Thursday, December 31, 2009
Ok, this one is pretty damn rambly- sorry bout that.
Happy New Year ya'll!
By the way, even since I got my new Mac, my video and audio have been out of sync.
Promise I'll figure it out before the next one- totally sux. Sorry bout that!
Ok, and here are the pics of my now clean, memorabilia-free office :)
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Hope you are all well- chat in a few months when we announce our game- later!
ps. ever since I got this new mac my youtube videos have been out of sync- I'll check into it when I get back to blogging in Feb/March when I return...
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Just to clarify a little on my views on the whole 'Destructoid/Can Games Mean Something More' thing...oh and someone mentioned liking to see a debate/discussion between me and the Destructoid author of the piece...would LOVE to do something like that when I have the time; it would be fun :)
But so just to clarify:
#1- I don't actually CARE if people view games as art or only entertainment or whatever. Don't want, need, or care about debating 'what IS art, anyway!!' That's just labels to me. And plus, yes, the debate over 'what is art' is too tired to even care about anymore. I'm not a junior in high school anymore which- to me- is around when that very relevant discussion should occur...and be put to bed. So my issue is NOT with 'when will we get to a place where the best work in our industry can be seen as art!' I really don't care. And anyone who is a real artist should not- in my opinion- care either.
#2- My main point was that the author's take- I forget his name and frankly am too tired to go back and check :)- but his point seemed to be that games can be more relevant to the real world and can speak more to the human condition than the violent power fantasy games that line the shelves. Some have pointed out that the Destructoid author was talking to gamers and not game makers. Sure, I concede that. But it makes no difference; the gist of his issue was the same: games can and should be more relevant. Now to that point, I say:
a- one COULD argue that the human condition IS violence and dog eat dog and video games capture that brilliantly, in many ways more so than any other medium by actually putting us INTO the experience and allowing us- after the fact- to analyze how and why we behaved in a tense, terrifying situation. Instead of having the privilege and luxury to sit and ruminate on 'the horrors of war' or the 'state of man' by watching Saving Private Ryan or Schiendler's List, games allow us to see how we would REALLY react in violent situations. And what does it show us about the human condition? It potentially shows us that all the cafe chillin', coffee drinking big brains sitting around pondering the fate of man would revert to our animal base in an instant order to survive and in order to win. So there is that. But to be fair, that's just me playing devil's advocate. I don't REALLY think that is what is going on. But ya know, there's a theory for you.
b- there ARE games out there that may not speak to the human condition (altho there are some that try) but there are commercial games out there that are not about violent power fantasies. Mario Kart was the best selling game IN THE WORLD last year. Not really a power fantasy. Same with Bejewelled or Bookworm or Pet Society or Tetris. So while there are few games that strive to meet the lofty goals set forth in Mr. Destructoid's video, it's wrong to act as if most/all games are violent blood baths. And a good % of the successful games are NOT violent.
#3- My key point in my video rebuttal was that IF it was possible or desirable to make games mean something 'more', we would have been further along by now. In the last 4000 years since the world's first game was known to be played, how have we been doing merging meaningful, human condition-striving stories, feelings, and emotions with game mechanics? Sure we have video and 3d worlds and motion controls now and YES those matter in the quest. But they don't matter so much that it would make sense that ONLY NOW is the merge of meaning and gameplay beginning to be possible. We should have seen at least SOME VERY PROMISING SIGNS along the way during the last 4000 years. But we have not. And using Chess or GO doesn't count in my book. Yes, those are POSSIBLY metaphors for other things but what those games stand for is not readily apparent to most players and only apparent to some once the metaphor has been explained to them. Few if any finish chess and- totally unprompted- say: 'ya know, I think that game I just played was about something MORE than just the surface...it seems perhaps it was about war and the futility of war...'
#4- My other point on this is that EVERYONE who loves games can and should have an opinion on this. I was not saying that only game makers should be able to discuss this. But I don't think it's fair to just sit and bitch about what games should/could be without being aware that big companies in the game industry DO TRY at different times to crack this nut and that the problem is not simply that we just don't wanna do it. That's just a bunch of bullshit. What I was also saying was, as an industry worker who has pitched games and been in pitches, people have either tried this and it never got off the launch pad (not cause stupid execs who are just greedy bastards but cause the design sounded boring and/or there was no clear direction on how the designers wanted to achieve their lofty goals and so no one wanted to make it) OR the attempt at emotion was made, the game shipped, and it didn't really resonate with enough people that it became a watershed moment.
#5- Also, remember- even fun, summer movies- the good ones- have heart and character and are ABOUT more than just power fantasies. IRON MAN certainly was, as was the DARK KNIGHT. So you'd think in the last 30 years of video games, even amid the big blockbuster power fantasy type games that we- admittedly- love to make, that SOMEONE would have SUCCESSFULLY slipped some meaning in their game. Going big and actiony is not anathema to character and metaphor and meaning. And look, I know game makers who have tried it (I won't mention the games or the names) but I've had them TELL me that their games- one of which was a MASSIVE HIT, and one of which was a dud- were metaphors for the Iraq war for example; or for going back home to where your soul really is. Hell, I've tried it before mysef. And NONE of us have succeeded at a level that matters enough for me to go, "AHH! We're onto something!"....as I've said before, it took years and years of work to establish character and meaning and game mechanics that mirror emotion and game play that is metaphor and in the end, very few were moved or affected by it. And the ones that were- while they applaud our efforts- are MUCH More affected by an average prime time television show. See, when we fire with all our ammo, all our effort...we still can't come close to an episode of CSI in terms of emotion. Granted, that's just us. Just cause WE can't do it, doesn't mean it can't be done. But I'm just saying that even our best game makers have not come close to an average level of emotion or meaning that you get from the TV. And yes, I've played ICO and SHADOW and PASSAGE and TODAY I DIE and BRAID and FLOWER and SEPTEMBER 12 and many others. And SOME of those games I've loved out right and are in my top 10 games of all time. Some I didn't love as much but at the very least I appreciated them for what they were doing. And so I am saying is that I am aware of the 'emotional cannon of games' and I still stand by my statement. Granted, it's just my opinion. Your mileage may vary. But I cry at fucking coffee commercials so I'm easy; easy enough that you'd think a great game with artistic and emotional intent would have gotten to me. But so far, nothing worth shouting about.
#6- Finally, I really think when the brain is engaged in gameplay, the thematic falls away. You could give me photo real graphics and smell-o-vision and jack the thing into my brain and put me on that beach landing in Saving Private Ryan and I would NOT be affected in the same way the audience watching the film was. I would not be thinking about the loss of life or the pointlessness of war. I would just be trying to 'solve the puzzle' of 'what is the safest way to get to the bunker at the top of the hill'....because games are simulations...for real life or for fantasy life, but they simulate an experience. And when you are LIVING AN EXPERIENCE- just like when you live your life- you are not appreciating the artistry of it. You are just living it. I really feel it's only thru outside observation of an experience (your own or that of a character that you relate to in SOME way) can we actually be affected and have our thoughts provoked. This does not happen during the experience. At least, this is my take on it.
Now all this is not to say, "Don't try!"...I would LOVE for games to have the ability to affect us more. How neat would that be! But I'm just saying that it's wrong to present the case that games could be so much 'more' if we just tried harder and just wanted them to be and the only reason we don't have our watershed game version of American Beauty or Casablanca or Gone With The Wind is because we just are not willing to be artists. That's bullshit. We're trying and many of us are STILL trying. I'm just saying that, so far, ain't noting happening yet. As for me tho,I've lost interest and would rather focus on what I feel games do very well than try to get them to do something else that other mediums already do crazy good. I mean, what's the point? Why not just go make a movie or write a book? It's like trying to teach your dog to sing. You can KIND of do it; he'll make some sounds that KIND of sound like singing and some folks will sort of go, "Hey it sounds like he's singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!' ....But end of the day, if you want to hear some great music, why not just go listen to an actual song? Doesn't mean you shoot your dog. He's great for other stuff. Just not singing. So why force it?
Monday, July 13, 2009
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Sometimes you just need a day to be over.
Today is such a day.
It’s just too depressing of a day to stay awake any longer.
For reasons totally unexpected the Michael Jackson memorial affected me at a much deeper level than I was prepared for.
Perhaps it’s because his was the voice of my generation. As a little kid, me and my brother competed in dance contests our nanny put on just for us while blasting her 8 track of OFF THE WALL. I also had the albums of OFF THE WALL and THE WIZ. We would listen to MJ on Solid Gold (at least I think it was Solid Gold), a variety music show we watched when my parents were getting read to go out on most Saturday nights.
Then came Thriller and the amazing videos that we simply could not get enough of. Our VHS copy of Thriller -that we'd taped from MTV- was so corrupted from constant playing that I kept waiting for it to snap and the tape to get all tangled and wound up in the heads of our first generation VHS player.
I remember camping out at the Birmingham Civic Center downtown just to catch a glimpse of MJ. He and the rest of the Jackson 5 were rehearsing the Victory tour in Birmingham (even tho, for some annoying reason, they never performed it in B’ham). So we went downtown (myself, my brother, sister, brother-in-law) to see what we could see. What we saw were MASSIVE crowds just waiting for a glimpse. And we got one…just a glimpse. Jermaine, Tito, and the rest of the brothers who I can’t really name stood out on a balcony and waved for 5-10 minutes. I think one of them actually gave a speech via microphone, talking about how grateful they were to be in Birmingham. And then- after what seemed like forever- came Michael. He rushed out, waved and smiled and then rushed back in. It was over in about 5 seconds. But damn, there he was: Michael Jackson in the flesh.
And a few months later, my sister and brother in law drove me and my brother to Atlanta to see Victory. It was kind of shit, truth me told, but it was still cool to see Jackson on stage doing his thing.
And hell, I’ll admit it. Even in high school and college, I was a fan. I remember going to the mall to buy Bad the day it came out. I liked it, too. Good tape. I also bought Dangerous and I dug that. Damn, I even went and saw Captain EO at Disneyland (‘hit the red button Hooter!’) and thought it was kinda…well ok, that was pretty stupid but whatever.
But so I dug the man’s work. And I dug the spirit that he seemed to put into his work. Now this feels stupid to say so let me preface it by saying: I am fully aware of and ok with the fact that I don’t contain .1% of MJ’s talent nor .1% of his success. But that said, I always felt creatively connected to him. Not from a musician or dancer standpoint. Lord knows I can’t do either. But there was something about the way it SEEMED he saw the world and the energy it SEEMED he put into his work that I related to and admired and aspired to in terms of my own work. Now I say SEEMED cause cleary, the man was a showman and who knows how much of the image that he projected was real. But it was real enough for me to take inspiration from it.
And now it’s gone. And that makes me sad.
Sad because it makes me realize that even talent like his is mortal. And if someone as talented and successful as Michael Jackson can be snuffed out so quickly and so unexpectedly, what does that say about someone like me who doesn’t possess anywhere close to his gifts?
Sad because he will no longer be able to create for the world. Hell, I'm sad that he will no longer be able to create for ME; no longer able to share the gifts that have inspired me since I was a child.
Was he a freak or a monster? Maybe. Possibly. According to some, most definitely. According to others- and certainly according to 12 jury members- he was not. But who knows. Not me. But what I do know is that he was a genuine artist whose work touched and moved my soul. And I am sad that he is no longer here to do so.
Sad because the biggest icon from my generation is now gone. I imagine only Spielberg dying will have more effect on me in terms of the death of someone I don’t know.
And mostly sad because of his children, specifically his daughter who broke my fucking heart today when she spoke. As the dad of two small kids…two small GIRLS, I could feel her pain so acutely and wanted to do SOMETHING to help her. But I could not. No one can. I know she will move on, as countless young children who lose a parent eventually move on. But right now, tonite as I type this (and for a time to come) this little girl is in a world of pain and it really does make me very sad.
So you know, there’s that going on.
THEN on top of all the Michael Jackson stuff, I’m in Foster City as I write this. Foster FUCKING City. I was never more depressed in my life than when I lived here. And I am back, for my Sony meeting. Looking forward to the meeting and grateful to have a job where I get to make games and do creative work. I’m not complaining about the work. But I fucking hate being in this city. To me it represents the death of spirit, of creative work. To give you an idea, the hotel I am staying in gives away a free set of golf clubs if you stay in the hotel for 25 nights. I mean, that comes about as close to hell on Earth as I have ever experienced.
I just wanna go have a great meeting tomorrow and then hop a flight the fuck out of here and get back to my dear So Cal. Back to the sun, the beaches, the laid back feel.
Being here literally zaps my energy. It is my soul’s Kryptonite. And I can’t wait to go to bed. And I can’t wait to go home.
Sleeping with the curtains wide open tonite so the sun can hit me in the am and I can start fresh. This day- while needed- has been shit. And I’m ready for it to be over.
Monday, July 06, 2009
Not sure why the sync is off...ah well, you get the idea :)
If anyone is gonna haunt a place, it's Michael Jackson! I mean, DAMN that is cool! I so wanna visit Neverland on Halloween one day. And shit...check this story out...burying the man without his mother fucking brain!?!? Fucking creepy!!! Kellan- our art director out at Eat Sleep Play- just told me he thinks it would be great if they stuck his brain in a giant robot! How neat!!!
And look, I am a MJ fan. I dig his music and dancing. I so feel for his kids right now. But as a pure consumer of pop culture, all this creepy, ghostly, missing brain shit that is starting to bubble up now that he's gone is just so fucking entertaining. But that said, I wish the man were still around.
Sunday, July 05, 2009
Sloth Love Chunk!
Yes I realize in light of the post under this one that now ass hole sites are just gonna start using this picture. Whatever. Have fun, cocksuckers.
But I wanted to share :) This is my right eye! OH MY GOD! I have a sty in the damn thing and it's- clearly- gotten infected. So I'm on some antibiotics and hopefully in a day or two I won't look like Sloth...or TWO FACE...or whatever. But for now, I do. Been wearing my sunglasses wherever I go cause I feel like such a freak.
Also, I'm back to blogging and thrilled to be but I'm disabling comments on the blog from here on out. Doing it for two reasons:
#1- I really have loved and been so so grateful for all the kindness and interest and good conversations I have had over the years with posters on this blog. 95% of it has been nothing but good times. But 5% is just pure negative bullshit and I'm at a phase in life where I just wanna clear all the negativity in my life away and really steer clear of that sort of vibe.
#2- While it doesn't take alot of time away from my day to day to respond and read comments, it does take some time. And these days, I'm just too busy to do more than put up a post. The time it takes to check back and respond to questions and such (and I do feel compelled to be a good host and respond where appropriate) is just too much time away from the work that- I hope- you all care about more than a response on a blog.
So I hope you'll still come visit me if you like the blog. As the game gears up to be announced there will be lots and lots more news. And I'll still be twittering as well if you REALLY need to reach me. And as always, please say hey when you see me at Comic Con and GDC and E3 and the like. It's always such a thrill to meet folks who love the work that we do.
Take it easy ya'll! Chat later in the week!
ps. to the regular posters who have been with the blog for years- thank you SO MUCH for your support and interest! It really has been a joy chatting with you!
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Am I being paranoid or do you think they do this just to make me look fucking stupid?
is the shit!!!
I stumbled upon this today, forget how. But a biz buddy of mine- Raph Koster (he of my fave game design book ever written and if you love games and have not read it, shame on you! ) has just beta launched his groundbreaking new site which I can only describe as The Sims meets Personalized MMO meets Youtube.
My little space- where I can visit and hang with blog readers- is now embedded in the side window over to the right...come by and visit with me from time to time :)
BUT my site is .5% of what this site is capable of! There are games and intricate spaces and so much customization that it blows your mind.
Raph and his team have done a hell of a job and I imagine Metaplace is gonna be one of the next big things when it launches for real in the next x months...amazing job Raph! Visit the site...and be sure to come hang we me in my Metaplace!
ps. don't play in that small window...click on the FULL SCREEN part of the window to get a bigger size to play in...
RAMBLE TOPIC #1: RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!
Kids are at the grandparents so I got to sleep in and am now about to blog, read the LA TIMES, and enjoy that wonderful blend of Diet Coke, Starbucks black coffee, and just a touch of peanut butter on a cinnamon raisin bagel. Ahhh, the simple things in life do indeed rock much.
RAMBLE TOPIC #2: SONY GREENLITE VIDEO COMPLETE! AND IT'S SWELL!
Holy Hell...Entourage returns in just 8 days!!! Fuck Smoke Jumpers...Vinnie Chase is back! By the way, the game ain't great, but I think it's pretty cool that HBO.COM has a VIKING QUEST hack n' slash Flash game you can play!
RAMBLE TOPIC #6: WHEN MARRIAGE 'EXPERTS' GET DIVORCED...
HOTEL DUSK- started slow but growing on me.
Ok, enough for now. I think me, the Ex, and possibly her father are gonna go try to find a showing of Food Inc. today before the whole family settles in for the fireworks tonite! We are real lucky that, from a single spot just up the street from our house, we can see 3-5 different firework shows from places all over San Diego!
Have a very safe and very fun 4th for all those who celebrate such things.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
So busy with the game these days that I just don't have the energy/desire to do the blogging thing.
Our EAT SLEEP PLAY website should be up soon and I'll be doing blogging from there and I'll let you know when it hits.
But for now, I'll be tweeting several times/day (if not more)...it's the perfect way to communicate with folks who dig our work without taking away energy from the work itself!
Talk soon you guys/gals!
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Here's the answer I gave when asked to explain why I had rated my shopping experience at the Apple store so low (a 5 out of 10):
I almost walked out of the store after standing around for 20+ minutes and not being able to find anyone to help me give my money to your company. I walked in fully ready to drop two to three grand and I NEEDED a computer for my work but I almost gave up on the whole endeavor. When I eventually got help, the sales person was GREAT. Very helpful and smart and friendly. That was a great experience. But before he showed up, I was told- by someone in an orange shirt- that he could help me but was not allowed because it was not his department. He was like, "You need to go find one of the guys in the light blue shirts to help you". And I'm like, "I'm trying to give your company my money...why is it my job to hunt down a fucking salesperson? Why is it my job to figure out your stupid shirt color scheme and make sure that I pick the RIGHT guy in the RIGHT shirt cause otherwise, the person I pick- while totally capable of helping me- simply will not?!?" Come on guys- that's just piss poor service and the Apple name demands much, much better. I know Jobs is out on sick leave but what, the boss can't take a few months off without you guys forgetting your core values?
Let me give you a little hint: if you've got a store FULL of fucking people who are NOT HELPING ANYONE and a customer walks in wanting to spend some cash in your store, then you should help that person. Now I know this is a crazy idea, but bear with me: see EVEN IF you are not wearing the right colored tee shirt but you are capable of helping the customer, you should really help the customer.
But again, once I FINALLY got a salesperson- and thank GOD he had the proper shirt color so he could help me- he really was fantastic. He knew his stuff, was very friendly, very helpful, and it was a great shopping experience once I finally got help.
So overall, I give the experience a 5/10. The actual sales person experience was like a 9. And I don't mind waiting...sometimes you have to wait. But the REASON I had to wait 20+ minutes was simply stupid, insulting, and idiotic and so that is why I rate the overall shopping experience much lower.
This is why it's a bad idea for me to fill out surveys when I'm tired :)
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Anyway, not much blogging this week but I am twittering when I get a chance, so follow me on twitter if you like :)...twitter=so much faster than blogging :)
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Ah well, one of the nice things about having kids:
Looks like I'll be smelling like a Hershey Bar for the pitch! That's gotta work in my favor, right?!? :)
Monday, May 25, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
But check it: So this past weekend I took the girls to Disneyland. Yes- again! The thing some folks don't understand is that:
a- we only live about 45 min away
b- we have season passes
c- when you have kids, and you LOVE having kids (like I do) then you tend to LOVE to do stuff with them. And right now, the three of us are really digging the Dland. So I figure, why not go as often as we can!?! I know to many folks going to Disneyland is a massive vacation sort of thing that you save for and look forward to all year, etc. I can respect that. I was the same way about Walt Disney World or Los Angeles when I was a kid living in Alabama. But when you live less than an hour from the park, going to Disneyland is kind of like going to the mall. Granted, it's a totally kick ass mall!
d- I fucking LOVE theme parks and my favorite of all time are the Disney parks!*
So yeah, there ya go. Wanted to explain cause these days whenever I mention going to Disneyland, I get comments like: 'WHAT?!?!? AGAIN!?!? WEREN'T YOU JUST THERE?!!?'
So yeah, there ya are.
But ANYWAY- so we've been going alot and this time we decided to do some of the stuff we are usually too busy to do cause we're hitting all of the E ticket rides in the park. Between all of the rides, shows, and interactive things you can do, Disneyland and California Adventure are pretty huge. You could easily use up 3 days before you did and saw everything. So this time, instead of the big, traditional rides like Space Mountain or Dumbo, we saw the Aladdin show (again, I got little kids...Dumbo is mega E ticket when your kids are 3 and 5). This time, instead of the Jungle Cruise we went to the BUG'S LIFE area (it was pretty lame, I gotta say). And this time, instead of Nemo's Submarine Voyage we spent some time in the Animation center at Disney's California Adventure.
This place is pretty darn cool, I gotta say. A whole building dedicated to the animation process that made Disney great! There are 4 interactive areas inside that you can visit and learn about how a cartoon is made. Each station covers something a little different. One of those areas lets you learn how to draw famous Disney characters directly from an actual working Disney animator! My oldest loves to draw and loves Disney, so I figured we'd check it out.
It was really, really neat! Here, take a look:
It's pretty cool: you sit in your seat with provided drawing board, pencil, and paper and follow along as the pro on stage tells you exactly how to get yourself a pretty accurate rendering of an honest to goodness Disney character. Peep my genius, bitches!
Yep- Jack Skellington! For me, this is damn good! Anyone who has seen my stick figures knows I can't draw worth a lick. But I think this actually looks like Jack Skellington! For a terrible artist, I thought this turned out pretty darn good! NOTE: Bow tie done by my 3 year old...:)
AND the set makes me want to redo my home office so it looks just like the pic. It looks so warm and cozy and creatively inviting and inspiring, you know? I went thru a phase about 2 years ago where I went thru my office and de-cluttered it of most of the toys/action figures/geeky props I'd accrued thru the years. And I'm glad I did cause it was starting to look crowded and junky, like a geeky garage sale. These days, I only keep the mementos/toys that truly inspire and move me and inspire my work. But I look at this space from Disneyland and they've somehow managed to fill it with cool toys and props AND still make it look homey and inviting. I'm like: damn, I could work in that kind of space!
Tell you what, when Eat Sleep Play hits it big and we redecorate our offices out in Utah, I'm gonna be doing the same thing here in San Diego :)...
Ok, gotta get my kid to school then get to work- take it easy ya'll!
ps. I linked to ETICKET cause I imagine there are many folks out there to whom this is an unknown term. I got to use an Eticket ONCE when I first went to Disney World as a little kid and then- poof!- they were gone forever. Thank God! The new system is much better. Amazing the rides used to actually take tickets.
* speaking of theme parks, I read the other day about Universal Studio's King Kong upgrade and overall backlot tour reinvention and it sounds fucking great! I'll be there day one!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
And not just cause when I was a kid I used to have a semi-secret crush on Debbie Gibson! I mean, giant sharks, giant octos, AND Debbie mufuckin Gibson!?! Get the fuck outta here! SWEET!!!
Thanks Susan F. for the heads up! :)
Friday, May 15, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
What great times, what great memories. Riding around in his beat up, faded blue pick up truck, stopping off at Jack's for french fries and Mountain Dew, going to the quick mart for 25 cent comics pulled fresh off the spinner rack ('Hey Kids, Comics!'), grabbing a pocket full of green and original flavored Super Bubble from Crestline Pharmacy (where they also sold those giant sized comic books like SUPERMAN vs. SPIDERMAN!). Ahhh, good times. And I'd like to think I am creating the same kinds of opportunities for my kids to form their own sorts of warm memories. I guess we'll know eventually :)
But anyway, a buddy of mine on Facebook brought these to my attention:
...and it got me thinking back to those great Saturday's with dad.
So what's the big deal, you may ask. They're just glasses with Star Trek on them.
Ah but they are MORE than that, my friend! MUCH more! See, these are the new Star Trek movie licensed glasses from Burger King!
Yep, you read that right. GLASSES! From Burger King! Real life, old school, motherfucking movie licensed glasses from the God Damned Burger King!!!
When we were kids, every big movie had glasses. All the Star Wars flicks, some of the Indy movies did. I think there were glasses for Disney's Black Hole and E.T. as well. And usually you'd get these at McDonalds or- more often than not- Burger King. Every now and then, some B-/C+ level fast food joint- like Hardees- would try to get in on the action, but it was clear they didn't have the money for the good licenses so you'd end up with glasses that had pictures of Kenny Rogers from Six Pack, or James Gardner from TANK.
Well anyway: here are some glasses that I remember fondly:
I have super fond memories of that Boba Fett/Darth Vader glass. I think we had like 3 of them. Over the years, they were either lost or- more likely- broken in accidental drops onto our hard kitchen floor.
As of late- as in, the last 20+ years- the glasses thing has given to shitty plastic cups where the ink comes off after 4-5 runs thru the washing machine. These little, stupid cups may have helped the fast food places avoid lawsuits but they've never felt substantial and they have not- I don't think- pushed their way into the consciousness of the last few generations of children.
But check it out! Now the glasses are back! And it makes me feel like a kid again!
Hell, I didn't even like the new Trek film all that much, but I think I'll hunt down a Burger King tomorrow just to get me a Mr. Spock glass! You know, for old time's sake!
Ok, going to bed- later ya'll!
ps. Yes, Nikki- I still have very, very fond memories of The Tickle Lady, Six Flags, seeing Smokey and the Bandit and Jaws with you and Stephen, thinking May was calling the Mnt. Brook Police, doing jumps in the dirt in Stephen's THING car/truck hybrid, and many, many other great memories. Mom says I never blog about you...well I just did! :) And I will in the future! I love you!
Star Trek stuff kicks in around 7 min, so if you've not seen it and want to avoid spoilers, you've been warned :)
UPDATED POST: Here's a quick follow up to some of the comments:
Monday, May 11, 2009
'To all who come to this happy place...Welcome!'
Famous words known to all Disney freaks- like myself- spoken by Disney himself in July of 1955 on the day Disneyland opened for the first time.
Now look: I'm a Disney nut and the obsession has been (happily!) getting 'worse' since I've had kids (we go to the park every month or so), since I've been devouring the behind the scenes books I get at the theme parks, and since I've discovered a number of like minded Disney nuts in real life and on the internet.
And in my growing fandom, I've been searching for info about Walt Disney. What made the man tick? What did his family think about him? How did he respond to his success?
There are lots of books out there, but frankly the biographies are too damn long for me to read (900+ pages for the one that folks say is the best). So I did what most lazy folks do: I went to Youtube and tried to find a movie version of what I wanted so I could digest it fast and over a lunch break. :)
And in my search, I came across this documentary:
If you've watched it (and there are 5 other parts beyond what I've embedded above), you can tell: The story of Walt Disney as the kindly, creative 'Uncle Walt' ain't true. And what is true ain't pretty.
And some of the most incriminating stuff comes right from Walt's mouth. A lot of the other bad stuff comes from folks who worked with Walt and were relaying things he was reported to have said to them.
And so IF this doc is to be believed, I'm really turned off to the man who was Walt Disney at this point.
And what I wonder is: is it fair that this information should affect the way people feel about the current Diseny brand? Or even the classic Disney stuff that Walt had a direct hand in creating? Or was Disney just a man of his time and it's unfair to hold him to today's standards of what it means to be a likable, kind person?
These days, it's impossible for me to associate the new Disney with the real Disney and for that I am grateful. The new Disney seems very much about diversity and teamwork and imagination and hope for the whole world, all races and types. The old Disney? If the doc is real, not so much. If the doc is real, I imagine Walt is rolling over in his cryo chamber over the casting of an African-American Disney Princess in The Princess and the Frog.
Also, if the documentary and all the research I've done on the parks and the older Disney flicks show anything, it's that the vast majority of stuff we all love about Disney (Haunted Mansion, Pirates, Dumbo, etc...hell even Mickey Mouse!) was created or lead or turned into the great magic we love by many other folks along with and/or instead of 'Uncle Walt'. And so with that knowledge, it keeps me from turning my back on the whole thing.
But I ain't gonna lie: if that documentary is true, the individual Walt Disney seems like someone whom I would not care to meet and whose work I would not care to support with my cash.
Granted, documentaries have a point of view and perhaps this one is not all true. But it's hard to argue with actual footage of Disney turning colleagues over to the government during the McCarthy witch hunts (and it's even worse if his views on Jews, African-Americans, women,etc. pan out). But I did read somewhere that towards the end of his life Disney tried to change or actually did change his assholian ways (altho I've seen no evidence of that). So who knows.
Either way, it's pretty shitty stuff to discover (again, assuming even a touch of it is true). And it makes me:
a- wonder which of today's celebrated people that we hold up as being the epitome of a specific virtue or a set of admired virtues is really full of shit? For example: are Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg REALLY nice guys?!?
b- perhaps it's naive to assume that people- and especially creative people who see the world a bit different than most- would and should be holier that the rest of us and less susceptible to the negative human traits that the rest of us must deal with. But in that case, these celebs should not present a totally fake image of who they are and fool the public. I think that is the worst part about my whole Disney discovery...a sense of disappointment and betrayal.
Saturday, May 09, 2009
A few things:
-Just woke from a dream where I was looking after my dying father. Now my dad- thank God- is very much alive and healthy, thanks for asking :)...but in the dream he was in bed in some hospital and dying. Now before that, in the same dream, I was working at one of the junkyards he used to own and run when I was a kid. But in the dream I was a grown up and I was doing a really good job running his yard and dad seemed real pleased with me and my work. And then- just like that- we're in the hospital and he's dying but only he's not an old man anymore, but he's a little, little boy...like around 3 or 4. And he's so sad and so little and so cute. And he sits up in bed and I tell him it's ok and that I'm there for him. And I ask him if he wants to stay or if he wants to move on. And I hope so much that he'll say he wants to stay but I know the answer he is going to give: he shakes his head yes when I ask him if he wants to go be with "gaga" (the name we had/have for his mother who has been dead for a long time). And so- sad as I am- I pick my father up- who is this little boy- and I hold him as I slowly spin him around the room in a warm, tight embrace and tell him everything will be fine and that I love him and that I have him and that it's all ok.
And then I wake up.
And now I feel sort of sad, like I'd like to call dad right now. But it's 5 am in Alabama and I don't want to wake anyone. I'd like to go hug my kids too, but its 3am here and I don't want to wake them either.
Man, having small children of my own- who are the age of my dad in the dream- I realize that the bonds between parent and child (in both directions) are so much stronger than just physical. Dreams like this make me wonder if there is something to the idea that we are all old spirits who have known each other many lives over and we just keep going round and round with the same spirits as our companions. So in one life a spirit is your dad,in the next that same spirit is your kid, sometimes your next door neighbor. Is that what is going on with this life? Or something else entirely? Well, whatever it is, it reminds me of how wonderful and precious family is.
Either that or I've just been watching too much IN TREATMENT on HBO....which- truth be told- IS the case :) Amazing, amazing show!
- Yes, I am still blogging. I was pretty bummed by the leak from our game yesterday. Not so much the information that got out (there really was nothing in there that gave away what we were making or breached any sort of trust I have with the team or with Sony). I was just annoyed that someone would actually go thru the trouble of not only defogging the images (that I clearly was sharing with the net community and clearly didn't want defogged) but then that they would go so far as to post the info on the net. I know I'm a naive idiot for being surprised but sometimes the behavior of folks on the net can really just wear you down. But then you remember that most folks who come here and post about games and pop culture all over the net are just nice, passionate people. I have no desire to stop blogging- something I love to do- just because from time to time there are going to be people who do shit that really gets under my skin.
- On that same front, I'd been thinking alot about this idea that I would rather be known, loved,hated, ignored, forgotten,etc. all solely based on the work I contribute to, and not for my blog. Now I know my blog is not some massive thing...it's not like I get a million readers a month or anything. BUT it has brought me more attention than any of the games I've been involved with and sometimes I'm like: well what's the point of that? Better to not have a blog and if anyone thinks twice about me besides my loved ones, it will be because the work we do makes folks happy. And I do feel that way...strongly.
I've seen other folks I admire (in games, in comic books) stop blogging and there's something that feels kind of dignified about that action. Like those folks are saying: the work will speak for me, not some blog.
And again, I really appreciate that stance. It's a stance I often think about taking ( clearly)...
BUT I also know that it's 2009 and blogs and the internet are amazing tools for connecting with folks who DO like and support the stuff you and your team creates. I mean, how nice it is to be able to connect directly with the folks you have a hand in entertaining. How nice it is to hear that you and the team have made something that has really touched someone's life in a positive way. And how nice to share a look into our world with people who are clearly interested in such things. It is an amazing gift and opportunity and while there is a strong part of me that feels that the work should just speak for itself, a stronger part of me tells me that blogging is something I don't want to give up doing.
So I won't and I'm not.
And at the same time, me and the team are going to bust our butts to bring ya'll some of the best games you've ever played and allow the work to speak so loudly for itself that this whole worry will be a moot issue.
But so long story short: I don't want to stop blogging; so I'm not going to.
I do want to go to bed tho. I've put my LA trip on hold as I have to work this weekend :( And I'm getting tired so I'll just see you all next week!
Friday, May 08, 2009
Hey all- need a big break from blogging. Who knows- as always- I may come back to it but right now feels like a great time to stop.
To all of you regular readers who have gone with me on this journey over the years...we're just getting started! Soon our website for EAT SLEEP PLAY will be up and blazing and you'll be able to find me there on company blogs and the EAT SLEEP PLAY forums.
Until then- have a great start of the summer movie season and I'll chat with you all soon!
Much thanks and much gratitude for all your support over the years!
Friday, May 01, 2009
Oh, and here's the odd BROTHERS AND SISTERS promo/photo opp at Disneyland...I know there is a wine and food festival going on at CA ADVENTURE so it kind of fits a bit more but hell, even a food festival at Disneyland feels out of place.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
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
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.
JNG, MD FAAP
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
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 :)