The above video brings together two things that few people of my generation can resist. The first hardly needs an introduction: at the risk of angering Coen Brothers fans with the comparison, their 1998 cult hit The Big Lebowski has generated at least as many endlessly quotable lines as Caddyshack did almost 20 years earlier, and it appeals to a similar contingent of slacker wiseasses. The movie gave Jeff Bridges—son of Lloyd, brother of Beau, and certainly a star in his own right before he played The Dude—the kind of cachet most actors only dream of. I’m not saying he wouldn’t have won his 2009 best actor Oscar for Crazy Heart without Lebowski, but I’m not saying that he would have either. And then, of course, there was the renewed interest in the “sport” of bowling, Hollywood weirdo and self-identified gun nut John Milius (who inspired John Goodman’s character), and the creamy vodka cocktail.
The second thing: the 8-bit video games that, believe it or not, represented a revolution in home gaming, and gave us the first Nintendo and Sega systems and games that, true confession, used to keep me up all night, like the various versions of Megaman (which you can play online here). The games now have legendary status and their definitively colorful, blocky aesthetic has been—or was at least a few years ago—the ultimate in geek nostalgia chic, along with a new wave of “chiptune” music made with, or inspired by, the 8-bit chips of the games of our youth. So what, I ask, could be more fun than bringing Lebowski and 8-bit gaming together for a 3-minute bowling game? Very little. As C-Net describes the video above, it’s “an experience we only wish we’d had back in the 90’s.” Made by CineFix, who have previously animated Pulp Fiction, The Hunger Games, Blade Runner and a string of other hits as 8-bit shorts, the 8-Bit Cinema Big Lebowski isn’t actually playable, but it should be. Regardless, it’s as fun to watch as you might imagine a mash-up of the Coen Brothers and Super Mario World would be. Get your nostalgia on.
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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness
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