Showing posts from August, 2008

Hollywood and Games: Max Payne, Where's My Game Edition

A little while back I wrote about the failure to release a Batman game with the film. I argued there was sufficient time to make the game, and it was really surprising someone would not be riding the film's wave. Since then, rumors emerged of a game in development but missing the date, and SCi announced their Arkham Asylum game based on the comic books. This was a missed opportunity to exploit public knowledge of a license. Some game publisher, somewhere, lost out on free marketing. But what about Max Payne? The game supporting the movie based on a game? Sure, it's tough to come up with a good game from a film. The studio and actors have approvals. The scenes get added and cut, and players are split between playing the movie and playing an entirely new story line. But Max Payne started life as a game. What gives?

I don't have any unique insight into this deal and any information I have is available to you as well through Google. I am just a simple guy looki…

Rampant Paranoia: Singularity Edition

I was dancing around the edge of a web black hole last night. You know, a collection of sites, which sucks you in deeper and deeper until you look up at the clock and see 43 hours have gone by. It started when I saw a Wired article for Neal Stephenson's new book, Anathem. I, like most people who play games, have been a fan since Snow Crash. After Snow Crash I went back and read Zodiac - even he says he is not so fond of it, but I liked it - and followed through Diamond Age, Cryptonomicon and almost made it through the Baroque Cycle. The meaning of each individual word grows with each book he writes. There are a lot of words on the page, and none are superfluous. It's written like an impressionist painting, with meaningful, heavy strokes. The books are works of fiction, but based on a foundation of fact. The links from the article led to his source "companions." It is not really material, as much as a collection of some of the most articulate and vocal thi…

Don't Take My Word for It: Legendary on Kotaku Edition

Here are some behind the scenes commentaries about Legendary. The game looks great, but don't take my word for it, the Kotaku hands on from GC in Leipzig is at the end of this post.

Here is the Kotaku first "hands-on"
My first real “wow” moment at the Games Convention in Leipzig came when a griffin threw a taxi at me. Mind you it could have been a roc – I'm not exactly up to date on my mythical birds, but whatever it was it was impressive. It was exactly the sort of epic moment you'd expect from a game called Legendary, and after playing through a good 15 minutes of the beginning of the PC version I can see why they decided to remove “The Box” from the title. The box is nice and all, but what comes out of it is much more impressive.

The game starts out with the protagonist Charles Deckard at a museum, about to insert a mystical key into a mystical box...well, the magical box. The one you don't want to open? Yeah, he opens it, and in return it brands his hand w…

Check it Out Famima: Another Gift from Japan

I must put a disclaimer on this post. First, I apologize for teasing the people in the 86 countries hitting the blog who don't have a Famima in their country. Second, I don't think I lost my mind - I probably wouldn't know if I did - but I am a bit lonely with too much time on my hands on a Saturday with my wife and son of towns. Times like this make things we would otherwise take for granted seem significant. Today I stopped by Famima.

In most of the world, "convenience store" refers to a place where you should not buy food. Sure the stuff is there, and if you are in some sort of altered state, even the things spinning on the stainless steel rollers at 2 in the morning can meet a certain need. But in Japan, the convenience store is a genuine option for eating. In fact, for many, it is a primary option. Japanese convenience stores realize food is a function, not a production. You can make food a production, in the company of friends or family, but it sho…

Check it Out: New Rise of the Argonauts Edition

The new trailer:

The back story:

The Xplay piece:

What G4 had to say about the first hands on:

Today, we were treated to a hands-on of Codemasters' new Rise of the Argonauts here in Germany, and we got to play amongst the Gods for a few minutes or so. Now, right off the bat, you're going to want to compare this game to God of War, and it's a fair comparison to make. Pawn of the Gods doing trials to try and please them? Check. Messing with the Titans? Check. God-like powers bestowed on your person and weapons by those very same Gods? You betcha.

The game is very pretty, even in an unfinished state, and there are a lot of really cool combat maneuvers to be had here, but make no mistake, this is an RPG, which will allow you to change the flow of the story based on the choices you make and the answers you give to questions that appear along the way. You're not funneled into making these decisions, but rather live and die by them, kind of like real life...if you happen to be Jas…

Not Enough Buttons: Fixing Facebook Edition

When someone sends me a Facebook friend request, why are my only choices "confirm" or "ignore"? These are useful if you like, or don't know the person, but what about the folks on the other side of a burnt bridge? What about the person who screwed you when they were in the position of power and is now very nice because you are in the power seat? What about people you just don't like? There is no satisfaction in an ignore.

Where is the app that sends messages like these to the person making the request:
"No thank you."
"Are you out of your ever loving mind?"
"You must be kidding me."
"But I never liked you."
"What makes you think I want to be your friend?"
"I am so sorry you were under the impression I am your friend."Conversely, what about when you get the request, or acceptance, from someone you never thought would talk to you. Someone you admire personally or in business? Someone who you didn'…

Bourne and Bond: Most Sincere Form of Flattery Edition

Remember when Bond was Bond?

Of course that was before Bourne. . . . 

When Bond became Bourne . . . 
And Bourne stayed Bourne. . . 

And Bond stays Bourne . . . 
It makes me excited about the next Spiderman . . . 

Xbox 360 number 3: Planned Obsolescence Edition

I am about to establish a relationship with a new 360. It's not by choice. I was jilted by the last one. I can't say it was completely unexpected. I learned how fickle their breed can be. They are so slick and shiny when you first meet them. They invite you to dress them in faceplates. They learn your name, and respond to your every whim. They promise to keep track of your gaming life for you, managing your social life, finding friends, and even talking on your behalf. They engage you with the the opportunity to earn their affection, granted in the form of achievement points which carry no value other than to display your commitment to them. Then, one day, without warning, the leave you. They check out. Their physical form remains as a monument to the relationship you once shared. Their spirit, their essence, their functionality, their soul leaves the hardware. I believe it skips out through the broadband connection and heads to a dormitory in Redmond, waiting …

Industry Under Attack: Learn From History Edition

There are well-intentioned people out there who want to protect my son. I am grateful for their concern. Before anything else, I am a parent, and the more help I can get, the better. Unfortunately, the people offering help by telling us what we can and cannot put in our games consoles, and they are out of their ever-loving minds. It’s not the first time they’ve done this. They did the same thing to the comic book industry, and it died. Thanks to a new book by David Hajdu, The Ten Cent Plague we can see the damage done to comics and appreciate the significance of the threat to our industry. We are at war and our best weapon is communication.

The United States Department of Defense’s definition of Psychological Warfare:
The planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions having the primary purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives. Can you plea…

Check it Out: Sockbaby 4 TenNapel Edition

Master creator Doug TenNapel just released a new creation, and gives some insights into story telling, the TenNapel way. You'll see in this short starring John and Dan Heder, Doug will never be accused of being predictable. If you ever see him as him about the "Hook" story.

In his words:

Sockbaby is a world where words have almost a pagan power unto themself. Calling your foes a woman, effeminate or gay is a claim of self-confidence. Hello and Un-hello are ways that you can see if a friend is really a friend or not because a true friend will always acknowledge the un hello state, or announce that the state has changed to a hello state. At least that's how I thought of it.

more from Doug:

This is trivial information, perhaps too much for some. You can cut open the frog to find out how it breathes but then you have to kill it in the process.

Vernacular is a big part of the Sockbaby series...the way they talk is part of the "why" of the show. Burger is a mech…

Braid: Battle for Independents Edition

I remember sitting at a DICE conference listening to Seamus Blackley talk about the launch of CEG. The new group was going to change the game industry by making great games. It seemed the market had changed to be marketing driven and Seamus was confident that if he built it, people would come. One portion in particular stood out. His strategy, he explained, was to get the fans to pull the games in. If the press saw the games were great, and the fans demanded them in the forums, EB, Gamestop (they were separate then) and Wal-Mart would certainly stock them and put them in the end caps. Having just left my position at a publisher I couldn't help believing Seamus was overly idealistic, delusional, ignorant or a combination of the three. The friction in the information flow and market inequities were too great for consumer demand to have any impact on end caps. Braid shows Live to be a much more egalitarian market.

Seamus assumed perfect information in the market. He may also…

iPhone Social Network: iPhone Killer App Edition

I remember when Bank of America introduced the first ATM. I moved my account to the bank with the Versateller because it was one less place I had to talk to people. It was slow, and it was monochrome, and it took much longer than walking in the bank, but I didn't have to talk to anyone. I know the bank teller doesn't care how my day is when he or she asks, and I certainly don't care about his or her day. I don't want to make small talk with them while they are waiting for the computer to process the data and the forced smiles were getting kind of old. No more "How's the family" from the gas guy? Great news to me. The feigned interest could be the repellent, but I really think I just don't like people. It's certainly not genetic. My grandfather had "girls" at banks, and cleaners and all those other places you visit on a regular basis who would greet him, and talk, and because he was a such a great guy, they really cared about him…