Thursday, February 26, 2009



Someone on neogaf is saying the are more detailed instructions in the game itself. I will go hunting these down tonite. I've already done a pass at this and found nothing but there are lots of options and perhaps I am not looking in the right place. If so, I stand corrected on some of my rant, but at the same time, the fact that I gotta go HUNTING to find this shit is still a big issue for me...



Loving both of these games so far. For some reason, KZ2 is one of the first FPS online games where I can take actually take out bad guys. Perhaps it's the 'sluggish' aiming some folks are bitching about (compared to COD4's more super responsive aiming?)...But I don't mind the aiming or controls at all...whatever it is, I got some kills in Friday nite that were NOT luck! Take that Grasshopper, motherfucker!!!! :) Also digging the map design and the online mode where the game's objectives change in real time (know KZ2 is not the first to do this, but it's the first one I've played for long enough to really appreciate the mechanic...I totally dig it).

Oh and as for MLB- LOVING it and it is making me totally jazzed for the real life season to begin so I can head down to Petco and watch the Padres. While KZ2 and MLB 09 are both very different games (duh), I found myself spending more time with MLB this weekend (and I've been spending LOTS of time with both)!

One complaint about MLB: I had to go to NEOGAF just to ask some simple questions that SHOULD be in the manual and in the tips screens (which- for the most part- are really great screens...they just need a hell of a lot more of them). But the simple gameplay stuff seems to have just been left out, like the team just assumes we all know how to play the game.

On the pitching, I didn't know what the arrows off the ball were OR what the glove with the yellow ball in it was for. I had an idea about the glove (catcher's glove and where you should throw) and then it was explained to me that the arrow was which direction the pitch/ball will break. Well, I SORT of understand that but a) that shit needs to be explained to players or you risk turning folks off...b) I still don't totally understand because if the location the ball will go is where the last arrow off the ball is and I position that arrow RIGHT onto where the yellow ball icon was (in the catcher's glove) and in doing so my ball then goes out of the strike zone (BUT my break arrows are INSIDE the strike zone) I tend to throw balls. When I ignore the break arrows and just aim for the yellow circle, I tend to get strikes. And how much does the pitch meter affect my success in this regard, and if it DOES affect the results and affects the break and the pitch control, then tell me the relationship between these three clearly important mechanics.

So please MLB team: I FUCKING LOVE your game but help a guy out! You spend all that time and love making all these cool mechanics, the least you could do is explain what they actually do!

And speaking of- on the batting (which feels great! I can actually get hits for once...on a pretty consistent basis!!!!), how do I 'aim' my hit? I know it can not be random if I hit a pop up or a grounder or aim for left field or right field...but I've moved the left and right stick around during hitting and it doesn't seem to make a damn bit of this like MASS EFFECT where I should approach it more like a baseball RPG and the hit is really based off the stats of the player and I have very little control over anything other than if I simply make contact?!? HELP!

Fundamental rule of game design is, the player needs to have a sense that he can improve at the game or he gets bored or frustrated. Well I've tried everything to just UNDERSTAND the mechanics of the battling and pitching (let alone improving at it) and last nite it got to the point that my lack of skills at the fundamentals had put me so far behind the AI team (in normal mode) that I just gave up and just started throwing fastballs at the heads of the batters to see if the team had coded in any 'rush the mound' payoffs. They hadn't :(....but it was still fun to nail the guys and see them get pissed :)....

According to some of the posters on neogaf, ALL sports games suffer from this 'shitty manual' syndrome. Well if that is the case, then that is nuts! Do the sports game makers just assume 'well we're all into sports, why do we gotta explain this shit that has been in games since Sega World Series Baseball'?!?

This may be one of the reasons I've stopped playing sports games more and more over the years. They seem to have abandoned the average sports fan and gamer. But hell, they make lots of money so maybe they figure: we have a biz model that works...why rock the boat? I can see that. Don't like or appreciate it, but I can understand it. Hell, the hardcore JSRPG games never seem to give a rat's ass about shallow entry either. So maybe I'm just a fucking idiot that is not bright enough to be playing sports video games. But I can't help but assume that all these sports games would do even better if they offered to hold the hand of the user a bit more. And again, this is coming from a big fan of MLB and a fan- albeit a disappointed fan- of the genre as a whole.

Oh, even the ultra arcadey NHL 3 on 3 ARCADE hockey game which I was CRAZY excited for suffers from a massive lack of explanation. Lots of- what I assume are- hockey terms in the controls screens which I don't have a fucking clue what they do. Thanks a lot!

See :) I'm really just a wanna be sports video gamer. But they just ain't making it easy for me. Oh, the glory days of BLITZ and NBA JAMS...where have you gone... :(


Which to play first?!? I am SO jazzed for both of them! I always suck at MLB but it looks so good and makes me think of spring!

Either way, thanks to Allan and Doug at Santa Monica for setting me up with the goodness before they hit retail! Nice to have friends in high places :)


For the asswipes who don't think I have...

...a sense of humor, a sense of irony, or a sense of comedy. This rocks much! :)

Sony Releases New Stupid Piece Of Shit That Doesn't Fucking Work

Credit where credit is due: compliments of one of my fave blogs on the web: Wil Wheaton's blog!


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Interview

Hey- here are the questions- rewritten in a way that I found much more acceptable and professional- from the MSNBC reporter in question. I am still planning on doing a Skype interview with him, so that should be great! I will tell you his name then.

Meantime, a big thanks goes out to him for taking the time to rewrite these in a way that- for me- changed them from biased to non biased (don't wanna get back into that debate again, you guys know my definition of biased so take it or leave it).

So here are my answers in full, just as a safe guard that they not get taken out of context. Hey- I am fucking paranoid after all these years, what do you want?!?!

Ok, here is the email exchange:


I'll start with some basic questions and we'll go from there. If you think any "devil's advocate" type question is unfair, please say so in your response while stating your reasoning. Again, I'm not fishing for answers, only trying to get an instinctive and candid response. Additionally, I'm happy to reveal any edited quotes to you before running the story -- just let me know.
1. In your opinion, has the PS3 met expectations so far? Why/why not?

I think it depends on which expectations you are asking about. I think it’s easy- and correct- to look at the PS3 and say that it has not yet enjoyed the staggering success of the Playstation 1 or Playstation 2. So if the expectations were that it would- by this point- be on the exact same sell thru trajectory as those earlier hardware modes, then I would say no, it has not met expectations. But that does not mean the PS3 can not reach and exceed those same heights, but it will need to do so via its own, unique sales story, versus simply copying the ‘gangbusters in the first 18 months’ sell thru story of the PS1 and PS2.

If you are talking about expectations of delivering fantastic, high quality, highly reviewed next-gen gameplay then I would say that yes, it has met those expectations. It has also met expectations in having a varied and quality library of titles and if you look at the titles coming out in the next 12-18 months (Killzone 2, God of War 3, MLB 09, UNCHARTED 2,etc.) then I think it’s fair to say that the Playstation 3 is poised to exceed expectations on that front.

It has met expectations in being a great media hub for the family room, allowing next-gen gaming, blu ray movies, HD download movies, internet access, and free access to online gaming. And if you look at Folding At Home, the damn thing is even helping to cure cancer! So on the ‘will the PS3 help cure cancer’ front, then I would say yes, it has met those expectations as well…

If you are talking about the online experience, I feel that when it launched, the online experience left much to be desired. It did not meet expectations at that time. In the last year, the online service has grown considerably and I feel- while it still lacks a few features that the competition has- it has easily met expectations. And Sony’s ability and willingness to constantly improve that service- and keep it free- have far exceeded expectations.

2. As a developer, what's the PS3's greatest strength?
As a designer, I think the main wow factor for this generation is downloadable content. This is not specific to the PS3 but I feel the PS3, with the PSN store, has done a very, very good job in this area. Innovative, groundbreaking titles (Flower, Pixel Junk Eden,etc.) that would have never had a shot at getting fwide distribution are now a mainstay on the Playstation 3. I think the fact that we now have the ability to distribute these kinds of games in a way that allows them to actually be profitable, well that is just amazing and groundbreaking and a game changer. Down the road, digital distribution will weaken the grip of the retail stores and make games less expensive for consumers. Full retail console games are already available on the Playstation 3 and since every Playstation 3 sold has at least a 20gig hard drive, all consumers can enjoy this new way to get full games. Between bypassing the retail channel with its infamous shelf space limitations (which keep consumers from enjoying a whole range of games that are not pure mainstream titles) and bringing players new, unique smaller experiences, I feel the PS3 is leading the charge in the downloadable content space. And as a designer, that is a very big deal.

3. What's its greatest weakness?
Right now the price is a real deal killer for lots of people. It’s clear that Sony knows this and seems to struggle between running a profitable business while also respecting the consumer’s spending abilities. And given the current economy, that has to be a tougher battle now than it’s ever been. Rumor is a PS3 price drop is days away and I hope this is the case because as a PS3 developer and a PS3 fan, I want as many people as possible to be able to enjoy this great system.

4. What's keeping consumers from buying a PS3 like they did the PS2?

Price and competition. The price is the main thing, but again, it seems Sony is working to bring the price down. Competition this time around is fierce. And that is great for gamers but with Xbox battling hard for the hardcore gamer and Nintendo being the king of the casual space, the Playstation 3 is seeing its once dominant stance challenged on both sides. With Playstation 2, there was only one competitor: the Gamecube. Dreamcast had come and gone- for the most part- by the time PS2 was really making some noise. And while the Gamecube had some amazing games and a loyal, passionate fanbase, it was never a serious threat to the Playstation 2’s market share. But times have changed, the competition is much, much tougher now. And the economy is in the toilet. So while it’s always tough to be the most expensive system on the block, it’s especially hard now. But I think this generation is proving that three consoles can survive and thrive. A lot of people like to pile onto the PS3 for being last in the current NPD numbers but they forget that comparing sell thru numbers for these consoles is not an apples to apples comparison. The PS3 is $399 compared to a $199 Xbox 360! And still, with that $200 price difference and in this economy, Sony has managed to sell THRU over 20 million Playstation 3’s! That’s pretty impressive but you never hear that side of the story in the press.

5. How might Sony have averted a $500-600 launch price, provided you feel it was a hindrance?
My guess- and I’ve said this before- is that removing the Blu Ray would have allowed them to drop the price. I still think they should have done this. And I am not privy to any of the behind the scenes reasoning behind how the hardware took shape (that was well above my pay grade when I was at Sony) BUT I’ve seen stuff on the net that suggests that winning the format wars (Blu Ray vs. HD-DVD) was a mandate sent down from on high and so who knows how much choice the games division had in this issue. I think putting Blu Ray in the PS3 helped win the format war for Sony and so for that, I assume, Sony is very happy. But I think it did hurt the system’s success so far- in terms of sales- because it forced the price to be much higher than most gamers are willing to pay, even for a great system like the PS3. I think Sony was very smart to insist on a hard drive in every box, so I would not have changed that at all.

6. Do you feel Blu-ray is as valuable to the PS3 as DVD was to the PS2? Why/why not?
As valuable? No. The difference between VHS and DVD was spectacular: from the tactile improvements that came from ditching VHS and going to DVD (going from a clunky 8 track looking thing to a sleek, cool, future feeling disc) to the lack of visual degradation over time to the bonus features packed on the disc to the massive visual quality jump. Everyone could see the difference and the value of tossing out that VHS player and joining the future. But now, the difference from DVD to Blu Ray- while clearly impressive- is not as spectacular. And so the upgrade is not seen- from my view- as being a necessity. Going from DVD to BLU RAY feels more like a nice bonus if you can afford the player and the HDMI cable and the flat screen 1080p television to go with it. But unless you are a videophille or an obsessed movie fan, it doesn’t feel like a, “I GOTTA HAVE THAT!” purchase. And because of that, the Blu Ray player- I feel- is seen as a very cool feature of the PS3 but not as cool as the DVD player functionality of the PS2.

7. What specifically would you like Sony to do moving forward so Eat Sleep Play can sell more games?
Lower the price, please! Oh, and more television ads like Killzone 2, that show off the amazing graphics of the system. All this money, time, and love spent on the graphics and the fact that we have a box that- I feel- is capable of rendering the best real time graphics of all three consoles and we have so few commercials that show off the actual gameplay and visuals. So I’d like to see more of that.

8. Do you think PS3 feature cutting shows any lack of original vision on Sony's part, or that the console is innocently adapting to meet the needs of the market? It seems like it could go either ways, but given the console's struggles, I tend to think it could be more of the former. Thoughts?

Well again, you need to explain why you think the console is struggling. I am not saying it is the super duper amazing success that the Wii is. Clearly, it is not. But to say it is struggling when it’s $200 dollars more than the competition and has still sold 20 million units in this rough economy and has an amazing library of games and one of its exclusive games just won the BEST GAME OF THE YEAR award from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences…I dunno. I am not trying to spin you here at all. But 'struggling' is an odd word. I don’t know if it’s really the word you are looking for and if it is, perhaps you can elaborate?

But I’ll answer the heart of what I feel the question is, which is: why has Sony made a lot of changes to the system from its original launch? Well my answers are:

a- Many of the changes spring- I think- from a desire to get the cost down so more consumers can enjoy the system. It must be an educated guess as to which features are worth cutting if it means the system gets cheaper and/or profitable sooner. Cutting backwards compatibility, for example, was a shame, but I don’t think the majority of gamers cared. Some did, yes. And they were vocal, but they were- from my view- a vocal minority. From my own experience, not being able to play my old games on my new PS3- while disappointing- is not that big of a deal. To me, I am much happier my online gaming is free, or that Sony is spending money on things like HOME (also free) and spending cash on making newer games.

b- a desire to improve the Playstation 3 experience at every opportunity. Every console manufacturer is adding and removing and adjusting aspects of the original vision in order to improve their product for the customer. Microsoft just improved their online service- which they still charge for- after several years. Nintendo is always adding channels to its online service and selling new peripherals to improve the Wii experience. Sony it seems is doing the same, by adding back in features- when they could- that consumers demanded (rumble), making the online service even better, and continuing to find ways to make the box cheaper. To me, this is just business as usual for all the consoles.

As to moving away from the original vision issue, I mean, what it sounds like you are really saying is: A company should have a 100% bull’s-eye accuracy on the products they launch in terms of assuming what the consumer wants and they can never being wrong. And if they are wrong, they should not change to improve the consumer experience because it makes them look like the original vision was flawed. I mean, that’s nuts. Apple changes the ipod every year, you don’t consider that a lack of vision do you?


Ok, that's it. Later ya'll! By the way: to be clear...these are my opinions. I don't work for Sony and am not speaking on thier behalf. I'm just a guy with an opinion on the situation and that's what these are: my opinions. Thanks!


Behind the Scenes!

Went to Disneyland last week with my oldest daughter. We had a blast!

One of the best parts-for me-was when the Winnie the Pooh ride broke down while we were on it. Instead of making us sit there for 5 minutes while they ironed out the kinks, the Disney folks walked into the ride, got everyone out of their honey combed shaped vehicles, and lead us- on foot- out of the ride and back to the exit!

Now I'm a theme park nut. I love rides and I am especially a fan of the 'dark rides' (what they call the story based ride thru attractions like Winnie the Pooh,Pirates of the Caribbean,Haunted Mansion,etc). So you can image (I'm assuming) what a thrill it was for me to be able to stroll thru the path normally limited only to the ride vehicles. It was so cool to get up close and personal with the props and to touch and examine the animatronic characters in the Winnie ride! Sure, Pirates of the Caribbean woulda been a better, cooler ride to breakdown in, but this was a still a thrill!

My daughter is only 5 and I tried to explain to her what a big deal this was but it was clear that she was not that amazed. What she doesn't realize is just how rare this is! At least I think it's rare. The only other time anything like this has happened to me was in MR. TOAD'S WILD RIDE back when I was around 10 years old. And in that case, the lights just came on for a few minutes while we sat in our stalled cars while the Disney folks tinkered with this or that (they never explained what the problem was to us). Then the lights went back down and we finished the ride. No fuss, no muss. But it was still cool.

But THIS? This was totally different! We were WALKING thru the damn ride! To me, that is just the coolest thing in the world! Here are some picks I snapped on the way out (and the Disney folks didn't even seem to cool is that?)...

Here's the Ride Guide coming around with these little step stools to help the guests out of our was very organized, very 'not a big deal' which means that this either happens a lot more often that I am aware of OR Disney is just that good and that prepared for EVERYTHING that could happen in their parks...

Walking thru the ride- while crazy cool- also felt very made me wonder why there are not any walk thru dark rides like this...I guess crowd speed and crowd control gets tough/impossible in those sorts of cases. But the experience of walking thru the ride and getting right up to the displays was very, very cool and it made me think a walk thru dark ride would go over great (lots of stuff to touch and interact with and hidden things to find and discover,etc).There is something like that at LEGOLAND (the ADVENTURE CLUB or something like that that you get to walk thru) but it's real low rent compared to the amazing dark rides at Disneyland.

Check out all the blacklite! I feel like I'm at Spencer's Gifts at the mall! Where's the +18 section and DIO posters!?!? :)

Here is one of the mythic Hidden Mickeys that the ride guide showed us as we walked thru. I thought there were only like 50 Hidden Mickeys in the whole park, but it seems there may be around 500 or more! They really are everywhere if you know where to look!

Ok, later ya'll!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Game Design Theory...


What I learned most from CALLING ALL CARS!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Yes, I will be watching...


Thought the show was really great! Best one in years. Three things:

#1- If they care about the value of the broadcast show, they need to ditch the awards that are not relevant to mainstream movie goers. They should always award and recognize folks like SOUND MIX EDITORS and such, but just like they give out technical awards off camera and at a different ceremony, the more techy awards really need to happen off camera (again, assuming they want to boost the ratings and make the show itself more entertaining). I love the movies, have relatives who work behind the scenes, and respect the behind the scene jobs immensely and I don't even want to watch that shit.

#2-Replace those more technical awards with a few more mainstream awards. It was nice to see some airtime given to the less arty flicks. And as Will Smith said, the action movies (or the comedies or horror flicks,etc) have many, many fans. It only makes sense that if you want to bring more folks to the show, you should focus more on the movies that millions of people actually love. I'm not saying change the voting process to make sure flicks like KING FU PANDA make it into the BEST ACTOR and BEST PICTURE categories. I am saying that the academy needs to invent a few new awards such as: BEST COMEDY, BEST ACTION MOVIE, MOST ENTERTAINING, A PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD FOR BEST PICTURE,etc. Every one of those I would stay tuned for and be eager to see who won. And what would be so bad about adding a few extra awards? Those are valid categories and don't take away from the main BEST PICTURE category at all (at least not to me).

#3- Wow, my boyhood idol- Steven Spielberg- is looking old. Which is very weird for two reasons:

a- when you see you childhood heroes age it makes you feel old and makes you realize that we're all only here for a finite amount of time. This- obviously- is obvious. But when you see it laid out like that, with Spielberg kind of limping (it seemed...or shuffling or something odd in his walk) onto stage with his unkempt Einstein hair and very, very white hair and beard it just hit home for me....

b- He's only like 61 or 62. My dad is 82 and looks more full of life and energy that Steven Spielberg. Maybe he just had the flu or something because he just seemed- for the first time that I've ever seen him- to have lost a bit of the sparkle behind the eye. Maybe all the funding issues with his new company have taken a toll. Maybe he's still kicking himself for Crystal Skull (he should be ... :) )....

Ok- later!



I have a love/hate thing with the Academy Awards.

As a kid, I looked at Hollywood (movie directors and writers and other behind the scenes folks) as a window into what my adult life would be like: a glamorous, exciting, and rewarding window into what I was 100% sure was my future.

As an adult, working in a creative industry, having won some awards in my industry, and having seen our pervasive tabloid culture give rise to the obliteration of Hollywood's magic, the reason I now watch the Oscars has changed. These days- depending on my mood- I watch the Oscars for one of the following three reasons:

REASON #1: Nostalgia- As a kid, the Oscars were my Super Bowl. It's fun to think back to those early morning band rehearsals where I would sit with my equally obsessed film buddy Jay while we poured over the just announced nominations that had come out at 5am that morning. It's fun to recall obsessing over the Oscar ballot in USA TODAY that I would carry around in my pocket and study during lunch, arguing with friends over who would and should win. It's fun to recall how excited I was to enter into the movie business and entertain the world with the movies I would make one day. And it's fun to dip myself in the 'magic waters' of nostalgia (as James Earl Jones says in Field Of Dreams) that bring me back to the days where I was sure I would become the next Steven Spielberg*. What a great, sustaining fantasy that was, back when I really needed it the most!

REASON #2: Mocking- it's fun to shout at the tv and make fun of how self-important and full of shit many of the folks on stage and in the audience seem to be (Sean Penn proclaiming that ,"Jude Law is one of our finest actors" was bad enough, but then the entire audience applauding like this is some sort of 'true dat'/'it's about fucking time someone trumpeted the brilliance that is Jude Law' kind of statement?!?!...or the 'All Hail King Jack Nicolson as he holds court!' cut aways that we get every fucking year and the host always kissing his ass while 'King Jack' just sits there in his shades and nods and smiles as if to say, "I am the Godfather of this town!"...ugg, how I fucking hate that shit)! But now look, I love the movies. Love them! Depending on the day, they are my #1 or #2 favorite form of entertainment (movies swap places with video games depending on what I am watching/playing). So movies- for me- are gold. And I am so happy there are people who are great at making the movies that entertain the world. BUT so often you just want to punch these fucktards in the mouth when they go on and on about the magic of their medium. Or the glamour of their town or of their lives. Or how if you just dream big enough, you can be just like them! Or how they- too- were once little kids prenteding to give an Oscar acceptance speech in the bathroom mirror with a tube of toothpaste subbing in for the Oscar statue. Oh Jeeze. Oh Blechh!

Oh and that "Blechh" sound? In case you were wondering, that was me puking. Because how many magical movies hit in a year? 1-3, at best? And as for the life of glamor? Well you know good and well that these celebrity's lives are just as normal/exciting/boring/mundane/magical as our own lives and yet they insist on perpetuating this damaging fantasy of glamor and godhood in order to...what? Convince themselves that their normal life IS actually unique? Create a persona that will help them sell more movie tickets, but in the process continue to damage society by presenting false images of what life is actually like? I dunno...I- clearly- got a real issue with this issue. And it comes to full bloom on Oscar night. And so I tend to shout at the tv. A lot. It's good fun :)

REASON #3: Fantasy- With all that said, it's still fun to kick back at the end of the day and watch the beautiful people walk the red carpet as the warm California sun bathes them in its glow; as people scream their names and rush to get interviews; as we get to see modern versions of fairy tales come to life, where nothing goes wrong for these people, they always look great, everyone always loves them, life is exciting, and there is no reason to ever fear anything. I know it's all bullshit, but just for a few moments amid the 3-4 hour show, I get to indulge in the fantasy that all is well. And the ironic part is, all IS well. But you only end up knowing that if you leave the fantasy behind, live in the real world, and realize that it's actually not so scary after all. But that takes work...and that's hard. So for a few hours, it's fun to imagine the alternative.

So I'm gonna go spin and get some exercise, then do some work on the game for a few hours, and then plop my ass in front of the tv, a pizza slice in one hand and my Tivo remote in the other (I sure as SHIT don't watch the Oscars without 30-45 minutes of buffer on the hard drive that lets me skip the boring shit). Hope you guys/gals- who choose to watch- dig the show!

Chat later!


*NOTE: I still think dreaming HUGE is important...nothing wrong with those sorts of goals, but I think you gotta plot your own course/walk your own path versus shooting to live someone else's already spoken for life. As Oprah Winfrey likes to say, "There can only be one Oprah, and I already have that job and I do it very well".

Friday, February 20, 2009


Hey- just got done chatting with reporter in question from a few posts down.

I'm gonna answer his questions because he has agreed to resubmit them without the negative slant.

Then, he and I are gonna do a podcast together and talk about this issue and the PS3 and games in general.

Should be fun! It ain't FROST/NIXON, I grant you, but hell, we'll get a kick out of it!

I'll post the conversation once it's done.


ps. and I heard the new 1up podcast show tonite- or whatever they are calling it now. If you guys are reading this, would love to go on your show for a few minutes to have a chance to explain myself and defend myself. If not, no worries...I don't have a game coming out for a while and it prob makes more sense to bring folks on with specific games to talk about. Maybe as we get closer to release. Either way, glad your show is still around- I thought it got lost in the layoffs. I love 1upyours!


And here is the amazing box art from SLOT RACERS! I saw this and HAD to have it when I saw it at Service Merchandise at Eastwood mall (a place enshrined in my childhood geek memory, along with Aladdin's Castle at Brookwood mall and the Brookwood mall theater).

With box art like that, how could you turn it down?!?! SO AMAZING!!! My little kid imagination was going off the rails!

And then this is what I see when I plug it in to my 2600: look, the old school games never looked that amazing and compared to the Intellivision, Atari 2600 had the worst graphics for sure (kind of like the 360 having shittier graphics than the PS3....I KEED! I KEED! Man, it's so easy to stir up a shit storm....or AM I kidding?!?!)

...but yeah, that fucker went back in the box and back to the store in no time flat! I don't recall what we exchanged it for....but it sure as shit was better than fucking Slot Racers!

Ok, later!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Is this biased journalism? Or is it just me?


Let me rephrase, based on some of the comments:

Sure all journalism is biased. Let me rephrase:

is this obnoxiously biased to the point that most rational folks would be offended to get such an email?

Or is this just biz as usual (altho I've never gotten such slanted questions before)...



Here is the email in question:



I'm working on a story for MSNBC examining the life-to-date chronology of the PS3. As a respected PlayStation developer, would you be willing to answer a few questions? In the interest you are, here goes:

In hindsight, noting the PS3's lukewarm reception and relatively high cost, a lot of people wonder what Sony was thinking when developing the PS3. So... what were they thinking?

It's been said that Ken Kutaragi and Howard Stinger dictated what technology the PS3 should include instead of doing proper research to what the consumer wanted while paying little mind to price. As a development partner, did you feel that was the case? Why/why not?

It seems that releasing a feature-rich console for $600, now $400, was a crippling move for Sony, especially given the recent economic downturn. Would you agree? Why/why not?

Did you ever perceive low morale within the company once the $600 price was announced in 2006? Can you elaborate?
Consumers appear indifferent to Blu-ray technology. Do you feel Sony overvalued Blu-ray, after DVD helped the PS2 become such a huge success?

It seems the PS3 has been cobbled together since its release: feature-cutting to help cut costs, patched with controller rumble, patched with Home, patched with trophy achievements -- like the console never had a specific plan. During your tenure, did you feel the powers that be at Sony had a grip on what exactly would make the PS3 a success? Why/why not?
What has been your biggest concern as a PS3 developer?

Was the Wall Street Journal right: has hope faded for PS3 as the "comeback player"?


Mystery Journalist

So you tell I just being ultra sensitive? If so, I apologize to the journalist in question. To be fair to him, he says he's looking at the PS life to date (and not focusing on upcoming things that could swing the console's fortunes ((ala KILLZONE 2, GOW 3, UNCHARTED 2, MLB 09, potential price drop,etc)) )....BUT even so, he seems to ignore ANY of the success it has had up till this point or any of the missteps the 360 has made...but again, I could be wrong...

Take it easy ya'll-


Wednesday, February 18, 2009


THANKS! I just had it stuffed!

Ahem...little Naked Gun 'humor' for you there....anyway:

So I saw this on NEOGAF, thought it was one of the best Kratos cosplays I've seen! Not sure about the story behind it, where it's from, was it for a contest,etc...shit, maybe this isn't cosplay...maybe the dude really looks that way! Shit, now I feel awkward :)...anyway, here ya go:

While we are talking cosplay, this one is pretty damn good too:

Wait- is that the same dude? I don't think so...anyway:

I gotta say- it's pretty damn neat when people take time and resources out of their lives to dress up as a character you had a huge hand in creating! I've seen a small number of Sweet Tooths over the years as well, which is nice (in fact, I need to post some cool, fan made Sweet Tooth Ice Cream Trucks in the next few days as well)....

Ok- gotta run! Later ya'll!

Friday, February 13, 2009

God Of War 3 + Metal Gear thoughts + Valentine's Day


I've been amazed at some of the posts here and on the youtube channel where folks are assuming I don't like or love MGS or that I out and out hate it. I think I've made it pretty clear that MGS is one of my fave game series ever and Snake is one of my fave game characters ever. I've also said time and again that MGS4 is in my top 2 games of the year and depending on when you ask me, is my number one fave game of the year. So I 'get' Metal Gear. I LOVE Metal Gear. I even have accepted and embraced the cut scenes this time around, given how good they are. I like the operatic, bombastic story telling and the over the top characters. I was simply pointing out that- to me- the game loses some steam at the end because:

a- the microwave scene was not effective to me. Perhaps if they had not split the screen I would have enjoyed it more, but trying to take it all in and be affected by two things going on at once was distracting, especially on top of the gameplay (simple as the gameplay in that area was). Sometimes I get the feeling choices are made in the MGS series because the choices are very creative and very cool but they don't take into account the bigger picture of the overall game experience. I have been guilty of this as well in my games, mainly the Twisted Metal series, where I would haphazardly toss in story elements because I felt they were cool or mysterious but didn't really respect the overall tapestry of the master story. Not saying this is what Kojima does, but it feels like this to me in some cases.

b- And to that point, Snake should have died once he reached the server room. That micro scene should have been the end of the game...even if he would have battled Ocelot before and the two would have gone into the microwave tunnel in a chase and by the end they are both on their hands and knees, with Snake struggling to reach the end of the tunnel and Ocelot trying to stop him (altho animation wise, this could look comical if they didn't handle it just right)...but either way, all that angst in the micro tunnel, all that danger, all that sadness... and then he just kinda takes a rest and he's back up and battling. It's like, again, it makes it seem like that scene was put there for an 'oh cool' moment but didn't take into account the rest of the game's story. And I get the whole 'hero dies and is resurrected' Jesus thing that some action movies and stories in general do. No issues with that. But the game didn't really turn the resurrection into a big, clearly intentional moment. Snake just kinda passed out he's fine again! Up and ready for battle! I think it would have been much more emotional and intentional- and made the microwave scene actually matter more- if the final battle with Ocelot had Snake inches from death (because of the microwave scene) and he could not stand and was crawling around getting his ass kicked in the gameplay and had to find a way to kill Ocelot anyway. THAT would have been Snake! But now I'm just delving into fan fiction at this point :)

But so there you go...

...and to those folks thinking I can't get immersed because I work in the games biz, it's a good point and I've thought about this, but its just not true. The recently released flower immersed me and made me feel something. Hell, I even felt a bit of emotion in Gears of War 2 (altho, to be fair, it was emotional connection created via cut scene, not gameplay). But overall, I feel the medium is either not capable of creating and sustaining deep emotions or we have simply not come close to understanding how to do it on a consistent basis. I am open to it, but I'm just being honest with how I feel about the current state of storytelling in gameplay.

And I'm not saying folks who say they get emotional are 'wrong'. That's great they feel that way. Altho sometimes I get the feeling that SOME of those folks are just clinging and making false claims because they WANT games to be that way and are willing to tell themselves that games are that way even tho they actually are not. I guess I feel that way because I am an easy cry. I cry at everything. EVERYTHING...movies, tv, commercials, greeting cards. Very sentimental guy, at times. But why not games? I mean one poster was like, "I cried 4 times in MGS4"...and I'm like: shit, really?!? Did I miss something? Where are you crying cause I- the dude who cries during diaper commercials- didn't come close to shedding a tear.

Anyway, endless debate. One day it will either be solved cause someone finally makes a game where the storytelling power of games can not be denied or we'll just keep going round and round.

Main reason to post was that I wanted to make sure no one thought I was bagging on MGS. It really is one of my fave game series, and fave pieces of entertainment ever. Snake is not Indy or Spiderman...but every new game he gets a little closer and closer to being one of my fave fictional characters.

Ok, now off to McDonalds!

Happy VD day, ya'll!


Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Hey ya'll- in Utah this week working on the game. Great meetings, great progress. Spent the last month or so mainly focused on visuals and level design. Now we're turning lots more attention back to pure gameplay, so I'm happy :)

As you can see, it's cold and snowy! LOVE IT! Would not want to live in weather like this (which is why I live in SoCal) but a damn nice place to visit!

Anyway- sorry so little blog love this week but it's tough when our days are packed with meeting after meeting. I'll hit ya'll up this weekend and let you know my final take on MGS4 (I am currently on- what I assume- is the final boss: a battle with Ocelot way up high is pretty much the end, yes?!?)....

Ok, gotta get to bed- early morning tomorrow.



Thursday, February 05, 2009


Killzone Demo, 3 on 3 NHL HOCKEY (sweet! LOVE ARCADE SPORTS!), and Punisher as an exclusive this spring!

Fucking LOVE the PSN store!

Can't wait for this! Man, I am tired of sim sports games. I hope this plays like BLITZ!

Ok, that is all.

And yes, this could have easily been a twitter.



Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Ok, you all must have seen these all over the net. I ain't showing you anything new, I know that. But I just have to say two things about these road signs that hackers have been hacking into and messing with:

a- OH MY GOD! I fucking LOVE that we live in an age where someone can do this! This is so funny and so perfect! How damn funny!

b- The one that says, ""ZOMBIES IN AREA! RUN!" (which I have not seen, just heard about) is just about the funniest thing in the world to me. It's not enough that the sign lets you know the current area's zombie status, but it also gives you a helpful way of dealing with the zombies! The only thing funnier would be if someone actually above the age of 10 got scared of these signs and were all worried and shit (i.e. War of the Worlds broadcast back in the 20's?)...


Sunday, February 01, 2009


Readers of the blog know how much I really dislike CRYSTAL SKULL and how crazy disappointed it made my inner geek. Nothing sums it up as good as this great fan (?) made trailer sent to me by long time blog reader and fellow game designer Arnaldo. Tragic man...just tragic. But hilarious as well.

ps. Yes I know it's just a movie and I should just stop whining already. Don't wanna. Indy is the main reason I do creative work today and to see him and his universe treated like this is not only annoying but really disappointing cause it probably means there will be no more Indy flicks. At least not any good ones.

pps. This directly relates to the work we do but I can't speak to how. And it has nothing to do with us working on an Indy game. I will tell you once the game we are working on hits the streets.