Tony Hawk, Person, Business.

A picture of a halfpipe branded with “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD”
A picture of a halfpipe branded with “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD”
“Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD” by wuestenigel is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It is so easy to dissociate the various incarnations of Tony Hawk that it’s become a recurring bit. He runs into someone at a restaurant or in an airport who knows what “Tony Hawk” is in theory but has trouble accepting that it’s something that the person in front of them, the actual Tony Hawk, could be. This apparently happens all the time.

Fame has a tendency to distort its subjects, fragment them into exaggerated images of something less than whole humans. There’s the lanky teenager silhouetted against the sky at an angle gravity barely allows…


Maru wins the Global StarCraft II League Super Tournament

Maru holding the Super Tournament trophy in front of an empty arena

In 2010, when Cho Seong-ju made his professional broadcast debut there were people in the studio watching. It wasn’t notable then but the camera operators were also not wearing masks. In the time since, many StarCraft II events have dispensed with the soundproof booths that Seong-ju looked so tiny in at the moment — he was only 13 years old, the youngest player to ever appear in a televised professional match — though it feels like the isolation might have even more utility now. …


A picture of a crumbling industry and the people left doing their best to navigate an unworkable landscape

“Demolition” by eschipul is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

On November 7th, Spectrum News Hudson Valley posted a human interest interview about one of Sports Illustrated’s newer freelance correspondents. I am not typing out their name here for two reasons: in the bigger picture, none of this is their fault and also they are still currently attending high school. Based on the glowing comments from their video production teacher, the fact that they are an ambitious student who does good work probably helped them get the assignment. …


It’s just business.

Photo by Sheba_Also via Creative Commons License

Liz Carmouche is no longer under contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Her job description for the company was “cage fighting against other professional athletes,” but it’s awkward to say that she was “fired” or “laid off” from it, exactly. The UFC has done considerable lobbying, labor law gymnastics, and anti-union posturing to ensure that its fighters are locked into one-sided contracts where they are technically not considered employees, but instead, independent contractors. The promotion has applied the precarity of the gig economy to giving and taking a beating.

Carmouche is undeniably capable. She is 13–7 in…


It’s time to stop thinking about video games as singularities.

Two versions (left, The Louvre’s and right, The National Gallery’s) of Leonardo da Vinci’s Virgin of the Rocks.

It’s not all that important whether Leonardo da Vinci coined the phrase “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” The idea has been expressed by countless other creators too, but regardless, it’s widely believed there are at least two versions of Virgin of the Rocks that da Vinci had a hand in painting. There’s also a third copy, possibly done his pupil Francesco Melzi. Da Vinci, if it was him, was probably not thinking about Overwatch at the time, but the concept of iterating on art is nothing new.

Seven different…


Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

The amazon is burning now. To be fair, things were not great before the usual annihilating tendencies of capitalism merged with Jair Bolsonaro’s monstrous authoritarianism to light the rain forest on fire, but the flames have not improved things. This is not to single out Brazil or an individual blaze, though. There are plenty of other problems, it is just an especially terrifying one.

The U.S. of A., for its part, is also run by fascist monsters and is also doing its damnedest to destroy the planet. Unsurprisingly, given its nightmarish history of imperialism in South America, it also had…


The sun over Timber Hearth.

The magic of Outer Wilds — and it is magic — doesn’t come from unprecedented building blocks. The pieces it is constructed from are full of familiar parallels and influences; it’s like The Arrival, or like Groundhog Day, or like 2001, or like a variety of other recognizable touchstones. It’s a photo negative of No Man’s Sky, where instead the universe is cozy and gorgeously hand-crafted. It’s the tactile feel and believable, dangerous pull of Solar Jetman or Kerbal Space Program. It’s a Half-Life 2 physics puzzle sprawled out over a whole solar system. It’s the loop of Majora’s Mask


Activision Blizzard’s empire

As I write this, the horrible dystopian thing that is being discussed today in video game circles is an article by Drew Harwell in the Washington Post. The story details Activision Blizzard’s use of the pregnancy tracking app Ovia on its employees, the human beings responsible for turning the business into a money-making juggernaut with titles like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. The company — one that inhaled record revenues of $7.5 …


Dana White, when asked if he’s being tone-deaf on TSN

Rachael Ostovich and Greg Hardy in the UFC.

[CW: Domestic violence, references to other sports-related crimes and allegations]

Since signing a 1.5 billion dollar deal to air their fights on ESPN platforms, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has been working to solidify the lineup for their premiere ESPN+ event. The process has not gone smoothly.

Despite earlier doubts, Rachael Ostovich’s manager says that she will be medically cleared in time to face Paige VanZant on January 19th at the Barclays Center. The doubts had been serious; in November, Ostovich was hospitalized with a broken orbital bone and other injuries after an…


UFC 228 Marketing

If you are reading this you are probably aware of Conor McGregor. If not, it is not for lack of effort on the UFC’s part. McGregor is the biggest star in mixed martial arts and the UFC’s most lucrative draw by a huge margin. You may be familiar with his historic run to MMA titles in two different weight classes, or his wildly successful boxing-related-grift with unrepentant domestic abuse menace Floyd Mayweather.

You might also remember McGregor from such promotional racism classics as saying of José Aldo and Brazil, “If this was a different time I would invade his favela…

Huge Mantis

I write. Twitter: @ HugeMantis. Email: HugeMantis @ gmail dot com

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