As the Ars team convenes for two days of meetings in Chicago, we're reaching back into the past to bring you some of our favorite articles from years gone by. This piece previously ran on April 1.
Who needs yet another predictably lame fake news story to brighten up their April 1st? Not Cthulhu, creature of primeval nightmare, who dropped by our offices in Chicago a few weeks back with a proposal we couldn't refuse.
"FAKE NEWS IS SO 2007," said his voice as it echoed around inside my brain pan. Cthulhu was lounging in a spare armchair that no one has since had the courage to sit in, a lit cigar brandished in one tentacle as he talked. "I'M THINKING: SOMETHING AWESOME, STARRING ME. WITH CHOICES. AND MULTIPLE ENDINGS."
"Like the sort of interactive text adventure we all read as kids?" I asked.
"YES, BUT ONE FOR GROWN-UP GEEKS THAT TAKES PLACE IN VEGAS AND FEATURES BOOTH BABES, MADNESS, AND THE PROSPECT OF CLEANING OUT MY TENTACLE JAM FOR ALL ETERNITY. ALSO, A SINGING DAVID POGUE. AND SERGEY BRIN WEARING A JETPACK."
"It, err, sounds like you have this all planned out."
Cthulhu plucked a manila folder from somewhere within the non-Euclidean geometry of his manbag and dropped it on my desk with a thud.
"20,000 WORDS OF AWESOME. YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO PAY ME. I JUST WANT THE EXPOSURE SO I CAN MEET CHICKS. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO R'YLEH? ONE WORD: BORING."
I flipped through the script—not half bad for something penned by a creature who spent, by all reliable accounts, most of its time dead but dreaming.
"Look, I can't make any promises. We were thinking about running Ben's epic faux review of Duke Nukem Forever again..."
"LAME." Cthulhu shifted in his armchair, leaving traces of slime on the seat. "THIS IS BETTER. ALSO, I WON'T FEAST ON YOUR BRAINS IF YOU RUN MINE INSTEAD."
And really—who could argue with that logic?
"What is it with geeks and bacon?" you ask yourself as you stand just outside the main exhibition hall of the Opulentium Royale, Vegas' newest monument to excess.
Built in the shape of a massive 1950's UFO, the hotel squats on its patch of desert like an otherworldly metal pimple, its revolving dome housing a surprisingly good steakhouse. The Opulentium has everything a discriminating alien abductee could want, except the anal probings—though you spent the predawn hours learning that a session at the baccarat tables could produce a similar feeling of total violation.