1. Nintendo has sold more than 47 million Nintendo DS handhelds sold in the United States. Yet can you name two excellent games that came out for it in the last two years? Can you name one?
2. From the multi-part analysis of Kubrick's The Shining I mentioned the other day:
Now then: in order for a protagonist/antagonist dyad to work dramatically, the protagonist must be aware that the antagonist exists, and is acting upon things, and vice versa. This is why Danny has psychic powers, and why the hotel can do pretty much any damn thing it wants, and why fantasy stories always have magical characters who can see the future and know what's going on in distant lands -- because otherwise, the protagonist and antagonist would never know that the other exists. If Gandalf is just some guy who tells Frodo to throw the ring into a volcano and Frodo says "okay" and sets out, there is no drama to Lord of the Rings. It must be that Gandalf is a wizard and that Frodo can have visions when he puts on the ring and that Sarumon has a magic ball that sees things, or else everybody is just kind of doing things. I'm sorry, but that's how it works -- the requirements of the drama dictate the magical powers, not the other way around. When the device of magic powers is done well, it's well-integrated and encompassing and lends the drama a sense of wonder and completeness. When it's not, the audience knows it's a plot contrivance.3. Build a postapocalyptic model car contest.
*Buy model cars at Amazon.