Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Hey ya’ll!

Well after about a month long break, I’ve found my way back to the blog. Promised I would; I always do. Nice to be back!

So what’s been going on with everyone?

As for me, I didn’t make it to E3 this year, so nothing to report. It was the first E3 since its inception that I missed and you know, given how far E3 has fallen, I didn’t/don’t have any regrets about sitting this one out.

I just didn’t see the need to go this time around. I had no meetings to attend, no press conferences to participate in, and no desire to walk a show floor that- if the majority of reports are to be believed- has become pathetic, sad, and- when you consider the massive size of the gaming industry- just a bit embarrassing.

I am very happy to hear rumors that next year’s E3 could be a public affair (finally!) and may grow in size from it’s current microscopic state. I was never one of the people calling for a scaling back of E3 and if returns to its glory days in scope, size, and decibel level, you won’t catch me complaining one bit.

But even if it doesn’t, this year’s San Diego Comic Con soothed the sting of E3’s decline by offering up not only movies, tv, comic books, graphic novels, amazing costumes, and fellow geeks…but also games! Lots and lots and LOTS of games! And not just games that are practically finished and coming out in the next 2 months (as has been the case with previous Comic Cons) but early PLAYABLE builds of games that are still 6-12 months from shipping! It felt like a mini-E3 with Prince of Persia, Dead Space, Ghostbusters, DarkVoid, Darksider: Wraith of War, Street Fighter 4, DC Universe Online, Battlefield: Heroes, and Crysis 2 all there and all in playable form (just to name a few).

I also had some fantastic meetings about all kinds of cool, creative things that are in the hopper (hope to be able to share soon, but some very exciting stuff going on!), hung out with dear, old friends, went to a bunch of great panels, ran into a lot of game biz folks, and just enjoyed being around people who love pop culture at least as much as- and in many cases way more than- I do. It was super crowded but for some reason, this year, I just didn’t care. I was having too much fun.

Some highlights:

Went to a great MARVEL panel where all the keys from all divisions of Marvel were represented (film, comics, video, new media). Even stood in line to ask a question to Joey Da Q (Editor in Chief of Marvel Comics) and Dan Buckley (Marvel Comics Publisher) about digital comics. I didn’t love the answer I got because it shows that Marvel is still too beholden to the dinosaur that is physical comic book stores and not doing enough to force the medium onto the internet (where it really belongs). But it was still great.

Sat on the balcony of the convention center with some great, old college friends. We were shooting the shit, catching up when I hear the GOD OF WAR theme blasting from somewhere in the distance. I’m like, “What the hell?!?! That’s GOD OF WAR!!!...huh?!?!” Turns out VIDEO GAMES LIVE was happening about 200 yards away at an outdoor venue! What a cool/odd/strange/magical experience to hear music from a game you directed BLASTING in the background...it's like life had given me my very own soundtrack!!! Err, or something... :)

The massive, sold out crowds kept me from hitting some of the panels I wanted to see. I was really bummed to miss out on the sci-fi channel’s GHOST HUNTERS panel. I love that show and the two leads from the series were at the con and on the panel, gabbing about the show, real life hauntings, doing a Q/A, etc. Ah well, next year!

Ironically, I could not get into a panel called HOW TO BREAK INTO THE VIDEO GAME BUSINESS because it was sold out.

And I thought it was funny that both Warren Spector and I could not get into the GEARS OF WAR 2/FABLE 2 panel because the line was too long! It was cool tho. I’ve met Warren a few times in the past, but never had much time to really talk to him. So this turned out to be a nice opportunity to hang out and chat with him for a good 10-15 minutes. What a cool guy! I’m such a fan and can’t wait to hear about his new game (and yes, I tried, but I could not get him to tell me what it was!!!)

Here are some pictures of my 4 days at the con. Yep, 4 days! Never been that long before but, like I said, it was really fun this year and I enjoyed the hell out of it! I took my oldest daughter on Sunday and it was a blast watching her take in a bit of the world that her dad is so passionate about. She got her picture taken with Mega Man and with two dirty apes from THE PLANET OF THE APES who picked her up and held her in between them for the photo. And then we went to watch a full length prequel to THE LITTLE MERMAID that Disney was showing for Kids Day at the con. I loved it! I actually teared up a few times…but the songs were pretty terrible (except for one).

Here's the FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILM LAND panel with Forrey J Ackerman, himself! He's the very old, kind of frail man in the pic above. He's 92 and talks real slow, but he's still got a strong spirit, that's for sure! When I bumped into Warren Specter later, he told me he was at the same panel and showed me some stuff Forrey had signed for him. It was very cool. If you have no clue who Forrest Ackerman is, shame on you. Do a google or wiki him. You will not be sorry. Ah heck, I'll do the work for you! Don't say I never gave ya nothin'! Here: FORREST J. ACKERMAN

Best thing I saw at the con! With any luck, this will become a piece of pop culture history and be used- unofficially- in the campaign. It's so cool!

Death Race had a bunch of cars outside, in a parking lot across from the con. It was for interviews they were shooting with0 the film cast. I took a bunch more pics but they kind of all looked the same and these above are the best ones. Maybe one day we'll get to make our little car combat IP into a flick! There is some motion on it, but you know how that goes. We'll have to just wait and see.

Custom Vaders! I think this was for a contest or something...I don't think they are actually doing toys based off these designs...are they?!?

My man! Been LOVING MGS4 these days...still not finished :) So good to see a great, ultra detailed figure of old snake.

If you look closely, you can just make out a GOD OF WAR action figure between figures for IRON MAN and PLANET TERROR...how amazing to walk around the comic con floor and see stuff that you've had a big hand in creating represented among other pieces of great pop culture. It really makes you feel proud!

Best costume at the show! And if you don't know who this guy is...man...ok, I'll do a little more work for ya :)...STRETCH ARMSTRONG!

Great display of the new Indy figures from all four films. Each movie was represented with little action scenes from the films, including the heroes rushing out of the Holy Grail temple at the end of Crusade. Check out the Grail Knight hidden in the shadows...and young Indy (via River Phoenix) in the upper left. There was even a little translucent alien sitting in a chair from Crystal Skull.

Genius! Probably only funny if you've ever driven the LA/San Diego 405/5 route...I don't think they use this sign anywhere else, do they?

Tommy Tallarico (and fellow Spidey fanatic...check the backpack!), me, and Craig Allen, CEO of Spark Entertainment (they of Turning Point fame, the game with the great high concept...and they of the other very cool high concept game: Legendary!)

Mickey D's action figures. Had ones almost just like this when I was a kid. Got a pic of me playing with them when I was like, 5 or something. I will try to dig up the pic and post it for comparison.

Marvel's super cool, very cute SUPER HERO SQUAD IP. Cool little figures...not as cool as mini marvels, but cool nevertheless.

Me and Mortal Kombat king Ed Boon! Ed and I met ages ago to discuss a Midway/Sony collaboration of a Twisted Metal arcade game...but this was back in like 96 or something and nothing- clearly- ever came from it. It didn't matter tho, I was just getting a thrill riding around in a car and having lunch with a dude who was key in creating one of my fave series of all time. And yeah, the DC/MK universe mix still seems a bit odd, even after seeing the great trailers for the title. But the game LOOKS fantastic and seems like it plays like tons of fun! I can not wait for it.

Finally, the Marvel: Your Universe panel, from my vantage point waaaay in the back. So cool to see Joe Quesada and his newly svelte figure. This guy is the J Allard of comics. And if you don't know what I'm talking about...aw, hell...google it your own damn self :)

So that was my trip down to the con!

Oh and here’s some stuff that I bought while I was there:

There's my stash. Man, I love my Indy Mighty Mugg! I'm trying not to buy as much stuff these days as I don't want to clutter my office. But I tend to get one office thing per year, just as a souvenir, assuming I can find something that really speaks to me. This year it was Indy Muggs! And man, check out those old Believe it or Not! comics! God, I love those! And I love the smell of the things, circa 1971!!! I could just sit and sniff those all day long :) Hell, what am I saying...I do!!!

Ok, nice to be back to updates. I’ll chat with ya'll later in the week.