Star Wars fans face off in a real-life lightsaber battle
Don’t Want To See Spoilers? These Apps Could Help.
The force was strong in Pershing Square in Los Angeles on Friday night, when an excitable and large crowd of Star Wars enthusiasts, many of whom were dressed as Han Solo, Leia, Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, and more, gathered for Lightsaber Battle LA. For a few days only, Facebook is offering its billion and a half members the option of adding a light saber to their profile picture (blue for the rebels, red for the Dark side).Google has continued to roll out easter eggs inspired by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, including a way to fight stormtroopers on your computer, as fans prepare to head to movie theaters for midnight showings.
This also works on PCs, smartphones and tablets as long as you’re connected to your account.To find out more about Google Star Wars: google.com/starwars If that wasn’t enough, Google is also offering a game available exclusively via its Chrome browser for mobile devices. Luckily, there are two apps that could help fans of “Star Wars”–and other films, TV shows, and even sports teams–avoid unwanted spoiling of details while surfing the internet. Lightsaber Escape, which debuted on Wednesday, is an old-fashioned “rail shooter”-style app you can play through Google’s Chrome browser, provided you have a fast enough internet connection. Kevin Bracken and Lori Kufner co-founded Newmindspace, a company dedicated to bringing favorite childlike activities to the masses like pillow fights and bubble blowing parties. The Google Chrome extension Force Block, created by Priceless Misc., was specifically created to remove comments and descriptions of the new installment of the space epic from social media.
On the inspiration for the lightsaber battles, he says the idea came from kids fighting with wrapping paper tubes during the holidays. “We thought ‘Hey, it would be really fun if we had a big cardboard tube fight, so we did one of those and said that everyone that came was going to get a free cardboard tube or two,” he told EW over the phone on Monday. “We made 1,600 of them and 4,000 people came. They’ve even added some more specific keywords to the program, based on info from people who have seen early screenings of the film, that will cause instant blocking. Google also has a large Cardboard VR module for Star Wars; using it, it’s possible to interact with droids, watch spaceships crash, and receive messages “on” alien worlds, including the new film’s desert planet Jakku (for further information about Jakku, please consult Wookieepedia). They were really disappointed that they couldn’t get one, and they were destroyed in like minutes.” So he and Kufner modified their approach. “After that we were like ‘This would be a lot more fun if this was a lightsaber battle!’ and people could reserve [lightsabers] online in advance so they’d be guaranteed an opportunity for them and maybe their kid to fight.” The first lightsaber battle was in Toronto in 2007, and they’ve grown from there. “We have 10,000 lightsabers that we’re handing out through the West Coast this weekend.” Attendees of all ages and fighting levels put those lightsabers to good use, gathering into circles to challenge opponents. (I know you’re all wondering so yes, I won my battle.
Spoiler Block, available in the Apple App Store from SynTech Creative, will block whatever keywords you set yourself–so you can use it to avoid everything from the latest twist on your favorite TV show to the score of the Patriots game. Clay Bavor, vice-president of product management for Google, said that the marketing partnership during the run-up to the movie posed minimal hardship to his staff. “You can regularly spot Darth Vaders, dogs dressed like Yoda and even the occasional stormtrooper roaming the halls of our data centers,” he wrote. When does my Jedi training begin?) They also broke into dance parties, punching bursts of neon green, red, purple, and more into Downtown LA’s night sky to the beat of a DJ blaring electronic remixes of John Williams’ legendary score.
Some of the changes are part of a new overall experience within Google’s apps; in Google Maps, for example, the little figure you drop on the street to open Street View can turn into a stormtrooper. Bracken attributes that, in part, to childhood dreams being realized. “If you ask a kid, ‘Hey, would you like to be a Jedi master when you grow up?’ [they’ll] say ‘Yeah!’ It probably carries as much weight as any ’90s kid fantasy of being an astronaut when they get older.” Because of that enthusiasm, and more Star Wars films up ahead, Bracken says he’d like to hold more events like this every year in even more cities. “Hopefully this four-city tour is a springboard to what ends up being a 40-city tour next year,” he explains.
Spend some time on a farm on Tatooine, get yourself a private room on the Dark Star or stay at a Lando Calrissian apartment, anything’s possible on this site. But Disney is famous for using its own platforms to cross-promote (the Star Wars promo and every Marvel trailer have debuted on TV on the company’s own network, ABC – usually during Jimmy Kimmel Live). The partnership with Google is longstanding – the company’s early smartphone, the Droid, was a branding partnership between Google, Lucasfilm and hardware manufacturers HTC and Motorola (Lucasfilm holds the trademark on the word).
Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, said in May that recruiting new fans alongside stalwarts was part of the delicate advertising strategy for the film. “We’re mindful of the fact that there’s a whole generation of people out there that were not as steeped in the Star Wars lore and not as, in effect, in love with the franchise as an older generation,” he said on Disney’s second-quarter earnings call. “And there are markets around the world that weren’t as developed 10 years ago and beyond that,” Iger continued. “China is probably the best example; it’s now the No 2 movie market in the world.
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