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By Adnan M. S. Fakir & beb-E

Introducing the D-i-D!
Imagine a distant future where the polar caps has finally melted, and everybody's nightmare has become a very dark and horrible reality. The fate of low-lying lands like our beautiful country can only be imagined, maybe not with much hope, but certainly very vividly; where once fakirs used to beg, dolphins will mate, and where politicians used to deliver their 'democratic' speeches, sharks will dictate. It will be a Bangladesh of the marine creatures, I tell you, where humans will cower and be devoured.

While many sorts of solutions persists for this problem, we at Scratch Films, have devised a very humane solution with an interesting innovative edge; applicable and designed for use both in recent times and the watery future. As traditional as the solution is, it is also 'comparatively' non expensive. So we sincerely advice you, if you value your lives, to invest your time and money in our latest invention: the Damzel in Distress (aka DiD).

Now that the suspense has been built, you're probably wondering what exactly this DiD is. It's a hybrid vehicle. Amphibious, as in it can travel both on land and water. It's very eco-friendly, in the sense that it is entirely manual (pedal powered!). It's heavy, though, and it's sort of hard to maneuver, but with a little bit more innovative thinking behind the project we'll definitely run Ford out of business. Next you are probably wondering, so what so special about it; and that is where you will be most dumbfounded! Cause its one of its kind! Derived from the most ingenious minds of Bangladesh, the vehicle has been built using parts that can be found only in Dhaka!

Errr… essentially, it's a boat; heh heh; with wheels! ee hee hee… … hee. Ahemm.

Making your own Boat on Wheels!
Warning: If you are not into technical stuff, you may find this pretty boring. You see this idea spawned into our head thanks to our deadly RS writer/fighter Shuprova Tasneem. She has this movable bed and we were planning to attach the bed (with her sleeping on it) to a car and take her to her doom! Unfortunately the plan didn't work out and instead we came up with the DiD, or its common name (as per Tasneem apa) the Goba. Enough of this jargon though and onto the technical details. Should you ever wish to build a Goba (which we highly recommend, for your own safety) you will need to do the following:

1) The Boat and Boithas (Expense: Tk.2,000):
First and foremost, you'll need to buy a boat. A boat that is no more than 8-10 feet in length and wide enough to fit a decently not-oversized person. The more appropriate name for such a small boat, as locally known, is a “dingi.” Make sure that the dingi is decently new (with no “ui pokas” lurking anywhere in the wood ready to digest it) with obviously no leaks. We got our boat from the Buriganga River and had to pay around Tk.300 extra for transportation to Mohakhali via van. Also you may want to keep the boat suck underwater for a day or two, for the wood to swell up and close any possible minute leaks; all regular deshi boats have to undergo this procedure. Oh and also be sure to put on Alkatra mixed with Mud/Ash (and properly dried) before you try to test the boat on water.

2) Building the Main Body (Expenses: Tk.16,000) You will need to buy almost more than half of the parts of two rickshaws, so beware. Get a proper rickshaw mechanic (who has no intention to rip you off) to be your guide and you should be decently fine. Also get a pro-welder with a welding machine; trust me, you will be welding a lot! I will recommend getting the parts from Kauran Bazaar; also I'll be listing the main parts here and what goes where so you have an idea of the set up and the technical structure of the DiD:

2X Chassis Pair: A rickshaw chassis is basically the two metal bars making a V shape underneath the seat which supports the entire structure. You will need two pairs of these properly welded together, one pair facing the other pair, to make an X shaped structure totaling a length of approximately 8 feet (matching to that of the boat) which be our chassis.

2X Suspension Pair: Did you ever notice the round things on rickshaws on each side of the seat? Those round things are apparently supposed to be shock absorbers or suspensions, positioned on top of the chassis using wooden blocks. The rickshaw customer seat is usually placed on top of the suspensions; in our case the boat will be placed on top of the four suspensions.

4X Wheels: Get good quality wheels, as this is important. Remember, you'll probably have to assemble the wheels, each wheel consisting of ~42 spokes, the rim, the tube and the tire.

The Driving Force: 2X (full length) Axels, 1X pair of Pedals, 1X custom made Pedal Stand, 3X pair of turning teeth wheels, 12X Bearings, 6X Bearing Cover Sets, 1X Brakes and 3X Chains: This is kind of hard to illustrate in words, however I'll try to describe it as well as I can, so read carefully. One of the full length axels will be attached to the back wheels, which will be main driving force. As we cannot have the chain to turn the back axel in the middle (which is usually the case for rickshaws and bicycles), instead, we will be having two chains from two sides of the axel attached to one main axel on top of the boat. The photograph of the Chain System should be able to give a clearer picture.

A custom made pedal stand will probably be required to place the pedals a distance further up from the axel. A third chain will be attached from the pedal to the middle axel which is above the boat. Thus, when we turn the pedals, the middle axel (above the boat) will turn which will in turn move the back axel (and hence the wheels) ultimately moving the entire structure.

The Turning Mechanism: 2X custom-made ¼ Length Axels, 2X custom made Bearing Plates, 2X Angle Bars and 4X Pieces of Rod: We got the turning mechanism from Lego cars so you can say it's a tribute to them! The front wheels will have our turning mechanism. This is again kind of complicated, so pay heed. Think of it logically, if both the wheels are connected by an axel, the wheels won't be able to turn. Right? If you got this, the rest should a piece of cheesecake.

Because of this short coming of the full length axel, we have the two custom made short axels, each connected separately to each wheel. Now, to let each of the wheels turn, the wheels will be connected to custom made Bearing Plates (the other end connected to the chassis) which is basically two plates welded onto a large bearing. For those of you wondering what a bearing is, it's a round thing that permits 360 degree turns at its joints. So by connecting the wheels to the Bearing Plates, the wheels will be able to turn.

One last problem pertains! You see, if each wheel turns wherever it wants, the DiD won't go anywhere. The two front wheels have to turn at the same time, in the same direction, at the same angle, like a car. For this to happen we have to connect the two custom made bearing plates (not the custom axels, which will defeat its purpose then) via an angle bar and screws. Now, if we turn one bearing plate, it will push the other bearing plate, thus turning both wheels in the same direction and roughly the same angle. To control it via hands, simply weld two rods at right angle to the bearing plate bringing it out in front of the boat. So as you can see, it is not a one man, but rather a two man vehicle; one in the back pedaling the DiD, and the other in front controlling the turning.

Finishing Touches (Expenses: Tk.500): With the pedaling and turning mechanism set up, you just have to properly attach the boat to the chassis by bending long rods welded to the chassis and sort of “tying it up” (by welding of course) with the boat. This will ensure that the chassis doesn't sink when on water! It took us around a week to devise and build this thing, but since we have the blueprints now, it shouldn't take more than 5 days. Finally color it as you will, give it a proper name like the DiD and you are set! Time to hit the roads (and waters) baby!

Travelling Historical Sites via the DiD!
While we did make the DiD out of sheer curiosity and as a trial and error, we did have another purpose for it. You see, we at Scratch Films are working on a documentary film on the Historical Places of Bangladesh (inspired from the RS Celebrating Bangladesh series) and to make the film a tad bit more entertaining, we built the DiD. While we did (almost) smoothly move around with it both on land and water visiting and covering the many relics of Dhaka, there is also a reason why we decided to call it the “Damzel in Distress.” So keep your eyes wide open folks, the first part of the three part film series will be out soon! Check out the trailer at Youtube under

“Historical Places of Bangladesh: Part 1 Trailer” and also join the facebook group. I am sure you'll love it! As an ending note, if any of you want to try to build this Dhakaiya magnificence, be sure to let me know at adnanfakir@yahoo.com, you'll not be disappointed!

Waterworld. Hudson Hawk. Showgirls. The movie world is replete with examples of projects that swallowed up vast amounts of cash only to sink beneath the waves, vanish into Bruce Willis' past, or disappear into our darkest nightmares. So too is the world of videogames, and although there's no game failure that can quite match the sheer scale of the movie world's excesses, there's still no shortage of games so unsuccessful that they brought down companies, destroyed careers, and shattered dreams. Here are seven of our favorites.

Sims Online
Estimated budget: $25m

Although megapublisher Electronic Arts usually has a knack for delivering sales smashes, every time it's dipped its toe into the waters of massively multiplayer games since Ultima Online it's ended up badly burned. Its last effort, an online version of The Sims, should have been a smash hit, but, well, let's just say it underperformed a tad. Turns out the best way to make history's most successful videogame franchise into a massively multiplayer game is not in fact to remove most of the features players enjoy and then heap on a monthly fee. The Sims Online underperformed from day one, and although EA re-invented the game as "EA-Land" in February, it's currently marking time until the Grim Reaper comes to turn off the servers on August 1.

Estimated budget: Unknown. Epic.

Once upon a time, John Romero could do no wrong. Flushed with his success at Id Software, where he was instrumental in designing classics like Doom and Quake, he left to form his own studio, Ion Storm, and develop a new first-person shooter. What followed was an intricate and marvelous tale of pride, massive dot-com spending excess, colossal hype, atrociously bad ads, and, once the game was finally released, terrible reviews. Romero's studio collapsed soon after, and with it went most of Romero's once-proud reputation. He reportedly claimed Daikatana actually sold enough copies to recoup its vast costs, but regardless of whether that's true it'll always be remembered as the game that brought down Ion Storm.

The Last Express
Estimated budget: $6m

Some games flop because they're over-hyped. Some games flop because they're terrible. Some flop because they just spent too much money. Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner's The Last Express made none of these mistakes, instead falling victim to a perfect storm of catastrophes, all beyond its control. It's still remembered as one of the finest adventure games ever made, but it was released in 1997, right as the gaming public was losing interest in the genre in favor of those new-fangled 3D shooters. The publisher's marketing department up and quit, leaving it with no ads, and a subsequent buyout meant the game vanished from stores soon after its release. Unsurprisingly, it sank without trace - but fortunately, courtesy of GameTap, it's now being distributed again. If you don't play any other games on this list - and, frankly, we wouldn't blame you if you didn't - play this one.

Ultima 9
Estimated budget: Unknown. Nine-year development cycles are not cheap.
Is there any PC role-playing game series that's as well-loved as the Ultima games? Created by the eccentric designer Richard "Lord British" Garriott, they dominated the genre for a full fifteen years, and remain close to the heart of many RPG aficionados. Garriott's good fortune came to a grinding halt with the 1999 release of Ultima IX: it was nine years in the making, required numerous redesigns and rewrites, and when it finally hit the streets it was a buggy, inconsistent mess with sky-high hardware requirements that excluded many fans. As if that wasn't bad enough, the coming of 3D action-adventures caused the designers to ditch the series' traditional deep, party-based combat and replace it with a system that owed more to Tomb Raider than Dungeons & Dragons. Assorted patches improved the game somewhat, but it wasn't enough to redeem it, and among many Ultima devotees its name is still not spoken. Garriott's latest project, an MMO named Tabula Rasa, is still up and running - but our hunch is that you'll see it appearing in next year's version of this article.

Estimated budget: $70m

Legendary Sega designer Yu Suzuki created classics like OutRun, Space Harrier and Virtua Fighter before turning his attention to the adventure genre in this spectacular epic. For years it stood as the most expensive video game ever made, and it was single-handedly responsible for selling at least seven of Sega's equally ill-fated Dreamcast consoles. Was it any good? Eh, depends on who you ask. Some heralded it as the greatest console RPG ever made. Others just couldn't dig its free-form storytelling and repetitive gameplay. It was originally intended to be a trilogy, but the series looks to have ground to a halt after its second episode. If you've ever wanted to drive a forklift round a Japanese town looking for sailors, give it a go.

The Getaway
Estimated budget: City-sized

Pop quiz: It's 2000, and you want to make a free-roaming driving game. Do you: a) start by hammering together a plot, a quick generic cityscape and a few gangster-type characters, or b) attempt to model 70 square miles of one of the world's busiest and most chaotic cities in exhaustive detail? If you answered mostly As, well done: you have what it takes to be a top games developer. If you answered mostly Bs, well done: you are probably already a top games developer, and you worked on The Getaway. The team trimmed back their ambitions to a "mere" ten square miles of central London, and it eventually saw the light of day in 2002 - a year after Grand Theft Auto 3's release, by which time everything The Getaway did had already been done, and better. Its sequel fared even worse, and a planned PS3 version was canned just days ago.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Estimated budget: over $50m (inflation-adjusted)

No list of video game flops would be complete without the game that's widely credited with causing the great videogame crash of 1983. Atari paid somewhere around $25 million for the movie license, then had their programmers hammer out a game in a mere five weeks. The video games industry celebrated its release by disappearing into a recession that took years to cure, and Atari was broken up and sold just a year later. E.T. is still remembered as the worst game ever made. Still, if that hasn't put you off (perhaps you are a masochist or otherwise insane) head for the desert and start digging: untold millions of unsold E.T. cartridges were dumped in an Alamogordo, New Mexico landfill where they remain to this day. Best place for 'em.

Source: Mike Smith,videogames.yahoo.com

Movie review

Cast: Adam Sandler, Mariah Carey, Rob Schneider, Sayed Badreya, Shelley Berman

“You Don't Mess With the Zohan" can be considered quite a brave movie considering current Arab-Israeli relations featuring a former Mossad agent.

Adam Sandler, as the agent sets up the bait in this spy game while John Turturro plays a Palestinian terrorist mastermind who opens a fast-food shack. The movie pretends this is all perfectly normal for almost two blissfully arbitrary hours.

Zohan is a celebrated government assassin who, tired of fighting Palestinians, fakes his death and flees to Manhattan to realize his dream of doing American hair. Known as the Zohan, he has remarkable physical skills. The laws of gravity do not limit him; he can travel through cities like Spider-Man but without the web strings. He can simply jump for hundreds of feet. Rejected from one of Paul Mitchell's salons, Zohan seeks work in a Palestinian-run salon, managed by a no-nonsense beauty (Emmanuelle Chriqui). The parlor's on a street split between Israelis and Arabs. Lest anyone know he's alive, Zohan works under the name Scrappy Coco and moves in with Kazan and her grown baby of a son (Nick Swardson). At the salon, he starts sweeping up hair and, after his big styling break, winds up the star of the shop, the lines of women out the door with a flamboyantly ugly haircut.

Adam Sandler's new comedy is shameless in its eagerness to extract laughs from every possible breach of taste or decorum, and why am I even mentioning taste and decorum in this context? This is a mighty hymn of and to vulgarity, and either you enjoy it, or you don't.

This plot is simply the skeleton for sight gags. His archenemy, the Palestinian agent known as the Phantom (John Turturro), is also in New York, and they make war. The Phantom's training regime is severe. He takes eggs, cracks them and live chicks emerge. These he puts in a glass and chugs. He punches not only sides of beef but a living cow. Like the Zohan, he is filled with confidence in his own abilities, and with reason (he can cling to ceilings). Their confrontation will be a battle of the Middle-Eastern superheroes.

Now creeps in a belated plot, involving a shady developer (Michael Buffer, of "let's get ready to rumble!" fame). He wants to tear down a street of Arab and Israeli electronics stores and falafel and hummus shops to put up a mall. This would be a terrible thing, particularly given the prominent role that hummus plays in the film. There are scenes here that make you wince. But it's still good for a ton of laughs. Sandler works so hard at this, and so shamelessly, that you can't help but smile.


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