Sunday, February 28, 2010

Check Out Me and Mr. David Crane!!!

So here I am with one of my game making heroes, David Crane, as we presented at the Interactive Achievement Awards last week. You can watch the really funny, really entertaining entire awards show over at IFC.COM. Just click here!  This clip also show the very deserving GAME OF THE YEAR winner as well as Jay Mohr doing a dead on Christopher Walken! Check it out!

Clearly I went off script a bit as the teleprompter was a bit screwed and I was going on little sleep. But hey, at least they got me in a suit!

And here is the panel David and I did with G4's Adam Sessler on casual games. It was tons of fun and really interesting to hear about David's game making process and philosophies. Tried to embed it but blogger ain't having any of it :(

Ok, later ya'll! Up early (5am!??!) to get some more docs written for the game.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Uhm...Ok, Am I Missing Something Here?

So this headline has been making the net game news today:


It comes from a phone interview I did with OPM UK. 

I have not read the article yet but just based on this piece- which is what most people are linking to- does anyone see any place where I actually say I don't care about reviews?

Hey, I have not read the actual piece so it COULD be in there (not the net story but the OPM-UK print story) but I don't recall saying it and I sure don't see it in the net recap. Check out the news story on the net, see if you can find where I say I don't care about reviews. 

Here is the actual quote in the piece from me:

 "Don't get me wrong - a good review makes my night, but I no longer find myself connecting with what a lot of reviewers go for and so it doesn't matter as much to me any more."

To me, this sonds like I DO care about getting good reviews BUT I'm not as vested in proper media reviews as I used to be because I don't feel I connect as much as I used to to what mainstream game critics like/want/desire. That was all I was saying and I THINK I got that idea across.  Perhaps Tim Ingham who wrote the piece can let us know in an update of his story if I actually said what the headline of his piece makes it sound like I said. 

That would be good.

Like I said, perhaps I did. But I don't recall. I can't imagine someone would just make something up and attribute it to me...people don't do that sort of thing, do they?


Friday, February 26, 2010


And here is the LINK to KOTAKU I was talking about.
Great weekend everyone!



Thursday, February 25, 2010



Oh, I forgot, for those who are interested in such things, a few recent interviews:

- HERE is the Kotaku live radio show we did yesterday. Sadly Scott Campbell, EAT SLEEP PLAY co-founder/co-pres,was not able to join us cause of crunch mode. But hopefully I repped the team well.

-And here is a GAMEPRO.COM interview I did at DICE last week. It's really choppy but that may just be my browser (Safari). And dunno what is up with the Hawaiian vibe but it does make me want to go on vacation. Anyway, so here ya go:

A few others DICE interviews are about to go live and I will link to when they hit...


Picked this up last nite and really liking it.

 Just woke up early to start work and the thing is drawing me back; calling out to me; wanting me to play it again. Love when that happens! Hope to squeeze in a few races during lunch...if not, I'll be online tonite with it.

To the EXP/RANK UP/META GAME discussion we were having a few weeks back, I do wish I earned something more than cash for winning races. Seems a game like this needs leader boards and a way to compare yourself with friends. I guess you could use total cash earned but:

a- still doesn't give you something to shoot for really...I mean I guess you could earn enough cash to unlock everything but feels a bit shallow.
b- ARE there leaderboards to compare total cash earned over time?

Anyway, that aside, this is a really fun game and I can see the split screen mode being great too.

Hope this is a nice sized hit for SEGA. Hard to say as these sorts of games (kart racers unless it is Mario, cartoony games on HD consoles, whimsical vs. gritty) don't tend to sell in bulk these days but hopefully people will come out for this one.

Oh, and I just woke up from a dream where I was a war photographer with a REALLY NICE modern camera shooting pics in WWII of the Holocaust. Got a flesh wound from a sniper's bullet but I was fine. Saw lots of crying kids without their parents (who had died in the camps) and it broke my heart.

Glad I woke up but now I have this sort of sad, melancholy vibe hanging around. Which- given the horrific subject matter- is a gift. I SHOULD be feeling worse. Maybe I'll let myself stew in the sadness out of respect for the subject matter and then put on some Ke$ha or other top 40 bubble gum pop and totally shift my thinking. Or maybe I'l watch this again:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Ok, I swear I hate blogs where people just link to other videos and stuff. That ain't fresh content! BUT today is just that kinda day. First the new Karate Kid trailer hits (which I love) and now this, from Super Mario Galaxy 2. Holy HELL this looks like a ton of fun!

Man, why Nintendo doesn't go ahead and open a mega theme park to rival Disney at this point is beyond me (unless there is just no cash in it). But dude, it would be SO GREAT! Listening to this music- which is VERY Disneyland-y- and seeing these great, classic, family friendly and much beloved characters really just sells the idea. What's a good name?

World of Nintendo?
Mushroom Kingdom?

Anyway, I'd be there day one. Unless it was in Japan. Or in general anyplace I'd have to fly to get there. Then I'd get around to it eventually. But I'd still dig it...from afar :)



Oh me? Yeah, don't give a fuck what you say- this movie looks great!

And yes, I loved the first one (and dig the little soundtrack reference to it at the end of this trailer) but I just love this basic story. And Chan rocks and the kids seems pretty good too. Can't wait to take my oldest to this!


Listen To Me and Scott Campbell Live Today on Kotaku Radio!

Hey- sorry for the short notice. Everyone is in milestone crunch.

I will be on the live phone in Kotaku show today along with Eat Sleep Play co-founder, Downhill Domination director, and co-Twisted Metal creator Scott Campbell! That is, if we can pull Scott away from his shit ton of work out in Utah.  It's easier for me to hop on a phone interview cause I don't got 20 people pulling me in 100 directions all day long. Scott does. BUT I hope he can make it!

I will be there for sure so click here for details and swing by and ask some questions and chat with us this morning! It's at 10am Cali/Pacific time. You can do the math for the rest :)

Hope to hear from ya'll!


Monday, February 22, 2010

How Cool Is This?!?

Amazing someone would do this with one of our characters! How neat is that?!?! I don't know much about tats but it looks pretty good to me!

Another cool Sweet Tooth- this time it's CLASSIC Tooth! 

Nice Kratos! Cool details!

Sadly, a lack of Calling All Cars tats, eh? Ah well- we'll get them with the next game! 

Later ya'll! 


Saturday, February 20, 2010


Didn't get a chance to take lots of pics at the really fun, really informative DICE conference, but here's what I got! 

Day before the show I was getting a gambling craving (imagine that) but didn't want to get all serious on the craps table just yet (eventually I won $700 off $40 at craps...but lost it all). Anyway, so for a simple fix for my gambling needs, I played some WHEEL OF FORTUNE slots (the all time best slot machine around). Talk about effective risk/reward gameplay- you are ALWAYS betting the full 3 coins on this baby JUST for the chance to hit that SPIN button! Hard to tell in this shot, but the button is lit...which means I gets to spin!!!

And there she goes! Round and round and round and round...

...and I...lost again. :) Still, coulda been worse...coulda been 25 coins instead of 50. And hell, 50 coins on a quarter machine is still almost 13 bucks! 

Here's me and Insomniac founder/president (and super nice guy) Ted Price. This is at the Insomniac sponsored martini bar where Ted got me my very first ever Martini. I like to get my drink on from time to time but had never had a martini. So Ted hooked me up with a super hard core martini called the SECRET AGENT CLANK. And HOLY HELL that thing was strong. As I told the 1up guys, it was like sticking a gasoline pump nozzle in my mouth and squeezing the handle. I could only take 4-5 sips and I was done. However, it did get me a bit drunk and I did then proceed to do an on camera interview with GAMESPOT where I went on about how now that I was single I was gonna go out and get some hookers. So I'm sure when that hits the interwebs it'll do wonders for my already squeaky clean image :)

Me and Tina Koweskalofskittenakdkaieiysfljpsutpofsky (I kid her about her last name and hell if I can spell it to this day :)....) But she's the head of Santa Monica external development, a great gal, a super good friend, and one of the most connected industry players around. 

Here's my blurry pic of game design legend, Activision co-founder, and Dice Legend Award recipient David Crane.  David and I did a couple of events together at DICE this year. We were on a panel, presented an award together, and sat together at the awards. What a great guy. He's a total hero of mine as I grew up loving his games (PITFALL!, LASER BLAST, FREEWAY, OUTLAW, and more!) To be able to get to know him- along with Garry Kitchen (David's longtime biz partner and co founder of their new iphone game company APPSTAR) was a true treat and honor. Garry was also the coder of the classic 2600 game KEYSTONE KAPERS, by the way. So I got to sit with David and Garry at the awards show and I actually felt more at home and more in sync with these guys who made the games I grew up loving than I do sitting with a lot of the modern game designers. So that was really cool and a total treat! I think the panel we did will be on tv soon (G4) or up on the net so I'll link to it when I find it.

Here's David again. This time we are rehearsing for the DICE AWARDS. See that script in front of me? I really should have paid more attention to it as I totally fucked up my lines the nite of the show. Even tho I joked about being high, I really was not. I was just unprepared. I feel bad cause the writer of the show made a good deal of changes to accommodate my requests/changes to my original lines. And then I get up there the nite of the show and fucked it all up anyway. Sorry man, if you're reading this. I was just tired from being out late the nite before so I was just running on adrenaline and was pretty hyper.

View of the awards room during rehearsal. Notice the teleprompter down below. With that, why was I flubbing my lines? Cause- as I said- I was hopped up on adrenaline. BUT also: the damn thing was configured wrong and a good 10% of the words were bleeding off the edges of the prompter screen so you could not actually tell what you were supposed to say some of the time. Still, it was a blast! Show was great and Mohr was funny and vulgar as shit, as always (my kinda comedy!)

A shot of the stage before the show started and Uncharted 2 began it's total (well, almost total) domination of the nite! MW2, BATMAN, FLOWER, and SCRIBBLENAUTS also got a ton of well deserved love! :)

Ah, there we go- better shot of the stage, if not a bit blurry. It ain't the Oscars but she's a good little show, and she's ours, and I gotta say, every year she grows on me more and more. Joe and the academy board are doing a great job with this whole conference.

Me and David all decked out the nite of the show, ready to go up and hand out BEST GAME DIRECTION and BEST GAME DESIGN awards. Bet ya never thought you'd see me in a suit, eh? 

Me and super cool Shannon Studstill before the show. Shannon was the GOD OF WAR I genius producer, GOD OF WAR II exec producer, and now head of her own game company (BROODWORKS). Shannon rocks much and is one of the best producers in the biz! She's was also good drinkin', craps playin', and cigar smokin' partner post show! I told ya'll she was cool! 

Thought STAR WARS was a kids movie, George! What the fuck! If you are going to claim your whole series was- and more importantly- REMAINS intended for children, George, then you are mighty irresponsible allowing your brand to grace fucking slot machines. ESPECIALLY slot machines in fucking AIRPORTS where kids will see them and flock to them. I GET that adults love STAR WARS as well, but CLONE WARS and the new trilogy are HUGE among kids and they love STAR WARS overall. I'm not a prude AT ALL about things (and I think gambling is totally a blast!)..but this is pretty bad form, I gotta say.

Having said that(tm), as an adult, it's pretty cool to have STAR WARS slots! :)

Check it out! I got KEVIN SMITH back on a SOUTHWEST flight! Snootch to the Mother Fuckin' Bootch bitches :) 

Ok that's it! Wish I had taken more pics but was pretty busy. Did a shit ton of interviews (Bonus Round, 1up, Gamepro, IGN, a few others) which- looking back - was pretty stupid. I'm not promoting a game right now so it just makes me look like more of a media whore...which I really ain't. I just like talking games and geek culture and I just always feel like I should say 'yes' when they ask me for interviews. It's not like I seek them out. They ask me...if I say 'no' isn't that kind of rude? I dunno, maybe I'll take it down a notch till we're ready to announce and just blog till then. Or not. Who knows! Later ya'll!!!!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Let me explain...

...just got home from DICE. Exhausted but it was a fantastic show. Thanks to the Acedemy and Joe Ollin for- as usual- showing us all a fantastic time!

I will post pics and some details this weekend but for now, just know this:

The dude in the audience shouting for TWISTED METAL? That was my buddy and- I assume- very drunk analyst Michael Pachter.

He was taking the piss out of me from the safety of the audience and I was hitting him right back. It was all in good fun and anyone who thinks I was being mean, I am sorry. We were just verbally sparring and that's all it was.

Ok- going to watch Bill Maher (it's back on tonite, sweet!) and then crashing.

Great weekend ya'll!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010


These are out in July! Sure hope we get some in time to give out at Comic Con!

Real happy with the sculpt. As a layperson, I mean. Not really into toys enough to know what is good or bad 'officially'. But I really dig this figure and can't wait to get one for my desk!

Ideally this will be the start of a TWISTED METAL line just like they did for RESISTANCE and RATCHET. Would love to see DOLLFACE, PREACHER, MR. GRIM, and CALYPSO!

Ah hell, I'd like to get some damn cars made while we're at it. Hot Wheels style! :)


Saw this amazing quote from the great critic Roger Ebert in this fantastic write up of his life (yes, I still love his work no matter what he says about video games).

The quote really expresses why I will be totally happy and proud if the video game work I do in my life does 'nothing more' than entertains and makes people happy. This quote represents the reason why I could give 2 shits about being known as an artiste or doing 'important work' for our culture, society, species, whatever. This quote explains why, to me, fun (and fun ALONE) is one of the most noble gifts we can give each other.

Here is what Ebert says:

I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

Love that! Thanks Roger!



UPDATE: And to the peeps going, "but ain't you the one who was against used games...if you are, how can you be pro consumer!?!"...and I will say the same thing about that that I always have: I am NOT against used games or rentals. I think the consumer should get the BEST deal they can and sometimes that best deal is a used or rental game. My beef is with the business model surrounding used games and rentals and how devs and publishers are cut out of the deal. And MAYBE the devs and pubs can cut a deal with retail (like the movie biz has done)...perhaps we can't. Perhaps that will lead devs and pubs to push digital distribution and services like ONLIVE...perhaps that will succeed and be a 'fuck you' to the retail peeps who never gave 2 shits for our own business...or perhaps that will fail. Maybe games will get shorter and people will love it...or maybe they will hate it. Who knows. And so perhaps the biz will change, perhaps it will not. But the behind the scenes machinations of how games get into gamers hands and IF those games are worthy will be judged- as they should be- in the end, by the customer. And I am 1000% ok with that. I love that about our system. All I've been saying is- all along- us on the game making side should be free to try to get the best deals we can get in the same way that customers should be trying to get the best deals THEY can get. That doesn't make me evil. It makes me a guy operating in a capitalist society.



Ah ya know- forget it. I had a whole post up a moment ago (perhaps you saw it)...but I told myself I was done arguing with people on the net.

Old habits die hard I suppose but yeah, lemme just delete that. What's the point.

Let me just say this to be clear...and I've said this before and I will never waiver: if you are a consumer, get the best motherfucking deal you can. If you can get a game- legally- for free and it lasts you and entertains you for YEARS without you spending a dime, then go for it. I am a firm believer in:

a- capitalism (assuming it's regulated...which it's really not in our country, which sucks)
b- customer ALWAYS being right

And if my idea of shorter/cheaper games is as dumb as some of you think, the market will bear that out. But if it's as smart as some of you think, then soon we'll all be playing much shorter 1 player titles :)

We'll see! 

Take it easy ya'll!


ps. By the way, this is a blog. It's not official industry mandate. That is why I often use phrases like 'it seems to me' and 'I THINK it should be this way' and 'I would LIKE this"...meaning they are my opinions. I don't think they HAVE to be your opinions but this is- as you can probably tell from the header- my blog. I'm not here to have a fair debate among all parties. I'm here to express my views of the world and the industry. That's what I thought a blog was for. 

Monday, February 15, 2010


7-11 has been sold out for days! But I had to go drop off my 'nice clothes' at the cleaners (I gotta have something to wear to the DICE awards) and there's a 7-11 next door. So right before I headed home I popped in...and they just got new cups in!

So I finally got my hands on a Kratos Slurpee! Granted, I didn't go for the strange GOD OF WAR Slurpee flavor. I chose cherry and pretended I was drinking blood out of some enchanted chalice or some such.

Again, as I said in a previous post, seeing this is a total dream come true. I know I'm not working on GOW III but as a guy who had a major role in creating this character and his world, I just gotta say WOW! I've always wanted stuff I helped create to end up on a Slurpee cup and now, low and behold, here it is!!!

Not sure if these will be as memorable to people as the EMPIRE STRIKES BACK Burger King glasses were to me when I was kid, but still, just to be contributing to geek pop culture even in a small to medium way is damn exciting. How grateful I am for this journey! Which must mean the guys/gals who actually MADE God of War III are just bouncing off the wall with excitement over how jazzed people are for their new game!

Congrats ya'll!

Ok, time to drink up...and then get back to work! That spreadsheet in the back of my Slurpee is a list of some of the stats we're hoping to track for our new game. Over the last month I've really warmed up to certain types of stat tracking and level up schemes in games. I'm not a stat hound for sure and I think- for our game anyway- it's key not to get carried away with stats for the sake of stats. But I think there are key stats that in a game like ours players will want to track and ways they will want to use those stats to build their character. So it's a new part of game design for me and it's proving to be a lot of fun!



Always love it when they stream the DICE awards on the net. Not sure if this is live since it starts at 9central...could be 1-2 hours delayed...or maybe not. Not sure.

BUT whatever.

So, putting them on tv = pretty meh to me. I know 'being on tv' is supposed to mean 'we've arrived' but frankly a game awards show broadcast over the net just makes more sense to me.

I know GAMESPOT hosted the stream a few years back (last time I was at the show) but now it seems IFC.COM has the honors. So check it out! I'll be one of the presenters this year if you wanna see me being my usual cool/bad ass/stupid/embarrassing/charming/super hot/dorky self. Also, Jay Mohr is the host again and he's fucking funny as hell when he does this show.

So check it out!



Saturday, February 13, 2010


The other day I praised the articles that were shooting down a lot of the arty-farty style indie games that seem to be popping up more and more. You can check out those refreshingly frank (to me) articles here and here...

But you know, the more I think about it, the more I think I'm a bigger supporter of artistic and meaningful games than the folks on the net who are ripping me because I was supporting the Destructoid  pieces.

See I'm not this mouth breathing, knuckle dragging, 'gotta always be fun and if it ain't fun, throw in blood and guns cause games are just sposed to be fun and loud!' kind of guys. I mean, yes, I LOVE games like that. Hell, so far, I've only made games like that!


I really, really, really want games to be able to stand toe to toe with other mediums in terms of the ability to communicate fresh, unique messages and points of view.

I really, really, really want games to actually be stronger than other mediums because I have moments where I think interactive media should/can/will be the most powerful medium in the world when it comes to eliciting emotions and communicating deep and semi-deep messages. I mean, what better way to get a message across than to allow someone to step into the shoes of the person who is being affected by the message itself? Want to teach kids about the Holocaust or just make a statement about that awful time in history? Forget the movies- make an interactive experience where you play a Jew trying to survive the Auschwitz concentration camp. If it works, THAT could be more impacting and meaningful than watching Schiendler's List 100 times in a row!*

I really, really, really want to be able to make a game one day that speaks to the part of me that is into more than comics and video games and action movies. I'm not the world's deepest thinker but I do think that I'm deeper than the average bear and I do think about all sorts of non gamey things: politics, death, religion, spirituality, mortality, friendship, the meaning of marriage, conformity, world/life balance, raising kids, is there a God, etc,etc,etc. And I would love to be able to have my work- at times- be ABOUT these more adult ideas and thoughts. I would love that as a player and as a game maker.

And I don't think it matters much in the grand scheme of things but it would be nice to work with a team to leave some work behind that endures and gives other humans a sense of compassion and connectedness and joy (beyond the visceral and pure play joy they already do get from playing a fun game...which is a damn fine, and damn noble gift us 'non arty' game makers give to the world and that's something that I am very, very proud of).

But in terms of artistic, meaningful games that say something: I just don't think we are there yet and in most cases, I don't think we are even close. And I still wonder if the medium itself is even capable of such feats. And rather than jump on the bandwagon and say that games are 100% capable of doing such things, I prefer to be honest and real and embrace where we are in the 'struggle' right here and right now. I think that kind of honesty will allow us to either:

a- reach our destination of 'meaningful games' sooner.
b-realize that interactivity will never be able to do all the things I listed above
c- allow the games we do make NOW (when we are not trying to push the medium ahead) to focus on what we know games do so much better than any other medium (provide fun, competition, puzzle solving,etc)....again, why turn our noses up at something that brings so many so much happiness?

And I get that SOME of you out there say that you've played games that have done all/some (and more!) of what I've listed above. And to that I say, "BULLY FOR YOU!" But the reality is: I have not played such games. I've seen flashes of hope in a game slice here, a brief moment there. But overall, I have not played these meaningful games that affect me and move me and make me think. And MOST other people have not either. Because if they/we/I actually had, the whole issue of 'can games serve as meaningful tools of relevant communication' and 'can games be 'about' sometime more than just killing and gore' would not even BE a question. There would be no debate.  Because the answer would be obvious to most everyone.

Think about it: you don't hear people questioning if movies or books or paintings or songs can be meaningful and artistic, do you? NO, you don't because those mediums- even in their earliest stages- were proving that fact so strongly that if there were ever a question of 'if movies/books/paintings could be art/meaningful' it was silenced very quickly as the proof of such things could simply not be denied. **

Games do not find themselves in that situation.  No matter how arty and meaningful games try to be, the public's view of the situation has not really shifted. To most people, games are meant to be fun diversions- nothing more, nothing less.

And there have been enough attempts at cracking the 'games as art' nut that by now, we should have seen at least ONE THING that the majority of players would have said they were moved/affected by.

But we haven't.

Now that doesn't mean games can't pull it off. It just means that- for most- right now- games are NOT pulling it off in the minds of MOST people. And all I'm saying is that a little honesty about where we are on the journey can only help.

So to the haters I say: stop being so damn defensive and realize when I cuss and type in caps I'm just being all passionate and shit, but in reality, I would imagine we have much more in common when it comes to how we would LIKE to see the future of games that you might imagine.


*By the way, I am aware of Brenda Brathwaite's very cool game TRAIN but it's not a video game and it's about GOING to a camp, not surviving one. But still I think this shows we could be a on a good track, altho I have yet to play the game itself. There was a DS game coming out about the Holocaust as well but far as I know, no one ever agreed to publish it...which is a shame.

** Yes, I know the Nickelodeons were very simple novelty movies and at first people wondered if movies could be more these little diversions and trifles (sounds familiar). But in the question of 'can movies be more impacting/meaningful', it didn't take long to realize that movies were the next great artistic medium! But our Nickelodeon days were the arcades of the 70's and 80's and we've come a LONG way since then BUT the question of 'can games be art/meaningful' still- for most people- stands. Not much- on this front- has changed between SPACE INVADERS and MODERN WARFARE least not for most people.

***By the way, making the subject matter of your game about something meaningful or deep or relevant is not the same as making a game meaningful, deep, or relevant.  And this is one of the issues I have with most arty farty games of today: In the experience of playing a game (not watching it being played or reading about it, but YOU sitting down and PLAYING it) the window dressing of a game- settling, theme, story- falls away very fast and you are left with the challenge of, "What do I actually DO in this game?!?!"...And it is there- in answering the 'what do I actually DO in the game' question that this 'games as art' nut is gonna be cracked (if it's actually possible to crack it at all).

PEACHES= GOTY 2010!!!!

Is it any surprise I'm a fan of this?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


...really good write up from Kotaku and Gamespy, the solution is not to release fewer games. It's to make games much shorter. And charge less money for them.

I really do not think games should cost 60 bucks. And I also don't think they should be more than 4-6 hours each unless they are focused on multiplayer or are more gamey-games ala TRIALS HD or Popcap style games.

I really hope with digital distribution this is going to change. It's getting ridiculous that a game can consume months of your life.  For 60 bucks, it SHOULD consume a large chunk of your time but- again- for me, 60 bucks is way too much cash for a game.

10 bucks for 4 hours seems a good deal to me. I wish all 1 player games were that long. I would play more of them and finish most of them.


Sunday, February 07, 2010

Go Destructoid!

Great article over there on arty-farty indie games. Check it out. 

They say it 1000 times better than I ever could/have. I pretty much agree with about 99% of their article.

I just wish they would have not only laid into the pretentious bullshit that gets called 'art' or 'meaningful' or 'important' in the gaming medium but would also have laid in to the pretentious, full of shit 'journalists' that insist on lauding and hyping these types of games. Often times I think these writers go on and on about a lot of this arty farty stuff so it makes them feel like their own work is important (i.e. they are letting their readers in on something special and important versus simply writing about how many new weapons exist in modern shooter/alien invasion/football sim game #42).

Not to be a hateful bastard about it. I've always wanted deeper games and deeper game journalism. But I think the only way we will get both is to call bullshit when we see (i.e. games that parade around in arty clothing but are actually full of total shit)  so it forces us developers (and journalists) to actually,genuinely, honestly try to crack the 'games as a meaningful medium/games as art' nut.

So far most of what these wanna be arty games have been doing is draping themselves in the 'moody, heavy foggy atmospheric fx, sounds of wind and echoey laughing children in the distance' window dressing used by other mediums that HAVE made people feel and think (paintings, movies, novels). And once the games kind of look like these other mediums, the game makers shout really loud, "Look! We're art and important too cause we look/sound/feel just like all that other stuff". And lots of gamers and lots of journalist buy it hook, line, and sinker.

Are there some genuine games out there that ARE on the path to proving that games can make you feel and think? Yep! And some are small, indie games and some are big AAAAA $60.00 box products. But there are not many and there are only 1-2 /year at most. And there are sure as hell not near as many as a lot of the net and certain websites/magazines would have you believe.


Friday, February 05, 2010


Had a crazy productive, busy, exhausting week out in Utah working on the game. Lot of great meetings, decisions made, and great progress on the game in general. And next week is nuts with tons of design docs I gotta write up based on the decisions we made during all those meetings.  So I need a break over the weekend (altho I'm prob gonna work a bit tomorrow). 

SO I rented some flicks for me and the kids. I've already seen Basterds and Hurt but really wanted to watch them again. I'm a MJ fan and am eager to see how that flick turned out. The other movies I'll stick on while I make my kids pancakes tomorrow morning.

Oooh, and I gotta go get me one of them 7-11 Kratos Slurpees sometime this weekend too. And hell, was that freaking GOD OF WAR III I saw on a damn NASCAR?!?! I was at Gamestop in Utah yesterday and I saw an ad for the GOW NASCAR- holy hell Sony is behind this game in a big way! How exciting! 

Ok, gotta run- chat later ya'll! Great weekend!


WEEKEND UPDATE: Pics from a lazy weekend with the kids:

Prepping to make the weekend pancakes! 

Keepin' it lumpy. My brother-in-law told my dad that lumpy pancakes=great pancakes...and he is right! Ever since I started keeping them lumpy AND putting some baking powder in, my pcakes have gotten much, much better! :) 

Kids always watch cartoons while I make the cakes o' pan. They like me to make 'baby pancakes' to tide them over while I finish breakfast, set the table,etc...those little cakes in the bottom right are said 'baby pancakes'...Nothing like having a baby pancake and a sip of ice cold Diet Coke right out of the fridge...

Hell, just need some syrup and I could stick these on a pancake box! I wish they tasted as good as they look but alas, my pancakes- while they have gotten much much better- are still about a 7/10....

Later in the day we ordered Za from the best pizza place in San Diego: Oggi's!  They of the super bad ass thick thick thick crust! 

This was about 10-15 minutes after the delivery guy left. It's really good...

Then we broke out the kid's science kit I got at the toy store and made stuff like miniature volcanoes that actually erupt (occurring above but kinda hard to tell)...

Also made a bubbling mad scientist potion...


We got bored tho and started mixing all the stuff together to see what would happen. Here is the end result: a bubbling, stinky test tube of something that looks like human feces mixed with battery acid.

In the end we poured the remaining ingredients from the science kit in the toilet to see what would happen and to try and freak out grandma (I was gonna have my oldest run out of the bathroom crying to her 82 year old grandma that something strange had come out of her stomach :) )......altho grandma showed up too late to see it cause the kids (and me) really wanted to see what the bubbling, nasty-ass concoction looked like when it was swirling down the toilet....

So that was my weekend...hope yours was fun too! 


Tuesday, February 02, 2010


As some of you know, I will be speaking with game designer/creator legend David Crane at the upcoming DICE conference in Vegas. As such, I've been getting very nostalgic for my childhood gaming days. And then I get to Utah and...well, hang on a sec...lemme set it up:

Ok, so as a as kid, I used to love this game:  

As a kid, me, my brother, and my neighbors used to play the hell out of Maze Craze on our Atari 2600. Not really much to it, just a simple batch of mazes and you try to get out first or- if I recall- stop the other guy before he gets out. Pretty fun, pretty standard.  Check out a screen:

Ok, so that's it. That's the screen. That's the game that some 28 years ago kept me engaged for hours. How times change, yes? But the point is, there's that...and then there's this:

This is the carpet in the Utah hotel room I'm staying in right now. Just looking at the floor brings me back to a simpler, more pure time of old school gaming and I thought I'd share :) Plus it's late and I gotta get to work on a document and I'm kinda procrastinating since I worked all day. But I guess it's time to get rolling on lemme get going!

Nite ya'll!


ps. Oh! One more thing! Have you seen this?

Yes, yes. I appear on the show as you can see in the trailer. I have not see the final shows so I can't comment on outcome or anything like that. Also, since it's a reality show where the outcome is not know, I'm also contractually not allowed to talk about it. But once it airs, I'll spill all the beans! Hope it's as fun to watch as it was to shoot!


So they just announced the Oscar nominations...and I missed seeing them live! Which makes no sense cause I was wide awake! I'm out in Utah for work and Utah is an hour ahead of San Diego/LA so I was already up. But I guess I just forgot about them. Which- for me- is somewhat newish. I used to love the Academy Awards. I mean, I still really love the show and am still a crazy movie nut, but you know how life goes: you get other things on your plate and the stuff that used to be crazy important slips away.

I'm sure I've written about this before but as a total movie geek back in junior high and high school I'd be up at the crack of dawn to see the noms announced. I have one particularly warm memory of me in like 10th grade and my dad waking me up crazy early to watch the noms. So I'm sitting there freezing, waiting for the heater to kick in on a cold, February Alabama morning and my dad is making me biscuits while I watched the nominations being read. Man, my parents were always so supportive of my dreams. I'm so grateful for that. And they still are :) Thanks mom and dad!

So after the noms, I'd spend the day arguing back and forth about who would/could/should win with my fellow movie geeks. Ah, the life of a nerd. But I loved it! Good, good times.

Anyway, as many of you know, they've expanded the list of best pic noms this year to 10 flix instead of 5. And I've seen the vast majority of them. So here's my take...cause I KNOW you wanna know :)

  • Avatar” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producer
  • JAFFE SAYS: Probably will win. Should not win. Good movie that raised the bar on film making process and effects but as a pure movie, it's just 'good', not great. I think it will benefit from the whole '#1 movie of all time!" hype cause that heavily reported story makes it seem like Avatar has become part of the cultural zeitgeist. But clearly the whole #1 movie thing is more about inflated ticket prices and 3D tix being more expensive than it is about Avatar having seeped into the culture. Avatar has not become part of our daily lives. It's not like people are walking around going, "I see you!", you know?

  • The Blind Side” Nominees to be determined
  • JAFFE SAYS: LOVED IT! Totally entertaining. But won't win. And it should not win. What it says has been said many times before and has been said much, much better.         

  • District 9” Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers
  • JAFFE SAYS: Walked out of this. I know, I know. I'm an idiot and need to see it again but I just wasn't in the mood for it. What I saw was cool if not a touch slow. However, it won't win cause it's just not seen as that important of a movie. However, I would argue that it has done a lot for the film making process just like Avatar. To tell a sci fi story of this visual ambition for as little as it costs says a lot about how movies will get made in the least that's what I think.

  • An Education” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
  • JAFFE SAYS: Didn't see it. Guess I will now as I hear great things. Don't really even know what it's about.

  • The Hurt Locker” Nominees to be determined
  • JAFFE SAYS: Liked it, didn't go gaga for it like so many. It may win as it's 'about' something grown up and tangible and isn't an easy movie in terms of what it says about humanity and war and even family. I need to see this one again...think I'll rent it. I could see this one growing on me.

  • Inglourious Basterds” Lawrence Bender, Producer
  • JAFFE SAYS: My fave movie of the year. Won't win but I wish it would. I loved this movie. It was a good, old fashioned, entertaining love letter to the movies. Great, drawn out scenes filled with tension and excitement, very cool characters. To me, this is Tarintino's Raiders of the Lost Ark. I know that probably sounds stupid but in the same way Spielberg made one of the best 'movie movies' of all time with Raiders, Tarintino has done the same with this. Au revior, Shoshanna!

  • Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers
  • JAFFE: Some amazing performances and a strong, strong spirit. Still, felt like an afterschool special. Hope the ladies in the flic get some Oscars tho. Especially Monique (sp?), she was amazing!

  • A Serious Man” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers
  • JAFFE SAYS: I LOVED this movie! I know it's one of the Coen's least successful but I just thought it was fantastic. As a kid raised Jewish it really struck a chord. Just great and thought provoking and really cool flick all around. I don't think more than 10 people saw it tho. I don't see this one winning. 

  • Up” Jonas Rivera, Producer
  • JAFFE SAYS: I like this and like most people with a heart LOVED the opening 'they meet' montage. But a best pic? Nah. And not cause it's a cartoon. But because it- like all Pixar movies except the Toy Story flix- goes on for about 20-30 minutes too long and is caked with this sort of melancholy that- to be frank- I'm getting kind of tired of. 

  • Up in the Air” Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers
  • JAFFE SAYS: I really liked this movie. And while I can see Bridges getting the actor win for more of a 'we really like you, Jeff!' kind of thing (and he may deserve it on merit, have not seen Crazy Heart) , I thought George C. rocked this flick. And the dude who talks about not being able to take his kids to Chuck E. Cheese? Give that guy an Oscar- he broke my heart man. But I liked this movie a lot. And if anything is gonna take best pic from Avatar, it's this. But out of this list, it's not- to me- the best pic by a long shot.
Ok ya'll...there's my prattle for the day. Off to work! Later!


ps. I just voted for my choices in the DICE awards and it occurs to me I should write up a list like this but for games. I think I biggest issue tho is I've only played about 40% of the games last year and out of those, I only FINISHED about 2%. Which is a crime but games are fucking long dude. If I actually played ALL the games ALL the way thru, I'd never be able to work on our own game!