Rule of Three
directed by Jan Pinkava
An elderly man fumbles with chess pieces, arranging them on the board in preparation for a game. Though he readies himself for competition, his adversary is nowhere to be seen. He takes a move regardless, edging a white pawn forward and smiling wryly at the empty chair opposite. Then, smacking his lips together, he meanders around the table to fill the seat himself. As this to and fro continues, one side is convincingly crushed. The camera cuts quickly to each turn, creating the illusion of two players: the triumphant and the defeated. Individual pieces are often shown in close-up as they are manoeuvred, building the sense of suspense. The man’s chuckles and sighs are coupled with a light-hearted jazz soundtrack, encapsulating the short film’s cheerful appeal.
Words by Sophia Martin-Pavlou
Lions and Tigers
Two sunny riffs ascend in harmony, a pair of electric guitars bounding about each other as if on a hopscotch grid. One steps up the major scale, reiterating the same trio of pitches, practising the count to three. The other skips around its playmate in disjunct motion before returning to the starting note, ready to begin anew. Cheered by the instrumental capers, a peppy chant joins the fray. A short lesson in language’s basic building blocks becomes a source of fun: ‘26 letters / From A to Z / L-A-U-G-H / E and there’s S.’ In its carefree disposition and closing growl, ‘Lions and Tigers’ appeals as much to our inner child as to the song’s young dedicatee.
Words by John Wadsworth
Sonic the Hedgehog
developed by Sonic Team
Having defeated the first act of Green Hill Zone with plenty of rings to spare, we are sent spinning into a new challenge. Unlike the standard levels, this pinball-like minigame sees us navigating a rotating structure. Star-blazoned bumpers propel us away, while circular reverse tiles send the world travelling in the opposite direction. Misleadingly labelled ‘goal’ blocks spoil our fun by warping us back to our main mission. In an apparent homage to Escher, the background transforms from a green-and-blue lattice to birds, then to fish, hoping to disorientate us further. Although there are countless rings to be collected, our ultimate target is a little more valuable. Beyond a protective wall of multi-coloured gemstones, a Chaos Emerald lies. By capturing them all, we can restore the forces of good in the world.
Words by John Wadsworth
Geri’s Game was included as a bonus feature on the VHS release of A Bug’s Life. ‘Lions and Tigers’ is a bonus track on Sleater-Kinney's album One Beat, and the level from Sonic the Hedgehog described is a bonus level.