- First up: the store page is finally up and running! So here’s a chance to pick up a copy of the first Unlucky preview minicomic if you’re interested. It’s only $2.00!!! And that includes postage!!! Though for US residents only… if you live elsewhere (I know that I have a nice UK contingency that visits this site) just drop me a line and we’ll work something out. And as mentioned before, in addition to comics, I plan on producing shirts sometime down the road.
- Anyway, its been really nice both yesterday and today. I LOVE the fall weather; the cooler temperatures, the constant breeze with that smell of fall… Plus I also like not feeling all hot and uncomfortable; I enjoy being able to regulate my own temperature, instead of being at the mercy of the summer sun. That and I’m a jacket kind of guy. Hence why it almost impossible for me to be here at work.
Also not helping is this one Nick Mag piece I’ve been slaving away for the past week that I’m totally sick of just looking at. At the end of the year, we’re letting kids vote for best video games in numerous categories and its my job to decided upon the nominees. Problem is, the games have to be rated E to T (absolutely no M rated titles) and its been a pretty shitty year for kids games. Even once reliable, kid-friendly franchises have gone totally dark, stuff like Jax & Daxter; in the newest game, there’s tons of tobacco smoking, and Jak even get drugged via spiked wine!
Even the standard fare categories, such as best console games, have been rather tough, but forget about the more playful. “wacky” awards, which is a staple of Nick Mag, like “most pointless object that needs to be collected”. I’ve been asking fellow game journalists for their opinions and verification on hard data and most of them agree that I’ve got a near impossible list to fill up. And who’s the genius who came out with the categories in the first place? Me of course… I should have realized that once I came up with “Most Pointless Object That Needs to Be Collected”, that I would be the guy who have to figure them out.
- So yeah, I’ve been busy, with barely any time to relax or goof off. Still haven’t touched those comics I got last weekend. As for playing video games? Ha! And I haven’t any time to surf the web for fun and stupid shit, which is driving me the most nuts since I’ve been online almost non-stop for the past few days for the Nick article.
At least I have friends who’ve been passing along some interesting stuff, like Michele who passed along a brand new trailer to the classic horror film the Shining, but edited as if it was a nice, wholesome feel good flick. They did an excellent job using footage from that scene when Jack kisses the dead woman/prostitute/his mom/whoever the hell it was.
… Make sure you check out the actual card. I animates, and very well might I add.
- Katie on the other-hand passed along film reviews for some a softcore porn flick featuring plenty of lesbian sex, but also tries to be a successful mummy movie at the same time, and actually succeeds!. I’m sold.
So I told her about Taste of Bread, the horror flick Dave & I made years back and she’s dying to see it. And she doesn’t even know yet that the whole thing was shot with one of those camcorders for kids, which you have to hook up to a VCR, yet we have plenty of outdoor shots! I gotta transfer it to DVD sometime soon…
- In return I sent Katie a link to something that I’ve enjoyed for quite a while, and I forget if I’ve passed it along here, but I may as well share the secret right now. It’s guaranteed to provide countless hours of entertainment, from now till the end of the internet itself: a LiveJournal image aggregator. The page displays the last 40 images uploaded to LJ at that exact moment. Trust me, go to the page and prepare for some possibly amazing/pathetic/cute/hilarious/digusting stuff. And be sure to hit reload every 10 seconds, cuz there’s always more. Though a warning: it can be pretty NSFW at times.
- Meanwhile in the world of games, again, I haven’t had much time to check and see what’s going on, but I have played around a bit with the latest web game sensation: Grow Cube. It’s an abstract puzzle/sandlot-ish game from EyeMaze, which is created by the mysterious “On”. Trust me on this one, it’s definitely worth playing, even if you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.
- And I know this is old news, but everyone’s favorite game designer, Hideo Kojima, now has a blog of his own. Its called, curiously enough, HIDEOBLOG. And it’s a good old-fashioned blog alright… in his very first post, Kojima waxes philosophical over the new Charlie & the Chocolate Factory movie. the band Franz Ferdinand, and the weather.
WARNING: To all my friends who aren’t into video games and game journalism, the following might be very boring. Though if you are a cartoonist, it might make you feel happy that you are doing the right thing.
Speaking of blogs…. I think I’ve made it no secret that I find them sorta dumb. But I the thing is, almost all of the negative stereotypes I have associated with them… at least not the ones related to dopey teenage girls that act all emo or drama queen-sih in hopes of attention and adulation from complete strangers… are due entirely to gamers. Yes… I have a gaming blog, I know, but again, I have my reasons for maintaining one, and again, I’m not necessarily proud of it. Or at least I not to make a big deal about it. But for many gamers, blogging is a very serious thing.
Game blogs, or specifically gamers who blog, are so strange… I’m into tons of stuff besides video games: old movies, sketch comedy, wrestling, etc. and yet I don’t nearly find as many people in those respective interests passionately blogging about it like gamers do with their main thing. Why is this?
Well I think I have a possible reason, which I actually first realized at SPX last weekend, and which I brought up when explaining to a person I know via LJ why I personally dislike 1UP.com (Ziff Davis’ online presence, which pushes game bloggers quite heavily, much to my annoyance). Instead of just repeating myself, I’ll just cut and paste what I wrote…
First off, let me state that I have no problems with the actual news or editorial content that’s generally found at 1UP. There’s some fine writers there, and even some awesome developers. Course I never read any of it, simply because the entire site is a technical mess (and everyone knows this, but the assurances that its getting fixed seems to lessen as times goes on, but that’s another issue). My problem with 1UP is the whole blogging thing and how they are “used”. And I guess it ultimately relates to my issues with gaming blogs in general…
Like many folks, I too have a gaming blog. Its for personal reasons, primarily for my friends, many of whom have pursuits elsewhere (mostly in the field of comics) and since I’m always looking for interesting and weird tid-bits relating to the world of video games for my friends, have a journal site is a effective means to pass the news along in a timely and low-hassel manner. But I also have one for professional reasons: I’m a professional “game journalist” (yes… dirty word, I know) and having a blog allows me to be visible and active, and via my own platform. I believe it showcases my skills when it comes to digging aforementioned news and info, as well as the commentary I occasional provide. Plus I pimp my whole “New York” angle as much as possible.
Do I take blogging seriously? …. Eh, not really, cuz its all goofy fun in the end, at least for me. Perhaps I should since I do reap immediate benefits, but I just find bloggers in general, at least the ones who take it, and therefore themselves, too seriously humorous at best, and annoying at worst. Yes, its officially “the next big thing” and as is such the case with all next big things, there’s sparks of genius in places, but the landscape is mostly riddled with deafening mediocrity.
But I’ve noticed that a lot of gamers who blog take what they do VERY seriously. Perhaps too much so. Yet that’s okay… whatever floats their boat. Some go way overboard by having three of four blogs simultaneously. That’s overkill I think. Granted, I have two blogs, one on my site and a LiveJournal, but the LJ is simply there to pass along notice that I’ve made an update on my own site, nothing more. But again, having multiple blogs is also fine in itself. Though I think the very act does deserve some analysis.
I went to school for cartooning but shortly after graduating, I pushed it aside to pursue game design. And recently I’ve decided to make comics once again. This past weekend I went to SPX, a major small press comic books show were folks sell their own comics to like-minded folks. And then it finally dawned on me… the reason why so many folks I know, the gamers, are so frustrated. You see, everyone at the show, the folks who were selling their own books obviously love comic books, enough that at one point, they decided to take a stab at it. And it seems that whenever someone really loves something, that person will try to create something of their own, whether its film, or music, or any other form of art. But its just not as feasible when it comes to video games. Its almost impossible these days to create a game by one’s self, and that level of frustration, or something stemming from it, is fairly evident from almost every diehard gamer I encounter. And many, it seems, have decided to use this frustration, this energy, to write about it video games, as a means to be more closer connected to them. Which again, is fine and dandy.
Though it should be pointed out quite a few can become noticeably far too attached with the concepts and ideas regarding gaming, at least their own… yes, the act of video gaming is often a very singular, person experience, but I believe its a tad bit absurd when folks become so accusatorial or defensive in regards to something which they themselves had no creative involvement in, let alone that its just a video game in the end. And I know that statement might be offensive to some, but speaking as someone who’s life has been profoundly impacted by video games (I grew up with, they’ve helped forge many friendships in my life, as well as my career), at least I can still view them as just video games at the end of the day. And if gamers have a problem with that, and perceive my outlook to be condescending, well, that’s their problem. Hence why when I encounter fellow game designers or writers who are so bitchy about their professions, I have to roll my eyes… we are living every fifteen year old boys wet dreams! But again, that’s a whole another debate. My point is that gamers can be a very over-emotional, scatter-brained set, and much of the writing unfortunately reflects this.
…. But regardless of my personal opinion of diehard game bloggers, if its what makes them happy, then more power to them. But I seriously object when such personal words and thoughts are being used by a large media conglomerate. Actually its not so much the act in itself, its the lack of proper compensation.
Let me just reiterate that I’m not some whiny game writer who’s pissed that its tough to get a paying gig nowadays because so many people are doing the same thing, and for free (since there is that very clear connection between blogging and New Games Journalism), but I do find it very dirty how Ziff Davis is pimping the writings of some 15 year old at zero cost. Its not like he’s writing the actual news, but he is the poster child for a major corporation, and that kid is not getting his dues.
1UP pushes the whole community aspect with their point system, but its such a hard sell… like being buddies with editors of the magazines. Hey, while I’m not necessarily friends with any of them, though I will sat that folks I am acquainted with are indeed very warm and personable (well… they were cool bosses, what else can I say?), but putting them on such a pedestal seems a tad bit ridiculous. Yet people seem to be stumbling over-themselves (or at least that’s the implied message) to be “buddies” with these folks, who again, are people that write video games.
Speaking of the folks who work for ZD that blog, how much of an open forum is it exactly? I’ve had discussions a few times about this, and have brought up a possible scenario of someone saying something that might be offensive to the parent company, to the point of censorship taking place. All have said that ZD is very hands-off and that nothing has even come close to resembling such a situation, but the fact that its a very real possibility is bothersome.
But back to the use of bloggers, what’s most annoying is their use of their female quotient. In almost every ZD mag you have some girl’s smiling face and her going on and on about how cool 1UP is, as is the ability to blog about games and the community that’s attached to it. Hey, did this girl get a check? Because if not, that’s pretty fucked up. Though if they do, I am willing to change my stance on this, but no one in the multiple times I have brought it up has answered my question. Forgetting all that, if I was female gamer, I’d be a bit annoyed by it all… its just a far nicer, less outwardly offensive variant of the booth babe. It appeals to horny males to join the site, period.
Do I feel that blogging is killing game journalism? Well it is to a certain extent, but those who are doing ZD’s dirty work should at least be paid for their efforts. And it isn’t so much that people are possibly being taken advantage of that bothers me, just the fact that everyone is so willing to play along; I guess bloggers who have their faces and words featured are happy for the exposure. Maybe some believe that it will propel that to a writing career of some sort, but if ZD is getting the work for free now, why should they bother paying later down the road?
Well, you have it. Not sure if that really answers your question… I’m not saying you should stop doing your 1UP blog, but I think everyone who puts a lot of time and effort into whatever they do should just once in a while stop and think about things.
… BTW, you can find the whole thing here, including the conversation that prompted the response, as well as some follow-up, which unfortunately validates some of my fears. Oh, and for the record, this was all written very late at night, after being frustrated with not being able to wrap up the aforementioned Nick article for a solid six hours.
Okay, its the end of the work day, time to go. I’m tired of writing about games, time to play some!