Friday, April 20, 2007


In a more rambling mode than usual, ya'll...hope you don't mind too much :)


Hey guys, took Wednesday off as sort of a 'sweet! We finished Calling All Cars' celebration. Unlike GOD OF WAR where I needed 3 months of comp time to recoop, I'm thinking of taking like 3 days of PTO, and even then spreading those few days across a few weeks. Making these games is hard and challenging but since it does not drain your soul like the epic titles, you don't need as much down time before you dive back into the trenches. In fact, hell, Scott and Kellan (Creative Director/Art Director at Incognito) are flying down to San Diego Monday for a double day marathon session of game design for game #2! I can't wait!

So what did I do on my day off? I took my wife and oldest daughter to Disneyland! Man, what a blast. My kid is almost 4 now and it was her first time there. She loved it and we did as well, mostly cause we got such a blast watching her enjoy the park! Hell, she even got to ride Space Mountain and The Matterhorn! A fucking 3 year old kid on SPACE MOUNTAIN!?!? I was stunned they let her on but they did!

Man, that is still a great ride and may very well be my fave coaster of all time. Especially now when they are blasting a version of HIGHER GROUND by THE RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS thru the headset speakers as you whip thru those corkscrews! So much fun!

When it was over, I looked behind me (kid was riding with the wife in the seat behind me) and my daughter was just sort of starting into space, overwhelmed by the sensations and blasting music and flashing lights. I was like: oh shit, we've just scarred this kid for life! But within a few seconds of it all coming to an end, she was telling us how much she loved it! When she got home she was jumping around and using her arms to mimic the curves and turns of the coaster she liked the most and telling us all about how much fun it was! And I was just like: sweet! I got a coaster buddy for life now!!!

But yeah, when you go with a kid, it's just more fun I think. I like going as an adult but taking my kid, I got to enjoy her enjoying it. And about 2 years ago, I had a realization that I assume most parents eventually have- or should have- where you stop TRYING TO MAKE THE FUN for your kid and just let your kid pretty much be (from a standpoint of entertainment). For a while I kept trying to make sure the stuff we were doing was fun, come hell or high water. And then I realized after about 6 months of this that it didn't feel genuine to me, it felt all manufactured and I HATED that feeling. So I just relaxed and assumed: hell, she's a kid...If anyone can find the fun, it's a kid. So I just allowed myself to be along for the ride as she found fun and- when she decided to- shared it with her dad. And it's been so much more...well, FUN since then! I guess as a game designer I am always feeling responsible for people having a good time...and with kids I really had to curb that desire. So there's a, whatever, a Jaffe parenting tip for you, if you ever wanted one!

Pic I grabbed as we were leaving the park...Ahh, Magic Way! Glad I live only 50 minutes from the park as now I wanna go back with my kids alot more often. Pretty amazing that I can just make it a spur of the moment Saturday trip if I want to! Ahh, the joys of Southern California!

Makes me wonder tho: thru my career I've know lots of Disney obsessed folks in the game biz. They grew up with it, love it to death, want to be part of it. I can see that, I can appreciate that. I'm more of a Spielberg/Lucas nut, but I can see the allure of the Disney Magic. But then almost all of the folks I know who end up working for Disney always tell me they don't enjoy working for the company as much as they had hoped. Not the admin types or producers; and I actually hear it's a pretty good company to work for in terms of benefits and what not. But it's like, Disney fired so many imaginations around the world and within the game biz, that the work of that company really turned people into professional creative types themselves! But now, as those creative types head to work for the company that inspired them to be creative, they find that they can't really be the creative juggernauts that Disney created because to work for Disney means you gotta do it the DISNEY WAY. There's only one way to draw Mickey Mouse and it ain't yours! So to work for Disney means you gotta suck it up and be a cog in the machine I guess. I've never worked for Disney so this is all secondhand....but I can see how that could be a challenge for the very folks Disney inspired in the first place! least to me :)


So hey, I played multiplayer with the IGN crew last night. Since the game is not out yet, we go online with the reviewers so they can test out the online portion of the game (otherwise there would be no one for them to play with over the net). It was lots of fun and, being ultra protective of all the games I work on, I was like begging for the review score from them because I really do care about I said, I feel compelled that people have fun! :) But they were like: dude we can't tell you the score now, sorry. And I got that, and I appreciate that. But they assured me they dug it so that made me feel good. And then last night I saw this on the IGN message board:

It's from Jeremy Dunham who is the Editor in Chief of the Playstation site on the board (I don't think he's EIC of the whole site, but I could be wrong).

So that's always nice to see. Score aside, it's nice to know that we've given people some good fun! That is what you work for. And it's even better to know that you've given folks fun who are in a great position to let many others know about the fun that they've had!

So thanks for giving us a shot IGN!


Finally, CALLING ALL CARS will be out either next week or the NEXT week. It's not May 18th in USA...that seems to be the date for Europe (I am not sure on this, I'm just getting that date from the net like alot of your guys). We are shooting to have the game out next week but it's not us at this point as the game has been done for about a week now. There's just some format stuff we gotta clear and as soon as we do-and thus get the street date- I will let ya'll know. So thanks for being patient!

And nice talking to those I've talked with in the chat box! Chat with ya'll soon!

Take care ya'll, have a great weekend!