Thursday, April 30, 2009

Disneyland with my oldest kid:)

Taking a day off from work to hang with my oldest daughter at one of our fave places! No lines either!!! Which means we can finally ride toy story mania!!! Bout to board! Later y'all!


Posted by ShoZu

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My First Game Console

For those who saw the Hiphopgamer interview and were wondering what the hell kind of first console I was talking about, here it is, in all it's triangular glory! Man, just seeing this makes me feel 7 years old again! I can totally see me and my brother in our playroom/old den- with the bright red shag carpet and the massive old school television (that had the record turn table built into the top). I can see us now, obsessing over this new fangled device that my dad brought home one night. God we played this thing for hours. Little did I know at the time that video games would have such a huge impact on my life.

Thanks for the memories, Mom and Dad! And thanks for letting me always do the stuff I loved to do growing up. I love you!

Monday, April 27, 2009

You Swine!

When we lived in LA, we had the best pediatrician you could imagine. His name is Dr. Jay and he works in Santa Monica and is just amazing. So amazing that even tho we are no longer officially his patients he will still take our calls about our kids to put our minds at ease. He's so amazing that in 2009, the man still makes house calls and will come to your home the day your kid is born (or the day you get him/her home from the hospital) in order to give the kid the once over, get to know his new patient, and- most importantly- put a new parent's mind at ease. Dr. Jay is one of the many reasons I still love and still miss my dear Los Angeles.

So we got this email today from him about the Swine virus that seems to be going around (and- I gather- causing a bit of a panic among his Santa Monica parents). In his usual, non reactionary Dr. Jay way (one of the reasons I love the guy), he reminds us all not to worry so much about the current epidemic of the day... and gets a semi dig in at the Bush Administration! Sweet!

But political jabs aside, check it out- see what you think:


Just wash your hands.

Every year, hundreds of viruses pass through the pediatric and adult community. Many of the bugs are disruptive and keep kids out of school and adults away from work. Some of the viruses have unique signs and symptoms, but most just cause amorphous aches, sneezing, coughing or intestinal upset.

Influenza viruses, especially new ones, trigger more news stories and can be made to seem much more frightening and dangerous than they really are. Government agencies and media don't supply statistical context and make it sound like you've got a "fifty-fifty" chance of contracting this new virus. They then make it sound like a lot of people who get this influenza end up in the hospital and may die. Statistically, nothing could be further from the truth: The chance that the new virus is really dangerous is small. The chance that you'll get it is much, much smaller, and the possibility that you or a family member will be harmed by the virus is so slim that the news should be on page twenty, not page one.

Swine Flu is a virus for which there is no vaccine, no threat to your family and there are undoubtedly tens of thousands of harmless undiagnosed cases throughout the world. The news stories are probably taking a hundred questionable respiratory deaths in Mexico and guessing.

There actually is a very, very small chance that this virus could cause severe illness and whenever this occurs hospitalization and even fatalities are reported. The likelihood of a pandemic is miniscule, but newspapers, governments agencies and the manufacturers of pharmaceuticals do their best work and make their biggest sales when people are scared.

Tamiflu is recommended for treatment and prevention of this influenza virus. The company which gets the drug's royalties (Gilead) has as a major stockholder--previously Chairman--one Donald Rumsfeld.

Local pharmacies are already running low on Tamiflu.

Connect these dots.

The usual boring admonitions apply: wash your hands, stay well-rested and well-hydrated. You do not need to buy Tamiflu. It is an effective antiviral drug but has possible side effects.

As far as our office prescribing Tamiflu, we would rather not, but we will if you insist. I promise you that I personally am purchasing none for my family and would recommend the same to you.



Wherein I Get Hip...

Hey ya'll. This is a fairly long Skype interview I did the other night with the Hiphopgamershow.

The guys from the site had been posting in the comments about their site for a few months, wanting to get me on. After not being able to make a go of it for a bit, we finally had some time to connect last Tuesday night. It was a fun interview and it's clear that the HipHopGamer (I forget his actual name...I checked my Skype window where he's a contact of mine and it just says HHG, so I dunno his actual name :)....but it's clear he's passionate about games and a super, super nice guy to boot. I've seen on the net some people giving him shit about his energy level or the way he speaks but he just seemed like a real nice, passionate, and positive person to me. I had a great time, thought a lot of the questions were interesting, and was more than happy to work with HHG. So give it a watch/listen if you are so inclined!

Ok ya'll- off to the job- chat later!


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Like a Pig in Shit

So I was just looking around my office and I realized it's a total pig stye.

Ok, it's not THAT bad (I mean, it's been worse, for sure) but it sure ain't clean.

But right when I started to get the thought that I should clean the place, I realized that I take comfort in a messy space when I'm in my creative zone. Right now-with the game- the team is really starting to gel and we are making great progress on all fronts. When I am in that phase of a game's development- where tech solutions are getting locked down and the pipeline of play mechanics and new art is FINALLY starting to flow into the realtime database at a speedy pace- for some reason, my work space tends to get really, really messy. I think it's cause- clearly- all my energy goes towards focusing on the game experience and the experience of real life takes a back seat.

So here I sit with my 3 day old Diet Coke cans, coffee cops from Einstein Bros Bagels, the massive empty box my new dev kit was shipped in, and the GOD OF WAR framed art that I took down to show someone on ichat and have yet to put back on the wall...and it makes me happy. Like a Pig in Shit, you know? I like it because it signifies where we are at in the game and I like it because it just feels good to be surrounded by all this stuff, like a warm blanket made up of pop culture artifacts, bad-for-me drinks, chewed on pencils, and pictures of the games and the kids that I've helped to make. And I really, really like it :)


Friday, April 24, 2009

Stupid Facebook App

Here's another one of these that seems to be going around the Facebook world. I did it while waiting for our new build to download. Kinda cool, kinda dumb. Whatever. Thought I'd share! :) Have a great weekend ya'll!



1. Put your music library on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write that song title as the answer to the question, no matter how silly it sounds! Most of the time they seem to work though, strangely enough.
4. Ok, go!
5. When you're done, tag 20 people in this note, and make sure to tag the person who sent you this.

Sugar, We're Goin Down

Can You Feel It?

Children's Story

All Fired Up

Return of the Mack

Moves like an Ape, Looks Like a Man

Good People

Tavern Fight

9) WHAT IS 2+2?
Now We Are Free

Material Girl

The Ultimate War

Meeting Edward Gracey

The Legend of the Holy Grail

Under Pressure

Hold On

Straight Outta Compton

I Was Born to Love You

Come Sail Away

Diamonds from Sierra Leone

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmit


Note:#3 is particularly worrisome :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Woo-Hoo! We got stickers!

So working at home, you forgo typical 'real' office luxuries. Things like an always stocked fridge, free bagels on Friday, and a really big logo to greet you when you enter your workplace. Out in Utah there are a couple of big EAT SLEEP PLAY logos that hit you right as you are walking up to our door. But here, at Casa Jaffe, no such luck...that is...until now!!! Check it...we got stickers!

Regular readers of the blog will recognize the missing door handle that shattered when I kicked the door in when my 5 year old locked herself inside. Yeah, I still need to get that fixed. :)

And there's our logo in alll her glory. Yeah, she looks all lonely up there by herself, but hell, it's still kinda cool to see when I come into work every morning.

And check it: Even more stickers!

Now I just gotta find a place to plaster them!

Ok, ok...they are just some damn stickers...but when they are stickers from a company you really care about, well's damn neat for me to see!

Ok- it's late...just got done watching 7 Pounds with Will Smith (pretty good!) and I wanna get some sleep. My new dev kit arrives tomorrow and I'm so excited to try out some of the new mechanics the team has put into the game since my rig has been out of commission. Chat with you guys soon!


Monday, April 20, 2009


For all the folks who think all I do is rah-rah the PS3 all the time, here's a switch for you:


At least the dev kit :)

Check this shit:

DAMMIT! Today I broke off my 6th fucking USB port thingy that hooks the controller up to the dev kit. I know you can't tell all that well from this pic, but that little black tab on the floor is the thing that hooks the end of the usb cable into the ps3. And they are very, very fragile for some unknown motherfucking reason. And I was simply walking by the damn dev kit and the cord caught on my leg and snap! God Damn Motherfucker just popped and shut my day down. According to our producer Angelic, she has already had to send 8 of the God Damned things in for repair! So at least I don't feel so bad about being the only one this happens to. But still...DAMN!

And since I've never been able to get a PS3 dev kit to work with a wireless controller (not sure if they are designed to)- and since it happened too late in the day for the office in Utah to make get it Fedex'd out before tomorrow- I'm fucking out of luck playing the game till Wednesday!

Ah well, I guess I can do some work on the shell/main menu design tomorrow.

Fuckin' grumble, grumble.


Why we work for Sony + Kevin Smith

Great Quote From Steve Jobs

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

Wow...pretty much sums it all up for me! So glad I saw this quote this morning.

Good day, ya'll!


Saturday, April 18, 2009


Hey all- sorry out of touch this last week, was out in Utah. Sony came to visit us and we were swamped with those meetings along with lots of gameplay tuning.

Gonna head out in a bit and see STATE OF PLAY and then hit the toob and play some KILLZONE 2 single player. I spent lots of time with the MP but am only now going back to go thru the one player campaign. So far, I'm digging it lots. Pretty amazing looking game, that's for sure. Oh and playing OUTRUN on the 360 as well! Very fun, very addictive!

Anyway, been accruing game biz pics over the last few months and figured I'd post them here just for fun, and to also shine the tiny light which I am able to shine on lots of other amazing men and women who make the game biz run. So here ya go- and I'll chat with ya'll more regular like start of next week!


This is at the Sony party at GDC. At this point, I was as drunk as I have been in several years. At pic left is Scott Hyman, Biz Dev head of Creat Studios (they of the PSN addictive MAGIC BALL, among many others). At pic right is super agent to the stars, Gina Ramirez of UTA talent agency. I do not know why I look so smarmy in this pic. Perhaps I get smarmy when I get drunk? Either way, there ya go. And yes I am wearing the same clothes here as I did on the Bonus Round that was taped the next day. Like I said, I was very drunk. It was a very long night that never really ended. It just kind of went from here to the glamor spot that is Denny's. And then, before you know it, it was the next day and there I was, hung over and trying to hold my own on the Bonus Round

Some of the heaviest hitters in the Sony family...and then me :) That's Shu Yoshida who runs the product development ball of wax- all over the WORLD!- for Playstation. If it wasn't for this man, you'd have no ICO (among many other ground breaking games). Sean Layton is next to me, who now runs Japan's Playstation PD and has been a major Sony playa/heavy hitter for years. And then there's Studdy at the end, Shannon Studstill who was the GOD OF WAR I producer (i.e. she who pulled the whole damn chaotic thing together), was exec prod. on GOW II and is now over at EA Los Angeles.

This is me- drunk again- on the first night of the show. I am really not that big of a drinker, altho these pics would indicate otherwise. But biz shows are not only for nuts and bolts work, but the nights are great times to hook up with industry friends and colleagues and just blow it out. So there tends to be lots of drinking. But by the third night of the show, I was done with the booze and just wanted to hit my hotel room and watch a flick. Anyway, this is me when I took the trumpet off some random San Fran cab driver's dashboard and proceeded to see if I could still play the INDY JONES theme (as well as the ON BROADWAY solo from back in high school...either it was that or GIMME SOME LOVIN')...either way, I can't play the damn trumpet anymore....not that I was ever much good at it. But now it sounds like a duck being slaughtered.

And here's the cab driver- whose horn this was- taking the trumpet and showing me how it's done. Why the FUCK I put my mouth on some strange cab driver's trumpet (shut the fuck up) I have no idea. But he could play, that's for sure. Glad I've not come down with anything since that nite. Perhaps all the booze killed whatever germs were living in the mouthpiece.

Did I mention there was much drinking? Here's me doing the only thing in my life that even comes close to being a gangsta: drinking Patron like a fucking fish. Altho I hear these days the rappers are into the White Russians and Patron is kind of out of vogue. Ah well. That's me, Shannon/Studdy, and then Nate (who was a designer on God of War II and is now doing external design work for Sony Santa Monica) and God of War III game director, Stig Asmussen.

Me and Shannon in some cool light.

We're missing Ru (the director from CHAINS OF OLYMPUS...altho me and Shannon downed pancakes and french fries with him later that night) but here's me, Shannon, God of War II director Cory Barlog, and God of War III director Stig Asmussen!

Now this is both amazing, flattering, embarrassing, and sad. This is the FUCKING ANIMATION DIRECTOR for MGS4!!! Yes, that's right- the man who fucking worked hand in hand with Kojima to create some of the best- oh hell, THE BEST- cinematics ever put in a video game. And I can NOT REMEMBER HIS NAME!!! :( I was just getting my drink on- but was buzzed enough- that I have blanked on this super talented dude's name!!! Also his name is Japaneese and I'm bad remembering names from Japan. So if you are reading this, please shoot me an email. I would love to stay in touch. So cool that he came up to me and told me how much he dug GOD OF WAR. And I was like: oh man, you worked on MGS4?!? So it was very cool. But how lame that his name has slipped my mind :(

Me and Eric, one of Sony Santa Monica's external senior producers and magnet for drunk Persian women. Eric is working with us on the new game and also seems to know pretty much everyone in the biz. This is from dinner with the Sony folks out in Utah just a few days ago.

Me and Eat Sleep Play Co Founder/Co Pres Scott Campbell (also of Incognito and SingleTrac fame). I was going thru some fun gifts that Tina Kowalewski (industry super schmoozer and head of Sony Santa Monica External Dev) had gotten me for my bday. I had to have Eat Sleep Play fed ex them to my house as I would not be able to get on the plane with a magic 8 ball (cause it's not only filled with more than 3 oz. of fluid but looks like a fucking cartoon bomb from Rocky & Bullwinkle)...

Me and Tina K in the hotel lobby. Tina K- by the way- took ALL these pics except this one. I should hire her to be a paparazzi for me :)

Ok, so there's me and my buddies out and about in this amazing industry that is the video game biz. Ok, movie is gonna start soon- gotta run. Chat later ya'll!


Monday, April 13, 2009


Hey ya'll- no I do not have an announce date but I talk a bit about it around 7 min on the vid. Before that is me just ranting about Cosmo magazine. read that right :)...

Ugh, just look at this bullshit. Such a rusty jar of nasty ass juice. Lordy....

Oh and check out that headline in the upper left: Sex HE Craves....

Excuse me? Now look, I'm all for women (and men) learning some tricks to be better lovers. Sounds great! But in THIS magazine, it's just one more bullshit example of giving women info on how to please their man versus how to please themselves. For me, I'll tell my daughters- when they are old enough, naturally- that their biggest and first responsibility in bed to to make themselves feel good. If they've hooked up with a partner that CONTRIBUTES to that- and if THEY can contribute to his (or her if they go down that road) pleasure while ALSO enjoying themselves?...well, then they have found a winner. But the goal is not to get a fucking gold star and a pat on the head from some dude in the bedroom. Amazing...just amazing. And even MORE amazing is the amount of women out there that have been conditioned to believe this horse shit.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Check me out on a new Bonus Round this Sunday!

Hey ya'll- check it...just in time for Easter! Sweet!

Be on the Bonus Round this weekend along with super cool analyst Michael Pachter, rebel game journalist (and creator) Jeff Gerstmann and hosted by the esteemed Mr. Keighley. It was a fun shoot to do, even tho I was totally hung over from the night before and look really, really old and haggard (if this trailer is any indication). Folks who seem to agree with my take on stuff like used games and the rental market will find more reason to agree with me. Folks who usually hate me for saying such things and think I don't understand that there are used car markets and used book markets (and don't seem to understand that I think those are not apples to apples comparisons) will find more ammo to try to use against me. Either way, I love you all my fellow geeks, so dig in! :) It was a fun shoot- hope it's fun to watch as well!

I imagine they are breaking it up into weekly segments as always.. if so, this is part one. Let me know what you think and if I don't post before Monday again, you guys have a great Easter for those who love the baby Jesus. And for with ancestors who marked their doors long, long ago to escape that pesky bad ass angel, hope ya'll are having some good Seders. Now open the fucking door- Ellijah's getting his ass frozen standing out there all night!

And for us Agnostics in the crowd: sweet! New movies this weekend...I SO wanna see Anvil!

Actually, I am going up to LA to eat at my fave Indian place with some of my buddies from LA that I have not seen in a while. So that should be fun! Ooh, and then Easter Egg hunts with the kids on Sunday.

Ok, take it easy ya'll!


Thursday, April 09, 2009


Oh and here she is, for those who have no clue who I am talking about:

Now the odd part is, I didn't know she was in Panic Room when she was like, I dunno, 10-11....but dude, I thought she was a boy for the WHOLE fucking movie until the end when someone says, 'she' in referencing her and I'm like, "WAIT! That's a girl?!?!" that's kind...odd....but there she is...

Oh and here are some of the trailers I was talking about in the vllog:

Looks funny and moving- eager to see!


Looks like Raw Rocky- pretty cool!

Monday, April 06, 2009

I'm Ok To Go...I'm Ok To Go...

If you don't know what this is, click here to get the 411!

Ok, as an agnostic, I gotta say: OH MAN!!! Just coincidence? Just the mind's need and tendency to find patterns in the most random of things (i.e. everything)? Possibly.


perhaps we snapped a pic of God itself- or one of his minions- engaged in the creative process!

Either way...HOW FUCKING COOL!!!!


Friday, April 03, 2009

If you are looking for something cool/sweet to read...

...and sweet as in emotionally sweet...not sweet like, "fucking SWEET dude!" then click here.

It's a fantastic article over at Comic Book Resources from the guy who runs the Earth 2 comic store in Sherman Oaks, Ca.

You don't need to be into comics to dig what he's saying and what he's saying covers so much of what I've been going on about these last few weeks: childhood nostalgia, digital vs. retail, being a geek, and doing what you love in life versus what society tells you is the 'right thing'. I really enjoyed reading it this morning and I hope you do to.

I'm up early, trying to get the team a bunch of notes before a bunch of the team heads off next week for spring break. Whole house except me is asleep and it's very calm and peaceful right now...but I hear my oldest in the next room stirring and I know she'll come running in here any moment. So I better get done what I can before that happens.

Chat later ya'll! Great weekend if I don't chat with you before!

Oh and: FAST & FURIOUS this weekend! SWEET!!!


Thursday, April 02, 2009

NOSTALGIA for the 80's!

OOOPS, forgot is part II :)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Ok so here are some links on what Heather said:

Regarding this portion of Heather's rant:

And here it is a bit more in depth.

Ok, so look:

I like Heather- always have. Love her writing and curiosity and passion for my industry. And I have hung out with her socially and always enjoyed her company. She's a cool woman, for sure.

But even with all of that, I am still compelled to respond to her rant.

Here is what she said at GDC about the majority of game developers who make power fantasy style games (and- it seems- most commercial games in general):

“You aren’t men. You are stunted adolescents."

She also said:"It's not that the medium is in its adolescence, it's that you're a bunch of fucking adolescents"

And this gem (taken from an article on her rant by a reporter who was there): "It's not that the medium is in its adolescence, it's that you're a bunch of ****ing adolescents," she said. "It's even worse because you're technically supposed to be adults." Chaplin traced the paucity of more mature content in games to four basic ideas that frighten men the most: responsibility, introspection, intimacy, and intellectual discovery. She described game developers in terms of neoteny, an idea from developmental biology that describes adults of a species who have juvenile traits. This can be seen in mature Chihuahuas, which resemble infant and fetal wolves. Chaplin closed by challenging the audience, "What do you want to be, a Chihuahua or a wolf?"

Ok so...yeah.

And here is my response: Hey, Heather. I really, really disagree.

The two children whom I spawned and whom I support and love and nurture every day would beg to differ. Even when dog tired, even as a divorced dad who is trying to figure out his new life, I still am an amazing father who shows up for those kids every day. And I do so with joy and love and a strong sense of gratitude that they are in my life. To me, this is the measure of a man, not an adolescent.

The employees who work for the company I co-own and co-founded, the employees-who after years of working at it have become some of the best programmers and artists in the business and who previously created simulations for the government in order to train the troops that protect our country-are clearly adults, not adolescents.

Adolescents do not start companies that support other folks' livelihoods. And yet our industry is FULL of start ups that support numerous individuals and families. That sounds pretty adult to me.

The folks who get joy and comfort and escape and laughter from the games my industry has created would beg to differ, as well. To me, to bring people joy instead of pain (especially in times where things are pretty grim) is a measure of an adult and the measure of a man.

The men and women in my industry (i.e. the ADULTS) have contributed to the world and their families and friends and their fans in significant ways. I take issue with you saying we are stunted people.

I think it's crucial not to mistake the ability to stay in touch with our sense of play and wonder and joy with immaturity. I happen to love games like GEARS OF WAR and GOD OF WAR and FALLOUT 3 and TWISTED METAL and MORTAL KOMBAT. I love playing them and I love making them. That love of those sorts of products does not negate my manhood. It does not mean I suffer from neoteny (which, according to this guy ain't that bad of a thing, at least mentally). I agree that games have the potential to be more powerful and meaningful and that some games should strive for this (and more and more, some games are achieving this great goal...just ask Jonathan Blow or the man who created PASSAGE). I also agree that even pure commercial games often suffer from a lack of imagination and that you can only play a space marine game so many times before- theme wise- you start to yearn for something else. I ALSO agree- and we've talked about this before- that as I get older, some of the more pure commercial titles are no longer as compelling. But the mistake I think you make is to equate the theme of the game with the gameplay itself (the very thing that makes our medium special). GEARS OF WAR 2's theme is generic, 14 year old boy/Heavy Metal magazine power fantasy turned up to 11. And NOTHING IS WRONG WITH THAT. If I am in the right mood, I LOVE that stuff. Other times, not so much. But to assume that the game is the theme shows that perhaps you are getting stuck in the same quicksand as most folks who attack games simply based on the surface presentation (i.e. congressmen who want to pass bills banning games). As a GAME experience, Gears is fresh and alive and semi-new. The game marks the first time the cover mechanic was executed well enough to impact the stale shooter genre in a significant way. This is worth celebrating but you fail to see the guts of the experience and instead. criticize the surface. And even more bizarrely, you choose to criticize the manhood of the folks who create such titles.

But for the sake of argument, let's assume that you have issues with both surface and the guts of most of today's games. Fair enough. But I am amazed that you would question my adulthood simply because I choose to make and play games that you do not feel are meaningful enough. Instead of me being an adolescent, perhaps your lack of interest in the games we make simply means you don't 'get' the stuff I 'get'. It doesn't make me- and my many colleagues- adolescent. It just makes us different from you.

By the way, where are these mythical men of which you speak; these mythical adults that we should aspire to be? Where can us stunted game developers discover this wonderful idea of what it means to be a man? Is it written down somehwere so we can study it? I wonder if these folks you define as men are working in industries that have seen- even in this economy- the kind of sustained growth that we have created for our business.

Hell, if you look at what non-geek society defines as a man (well dressed, in 'serious' jobs, not wasting time dealing with orcs and space marines) these sorts of 'men' are significantly responsible for the corruption that has damaged our economy this last year. Are those the men you are talking about? The suit wearing politicians and brokers and bankers of the world? Talk about power fantasies! And granted, you probably won't catch these 'men' at the San Diego Comic Con come July, or lining up to grab HALO 3 at a midnight launch. But these days that's probably because they are too busy defending their actions in court (or already stuck in jail). Are those the 'men' you are talking about?

Or what about the men in other entertainment fields? Men like Spielberg who- when he signs up to make games for EA- what's the first thing that comes out? Boom Blox. Great GAME that doesn't have much to say about the state of the world. It's just FUN. And this from the man who brought us Schiendler's List. I doubt anyone would doubt Spielberg's capacity to create meaningful art OR his capacity as a man. Perhaps the reason games have not had their Citizen Kane moment yet is because games are not movies. And we don't want them to be.

Clearly, our foolish, childish products are appealing to someone. Should we just abandon that audience? An audience that we happen to consider ourselves a part of, by the way? Should we just shove down the things that interest us and excite us and motivate us, should we just put away childish ideas that wake us up at 3am because we are too excited to sleep? Do we slaughter our spirits simply to gain the approval of journalists? I just could not do that. Ever. I would not want to. My connection with what I call my spirit- but what others may call my immaturity- is a vital aspect of my life that I cherish and protect with great fervor.

I think a mistake folks make- in any medium- is assuming we all want to be artistically relevant and important in the eyes of the intelligencia (sp?) of the world. I have to tell you: I think THAT desire is adolescent and spews from a place of need and want and lack of faith in ones own creative powers. And- most important- it gets in the way of creating truly great work (be it film, games, or books).

I don't WANT to be an artist. I don't WANT to make REVOLUTIONARY ROAD: THE GAME! I don't want to be the Bob Dylan of games or make the Citizen Kane of games. I want to entertain people and I do not apologize for that. I don't NEED or WANT to go lecture at MIT or USC or any of these other game colleges that have been cranking out some amazing game makers who truly are key in the 'games as art' charge. As much as I love the work of THAT GAME COMPANY (and very much enjoyed your NPR interview last week with them) and as much as I admire work of Jonathan Blow and all the other folks who make the quirky, arty, and yes- perhaps- more meaningful games, I do not want to BE them. And I think I speak for the majority of game makers everywhere when I say that.

Sure, I think our industry CAN do better at making games more impacting by mixing meaning and entertainment. But that doesn't negate the value of pure entertainment and it surely doesn't negate my manhood or the adulthood of the many men and women who spend years of passion and sweat and tears and love creating these products.

By the way, regarding Citizen Kane-

saying we have not had the game version of Citizen Kane simply shows a possible lack of genuine understanding of our field (or perhaps you just don't understand what made Citizen Kane so special for its time). See, we may very well have HAD our Citizen Kane. It was probably GTA3 or MARIO 64 because what I recall from USC film classes was what made CK so special was Wells being the first director to move the camera in innovative ways that told the story in a fresh way. What made CK so special was it marked the first time directors started making movies like MOVIES versus filming stage plays.

So if you are talking about games that have pushed the very definition of what a game is (which is what CK did for movies, eventually) then I think it's an easy argument to be made that we have already crossed that threshold. Hell, we may have crossed it a few times (2D to 3D; linear worlds to open worlds; the invention of MMOs)...and yes, we will cross it AGAIN when someone makes a game- using MECHANICS- that connects with MANY people in a way that moves them and makes them think about some of the bigger issues in life. I look forward to that day and clearly, the seeds for this watershed moment have already been planted in games like PASSAGE, FLOWER, BRAID, and several others.

When I originally wrote this post, it was a lot more mean spirited and I am sorry about that. What you said brought up the typical "band geek vs. jock" bullshit that has existed since there have been kids and cliques. And while I don't recall myself ever being a full on geek as a kid (altho looking back now, I wish I had been more of a geek than I allowed myself to be), I did travel in the geek circles and have a strong affinity for that group of folks.

And now that I have my own children, I try not to pressure them in one direction or the other, but I do watch and hope that they never burry the things that excite them and fire their passions because the world at large- or perhaps only a very vocal minority of the world- tells them that what they love is not cool, not acceptable, and not ok. And it's a slippery slope. How connected is the bullying that causes a child to put away a favorite toy or comic book to the bullying that tells them who they can love or who they can vote for or what occupation they can pursue? To me, they are dangerously similar.

Anyway- hope you are well. And thanks for stirring up the gaming portion of the interwebs. I suppose that's what a rant is for, eh?

Still your friend-


ps. thanks to Matthew Rosenfeld, iphone and game programmer in general- and lead programmer of the very cool, very fun iphone game KARMASTAR- for the link to the TED talk!