Friday, October 17, 2008's the Tree's. They're mad...they're trying to kill us!

It’s Friday, October 17th and I have decided to come out of my self imposed media blackout to give a little update of what is gong on in my silly little world. I made the decision a while back to stop updating mostly due to the fact that I really couldn’t talk about any of the stuff I was working on, and I wasn’t all that motivated to just give boring personal updates. Most of my time at the computer was spent working anyway.

What’s the latest you ask? What is it I have been working on all these months? A sweet Olsen Twins game? A Nintendo DS action/adventure hybrid of Myst and Tapper, you say? No, not exactly.  

George and I have put the final touches on the Mad Max story and game design structure and mechanics. My last trip to Sydney in September marked the completion of that stuff. I gotta’ say, and I know I am totally biased here, but I gotta say that this story – as well as this game – is pretty freaking bad ass!! I really can't wait to get this game out there.  

It has been such an incredible ride working so closely with George.  I feel like my skills as a storyteller increase exponentially with every meeting we have.  We have so many sensibilties that are similar, yet so many that push each other in directions we would never have thought to go. I am learning so much from him. I feel a lot like Daniel san in Karate kid 2…all traveling to Okinawa to learn the ways of the ‘Break Some Ice’ technique. It's like the "Crane Technique", only instead of fighting a human opponent you are fighting several vertically stacked blocks of ice.  It's the combat equivalent of the Vice Presidential debates.

So now we are working with some publishers to get a deal locked down so we can start making this bad boy! These things always take 10 times the amount of time you originally predict them too, so I have no idea when actual production will begin. I will keep everyone posted with all the new developments as they come up.

I also have another project that I am really excited about as well. This one is shrouded in a little bit more mystery, but I hope to have an announcement on that one as well. It’s a little multi-player ditty that I, and a few other people, put together. This is also in that somewhat purgatory-esque waiting period of publisher discussion/negotiation. The design is freaking awesome, but yeah…I am totally biased.  

I have been traveling a ton, which (for me) is not all that awesome since I freaking hate the whole process of traveling. All in all it has been very rewarding though.

Playing many, many games…too many to list out all here. I have to say that in so many of the games I have played I have hit that ‘1-hour wall’, where I just don’t have the desire to continue. The game just completely comes off as neutral to me, giving me very drive to push forward. It has further cemented the idea to me that the first hour of your game needs to rock their fucking socks off…a fact that seems to elude so many games. I don’t know if it is that people really want to front-load all of their exposition and story telling. Perhaps it is the typical late production cuts that cause their first level to suffer.  

It could really be so many things that I, as the end user, have no idea about. But, to me, so many ‘first hours’ feel like a tutorial level. It’s as if the designers have just accepted that “Ok, I guess we gotta’ teach them these mechanics, let’s just make a basic level that gets that out of the way, then get into the game.” The end result is a level that completely feels like you just have to “get it out of the way” which in turn bores you to freaking tears.

I made it through about three hours of Too Human before I lost the motivation to continue. There was some good stuff, but it just got a little too repetitive for me. Doesn’t make it a bad game, just wasn’t enough there for me to continue. Been working my way through DMC 4 in small play chunks. Crazy install time, but there are a lot of cool things in that game worth checking out so I am definitely going to finish it – one day. Speaking of finshing it, I finally finished Minish Cap!!! Yeah I know, a little late to the party homes. Whatever. I played it on a GBA emulator on my PSP during my last trip to Sydney, slow start but very rewarding once you get out o the town the first time. Replayed Dead Rising, which is always a good time. That game has its flaws, but god is it fun.  

PSP bright looks kind of cool, but I really wish they would flip the positions of the analog nub and the D-pad.  It would seriously help prevent the "cramped hand" syndrome I get every time I play my slim longer than two hours. Please...Sony...move that nub!

I just picked up Dead Space, Silent Hill: Homecoming and Golden Axe: Beast Rider the other day. It’s funny, when I brought the Silent Hill box to the checkout I had the tellers asking me “Are you sure you want to get this game?” One of them suggested if I like a Silent Hill type game I should get Silent Hill 2 or Silent Hill 1. A fair point, since those games were freaking awesome. But I couldn’t help think how much that is like going to a music store to pick up a record only to have the teller go “Man, this band sucks – are you sure you want to get this, douchebag?” It made me laugh. These guys knew their games though, so it was all-good.
I was disturbed by one thing though. The copy of silent Hill was already out of the shrink-wrap. You basically get the empty box on the shelf, bring it to the teller, and then they get the disc. They put it in the box and slap a massive sticker on it stating it is a new game. Huh? How can you open something, and sell it as new? Especially when you are so synonymous with selling a used product? That just doesn’t make any sense to me. Most places sell things like that as open box, right? For me, if I am paying full price, I want it exactly as it arrived from the distributor.

I am heading out to the 'Unite for Kids' charity event in San Francisco next week, which should be a pretty good time. I am looking forward to seeing all the people I missed by opting out of the weak E3 this year. Maybe I will take the camera and grab some pics to post here next week?

Ok, I'm done now.  I am going to go watch the Happening for the 100th time.  I can't stop myself, it's like a Carrot Top movie.  You know it sucks, but each time you watch it you find out something about yourself...about how you suck.  It's that good of a bad movie.