CULTURE

"Numa Numa" Came Out 15 Years Ago, and My Life Has Flashed By

There are teenagers now older than I was when I first saw Numa Numa Dance.

In the days before YouTube existed, my middle school friends and I practically lived on Newgrounds.com.

Browsing Newgrounds during the daytime always felt like playing with a live grenade. My best friend Dave's family desktop was right smack in the middle of his living room, so his mom could see whatever us boys were doing as she milled about the kitchen. Newgrounds centered around user-submitted content, much of it animated, and most of it featuring a distinct "everything is stupid, nothing is precious" sense of humor characterized by over-the-top violence, sex, and razor-sharp edge. In other words, middle school me thought it was the coolest thing ever.

Sometimes during sleepovers, late at night after Dave's parents were asleep, we would head downstairs and gawk at Newgrounds' 18+ section together, which included lewd dating simulators featuring poorly designed cartoon avatars and a game where you could murder Steve from Blue's Clues.

But during the daytime, when Dave's mom had a chance of peeking in on our activities, we stuck to Newgrounds' homepage which skewed a little more tame, at least for the most part. It was on this very day (December 6th), 15 years ago, that we stumbled upon a fresh video on the homepage titled Numa Numa Dance.

Numa Numa www.youtube.com

The video featured a doughy man, later identified as one Gary Brolsma, dramatically lip syncing and dancing to the Romanian single "Dragostea Din Tei" by the Moldovan pop group O-Zone. Brolsma's performance was, in a word, perfect. The "dance" was stupidly basic, with Brolsma mainly pumping his fists up and down and gyrating side to side. His facial expressions were expertly timed (an eyebrow raise cued to a goofy sound effect, for instance), and on top of that, Brolsma was really funny looking.

We instantly loved Numa Numa Dance, watching it again and again and again, laughing uproariously as we attempted to copy Brolsma's moves. Numa Numa Dance would become the first "viral" dance video, hitting two million views on Newgrounds which, back then, was staggering.

There are teenagers now, older than I was when I first saw Numa Numa Dance, who weren't even alive when Numa Numa Dance came out. Which is to say, how does time move so fast?

15 years sounds like such a long time, but it doesn't feel like I first watched Numa Numa Dance over half my lifetime ago. When I think about Numa Numa Dance, it feels like only a few years back that we were hanging out in Dave's living room, playing N64, talking all night during sleepovers, and stealing Dave's older brother Matt's uncensored comedy CDs to listen to jokes our parents didn't want us to hear. How could Numa Numa Dance have come out 15 years ago?

The older you get, the more life becomes a series of disparate moments. Days, weeks, years blend together, leaving you with memories that are more like feelings, perhaps not even wholly real. All the rejections, disappointments, and pains of childhood dull over time, as rejection, disappointment, and pain become part and parcel with being an adult. But you only get so many Numa Numa Dances, and when you think back 15 years later, maybe those Numa Numa Dances are the only things that really mattered.

We all know them.

That person who just waves off your gift-related questions and says, "I'll like anything you get me," who seems to always have the latest in everything, whose taste is so refined and specific that you just know that every gift you buy them is gonna end up collecting dust in the back of their closet. Whether they're your spouse, significant other, parent, or co-worker, we know one thing: They're a musician.

In the same way that musicians are perfectionists about their music, they're often the same way about the rest of their lives, from their tech to their clothes. This, of course, makes it incredibly hard to buy gifts for them. Sure, there's probably some music engineering software they'd love, or maybe a new guitar tuner; but how are you, a non-musician, supposed to know anything about that stuff? Fear not, while many musicians seem like enigmas, there are a few factors that they all have in common, which means there are some valentines gifts that your musical loved one is guaranteed to love no matter what.

Style:

There are two things you need to consider when clothes-shopping for a musician: comfort and cool-factor. Let's be honest: A big reason most people get into music is because of the look, which means that anything you buy has to be on-style. But it's also important to consider the kind of lifestyle a musician leads. Odds are, they spend a lot of time lugging around heavy equipment, crammed into vans, and rehearsing for long hours, and then after all of that, they have to be ready to perform. Luckily, you don't always have to sacrifice comfort for style.

Public Rec

Public Rec is all about stylish, comfortable clothes you can wear every day. According to their website: "We perfect the classics with custom-made performance fabric. A tailored fit. And design details that elevate 'good' to unquestionably better." We can absolutely attest to this. Every article of clothing from Public Rec is made out of durable, high-stretch, moisture-wicking, breathable material that wears like work out gear while looking like stylish staple pieces. Every musician deserves classic go-to pieces they can pair with everything and be comfortable in no matter what their busy day brings.

Pictured below:

All Day Every Day Pants

Go To Henley

Crosstown Bomber


Band Tees

There's nothing like a good band t-shirt to complete any musician's look. This website is a great source for officially licensed band merch from even the most obscure groups. Simply search your musician's favorite band or artist, and get them a shirt they'll never want to take off. Plus, paired with a Public Rec bomber, you've got a look that any musician will feel like themselves in.


Black Dress Code

This site is all about comfortable, basic black clothes made specifically for musicians. If your musician plays in an orchestra or other ensembles, it's likely they're required to wear all black for concerts. Now, with this site made for and by musicians, they have a range of durable and flattering options to rock comfortably all year long.


Gear:

No, you're never gonna know exactly what musical equipment the musician in your life needs unless they tell you, but there are a few things that they're sure to use no matter what.

High Fidelity Ear Plugs

Unlike regular earplugs, these earplugs don't distort the quality of the sound. They just filter out harmful decibel levels, allowing your beloved musician's hearing to stay perfectly intact, even at the loudest concerts or gigs.



Pick Punch

Guitar players are always digging through their pockets looking for a pick, but with this pick punch, anything can be used to strum those strings. As long as they can find an old gift card or other plastic material, they're never without a pick!


Musician Hand Exerciser

No matter what instrument your loved one plays, odds are that they need to keep their hands strong and healthy to excel at their craft. That's never been easier than with this hand-grip exerciser, guaranteed to increase finger dexterity and grip strength with frequent use.


CULTURE

"Death Stranding" Is a Parable to Teach Antisocial Gamers About Responsibility

Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding places gamers into the role of a working single father.

Kojima Productions

With Death Stranding's PS4 release drawing closer, details on the game's plot are still surprisingly scarce–until now.

After piecing together gameplay clips, marketing efforts, and game director Hideo Kojima's own words, Death Stranding's narrative thrust seems all too obvious: The game will be a parable that aims to teach the most antisocial gamers some real-world social responsibility.

Death Stranding's protagonist is Sam Porter Bridges (played via motion capture by Norman Reedus), a man tasked with delivering packages in a dystopian American hellscape while protecting a baby in a tube. So basically, Death Stranding places gamers into the role of a working single father.

Norman Reedus Comic-Con International 2018 - "The Walking Dead" Photo Call Getty Images

This is likely a far-cry from the real lives of the most terrible, self-proclaimed gamers, who spend their days screaming about racy underage anime on the Internet and have nothing more important to protect than a plate of microwave chicken nuggets their mom just handed them. Hideo Kojima recognizes this gamer archetype and clearly hopes to find a solution.

In this light, Norman Reedus seems like a perfect casting choice, embodying the sort of rugged, grimy everyman that many awful gamers kind of imagine themselves emulating. By allowing these delusional gamers to pretend they're Norman Reedus, Kojima hopes to ease them into the idea of being functional members of society who care about anyone or anything other than themselves. Don't believe it? Watch the trailer for yourself:

Death Stranding - Official Release Date Trailer www.youtube.com


"Humans aren't made for living alone. They're supposed to come together, to help one another," says a voice during the trailer, probably forgetting that a lot of these men do live with their parents.

"It's so hard to form connections when you can't shake hands," says another.

These lines might as well be speaking directly to the miserable man-babies screeching about how much they hate women and minorities, or as they call it, "ethics in video game journalism."

The best part is that these exact gamers actively don't get the point. They're just excited to play the newest game from the creator of Metal Gear Solid and have no idea what kind of reality check Death Stranding has in store for them. This is a little surprising, considering they all think they're very smart, and Kojima hasn't exactly made his intent a secret.

For instance, when describing the themes, Kojima invoked a short story by Japanese writer Kobo Abe about humanity's tools for separation and connection: "Most of your tools in action games are sticks. You punch or you shoot or you kick. The communication is always through these 'sticks.' In [Death Stranding], I want people to be connected not through sticks, but through what would be the equivalent of ropes."

In essence, Kojima is saying, "Hey gamers, maybe try actually connecting with other humans for once instead of being awful all the time."

And yet, when Kojima announced that he intended to make the game accessible for everyone through lower difficulty options, the worst gamers j*zzed all over themselves in the comments trying to appear superior. For whatever reason, the idea that some people will enjoy playing a game in an easier difficulty mode makes them feel better about their own wretched lives. Perhaps spending 50+ hours with a virtual baby will change their perspectives.


Kojima even hopes to introduce these gamers to the potential of fatherhood (which optimistically assumes they'll one day become capable of maintaining a relationship with a woman who isn't their mother). Not only can gamers experience the baby's voice coming out of their controller while they play, but they can also purchase a special edition Playstation 4 with a urine-colored controller and smudged handprints on the system. It's just like what a real baby would do!

The answer to "what is Death Stranding about?" has been right there in Kojima's pinned Tweet since all the way back in May: "People have built 'Walls' and become accustomed to living in isolation...Through your experience playing the game, I hope you'll come to understand the true importance of forging connections with others."

It's about growing the f*ck up, gamers.

*Holy crap, I thought I was joking about this theory the whole time, but I'm starting to think I'm actually right.*