Showing posts from November, 2008

Lara's Back But Eidos Fumbled: Honesty is Such a Lonely Word Edition

Honesty is such a lonely word.
Everyone is so untrue.
Honesty is hardly ever heard.
And mostly what I need from you.
(Billy Joel)

Lara is back and I am happy. I have been playing Underworld since the release last week and think this is the best Tomb Raider since the first one. The environmental puzzles are great fun and not the too hard ones from later Tomb Raiders, the graphics are updated to exactly where they should be, and Lara's moves are updated and connecting me to Lara the way they did in the first one. She still shakes her head when I ask her to do something she doesn’t want to do, and I am duly impressed by the way she angrily brushes the side of her face when I rudely walk her into the foliage. Apparently, the critics don’t feel the same sense of nostalgia. Sure, bringing the identical Duke Nukem to Live Arcade justifies an 85, but roughly the same amount of time it took to build the Eiffel Tower to improve the experience and restore an icon justifies only the middle…

4000 Miles: Bragging Edition

I passed the 4,000 mile mark today with my trusty Nike +. I knew I was going to do it with this run, and I was excited to plug my iPod in to confirm my achievement. When I passed the last milestone, at 3,000, it was the highest category, I was certain I leveled to the highest class. When I plugged it in, I was taken back 22 years to Mount Fuji.

I spent the summer of my junior year of college on a management study tour of Japan. Six weeks in Tokyo living in a closet sized room, with a very convenient one piece bathroom sized just right to be packed with a twin in a Winnebago and touring factories. I have to admit the invention of the single piece of hardware to serve as a sink faucet and shower head was ingenious. My tour was to be evidenced by a research paper comparing and contrasting unions in Japan and America. I made sure I understood the distinctions in the culture by researching various model bars and all you can drink clubs on a nightly basis, guarantying a very Japanes…

Midway's Problems Are Not Unreal: The Press Creates Another Story Edition

This morning the interwebs lit up with headlines like this: "Unreal Engine 3 Fingered in Midway's Struggles" promoting articles tying Midway's problems to UE3. From the headlines I thought this was a Midway finger pointing article. This would almost seem plausible if Midway had a single profitable year since 1999, a year when UE3 was a but a glimmer in Epic's collective shorts. In reality, Midway was not finger pointing. No one was. Much like Detroit's auto industry, Midway's problems stem not from technology, but pure and simple bad management. In fact, the very article used as a foundation start the kindle the anti UE3 fire says exactly that. The game journalists who picked it up either decided not read the whole thing - maybe a habit they picked up from reviewing games- or they decided flowery prose is more fun than the truth.

The original story appeared in Daily Variety from Ben Fritz. He quite accurately wrote:

To find out, I spoke to sev…

Brash, We Hardly Knew You: RIP Edition

This just in, hardcore gaming publication Daily Variety is reporting Brash has shut its doors. While it would be fun to make some "Brash and Burn" quips, if true, the high profile flame out will make it harder on all of us and perhaps set external financing efforts back a bit. It really would have been better for us all if it worked.

Fortunately, even though stock prices for other publishers are down, sales appear strong and the closure, if true, seems to be a reflection of poor execution compounded by bad business decisions, and not the industry.

In other news, Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

Hooray for Harmonix: Everyone's Happy Edition

At the top of the last post I said I wanted to write something happy and good. And I do, and now I can. One of the best things I can say is too many great games came out to leave time to write a post. I'm in the business because I love games, and I purchased every major release in the last few months, logging countless hours in everything from Dead Space, to Mirror's Edge yesterday. Many of these games couldn't happen on the last generation of console, but one in particular could, and that's the good thing I am writing about.

Viacom's recent public filings included a statement indicating additional payments would be made to the Harmonix founders. Significant additional payments would be made to Harmonix founders. While admittedly seething with envy, I am truly excited to see the payments being made. Our history is littered with mega payments for "the greatest developer" in the world which later turned out to be overpayments for news events. Th…

Eurogamer has Multiple Personality Disorder: Sybil Edition

I really, really, really want to write something positive. There are a lot of good things about the game business, even in these times of layoffs and economic hardship. But I am more motivated to rant about things that really bug me than things that are going along swimmingly. One of these triggers just occurred in connection with Legendary, which in the interest of full disclosure, I helped to place with publishers . . . twice - that's another story.

A couple weeks ago the folks at Spark Unlimited were happy see their hard work was being recognized in the September 2, 2008 preview on Eurogamer which said:

Instead it focuses all of its resources into doing one thing: providing really good, entertaining, run-and-gun gaming. Stripping away the various complex systems and ideas which have accreted on the FPS genre since the days of Doom, Legendary instead focuses on using the power of modern hardware to increase its scale. In part, this means putting plenty of creatures (dozens, in …

Check it Out: Cliffy B in the New Yorker Edition

In probably the first and last article to mention CliffyB, Jay McInerney and Lorrie Moore in the same paragraph as Gears of War, the New Yorker published a great piece about Cliffy, Epic and Gears. Really solid mainstream coverage without calling them dorks.

Check it out