as long as we have, you get used to the idea that truth is stranger than fiction. History, science, art… they’re all full of factoids that seem implausible on the surface, but turn out to be true underneath. Still, there is a limit to this implausibility. It’s not like we’re going around claiming lightning magically gives you tattoos, or that you can survive jumping off the top of the Empire State Building, or that the Muppets were inspired by a porno, right?

 Wait, you mean that’s exactly what we’re about to do? And all of that is true? Yeesh…

10. Lightning Strikes Give You Sweet Tats

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Getting hit by a bolt of lightning is not fun. Aside from knowing that you’ve angered almighty Zeus, you suffer horrifying agony, terrible burns, and (possibly) a stopped heart. Oh, and you might just wind up getting a sweet-ass tattoo.

‘Lightning Flowers’ (also known, less-romantically, as ‘lightning trees’) are strange, fern-like, spiraling figures that can be flash-fried into your skin if a lightning bolt explodes nearby. Essentially burns that are caused by static electric traveling along the tiny blood vessels under the skin, they can last anywhere from a few hours to months and months. A type of Lichtenberg Figure, they’re weird, almost plant-like, and, to be honest, kinda cool.

See, unlike most burns, lightning flowers look intentional. The tiny little whorls, the way they radiate out from one central point… it all looks like some ink artist has spent hours agonizing over the design. Usually appearing on the arms, back, neck, chest or shoulders of lightning-strike victims, they might make you look like a tat-loving hippie, but they certainly don’t make you look like a burns victim.

They’re also useful. If paramedics bring your unconscious body in and the doctor sees your magic tat, he’s gonna know immediately that you need treating for a lightning strike.

9. The Muppets Song Mahna Mahna Came From a Porno

Even if you think you haven’t, you’ve heard Mahna Mahna. The song has appeared in everything. It was made stupendously famous by the Muppets in their 1976 TV premiere, having already featured on Sesame Street and the Ed Sullivan show years earlier (complete with Jim Henson puppets). So, where did this globe-striding, era-defining ditty come from? Err… a softcore Italian-Swedish porno.

The year was 1968, and Italian films were routinely flouting censors by filming softcore porn and dressing it up as ‘arthouse cinema’. In this instance, the titillating subject was ‘Scandinavian sexuality’, which gave the Italians plenty of excuses to include shots of hot Norwegian girls kissing, and even-hotter Danish girls posing as nude models. But the piece de resistance was a scene set in a Swedish sauna, in which a bevy of buxom blonds stripped off, giggling, for the camera. Composer Piero Umiliani was tasked with coming up with a catchy ditty for this mildly-erotic sauna centerpiece. He came up with Mahna Mahna.

The producers evidently knew he was onto something. The same year the porno came out, they released Mahna Mahna as a single. It got to 55 on the US Chart, caught the attention of Jim Henson, and the rest is (unlikely) history.

8. F1 Drivers Have Their Weight Monitored More than Catwalk Models

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Quick, what’s the most-restrictive profession where eating is concerned? Most of you probably said ‘catwalk models’, and it’s true that agencies routinely get their girls to starve themselves. Some of you also said ‘jockeys’, who often take diuretics to keep their weight down. Both professions are crazy-bad for weight watching. But there’s a less-likely profession that may be even worse: Formula One.

F1 racing is a scarily-precise science. Winners and losers are declared on fractions of a second, and cars are so streamlined that they carry absolutely no unnecessary weight. An extra 5 kilograms can wipe out 0.2 seconds on every lap; a horrendous setback in F1 terms. As a result, drivers are pressured to lose weight in order to compete. Over the last few years, this has gotten insane.

Drivers now have to be between 60-65 kilograms if they want to compete in the big leagues. In 2013, Jenson Button admitted that he has to starve himself, compete in triathlons, and avoid carbs like the plague to stay F1-ready. Others develop bulimia or anorexia. Some drivers have said they’re monitored and restricted even worse than catwalk models in what they can eat, despite eating disorders in F1 getting almost no airtime whatsoever.

7. Selling Sand to Arabs is a Lucrative Global Business

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“He could sell sand to the Arabs!” is one of those classic, slightly-racist expressions beloved by old, slightly-racist uncles the world over. Just like “he could sell snow to the Eskimos,” it uses a seemingly-unlikely situation to big up the persuasive powers of its subject. Although, in this particular case, its subject isn’t all that impressive. Selling sand to Arabic countries is a lucrative global business.

Australia, for example, shifts tons of the stuff to Dubai every year for construction projects. Germany recently signed a deal with Saudi Arabia to supply the Wahhabist Kingdom with sand. Altogether, the global market for sand is thought to be worth over $89 billion. There’s so much money in the stuff that mafia groups have moved in and started stripping tropical beaches under cover of night. And the Middle East is one of the biggest market drivers.

The trouble is that wind-blasted desert sand, such as that found in the Gulf, is too fine to be used in construction. So Gulf countries are forced to import the stuff; a lucrative market when those same countries are trying to outdo one another with insane construction projects.

6. Female Hurricanes Kill More People than Male Ones

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If we asked you to name a deadly hurricane, we’re betting most of you would have a female name pop into your head (likely Katrina or Audrey). There’s a good reason for that. ‘Female’ hurricanes are more-likely to kill people than ‘male’ hurricanes.

Since about 1979, hurricane names have alternated between female and male. However, even when hurricanes were exclusively female (1953-1979), how masculine or feminine their names were varied. In 2014, researchers at the University of Illinois crunched the data of all hurricanes to make landfall in the USA, separating them out into names that sounded masculine or feminine. They then divided them into hurricanes that hit populated areas, and those that didn’t.

 For non-destructive hurricanes that missed population centers, names made no difference. But for those that hit areas full of people, the results were staggering. The most ‘male-sounding’ hurricanes killed on average 11 people. The most ‘female-sounding’ hurricanes killed an average of 59.

The researchers theorized that this is because we’re all hilariously sexist. We tend to think women are unthreatening and less-powerful than men, so when we hear a female hurricane is coming, we kick back and refuse to evacuate. When a male one with a testosterone-fueled turns up, by contrast, we run for the hills.

5. Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees Can Literally Save Your Life

Oh, come on. This is getting ridiculous now. How could a 1970s disco song that just happens to be called Stayin’ Alive possibly help you, well, stay alive? We’re glad you asked. It turns out that this particular Bee Gees song averages 103 beats per minute. That’s pretty much exactly the rhythm you need to be hitting if you’re giving someone emergency CPR.

This isn’t us pointing out a wacky coincidence. Emergency medical courses (like, say, for lifeguards or whatever) frequently train their students using Stayin’ Alive. The American Heart Association (AHA) has official advice which says, in event of a heart attack (we kid you not) “call 9-1-1 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the classic disco song “Stayin’ Alive.”

The song was chosen because it hit the right beats, and also because it’s famous enough to be known to the general public. In countries where the Bee Gees are less-popular, songs such as the Beatles’ Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da are used instead.

4. A Woman Survived Jumping Off the 86th Floor of the Empire State Building

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Stepping off the top of the Empire State Building is pretty final. You plunge 86 stories onto hard, unforgiving concrete. That’s not something anybody survives… unless their name is Elvita Adams. In 1979, the Bronx resident decided to end it all. She took a ticket to the observation deck at the top of the Empire State building, climbed the security fence, and jumped. When she arrived at hospital, she was still alive.

If you’re wondering how the heck this is possible, we’ll end your suspense. Adams did jump off the Empire State, and she did go crashing down onto concrete. But the concrete in question wasn’t the sidewalk far below. After despairingly leaping out into the unknown, Adams was buffeted by a freak gust of wind. It just happened to be strong enough to blow her onto the ledge of the 85th floor, fracturing her hip. Before Adams could try jumping again, security guards had grabbed her and dragged her back inside.

Although no-one else has ever survived leaping off the Empire State Building, freaks of nature occasionally do save those plummeting from great heights. In 2007, a window cleaner plunged 47 stories and managed to survive thanks to pure luck.

3. Soccer Has Ended Multiple Wars (and caused one)

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Passions run high at soccer matches. Heck, Europeans consistently beat each other into comas while watching the sport. But could they run high enough to change the entire fate of a beleaguered nation? The answer is undoubtedly ‘yes’. In the past century, soccer has been the driving factor in ending three separate civil wars.

Two of those civil wars took place in the Ivory Coast. The first Ivorian Civil War lasted from 2002-2007, and killed nearly 2,000 people. The reason it stopped? The local soccer team qualified for the World Cup.

On the back of their qualifier win, the Ivory Coast soccer team dropped to their knees on live television, and begged the nation to put aside their differences. They then arranged for a qualifier for the African Cup to be held in a rebel-controlled city. This led to dialogue between the two sides, leading to a peace agreement. When the second civil war erupted in 2011, killing 3,000, soccer player Didier Drogba was instrumental in helping reach peace.

The third incident took place in Nigeria. In 1969, during the worst of the apocalyptic Biafran War, Pele brought his Brazilian club to the country to play the Nigerian national team. Both sides agreed a 3-day ceasefire to watch the match.

On the other hand, soccer has also directly caused at least one war. In 1969, El Salvador and Honduras faced each other in three grudge matches. Blood was so bad that the final 3-2 to El Salvador culminated in Salvadoran troops invading Honduras.

2. The Digit 1 Starts Most Significant Numbers

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Random numbers are the bane of the trivia aficionado. Go to a quiz, and you might be asked to guess the liters of wine Moldova produces, or the weight of each planet in the solar system, or he population figures for random counties in Louisiana, or whatever. By nature, these questions are designed to be impossible to answer. But if you want a head start, you should make sure your guesstimate begins with the digit 1. There’s about a 30% chance that any random, significant number will start with a 1.

Logic tells us that this is plainly nuts. The chances of 1 or 2 or 3 or so-on starting any randomly-selected longer number should equal around 11%. In practice, this doesn’t happen. After 1, the chances of a 2 starting the number are 18%, and so-on until 9, which has an infinitesimal chance of showing up. This means that you can go combing through any random set of significant data – baseball batting averages, the length of the world’s longest rivers, the number of McDonald’s in a certain area – and your figures will be significantly more-likely to start with a 1.

No-one knows why this should be, but it happens. It’s even got a name: Benford’s Law, and it has real-world purposes. People faking tax returns tend to insert too many figures from the mid-range (4,5,6), instead of figures starting with 1, giving their game away.

1. Cleopatra Existed Closer in Time to the First Pizza Hut than the Pyramids

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We all know the Pyramids are old. They were built around 2,500BC, over 1,000 years before Moses is thought to have lived. But few of us realize just quite how old they are. When Cleopatra was queen of Egypt, she was closer in time to the building of the first Pizza Hut than she was the first Pyramid.

Cleopatra reigned between 69-31 BC. The first Pizza Hut was built in 1958. That means the gap between Cleo and a great, big pile of disappointing pizza was 2,000 years. By contrast, the gap between the queen and her ancestors building the first pyramid was 2,450 years.

 Look at other comparatives, and this factoid just gets crazier. Julius Caesar (whose own namesake pizza chain, Little Caesar’s, was founded in 1959, in case you were wondering) famously got involved with Cleopatra, and probably spent some time admiring the Pyramids. At that point, the pyramids were to Caesar older than the oldest Roman ruins are to us now. Makes you think, huh?

BS or Truth

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Lost Film Library – WIF @ The Movies

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Lost Films

They Should Find

With our world of ubiquitous digital storage and our ability to have, like, 150 Skyrim saves, it’s hard to believe it’s possible to lose something like a film. Alas, thanks to a multitude of factors (such as inadequate record keeping and people plain old not giving a crap), hundreds – if not thousands – of films from the halcyon days of cinema have been lost. Here are 10 that we think they should focus on trying to find first.

  Note: Given that many of these films quite literally no longer exist, plot details for some are sparse, but we’ve included as much information as we can.

10. The Unlicensed Batman Movie, Where he Fights Dracula: Batman Fights Dracula

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Over the years, hundreds of unlicensed of Batman products have been made without the permission of DC. Including, if you’re so inclined, the worst porno movie ever made, which is also, funnily enough, a lost film.

Since we like to keep things PG though, we’re instead going to talk about Batman Fights Dracula,an unlicensed Batman film in which the Dark Knight fights the Prince of Darkness, in the Philippines. Little is known about the film’s plot, but come on – do you really need to know anything to want to see a Filipino stuntman, dressed as Batman, punch a guy in Dracula cape?

All we have left from the film is a poster, which is frankly amazing. It shows Batman in a kung fu pose, squaring off against Dracula, who is apparently in the middle of kidnapping someone. From the poster it’s also clear that the film starred Batman’s kid sidekick, Robin, in some capacity – something we can tell from the large R on his costume. For some reason Batman, instead of having a large bat on his chest, has a silhouette of a man dunking a basketball. Something we assume was probably explained during the film, hopefully in a choreographed dance number.

9. The First Ever Voiced Anime: Chikara to Onna no Yo no Naka

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Anime is a lot like vaping, in that it’s incredibly popular among a diverse group of people, but diehard fans who take it too seriously insist that it’s a niche interest. Even if you’re not a big fan of anime, something cool from your childhood – whether it’s the Power Rangers or Tekken 2 – owes some part of its existence to this genre of media.

Which is why it’s odd that what many consider to be the first example of anime featuring voiceover work is said to no longer exist, in any known form. Created in 1933, Chikare to Onna no Yo no Naka, or The World of Power and Women, follows the story of a man who cheats on his wife with his secretary. We’d say more about the story, but that’s literally all the information about it we have. Also it’s giving us flashbacks to our childhoods so we think it’s best to move on and talk about something less depressing. Like giant monster movies…

8. The Japanese Period Drama Starring King Kong: King Kong Appears in Edo

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Godzilla is considered a seminal work of Japanese cinema and is credited with being the genesis of the kaiju (giant monster) genre. Think the kind of movies Pacific Rim was an homage to. Weirdly though, there was a Japanese film starring a giant monster released nearly two decades before Godzilla starring the other OG of the giant monster world, King Kong, that has since been lost.

Released in 1938 and supposedly inspired by the success of the 1933’s King Kong, King Kong Appears in Edo is an unusual movie in that nobody is quite sure if the ape in the film is actually a giant or not (it appears giant in posters, but people who watched the movie don’t remember it being that big). What we do know is that, unlike Godzilla, which was a horror movie espousing the horrors and destructive power of nuclear weapons, this film was a period drama, that also just so happened to feature a giant rampaging gorilla as the title character. If you’re not saddened by the fact you will never see this movie, we think they sell senses of childlike wonder on eBay.

7. One of the Best Spy Dramas Ever Made: Squadron Leader X

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Recently there’s been a backlash of sorts against the glut of CGI-filled movies dominating the box office every summer. There has been a renewed appreciation for good old fashioned practical effects. Few people realize, though, just how old fashioned practical effects are. For example, consider the film Squadron Leader X, a 1943 spy thriller that features actual stunts and aerial dog-fights performed by actual members of the British Air Force during war time.Meaning the planes featured in this movie were real Allied planes, that had taken part in actualdog fights with the Axis, that the director somehow convinced to take part in pretend dog fights, for fun.

Contemporary reviews from the time called the film’s action scenes “among the most actionful and breath-taking ever screened” and we guess we’ll have to take their word for it, because no footage of them has survived.

6. The Gay Porno Starring Jesus: HIM

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Okay so we kind of lied about wanting to keep things PG. But this one is too weird to not mention. Weird because the film was deemed so offensively unerotic that people genuinely don’t believe it ever existed. What little we know about the plot says that it focuses on a young man who becomes sexually fixated with Jesus. Which is, well…really weird. But hey, who are we to judge the kind of things people find sexy?

However, some people do feel like they have the right to judge, and there has been a genuine effort made to find this movie to prove it doesn’t exist, which seems kind of backwards to us. But everyone needs a hobby, we guess. So if you feel like you’re wasting time reading this article, remember there are people out there searching for a movie from the ’70s where Jesus does the horizontal hug with his fellow man.

5. Another Film About a Man in a Gorilla Costume Terrorizing Japan:Wasei Kingu Kongu

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We know what you’re thinking: we already did this entry, right? Well as it turns out, Japan was way more into King Kong than we ever realized. Released in 1933 (the same year as King Kong), Wasei Kingu Kongu (that’s the actual title) follows the adventures of a young man called Santa (that’s his actual name) who, inspired by the film King Kong, dons a gorilla costume and takes part in a stage show to earn money to impress a girl he likes.

However, while performing in the show Santa sees the girl he likes sitting in the audience with a boyfriend and, overcome with rage, begins rampaging around Tokyo while still wearing the gorilla costume. Tokyo police, thinking Santa is a real gorilla (he’s apparently a very good actor), give chase. Showing remarkable mental aptitude for a guy who thought “gorilla costume” was the way to woo a girl, Santa gorilla slaps his paramour’s new boyfriend, steals his wallet, and then puts the gorilla costume on him so he gets arrested instead.

Santa then uses the boyfriend’s own money to marry the girl of his dreams in what we suspect is the most baller move ever committed to film. While there’s no confirmation about what happened to the film, our working theory is that it’s still frozen solid somewhere because of how cool that ending is.

4. The Disney Movie, Before Disney: Le avventure di Pinocchio

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It says a lot about Disney as a company that they’re so powerful, folk stories that have existed for centuries – and in some cases, millennia – belong to them, because nobody would be willing to face down their legal department to make a Snow White or Pinocchio movie. Curiously, Disney as we know it today may never have existed if not for one Italian company abandoning – ironically – a Pinocchio movie.

That company was Cartoni Animati Italiani Roma (a company so dead it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page), who in 1936 were this close to releasing the first animated film ever made. The film would have basically been a retelling of the 1882 children’s story, The Adventures of Pinocchio, and would have beaten Disney to the punch of making the first animated film by an entire year. Budget concerns saw the entire film being canned before release, leaving behind over a hundred thousand drawings, and thousands of feet of film that has since disappeared like a fart in a wind tunnel.

Given that Snow White has grossed nearly half a billion dollars individually, and helped turn Disney into the corporate behemoth it is today, it’s easy to imagine what this film could have done for CAIR’s fortunes. Instead, the company imploded. Everyone involved lost their jobs, and Walt Disney went right ahead and bought the rights to the book and released his own version of the film a few years later just to rub it in.

3. The Bruce Lee Movie Where He Straight Up Murders People: The Big Boss, Original Mandarin Cut

big-boss

It’s no secret that we love us some Bruce Lee here at TopTenz. Which is why we’re all kinds of annoyed that there is a film starring our main man that we’ll never get to see. The Big Boss was the film that first catapulted Bruce Lee to fame, but as we’ve mentioned before, there’s a bunch of stuff cut from that movie including scenes of Bruce Lee killing people with gardening implements, and having sex with prostitutes.

As far as film buffs can tell, the only version of the movie with all that good stuff left in was the original 1971 Mandarin cut that has since disappeared. The content was apparently so shocking that the film was heavily edited soon after the first showing, and was edited further in compliance with the various censorship boards of the numerous countries it was shipped to overseas. As a result, the original, true version of this movie – the version the director and Bruce Lee wanted us to see, the version with all the ’70s era violence and sex left in – doesn’t exist anymore, and we hate that.

2. The Colorized Version of the Best Movie Ever Made: Citizen Kane

kane-colorized

We’re not going to waste valuable digital ink fawning over Citizen Kane, because there are like 8,000 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes already doing that. The film is rightfully considered a cinematic masterpiece, though at the time it was crapped on because the guy it was parodying threw a big temper tantrum. Figures.

Sometime in ’80s there were plans afoot to have the film colorized for a modern audience. That was something director, writer and magnificent beard owner Orson Welles vehemently opposed, allegedly quipping “don’t let Ted Turner deface my movie with his crayons” shortly before his death. Welles was so aversed to the idea of colorizing the film that he even included stipulations in his will that the film never be shown in anything other than black and white. Which didn’t stop Ted Turner and his crayons from doing it anyway.

*Note to everyone reading: if there’s one ghost you don’t want to annoy, it’s Orson Welles’

Supposedly, only the film’s final reel was colorized. To date only a single minute of this footage has ever surfaced, in an obscure ’90s documentary aired by the BBC. Of course thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can watch that minute right here and see how awful it is for yourself. Hey, speaking of fetid turds…

1. The Original (Better) Copy of One of the Worst Films Ever: Foodfight!

food-fight

The title of “worst film ever made” is paradoxically one that is more contested than the title of best, with dozens of films vying for the place beneath the scum at the bottom of the barrel. IfFoodfight! isn’t the worst film ever made, it is certainly a worthy contender.

In a nutshell, Foodfight! is an animated film detailing the adventures of various brand mascots in a fictitious supermarket. If you’re having trouble picturing it, just imagine what that new Seth Rogen animated movie would look like if he sold out harder than a special edition iPhone. The film is considered one of the most pandering, blatant, and offensive examples of product placement ever seen and featured animation so poor it wouldn’t look out of place in a Sonic game. It also stars Charlie Sheen, Christopher Lloyd, and Hillary Duff, and cost $45 million dollars to make.

The film’s producers maintain that the version we got looks like it was slapped together at the last second because it was, and that there exists a better, earlier version of the movie, as evidenced by trailers that somehow have significantly better animation quality. Supposedly this god-tier version of the film was stolen in – get this – an act of “industrial espionage” and they were forced to remake the entire movie using old assets and no money.

Sadly, the ninja who stole the film has never released it or uploaded it to a filesharing website, presumably to save us from having our eyes and heads melt like those Nazis who looked directly into the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark.


 Lost Film Library

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– WIF @ The Movies

Here Today Gone Tomorrow – WIF Into the Future

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Things You’ve Used Today

That Won’t Be Around

in 20 Years

In the new millennium, progress and change is happening more rapidly than ever before. For example, look at how different life in 1996 was compared to 2016. Cell phones weren’t yet commonplace, the internet was still making headway in becoming more mainstream, and so on. So it makes you stop and wonder: just how different will things be in another 20 years?

10. Plug-in Phone Chargers

A problem with all of the new tech that will replace everything is that it will require energy. As of right now, if you go out without charging your phone, it’s a pretty big annoyance. However, if you need your phone because it has all of your information (credit cards, car insurance, and so forth) stored, it’s important that it is charged all the time. Of course, that means taking time out to plug your phone, and other devices, into an outlet so it can charge for a few hours.

However, looking to solve that problem, a few companies are developing technology that will allow people to charge their devices without even taking them out of their pockets. Specifically, using radio waves. How they all essentially work is using special antennas that focus cellular and Wi-Fi signals into a pocket of low-powered energy that is on the back of the phone. Then, a receiver converts the radio power into DC energy, which charges the battery.

This technology isn’t far off, either. By late 2016, a company called Energous is planning to release a wireless charger that, from a distance of up to five feet, would charge a phone similar to a wall charger. At 10 feet, it would be similar to charging using a USB, and at 15 feet, it would be like a trickle of a charge.

By 2036, this technology will be stronger and charging units could be dispersed publicly, meaning your phone and other devices could always be charging.

9. Physical Wallets

wallet

Wallets may become obsolete simply because, sooner or later, there will be nothing to put into them. Essentially, everything in the wallet is going to get outsourced. Physical currency may still be used, but things like credit cards and debit cards will be changed to apps. This transition is already happening with apps like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

Forms of identification will also become digital, but one of the main pieces of ID may be on its way out in about 20 years as well. It is predicted that by 2025, self-driving autonomous cars will be introduced (Google, you’re probably aware, is already hard at work on this project), and that by 2040, they will be commonplace. This could eliminate the need for a driver’s license altogether.

Finally, in your wallet there are a lot of things that you keep safe, like your money and your pieces of identification. If you lose your wallet, it could lead to a lot of problems, like identity theft. However, phones are encrypted and even the makers of the phone and the FBI have problems hacking them. Plus, unlike your wallet, they can be traced with GPS if lost or stolen.

So without a need for debit and credit cards or a physical driver’s license, wallets may just be relegated to objects that 2036’s form of hipsters use to be ironic.

8. Pennies

Due to inflation, the humble penny has really lost its relevancy over the past few decades. Many people wouldn’t stop to pick one up, and if they do it may just be for good luck because it certainly won’t improve your own personal wealth. Most of the time pennies are used solely to get rid of them, or to keep yourself from getting any more by having exact change. Finally, in countries like the United States, not only has the value of the penny gone down, but copper prices have also gone up. In 2014, it cost 1.7 cents to make one penny.

The solution, which countries like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have already done, is simply to eliminate the penny in cash transactions. Instead, it is just rounded to the nearest five cent increment. Electronic transactions, like paying with debit and credit cards, will still count cents.

With inflation and copper prices expected to go up, by 2036, the use of the copper pennies will be eliminated in many countries.

7. Passwords

In theory, specialized passwords are a good idea for security. However, on average, most people have between five and 10 passwords, all of which should be complex for greater security and half of which they forget and constantly have to reset anyway. Not that we speak from experience, or anything. Ahem. Moving on, the problem is that our brains have a hard time remembering complex sequences, like those ideally used for passwords (which IT specialists tell you should include combinations of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers in random order).

In 20 years, passwords and pin codes for internet and banking accounts will be old news. Technology is currently being developed that would use different biometrics that would be hard to copy. This includes iris scans, voice recognition, fingerprint scans (which Apple, for example, already lets you use to access iPhones, and which can be used in place of passwords for several apps), facial recognition, and even a scanner that recognizes veins in people’s hands.

Besides the elimination of passwords, there will be other, very futuristic, Big Brother-ish sci-fi security on devices, like phones, that measure behavior. A company called BioCatch has a technology that creates behavioral profiles that analyze over 500 parameters, such as how someone holds their device, how they scan a website, and what sites they visit. If someone who is not you is using the device, the device can be shut down, or have the usage limited.

6. Physical Media

broken cds

For physical media, we thought we would break it down into four subcategories: music, movies, books, and video games.

For years, music and movies have moved away from physical media and have become digital downloads or are available through streaming services. We’ve seen this through the fall of places like Tower Records and Blockbuster Video, while iTunes and Netflix have skyrocketed in popularity. So it should not be a surprise that in 20 years, things like physical CDs and even DVDs and Blu-Rays will mostly be relegated to things people buy simply because they want a physical copy. The reason this is happening just comes down to cost and convenience. For example, music is recorded and mixed on a computer, then burned onto a CD, then shipped out to the store or Amazon warehouse, and so on. With digital, there are no materials or shipping costs – not to mention the immediacy of it, or the fact that a downloaded file can’t be damaged or scratched, unlike a disc.

Where this gets a bit more complicated is video games. Obviously with games, downloading and streaming with companies like Steam are becoming more and more common. However, where the industry is heading is still highly debated with two schools of thought. Will people still buy individual, physical games, or is Steam (or potentially a Netflix-style game site) the wave of the future? Well, the problem is games are way more complex than movies and television shows. This has led to speculation that game technology will always be too complex and too big to be entirely streamed, though digital downloads remain an increasingly popular option.

The final physical media is also the oldest – printed books. Of course, if you talk to a book lover, they will think it is crazy to even suggest that print books would be obsolete in 20 years. After all, other forms of physical media don’t necessarily affect the experience. Yes, the quality changes if you are listening to vinyl as opposed to a CD. However, it is impossible to tell the difference between CD and high quality digital downloads. However, there is a noticeable difference between reading a printed book and an e-reader. This may be why books are more resistant to death over the next 20 years. In fact, in 2015, digital book sales started to drop and the sale of printed books increased. So the future of books, both electronic and printed, is uncertain.

5. Needle Injections

Getting a needle injection is a bit of a paradox, because you stick a piece of metal into your body (which seems scary, and always feels like a bad idea), yet the injection may be lifesaving. Well, good news for people who don’t like getting pricked by needles: in 20 years, we’ll all probably be prickless. Wait, that didn’t come out right. Well, you know what we mean.

Two projects at MIT are looking at two very different ways to give people injections without puncturing the skin. The first uses jet injection technology, meaning it can shoot a substance at ultra-high speeds. The device is able to inject medicine by traveling almost as fast as the speed of sound, which allows the drug to flow through an opening in the skin that is about the size of a mosquito proboscis.

A second technology may sound rather horrible, but it actually could be a much safer way to administer drugs: capsule-coated needles that would deliver drugs directly to the stomach lining. The reason that some drugs have to be given to patients intravenously is because if a drug is made from large protein molecules, the digestive system breaks them down as if they are food. This new method of swallowing the injection would allow doctors to dose patients with large antibodies much more efficiently. This would include drugs used in cancer treatment and vaccines.

4. Washers and Dryers

Doing the laundry really isn’t that difficult of a chore, especially when you compare it to how things would have been before electric washer and dryers. Yet, we know that deep down, no one really likes to do the laundry. It’s time consuming, and we’re lazy.

The good news is that 20 years from now, we may not need to. Two separate groups of researchers, one in China in 2012, and another group in Australia in 2016, developed a coating from nanoparticles that reacts similar to bleach when it is exposed to the sun. For the Chinese group, it took 18 hours to coat the clothing, and it couldn’t be traditionally washed afterwards. However, the Australian group was able to coat the clothing in 40 minutes and the nanoparticles stayed on the clothes even when they were traditionally washed 15 times.

Once clothes can be cleaned by just putting it out in the sun, well, then it’s just a matter of doing exactly that and ditching your washer and dryer or trips to the laundromat. After all, being able to use the sun to wash your clothes should be easy for everyone who doesn’t live in England or Seattle.

3. Car Mirrors

car mirror

More and more cars are taking advantage of cameras. In fact, starting in May 2018, all new cars that are manufactured are required to have a rearview camera. Besides just replacing the rearview mirror, cameras are also expected to replace side view mirrors as well. Cameras are simply becoming cheaper, and there is more of an advantage because cameras have a better range of view, such as seeing into blind spots. Finally, as cars move toward being self-driving, the amount of cameras will increase, and since a computer wouldn’t use mirrors to look around the car, they simply won’t be practical.

Beyond cars, there are even some who believe that mirrors will start to disappear from everyday life (which is really going to cause people to get more creative with how they take selfies). Instead, they will be replaced with high resolution monitors that will allow you to do close ups, get biometric readings, and see yourself dressed in different outfits. This would also have decorative features because that big area in rooms that are taken up by mirrors could be anything on the screen.

2. Metal Keys

People have been locking up their possessions since the days of Ancient Egypt, but over the next 20 years or so, keys are going to be given a radical update. Mainly, they will be electronic and on your phone or other portable, electronic device. Volvo, as shown in the video above, is at the forefront of trying to get this movement away from physical keys started. There’s a good chance you’ve also been in a car that’s got a push button starter, which only requires what is basically a keyless fob to be in the car for it to start.

New digital keys will do more than just lock and unlock the door for users. Doors could also be opened with blue tooth. Virtual keys could also be sent to guests with timers, and you can control who has access to open the locks, and at what times.

Using your phone as a key is already being used in Starwood Hotels and Range Rover is using the technology in their cars. Currently, the problem is that digital copies of locks may be easier to pick, and with so many important, personal items on your phone (credit cards, ID, the key to your car…you know, basically half of your life), losing or damaging your phone could be devastating.

1. Checkout Lines

check out

Online shopping certainly has its advantages compared to retail shopping. However, sometimes you just want to look at, touch, and try out a product before buying it. Also, sometimes there are benefits of browsing the store, whereas visiting a website you may only visit certain sections. But, in order to compete, stores will have to look to be innovative, and one of the best ways to do that would be to eliminate lines. After all, who likes to line up to hand over their money?

Well, frictionless commerce is already starting to emerge. The most notable company that takes advantage of this is Uber. There is no money exchanged, it’s all just on the app. Well, this will happen when you do things like grocery shop. Any time you put something in your bag, it automatically tallies up and charges you as you walk out of the store.


Here Today Gone Tomorrow

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– WIF Into the Future

Sport Origin Handbook – WIF Sports

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Origin Stories of

Famous Sports

Whether people play, or just watch, sports are a big part of many people’s lives. Besides just being entertainment, sports are also tied to many countries’ national identity, and are a billion dollar industry. Have you ever wondered how these sports got their start? Even if you think you know, what’s interesting is that the origins of sports are filled with myths and legends. These are the real stories about how these beloved games were invented.

10. Lacrosse

lacrosse

Lacrosse is North America’s oldest team sport and originated with the Eastern Woodlands Native Americans and some Plains Indians tribes. The game was played by warriors of the tribe to keep them fit and strong. Many of the rules were different from modern day lacrosse. Notably, the field of play could be 0.6 miles long. Besides just ensuring that the warriors stay in shape, the game was also important to their society. It helped strengthen diplomatic alliances, supported social conformity, and they used it to honor the gods.

In the 1840s, Europeans became interested in the game. The first recorded match between Europeans and members of the Mohawk tribe happened in August 1844. In 1856, the Montreal Lacrosse Club was formed in Quebec, Canada. When the Prince of Wales visited Montreal in August 1860, lacrosse’s popularity grew even more. A month after the Prince’s visit, a dentist named William George Beers wrote the first official rules and instructions for the game and replaced the deerskin ball with a rubber version. Since then, the game has grown in popularity and there are currently two professional lacrosse leagues operating in North America.

9. Golf

golf

The origins of golf are highly debated. The Scots take total credit for it, and they are kind of right. The modern foundation of the game started in the mid-15thcentury in Scotland. Those rules included swinging a club at a ball and moving it from point A to point B using the least amount of strokes possible.

However, there is evidence that the roots of the game sprouted in the small town of Loenen aan de Vecht in the Netherlands when it was played there in 1297. That year was the start of an annual tradition, where, on Boxing Day, the townspeople played a game named “colf.” The game consisted of two teams of four players who took turns hitting a wooden ball with a wooden stick towards several consecutive targets. Besides the mention of colf in 1297, there is other evidence of golf-like games being played throughout the Netherlands centuries before the game of golf first appeared in Scottish literature in 1636. However, as we mentioned, this is highly debatable and many Scottish people don’t believe it to be true.

8. Ice Hockey

hockey

Canadians are generally considered polite and modest people. However, one thing that many Canadians are gleefully boastful about is their ice hockey heritage. According to them, it’s their game. They are the best at it, and they invented it.

However, according to a book that was published in 2014, hockey was probably invented in England. There are references to the game all the way back to as early the 1790s, and beyond that, it is unclear who created the game. What is known is that the game was popular in England for centuries. Notable people who played included King Edward VII and Charles Darwin.

As for why it’s called hockey, the theory is that in the early games, a cork bung was used as a puck. Bungs were most commonly used as a stopper in beer casks and a popular drink at the time was hock ale.

Why Canada is often associated with hockey is that the first organized public gamewas played in Montreal on March 3, 1875. Before that, games were just played casually. About 40 people attended the the first game, which is a few more than the Arizona Coyotes get now.

7. Rugby

rugby

Rugby supposedly got its start in 1876 when 16-year-old William Webb Ellis was playing soccer at the Rugby School in Warwickshire, England, and he picked up the ball and ran with it. Unfortunately, the story can’t be true because Ellis died in 1872, four years before he was credited with inventing rugby.

The real story is that the game did grow out of the Rugby School and it was promoted by the school’s headmaster Thomas Arnold. The rules were first written in 1845 and it’s believed that the game grew out of soccer, but it’s unclear who was the first person to pick up the ball and run with it.

After boys attended the school and learned the game, they wanted to continue to play as adults. This is how the first intercounty games were organized, leading to the first clubs, which resulted in the formation of the International Rugby Football Board in 1884.

6. Cricket

cricket

To many people in North America, cricket is a bit of a mystery and seems quite complicated. However, it’s beloved in many other countries around the world and watched by billions of people. In fact, it is the second most popular sport in the world.

Cricket is believed to have gotten its start in the 13th century in rural England, where it was played by shepherds. The wicket gate of the sheep paddock was used as a target and then a ball of rags or wool was pitched at the target. An opposing player would use a shepherd’s crooked staff to prevent the ball from hitting the target.

The game was popular regionally and continued to be played throughout the centuries. The first recorded 11-to-a-side match was played in 1697 in Sussex for a prize of 50 guineas. Eight years later, the first intercounty match happened between Kent and Surrey. Rules were probably already established at this point, but the oldest known written rules for the game are dated 1744.

5. Tennis

tennis

It’s believed that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all played some form of tennis. However, the linage of modern tennis starts around 1000 A.D. when it was played by French monks in a monastery. They would play with their hands and a wooded ball, so it was more like volleyball. The net was usually just a rope that stretched across a courtyard. This is also where tennis got its name. While playing, the monks would yell ‘tenez’, which is French for ‘to take’, while they served the ball. Over the next two centuries, the game gained popularity throughout Europe and by the 13th century there were 1,800 indoor courts. By 1500, wooden frame racquets that were laced with sheep guts became common, as did balls made from cork.

However, the game was much different than it is today. According to The History Channel:

Games took place in narrow, indoor courts, where the ball was played off walls with roved galleries and a number of openings. Players won points by hitting the ball into netted windows beneath the roves, with the net being five feet high on the ends and three feet in the middle, which created a pronounced droop.

Modern tennis didn’t really start to emerge until 1873 when the rules were first published. In 1877, the first tennis tournament was held at Wimbledon, where they decided on the court shape and size and adopted tennis’ method of scoring.

4. Basketball

basketball

We bet it wasn’t really a surprise that Canadians claimed to be the inventors of hockey. However, did you know that a Canadian actually invented one of America’s most beloved sports, basketball?

Dr. James Naismith of Almonte, Ontario was born in 1861, and after years of working as a lumberjack, he got his degree in physical education from McGill University in Montreal. After graduating, he moved to the United States, where he got a job at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts.

There, he was tasked with finding a suitable activity for a group of “incorrigibles.” The winters were cold in New England and the boys had to stay inside and quickly became bored with all the indoor games of the day. Naismith developed basketball based on a game he played as a child called Duck on a Rock. Naismith had the school’s janitor hang up two peach baskets high up at each end of the gym and a soccer ball was used. The first game was played on December 21, 1891, and the final score was 1-0. So, both teams were slightly better than the Philadelphia 76ers. Eventually, the peach baskets had holes cut in the bottom because the janitor got sick of climbing up a ladder to retrieve the ball.

From there the game grew in popularity and Naismith was alive to see it adopted into the Olympics in 1936 in Berlin. Naismith, who was the first coach of the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team, also saw the birth of NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship. He passed away on November 28, 1939.

3. Baseball

baseball

The most common legend of the start of baseball is it was invented in Cooperstown, New York, during the summer of 1839 by Abner Doubleday. After inventing the game, Doubleday went on to become a hero in the American Civil War. The only problem is that none of that is true. In 1839, Doubleday would have still been at West Point.

Baseball probably descended from two games from England. The first is a game called rounders that was a children’s game that came to New England with the colonists, and the second is cricket.

The foundation of modern baseball started in 1845 when a group of men in New York formed the New York Knickerbocker Baseball Club. The most influential member of the club was a bank clerk named Alexander Joy Cartwright who came up with many of the rules that are the foundation of baseball. This included a diamond shaped infield, foul lines, and the three strike rule. Another rule that he removed, which certainly would make baseball a lot more exciting today, is that he got rid of the rule that players were allowed to throw the ball at a runner to get them out.

2. American Football

football

The first game that would eventually become American Football, or gridiron football, happened on November 6, 1869, between players from Princeton andRutgers. However, that was more of a soccer game. After that game, Yale developed their own sport that was called “The Boston Game.” It was like soccer, but if a player was being pursued by an opponent, he could pick up the oval ball and run with it, or throw or pass it. If he wasn’t being pursued, he had to kick it with his feet. Then on May 14 and 15, 1874, Yale hosted McGill University from Montreal and they also had their own set of rules for football. On the first day, they played the Boston Game.

On the second day, they played McGill’s version of football, which had more of a rugby element to it. It had 11 men per side, used an oval ball, and a player could pick it up and run with it at any time. After the games, the Yale team decided they liked McGill’s version better and adopted it. Yes, you read that right. The foundation for American football was developed by a Canadian university.

Yale’s football Captain from 1876 to 1881 was Walter Camp. He was responsible for the Intercollegiate Football Association adopting two important rules. He got rid of the opening scrum and introduced the rule where the team had to give up the ball if they didn’t move it a certain amount of yards after a specific number of downs. Camp was also responsible for many other innovations that makes football what is today. This includes 11-men-per-side, the quarterback position, the line of scrimmage, offensive signal calling and football’s unique scoring system

One thing that you may be wondering is, why is association football called soccer in North America? Well, it may be surprising to know that it is a British term. It was what they called the sport for nearly a century. Essentially, the sport is formally called Association Football, or for short, Assocc and at the time, it was common for people at English schools added “-er” to the end of words. Then, Assoccer gradually morphed into soccer. British people used soccer interchangeably all the way into Post-World War II. North Americans always called it soccer to differentiate between it and gridiron football. After World War II, America had a cultural explosion, and the British started to adopt the word football because soccer had become too American “too American.”

1. Soccer

soccer

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world today, and it could be because it’s an innate part of the human experience. Games similar to soccer can be dated all the way back to 2,500 B.C. in Ancient Egypt, where people kicked a ball around during the feast of the fertility.

In China, from 476 B.C. to 221 B.C., people played a sport called cuju, which roughly translates to “kick the ball with foot.” The point of the game was to kick a leather ball stuffed with feathers through a cloth hung between two posts. They could use any part of their body, except for their hands. Soldiers used to play it in order to keep in shape.

A similar game was played in Ancient Rome as well. There were 27 players on each team and they only had to get the ball in the other team’s goal. Because this was Ancient Rome, people were injured and killed while playing it, which sounds way more exciting than watching modern soccer.

Games similar to soccer continued to be played all the way through the middle ages and the contemporary age of soccer started in 1863. That’s when rugby football and soccer splintered off and the Football Association in England was formed. This governing body gave more rules and regulations, giving birth to modern day soccer.


Sport Origin Handbook

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– WIF Sports