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Issue 5, 16th March 2010


we design the experience.

http:// www.fourml.com.au


Happy Birthday Sponge! That’s right everyone! This issue of Sponge marks the 1-year anniversary since we began! So to all you Mo-Fo’s who thought this sucker was never going to fly, suck on Issue #5!! But anyway, down to business, in this issue we showcase some of the red hot artwork from renowned Japanese illustrator Takinaka, as well as take a look at the everlasting question of whether or not it’s a good idea to get back in touch with your ex. There is your dose of what’s going around the fashion, gaming, music and anime worlds as well as this issues list of things that have shit Sponge up the wall in the last 3 months. Also, special birthday treat, Sponge takes a look at our top 5 drinking games for your party! Happy Boozin’ Guys!!! Over the coming issues we are aiming to continue vastly increasing the scale and range of our content, but to do so we will need a larger contribution from writers and artists as well as some assistance from our readers. So, if you’re a writer, photographer or artist and feel you can contribute, or even just a reader with an opinion on what’s working, what isn’t or what you would like to see more of, then please contact us via email at: editor@sponge-magazine.com and list your skills and fields of interest or any feedback you wish to mention.

Contents Takenaka - Illustrator Interview

03

Contributors

Crop Tops - Fashion Trend or Crime?

06

Writers: Christopher Nesci Hannah Kim Michael Mason Peter Giannoukas Cara Williams Tessa Stogian

Star Ocean: The Last Hope - Review 07

Designers: Christopher Nesci Michael Mason Phurieda Editor: Peter Giannoukas Assistant Editor: Tessa Stogian Creative Direction: Fourml Creative Studio Website Credits: Phurieda

MAG - Review

08

Final Fantasy CC: Crystal Bearers - Review

09

iPhone Games

11

Bleach - Review

13

Wolf and Spice 2 - Review

14

Story of the Year - Album Review

15

Top 5 Drinking Games

16

Pavement Band - Interview

19

Human Cattle Run

21

The X Effect

22

I Claim War On

24

Featured Artist: Takenaka

Thank you to everyone who has ever read a Sponge issue and a special thank you to everyone who has worked with us on this magazine to date! 2


Takenaka Interview Artist

http://www.tcct.zaq.ne.jp/dahlia/

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you’re based. I am 25-year-old Japanese woman. I love fashion, shoes and cats. How long have you been illustrating? I have been drawing pictures since early childhood and over the last three years I have begun illustrating for businesses. What medium or tools do you prefer to use and why? I am using a PC, a pen tablet and drawing software, mainly because they do not make garbage and painting materials are unnecessary. I like this style. How did you develop your style? Hmm… I don’t know… I developed this style before I really became aware of it. What inspires you to create your character’s outfits? Photographs from fashion snap and other fashion magazines inspire me. How does technology affect your work in both a positive and negative way? Positive: I am getting a job thanks to the technology because I draw only using a personal computer. Negative: Because the original picture doesn’t exist as a material, the work is often plagiarized. How do you go about selecting your colours? ‘So many men, so many minds.’ I see a variety of kinds of pictures and absorb the part of them that I favour. I mix them all and finish up with a screen of my taste. I think that individuality comes out of this process. 4


What is your most favourite commissioned work? My favourite work is the Jack Riot’s one. http://www.tcct.zaq. ne.jp/dahlia/image/works/new/n21.jpg The reason is that I was able to draw my favourite boots… (I’m sorry for the foolish reason...hehe) What advice would you give to beginning illustrators? Please enjoy drawing and please do not lose the ambition.

Please visit http://www.tcct.zaq.ne.jp/dahlia/ for more fresh works

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Crop Tops: I’

ve been seeing this fashion style all over the streets of Melbourne (plus shopping centres) and from what I’ve gathered so far most people can’t pull this 80’s style off. Some people say, “If you got it, flaunt it.” Well this goes with this kind of fashion. If you know you’ve got the body for it, then what you need to do next is find the right pair of pants or skirt to go with it.

What about trying to pair it with, erm, I don’t know, maybe a high waisted pant just like this girl from chictopia. That way you don’t show too much skin and look more ‘classy’ as opposed to ‘skanky’.

(Credit: http://www.chictopia.com/EverybodyIsUgly)

She’s one of the examples of someone that can pull off both the cropped top and the high waisted pants. These girls also pull it off by choosing the right accessories:

Fashion Trend or Crime?

(Via http://fashionkilledmywallet.blogspot.com)

She also pulls it off really well in the first picture even with that neon flat, but not so much in the second picture, it looks like she’s trying too hard, it could be the skirt that doesn’t go with the top. (Via Alisa M @ lookbook)

Cute! She pulls off the pants really well too. We all know that not many people can pull of high-waisted pants/ skirts, but let’s not go too far on this topic because we want to focus on the cropped tops rather than highwaisted fashion.

Even Rihanna can’t pull it off: The combination between the brown harem pants (I’ve written about this fashion fad back in issue #3) and that cropped top makes her look big and she looks like she has droopy hips and bottom.

What about on Daisy Lowe? It’s acceptable, but then again I can’t see people on the street wearing that and actually pulling it off. She needs to replace the furry vest with something else I reckon.

I personally don’t like this trend (or should we call it a fad?) because MOST, I repeat, MOST people I see on the street don’t look good with it. Mind you, I know I’ve got the body to wear them (I doubt I can pull it off) - but if I really had to wear it, I would only wear it at the beach as a cover up or as a layer. This means I’ll have something underneath that cropped top instead of showing off my belly too much. - Hannah Kim

You still need the right body to pull it off. It doesn’t matter if you’re confident wearing it, because honestly you can look pregnant wearing high-waisted jeans. Bad example of pairing both:

She might not look skanky but the top and the pants (and the hats plus the clutch) don’t compliment her body at all. I can’t even tell what type of body shape she’s got.

Oh God no.

Mischa Burton (far left) looks like a junkie! Especially with that eye make up and the hair! She needs a better stylist! While the rest, uhh, not sure - but I know you wouldn’t see me wearing THOSE kind of clothes on the street.

Talk about being skanky and trashy at the same time… 6


I

f you’re unfamiliar with this title, Star Ocean is a JRPG (Japanese RPG) set in the universe. Most of the titles that I’ve played before (including the PSP version) all pretty much have the same concept. You get a spaceship and normally Earth is in trouble and needs you to travel the universe doing missions. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m a big fan of JRPG and I should say that Star Ocean has never failed me which is also the case with this sequel, especially on the PS3. The graphics are great and I love the costume design. Sound design is good, I played it with the Japanese audio and English subtitles and I thought the voice actors were great. I didn’t dare switch it to the English audio just because I always play my games with the original voices. Some of the characters are a bit, what do you call it, fan service. I don’t actually care about the characters though, I’m used to playing JRPG’s so I know how the Japanese work. You know, the usual silent and shy girl, a kiddy looking girl who’s probably an adult in real life, a really loud girl with big boobs and of course, a cat girl. To be honest I didn’t really notice this until someone mentioned it to me, but again, I don’t really pay much attention to the characters. The storyline is pretty predictable. It’s not really that bad, but I thought, because this game is for the PS3 they could’ve made it so you can choose our own actions. The best thing about this game is what you can do in the battle sequences. Just like on the previous titles you have the ability to learn lots of stuff like crafting, which is very useful because most of the NPC weapons aren’t really good to buy and the only way you can get better weapons is to max up the crafting ability. Depending on the character you’ll be able to use magic,

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or Symbology as they call it. There’s also a bonus board where you can get extra experience points, more MP/HP points, etc on every turn that you meet certain requirements on (such as critical hits on the last hit, etc). You can lose these bonus boards though; they won’t always stay on screen. If the enemy hits you for a while you’ll lose a couple of them and if you quit the game you’ll lose them all. There are also new features such as Rush Mode, which can lead to a really good combination if you use it with your symbology. Once it’s on 100% your attack will get faster and if you press at the same time with your symbology attack you can perform a really cool attack by pressing a certain button shown on screen. When you’re a high level the screen can simply be breathtaking as you cast symbology to the enemies. There’s also tactical attacks called “Blindsides” where you can attack the enemy from there blindside and cause a lot of damage. However, they can block the attack. This is the same if the enemy tries to do it to you. I noticed that the frame rate drops big time when trying to perform special arts. These bits can be really annoying after a while. I don’t understand how the PS3 can’t handle such a thing. Could this be from the game? I’m not too sure. Overall, despite of the frame rate problem, if you’re a JRPG fan and have never played this title before, I strongly recommend it to you. It definitely is the best JRPG on the PS3 so far and I can assure you that you won’t be able to stop playing once you start! - Hannah Kim

PS3 REVIEW


MAG is a first person shooter that can house up to 256 players in one map (in ‘Domination’ mode) and produce a feeling of war Zipper Interactive calls the ‘Shadow War’, a war that is fought by PMC (Private Military Contractors). You’re given the choice of one of three contractors: Valor the G.I. Joe Red Necks, Raven the Rich and Pompous with High Tech Weapons and S.V.E.R. the dirty Oliver Twists of war. I choose Raven, not for the European richness with the aristocratic right to raise their noses at the red necks or the beggars, but because S.V.E.R. seems to dominate the minds of the players that think they are the most powerful or most talented and I like challenge. For some odd reason, it’s Raven’s duty to defend the Brazilian maps, which means being any of the three teams you get 1 training map, 3 defense maps (both depending on what team you joined) and 6 offensive maps, making a total of 10 different maps playable per team and 2 maps only available to the enemy. Depending on what modes you like to play, you could be caught thinking that there aren’t very many maps but this is only slightly true. With each Domination map there are four different waypoints helping not only to split up the 256 players with objectives but to also give different layouts to plan strategies. Unfortunately, MAG falls at this moment in time. You step up to the plate with enemies sprawling across different covers. As you start picking them off, your teammates (it’s almost a travesty to call them that) start running across the field acting like Call of Duty Cowboys, more closely resembling fodder for the enemies, leaving no one to protect your flanks or to cover you while reloading, taking ground or doing objectives. Yes, in MAG, the key to success is to use

teamwork and strategy which when played right comes with a sense of satisfaction unknown to the general COD Cowboy and thus, for the time being, the fall of MAG. This is slightly due to PS3 not coming with a cheap and viable headset to communicate. Being able to converse with the squad is a big advantage to any side and while the leader is essentially the only one who needs to lead (and has the ability to give players more experience and better stats when they fight close to him and follow the objective he sets) people generally don’t listen and play their own game. Perhaps when the scrubs move on to the next FPS fad, and if the hardcore gamers decide to stay and play, then MAG will shine. MAG is a solid if not safe FPS. It doesn’t really pave the way to the improvement of the genre (even with the opportunity to play a 256 player game) but it has the upgrades, the choice in armory, the skills and everything you expect of a good FPS, though it’s customary looks of soldiers is on the low side. This game hasn’t reached it’s full potential yet and it’s score would only rise or fall depending on how well it’s players mature. -Michael Mason

8


The AI in this game is set up to be very reactive. Enemies and civilians are able to show emotions and status effects via symbols that hang over their heads and as the game wears on enemies gain a wider range of tactics and abilities and seem to learn how to combat a player’s regular attacks. Enemies in the game do not really become much stronger, just more intelligent.

During recent times the guys at Square Enix have felt the need to push the Final Fantasy franchise in new directions exploring avenues outside of their classic RPG’s. This has given rise to many alternate forms of the title particularly those belonging to the Crystal Chronicles family and evidently this title, ‘The Crystal Bearers’. So where does this title sit in the scheme of things? It’s actually Final Fantasy’s foray into the action/ adventure arena. The game focuses on roaming game play and real time fighting and action sequences designed for a single player experience.

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Telekinetic abilities are the main feature of the game allowing the player to perform various combat actions using objects as projectiles, moving enemies against their will and making enemies use their abilities against other enemies. The player is also able to interact with civilians and the environment with this ability. You can grab onto ledges from distances (like a grappling hook effect), activate switches from afar and move and receive things from citizens.

Outside of the real time game play the other major difference that Final Fantasy RPG fans will find is that there is no experience or level up system. Instead the only way to improve your characters stats is to customise and combine items found in chests or on vanquished monsters, turning them into stat enhancing accessories which can be equipped to your character (Layle). This tends to give you much more reason to explore environments for things. There are a lot of areas in the game that resemble what you would find in a platformer along with many fun mini games, both of which are positive attributes to the overall experience, but during many of these sequences it is impossible for you to die. If you fall off a ledge for instance, your character will automatically use telekinesis to grab onto any ledge and drag himself up. I feel like this detracts somewhat from the gameplay and certainly from the challenge of the game making it feel aimed at a younger and less experienced audience. Something normally pushed by a Final Fantasy title, which I can say is not pushed on this title is the graphics. Sometimes I feel like I am playing a game that visually looks something I’d see on the PS2. This is most likely due to the expansive nature of the game and the limitations the Wii System has for such a large environment. The main downfall with this title is the layout of the environments. It is often very difficult to understand where you are on the map in

relation to where everything else is and can be extremely confusing and frustrating trying to work out how to get from one place to another. What tends to throw you off is the repetitive nature of a lot of the streets, fields, and rooms etc. It can easily feel like you’re just going around in circles, which will often urge you to put down the game. To try compensating for this sometimes you’re offered directions via a small flying moogle, but even this can feel like a bit of a cop out for not developing a coherent environment to navigate and again, it detracts from the experience. So the burning question, how does this game stack up against the epic Final Fantasy RPG? Unfortunately for me it falls short of the mark. The action sequences are quite different and interesting particularly with the telekinesis involvement but the battle sequences (although in real time) just feel boring. There are a lot of interesting innovations in the game but a few key lacking areas really let it down. For traditional fans, this is probably not a game that will really satisfy you. -Peter Giannoukas


Shopping Cart Hero Price: AU$1.19 (US$0.99) Release Date: Oct 2009 There are maybe game out there already that has similar concept as this game on the market but honestly I don’t know why people would spend money on this game even though at the moment it’s only a dollar. As a designer I’m going to have to firstly rant about the layout design of this game. The UI design is horrible, the placement of the buttons – it takes a while to get used to not push the “BUY” instead of “Cancel”, and typography choice could be better. The fact that they used a stickman doesn’t actually bothers me too much seeing that it’s part of the game’s concept. I’ll stop talking about the design bits now. I personally don’t like how you can’t save the game, so every time you buy something from the http://sponge-magazine.com

shop you won’t be able to use them once you quit the game (or when you get an incoming call). So is there any good thing about this game? It’s entertaining, but is it worth a dollar? Try it out when it’s free, and you can judge from there. I’m pretty sure these guys earn loads of money seeing that they have another app that are also a big thing and I’m SURE they can hire a good designer to fix up their UI design (and website) instead of just bunch of developers without having any design knowledge. - Hannah Kim

Where’s Wally?

(U.S Title: Where’s Waldo?) Price: AU$3.99 (US$2.99) Release Date: Dec 2009 Growing up not knowing nor reading the actual book makes it harder for me to compare them so I decided to just do a review on the app itself without comparing it. This game is made for both adults and kids, and by that means in this game you’ll be given an option before you start the game whether you’d like to play the kids version or the adult version. You can make 4 different saved games for different profile, which it means all members of a family can play this game without having to worry to replace the other person’s saved game. At first I thought that this game would be easy to pass, but it turned out to be way more difficult that what I was expecting to be; which I find it a good thing. There are also mini-games during the game such as finding objects they give you on the bot-

tom of the screen and how many you need to find. If you’re stuck, you can use the help of the dog and it will give you a hint – but you can’t always use it though, you only get a couple of ‘bones’. But sometimes they give you more ‘bones’ if you meet some of the thing they ask you to do. Overall, it’s a good family game and definitely worth the money. - Hannah Kim


Hills and Rivers Remain

The Deep Pinball

Price: AU$8.99 (US$6.99) Release Date: Nov 2009

Price: AU$1.19 (US$0.99) Release Date: Aug 2009

This game might be simple, but it’s not as simple as it looks. It’s an RPG/Strategy game and it’s sort of like those old PC-games such as Heroes, or Age of Empires but a lot simpler. Both sides (main player and CPU) are given a group of soldiers and you need to take over all of the enemy’s bases to be able to win. Sounds easy? Every time the turn ends you’ll get more soldiers, but only in the base you’ve been chosen to be your headquarter (note that you can always change your headquarter). If the enemy gets your base then you have to take it back, and if you lose all your bases then the game ends, you lose. You also get bonus items and you can use it during the battle such as making your bases stronger for a few second, faster soldier, etc.

Thing is, you have to be really careful and be tactical. It’s really hard to see when your bases been slowly taking over by the enemy, and you know that you’re doomed. You still want to keep going even though there is no chance for you to win but you feel that you have to! The graphic of the game is no doubt beautiful, and even though the game play it uses pixel art it’s still pretty rich. There’s no voiceover though, it’s most likely due to the language choice. This game is surely the highlight of the month. - Hannah Kim

This is by far the best pinball game on the iPhone. The graphic is superb- it uses 3D animation; the sound fx is pretty clear and loud. The downside though, it only has one stage. Am I expecting too much? I mean it’s a pinball game, and in real life you insert a coin and you get a chance to play one device. But you know, this is the iPhone, they could’ve made more stages since this isn’t a free game. But instead, they created another one called “Wild West” - which is the exact same thing with The Deep, but just different theme. No it doesn’t come in that $1.19, which means you have to buy it separately.

it’s the bonus items they offer when you hit the “treasure” bit. I’m not really into the whole cowboy culture; maybe that’s also why I’m not really into this one. So if you’re looking for a nice pinball game, this game is for you. But not sure which one to choose between Wild West and The Deep? It’s really up to you whether you’re into the wild west culture, or futuristic slash sea theme. Beside, they’re both pretty cheap anyway, and you can always get both and I can guarantee you won’t regret it! - Hannah Kim

I personally think Wild West isn’t as good as The Deep. Not entirely sure why, but I think 12


Bleach, a title that’s been on a lot of anime fans lips of recent and yet a title that I had never paid any real attention to. After having it thrown at me that many times I thought it best to see what all the fuss is about by getting a look at the first two seasons (as this anime is still ongoing). So what were the first things I noticed about Bleach? I think it would have to be the difference in the nature of the content and the structure of the series as opposed to a lot of the mini-series or stand-alone series that I tend pick up. Early on I got the very distinct feeling I was watching something down the ‘Naruto’ and ‘Dragon Ball Z’ vein, which has both its good points and bad points. The story is as follows: Ichigo is a 15-year-old boy with the ability to see spirits. He has a chance encounter with a Death God named Rukia who’s tracking a destructive spirit called a Hollow. As a last resort her powers are transferred to Ichigo and due to his abundant spirit energy he soon finds himself actively standing in as a Soul Reaper, vanquishing Hollows and meeting other friends at school with similar abilities. It sounds a little generic but something I must say about the plot of this series is that it is constantly expanding and definitely offers more than what it appears to have in store for its audience.

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The highlight of Bleach is how well written it is. Interesting stories and character backstories really drive the series as well as some unexpected turns in the plot progression. Even though early on episodes are set up to be a bit more standalone, the series soon warms into action and develops a really coherent flow, often keeping you easily hooked from episode to episode. It does suffer a little from the slow starter syndrome, but have faith, once you get through a few episodes to start with you will find yourself coming back consistently for more.

The animation is not the most detailed I have seen, mostly noticeable when it comes down to some of the action sequences. Having said that though everything gets more interesting and well treated as the series wears on. The action sequences become increasingly better animated and lengthier, the stories and backstories become deeper and more intertwined and many more characters become involved in a range of ways. One of the flaws I found in this series was in the dialogue, not that it was poor dialogue it’s mostly quite good, but in places there is often just too much dialogue. Sometimes things are just over explained or blatantly pointed out when you are already clear on what is going on, but I guess this comes with a series that is meant for commercial success and accessibility. There are a few fight sequences that also suffer from this overuse of dialogue. It can be a little frustrating when you know two awesome fighters are standing opposed to each other but will do nothing more then explain their tactics or strengths to each other as opposed to spending more time “duke-ing” it out. Bleach is a very continuous series. If you are not planning on being in it for the long haul, this is probably not the series for you. A lot of time is spent developing a large amount of characters in plenty of detail. Even after watching two series worth I can tell you there is still a lot to come so keep this in mind when looking up this title for the buy. Having said that I still want to keep watching so you will not be disappointed, just a little broke. -Peter Giannoukas


Wolf and Spice 2 is the seasons follow up to Wolf and Spice, directed by Takeo Takahashi and based on the novel written by Isuna Hasekura. It follows the 4th and 5th volumes of the novels collection. It would be unfair of me to state which season is better because it should be viewed as a continuous journey and the title Wolf and Spice 2 is nothing but a way of letting people know that these are a bunch of episodes that were done in 2009 instead of 2008. No real new changes, just the same goal and the same concept. The new season starts with a girl who looks around 15 (Horo) and has the ears and tail of a wolf. She has a feisty personality and is considered a harvest god among the pagans. While sleeping, she contemplates the consequences of chilling out with a mortal (Lawrence) and knows the fun times won’t last. This sets up the ‘theme’ of this season although the idea had been presented before. Season 2 leads a more romantic pace but still has some of the feistiness from the first season as the two main characters come to terms with their feelings for each other. Instead of Lawrence getting more embarrassed out of the two he gains the upper hand from time to time. Horo however has changed from just trying to get a reaction out of Lawrence to trying to probe at what he thinks about

a relationship. She is also coming to terms with what it means to depend on a mortal. Despite the new emphasis on romance Wolf and Spice doesn’t lose its sense of commerce. Lawrence still goes about the challenges of a traveling merchant and this series looks closer at aspects of the share market and dealing with credit as well as the normal mix of trading and how politics effect it. In one instance a boy named Fermi Amati challenges Lawrence in front of a guild, to ownership of Horo. After a series of events, Lawrence discovers he must stop Amati from making 1,000 silver coins by influencing market values, which leads to a battle of wits that has a familiar feel to the death note series. Although you could state that the second season of Wolf and Spice is the more somber of the two, it can only be described as a more familiar part of their journey. Sure, the first series had the new ideas and more playful banters but really there is no ‘Wolf and Spice 1’ and ‘Wolf and Spice 2’, its just ‘Wolf and Spice’ with the journey still in full motion. -Michael Mason

14


Track Listing 01. 02. 03. 05. 06. 07. 08. 09. 10. 11. 12.

The Children Sing The Ghost Of You And I I’m Alive To The Burial The Dream Is Over Remember A Time Holding On To You Won Threw Ate Ten Years Down Time Goes On Eye For An Eye

* Recommended tracks

Unlike most other reviews I have read in the lead up to writing this review for ‘The Constant’ I am not going to mention past albums and songs that Story Of The Year are known for, simply because I do not know them so I will review purely on first impressions. The Constant is a reasonable album, not overly creative or original but catchy nevertheless. The opening track ‘The Children Sing’ is the most “outthere” the band gets and that’s simply due to the addition of a children’s choir. This may be seen as cheesy but I feel it gives the song an epic edge and saves it from being another run of the mill track. Catchy pop-punk songs ‘The Ghost Of You and I’, ‘The Dream Is Over’ and ‘Ten Years Down’ will have

you singing along by the end which is what you would expect from a pop punk band. ‘Holding On To You’ is an attempt by the band to make a rock ballad. They do this reasonably well and although most of the song seems recycled and clichéd, it’s a fair attempt and it showcases lead singer Dam Marsala’s ability to actually hold a tune. The biggest let down of the album is closing track ‘Eye for an Eye’. I’m not even going to dignify it with a reason for why I think it’s disappointing- I’ll just mention a few adjectives, generic, boring, predictable and pox. Heavy tracks ‘To The Burial’ and ‘Won Threw Ate’ are both reasonable but lack that little bit extra to take them from okay tracks to great tracks.

‘To The Burial’ has a kick ass chorus that involves gang vocals and creative guitar work. ‘Won Threw Ate’ is the opposite as I feel the verse, although simple, just smacks you in the face and makes you take notice. I guess if the two songs made a love child it would be a great heavy hitter, but they didn’t so I’ll stop thinking about what could have been. All in all, my introduction to Story Of The Year through ‘The Constant’ was a positive experience. I would recommend picking it up, as it isn’t going to be a waste of cash and if the very least you get out of it is thinking about a love child between ‘To The Burial’ and ‘Won Threw Ate’, it’s worth all the money in the world to be on the same wave-length as me. — Chris Nesci


5

BULLSHIT

This game is also fun when played sober but it’s a great drinking game. It is best played with 4-6 people. All you need is a deck of cards and a good poker face. The deck is dealt out to all players and the person who has the three of clubs starts by placing that three of clubs and whatever other threes they may have face down. The next person must put down a card/s higher or lower than a three, (so a two or a four) and this rule follows for any other card placed down. If you don’t have either of these cards, lie and be convincing dammit! For if you’re not and someone calls your bluff you must drink and take all the facedown cards in the middle. On the odd occasion, when someone falsely accuses you they must drink and take the cards. The winner is decided when a person has run out of cards, play can still continue but once it gets down to 2 people the game is over.

It’s a Saturday night, you have a few friends over, you’re all drinking but everyone’s getting bored and you need something to liven up the party… well have no fear because Sponge has recommended their top 5 drinking games.

4

QUARTERS

This is a classic, which I’m sure anyone who has ever been bored while drinking has played before. All you need are players, beer and a shallow glass. All players sit around the table with the glass in the middle and try and bounce a quarter into the glass. If successful, the player who bounced the quarter into the glass may choose someone to drink and will get an additional turn. If a player can successfully bounce the quarter 3 times before it falls into the cup they can also make a rule, like my favourite, “drink before each turn”. If the rules are not followed the offender must finish a full beer without stopping.

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3

CBS (Sponge Original)

An original creation from the Sponge team, formally known as Carpet Beer Soccer but once we realised the name was lame it was changed to CBS. What you will need for this game are 4 willing players, 5 empty beer cans, an odd shaped soft ball (The Sponge team uses a plush Aussie Rules football) and a large rug or a large imaginative rectangle. Each player chooses a corner of the rug and places an empty beer can there and someone places the remaining beer can in the centre of the rug. Play is simple- you aim and kick the ball towards a player’s empty can and if you are successful in knocking it over they must drink. Or if you fancy you may aim for the middle and if you knock that can over everyone except you must drink. You cannot attempt a shot at the middle 2 times in a row or you must drink. Other rules include not stepping onto or over the rug while kicking the ball and not being able to try block your can. Rebounds off objects and other people still count if they knock over a can.

2

Waterfall (A.K.A Kings)

This game is best played with a mid to large group of people. Some preparation is needed before playing but it is worth it in the end. You will need a deck of cards, a beer carton/slab box, a jug, some shot glasses and plenty of alcohol and creativity! The game is quite simple. Spread the deck of cards face down around the table and take it in turns to pick a card and perform whatever rule is associated with that card. Here’s a set of rules the Sponge team like to use:

Waterfall Card Actions:

2: Pour A Shot – Pour a shot of whatever drink you are drinking into the jug in the middle. 3: Pour A Shot – Pour a shot of whatever drink you are drinking into the jug in the middle. 4: Skull – Finish your drink as quick as possible. 5: Drink - Drink for five seconds. 6: Toilet Break – You can leave the table to go to the toilet. Only one person can have a toilet card at any one time. 7: Thumbs – This person at any time can put their thumb on the table and the last person to catch on and copy the action must drink. 8: Rule Card – Possibly one of the most exciting cards in the game. This card allows you to make up a rule, which all players must abide by for the remainder of the game. Some that the sponge team have enjoyed include: drink with your opposite hand, refrain from using people’s names and taking off a piece of clothing on certain card pickups. 9: Box Head – A Sponge favourite, you must wear the beer carton on your head until someone else picks up a 9 or you drink. Get creative with the box and cut it into a helmet. 10: Silence – You are not allowed to talk, if you do you must take a shot. Only one person can have this card at one time. J: Guys Drink – All males must drink. Q: Girls Drink - All females must drink. K: The Jug – The most damaging card in the game. The terrifying jug card means you must drink whatever is in the jug, no matter what it smells like! If you are lucky there may be nothing in there, but it’s always a crowd pleaser to see someone drink a concoction of beer, vodka and whatever else people are drinking.

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A: Waterfall - Everyone drinks, starting with the person who picked up the card but you cannot stop drinking until the person who started drinking before you stops.


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SPONGE BEER PONG (SPONGE ORIGINAL)

This is another Sponge original. It has borrowed elements of the original Beer Pong and changed it for the better. You need 2 – 8 players, a large table, as many shallow cups or stubby holders as there are players, a shot glass, a ping-pong ball, drinking alcohol for each player and a bottle of tequila with lemon and salt. Players sit down around a table and place their cup in front of them with a shot glass being placed in the centre of the table. The objective is to either bounce or throw the ping-pong ball into someone else’s glass/holder. For every bounce the ping-pong ball has before it falls into a glass five seconds of drinking is added. An additional five seconds is also added for landing the pingpong into the glass. (E.g. if the ball bounces four times and falls into a cup that’s 25 seconds worth of drinking for the poor victim or if someone simply throws the ping-pong into someone else’s cup that is worth five seconds of drinking). If a player is skillful or lucky enough to land the ping-pong into the centre shot glass all other players must take a tequila shot. You are only permitted to take a shot at the centre glass on every second turn. Making this game even more exciting is the rebound rule. The rebound rule allows you to tap on another player’s shot, keeping the ping-pong bounce count going up. This is most deadly if it happens to land into the shot glass. If you are successful in rebounding the ping-pong into the shot glass all players except yourself must perform a tequila suicide (you must snort the salt, take the tequila shot and then squirt the lemon in your eye). If you so choose not to take the suicide you must then remove all your clothing except your underwear. If you are unlucky or stupid enough to land the ping-pong in your own glass, then you must either take a tequila suicide or opt for the strip. This game ends when the tequila bottle is finished or when all players become too drunk to continue. Goodluck and enjoy!

PARTICIPATED BY

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Iconic American indie – rock band Pavement have announced their long overdue reformation and Sponge gets a chance to chat to guitarist and founding member Scott Kannberg (AKA Spiral Stairs) about their reunion and forthcoming tour. “When people finally heard that we were getting back together I think a lot of people didn’t believe it”, laughs Kannberg. “I think now everybody in the band is pretty keen to play some shows - initially we didn’t realise the response was going to be so big, we just thought we would do a couple of shows here and there, but the response has just gone off!” Meeting at the age of 10 at soccer practice in Stockton California, Scott Kannberg, the black sheep of the neighbourhood and Steve Malkmus, the resident brat, began a long-standing friendship. They began recording together in the mid 80s in a band called Bag of Bones – which Kannberg describes as a “New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen and REM rip off”.

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Growing up they had different jobs, both related to music – Malkmus was a college radio DJ and Kannberg worked in a record store. They later decided to create some studio recordings under the guise of Pavement which lead to the introduction of studio owner Gary Young, an older, hippie punk rock figure from Stockton who would eventually become their drummer. Together they recorded a few debut EPs and with the inclusion of bassist and long time fan, Mark Ibold and percussionist Bob Nastanovich became a full band in 1992.

Pavement recorded their debut album, Slanted and Enchanted, which they distributed throughout the independent music scene on cassette. This proved to be a successful marketing tactic with the circulation of the cassette creating much anticipation about the band well before the actual release of the album. The band began a long and gruelling tour upon the release of Slanted and Enchanted. “We were really young and we didn’t know anything. We did anything that anyone would ask us to. So if we were asked to play 40 shows in 42 days we just did it. We didn’t know how hard it was. We did everything. We did every interview, we did every photo shoot, we just worked our arses off. That’s all we knew how to do - we all had good work ethics”. The hard work paid off for the band with Pavement’s tour extending across the world, however, it was throughout this time that Young’s increasingly extreme behaviour became apparent. He was often seen distributing cabbage and mashed potatoes to fans prior to a show, while handy cam footage of the Slanted and Enchanted tour depicts a boozy Young stumbling across stage, doing handstands throughout songs and tumbling off his drum stool. Although a distraction, Kannberg believes that Young’s on stage behaviour filled a void within Pavement. “He was the show man! At that time we loved the freak element he brought to our show. When we were


growing up a lot of bands that we loved had that freak element - the Butthole Surfers were one, they were a weird band, and we just thought that we were another weird band.” Regrettably, intense touring combined with a fond relationship with alcohol lead to the demise of Gary Young, and ultimately Young quit the band. “He had a drinking problem. Once we started playing a lot of shows he just couldn’t keep it together and it became pretty hard. We basically had to tell him – for your health you’ve got to quit the band. He realised it was not a good thing. We never realised that after Gary we would continue being a band. We didn’t know what that would be like until we started doing it”. Gary Young was replaced with old friend Steve West and the band continued to record. In 1994 Pavement released the album Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, a release that received mainstream success reaching number 1 in the alternative radio charts above bands like Nine Inch Nails and Greenday.

Terror Twilight would be the final album the band recorded together as they finally decided to call it a day while on a promotional tour of the album. Their final concert was held at Brixton Academy in London on November 20, 1999. Kannberg believes that the decimation of the band was due to band members varying interests. “We had been doing the same kind of shit for ten years, and it’s just like a job that you get tired of. We were just getting older. We all lived in different cities, some of us had gotten married and we all had different responsibilities. It wasn’t like we could be the same band. Most bands live in the same city and practice once a week – we never did that. We just got together to do records and play live… that only lasts so long. You get different friends, different activities, and the thought of going on the road for 9 months and leaving stuff behind definitely contributed to the break up.” Ten years on and Pavement has since been hailed as one of the world’s most prominent independent acts – achieving major international success without signing to a major label. However, that was 15 years ago. Does Kannberg believe that a band can achieve the same success nowadays?

“It’s not like we were that famous. We got a little more notoriety in the press and began We were really young and we didn’t know “Oh totally. If there’s any time to not need playing to more anything. We did anything that anyone major label help it’s today. Distributors people, I guess we come and go, but you’ve got good indie never realised how would ask us to. So if we were asked to distributers in place in the world where you important it was at play 40 shows in 42 days we just did it. can get around it. It depends on what type the time. It was also of band you want to be. If you want to be a at a time where Nirvana just happened, so it opened up the band that plays stadiums then major labels are probably the only way airwaves for songs like ours and we could get into magazines you can make that happen. But if you just wanna be a cool band and that wouldn’t touch us in the past. We never thought of make a living and play small shows and have cool people come to your ourselves as famous. We were still playing 40 shows in 42 days shows then you can do it. Especially with the Internet now, there are and eating pizza and drinking warm beer.” so many more marketing angles. Smart bands are using that to their advantage.” Contrary to debate, Pavement had certainly become a larger and more renowned band suddenly aligned on festival bills Is Kannberg surprised of the reaction to the news of the bands with acts like Sonic Youth, Beastie Boys, Foo Fighters and reformation? “Who knew that in ten years time people would still want Beck. This success continued upon the release of their albums to pay money to come and see us? A good friend of mine told me the Wowee Zowee in 1995, Brighten the Corners in 1997 and other day that indie rock is back. Things go in cycles. Bigger bands Terror Twilight in 1999. that are around now are reciting indie rock bands from the 90s as their influences. I think that when somebody talks about a band in an interview, music fans will want to find out what that band’s all about... and then they discover Pavement. And when you discover Pavement you discover a whole new world of possibilities.” - Cara Williams


Melbourne, Australia, closing in on 9am and travelling along by train. Sometimes it’s hard to find the difference between this and a truck full of livestock going to the slaughter. Thankfully, my job entitles me to come in the later morning so I rarely experience the group commute, tired business men (using suitcases to poke at your ass) orgy train because lets face it, it’s a train packed with beautiful models, anyway I digress. So while standing there and checking my wallet (just in case someone took advantage of the packed train) a child and her mother jump onto the train. I wondered about why parents deem it appropriate to bring their child onto a packed train like this. Are they trying to induce some sort of phobia onto their child or simply so careless that they don’t realise what it looks like to children no taller than the average persons waist? The packed journey is bad enough for adults let alone a child who can only look up and see towering grumpy people over them. Feeling the crushing push of 5 people as the train goes over the bump, obviously this kid was scared and he had a damn right to be. He let out a little cry. His mother then leant down towards him and said “Stay close, this is just the way it is.” My eyes widened as I heard those words. It is the first time I’ve heard this kind of statement used in a country like Australia. These are the words of the defeated, the words of acceptance of something known to be not right. I know this is merely a train ride to the city, it’s not like the streets of Melbourne hears the echoing cries of http://sponge-magazine.com

the AK-47 or feels the economic pressure weigh down on the jobless as it has in other countries, but when you hear these words, they’re the first to head down that dark road where humans are treated as cattle and the truth is that things are not all right. Any woman with a child that young should be able to take their kid to the city anytime during the day without having 20 strangers packed around struggling for their own space. It is probably to be reported as unsafe but is rarely kept under controlled issue because ‘it’s just the way it is’ The worst part is we pay not only taxes to help keep the public transport running, but we also pay the company to treat us this way. Do we really want to head down the road Japan has lead, squishing people into a carriage until they are packed like sardines, with people crushed up against each other as much as possible which conjure up the very images that some might conceptively illustrate as hell? Instead of uttering those words and instead of accepting what you feel isn’t right to be common practice, it’s time to say enough is enough This is a gateway into a bleak future where the government and corporates will keep the limits until someone kicks up a real fuss or more likely in other cases, dies. -Michael Mason


THE

EFFECT.

Mya sung about the case of the ex. Eamon spat out angry cuss words regarding not wanting a certain lax gardening implement back. Destiny’s Child found infamy through being survivors, and well, let’s face it, Kelly Clarkson has built a career singing variations of the stock angry break up song. But when an ex stumbles back into our lives, do our minds crumble immediately? Do we fall into the foetal position, rock ourselves and suck our proverbial thumb? Or do we embrace the challenge, poke our noses into the sticky mess and savour the changed dynamics? Is the dreaded encounter with the ex a help or hindrance?

knowing this the floodgates were opened and four months of air tight denial tumbled out. Giving him a piece of my alcohol influenced mind via SMS, we progressed swiftly from the pleasantries, to past feelings, to him watching me make out with another guy (I wanted you to hurt like I did!), to resting comfortably on each other in a cosy corner of the club. Classy and not to mention breathtakingly humiliating when remembered the next morning- under a haze comprised of excruciating sunlight, friends’ laughter and the desire to forget everything I just remembered, hence beginning the cycle of denial once more.

Regardless of whether the break up was “mutual” (code for s/he dumped me), as complicated as your best friend’s passive/aggressive facebook status, or a truly heart wrenching split that made you swear off relationships forever, we all must admit that the spasm of ex curiosity is sometimes desperate to be satisfied. As someone who lived through a turbulent year long relationship and was eventually squeezed out the other end a bitter and betrayed ex-girlfriend, I had voluntarily placed myself in the category that vehemently denies their ex’s very existence. Ex? What ex? It’s a happily padded delusion.

This course of action is not one I’d condone for readers searching to put the past behind them. One must remain in control at all times, poised and in waiting for a reprieve from mouldy, overwrought endearment that often surfaces when the past meets the present. No reverting to childhood comforts and if you are able to maintain the fortress that houses those favoured memories, perhaps a catch up for coffee to update each other on your lives may prove liberating. It could also send you into a whirling nightmare dredging up everything buried beneath layers of apparent hatred and disdain. Who really knows? Yet I implore you, if you can surpass the awkward silences and begin to see each other as people again, not merely “the ex”, there is a greater sense of freedom to be found. No longer are they (or you for that matter) pigeon holed into the lowest rung of social ranking and well, lord knows reader, you may need all the help you can get.

Unfortunately, the universe is a cruel mistress of fate and wanted to show her disapproval. Unlike many that plan and prod and poke over their ex encounters (often maturely and with a sobering sense of hindsight) I was thrust into the unarming arena of former affairs of the heart. With my inhibitions softened and lips loosened by none other than my good friend Jameson Whiskey, I was out for a night on the town with the girls. I felt the fabric of my world being torn, a lump swelled in my throat and my body tremored with revenge as I spotted my ex across the dance floor. Avoidance was impossible and

I loved my ex-boyfriend once upon a time, passionately, purely and sometimes even spitefully, but that fairytale has come and gone. So, any single guys interested in an enigmatic, single writer? Didn’t think so. - Tessa Stogian

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Sponge in conjunction with Fourml Creative Studio is proud to support Moonee Valley’s local music festival “Sounds Loud� and its efforts in offering valuable support to the various young and talented artists within the community. If you are a local community or business or even just someone wishing to have an event, product or franchise promoted then please contact us via email at: editor@ sponge-magazine.com regarding some advertising space within our magazine. We market to a worldwide audience spanning all across the web!


I Claim War On New year, new Sponge, all new things that have been pissing us off!!!!

eBay Bumping Into ‘Old Friends’ Unrealistic Crushes While they might be fun it can definitely be more than a little heartbreaking falling for someone that you know you have absolutely no chance in a million years of ever having anything with. My recent favourite, falling for a straight down the line lesbian, I know God is up there laughing.

If your anything like me, and you get off a train and see someone you knew from high school walking your way, you try and camouflage yourself into the surroundings and hope they don’t see you. Lets face it the next 3 ½ minutes of awkwardness is not worth it and it always ends up with “we should catch up sometime” when really you’re just going to tell your friends how fat they are these days.

Rat Tails No, not actual rat tails, the more disgusting version of it found generally on the heads of certain scummy looking males. I honestly doubt ANY woman would find this haircut attractive and it just oozes “don’t turn your back on me or your wallet is gone”. If you want to look tough shave your head and put a tattoo on it, or get a gun.

Hairy Women In this 21st century we now have powerful women and substantial women’s rights, so why oh why do you need to have all that extra hair? There is no need to prove you are liberated because we all know you are and you just come off looking sweaty and unattractive. So unless you’re a 60+ woman or French, do yourself and the public a favor and lose the pit hair and shave those legs!

Bad Communicators

Tequila Oh Tequila, how much I hate you. Your smell, your taste and the salt and lemon I have to take with you just to make you go down that little bit easier. You have forever scarred me and that is just the normal lick, shot and suck. Don’t get me started on the sniff, shot and squirt….

I don’t know about the rest of you but for me, “I don’t know” isn’t really an answer to anything unless you’re in primary school. You must have some sort of idea! P.S. If you have a point of view on any matter can you please make sure your body language actually matches it? No good comes from saying one thing and doing the other.

I’m a little late to the whole eBay obsession but better late then never. Anyway, this is a premature I Claim War On... I’m loving eBay at the moment but I know it’s going cause me to spend money I don’t have and go into debt. So for future reference…DAMN YOU EBAY!!!!!

Coming Home To Bad News At some point or another I think we have all gone through this one. The worst is when you go away for a while having had the most amazing holiday ever only to return home and have all your positive vibe sapped by terrible or tragic friend and family news. Not much can really be done about this, but if it could… Hoorah!


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Sponge Magazine #5