08/03/2006

Go Home… It’s The Mayor’s Orders

by Matthew Hawkins

I was at the Microsoft press event a few hours ago when I got a message from work (I was in the middle of checking out Gears of War… I’ll get to that in a moment). It was the secretary, and because my phone was messed up, I couldn’t make out the whole message… something about the school being shut down… an emergency…. the mayor’s orders. I did make out the last part: don’t come back to work.

But I had to; all my stuff for the weekend was at my office. So I wrapped things up and went outside to see what was going on. Not many people were on the streets, very few cars, which in New York City, in middle of the day on a Thursday afternoon can be a bit ominous. My guess is that the power was fading in the city, but things seemed okay for the moment. As I waited for the downtown 1 train, I prayed to God that it wouldn’t but out while I was in a tunnel.

Thankfully, the ride was without incident, so I made it back to SVA, where everyone was leaving and giving me the “Why are you still here?” treatment. So the whole story is that the mayor called for everyone to conserve energy, so the school was shut down at 2, which meant that we could all go home. But since I have meet Jeremiah at 5, to head out o Jersey for the start of our Otakon trip, and the AC is much better here than at home. Though most importantly, I don’t want to be stuck in the trains if the power cuts while going back to Brooklyn, I’ve decided to stick around.

Right now, all the computers in the department is off and the lights are off, so its sorta dark in here. But at least it’s cool. Though I do sense the AC is getting quieter and quieter. Fuck.

Anyway, since I have some time… back to Gears of War. Two things you should know about my tastes in gaming:

- I dislike first person shooters
- I really hate generic space marine shit

That being said, I was totally blown away. First off, it?s not a first person shooter as I thought it would be, which is apparently a veery common mistake, given the person behind it. Speaking off, its creator, Cliff Bleszinski was the one who walked me through the game (who was a very nice fellow), and I was extremely impressed, not by the visuals, which looked drop dead gorgeous… despite the apparent clich?d subject matter, the art design was simply superb (yes, it stars some guy in a power suit… even Cliff admitted that it was clich?d, but pointed out that so long as one does something interesting with it, then its not necessarily a bad thing, which is a totally valid point), lending an almost Shadow of Colossus vibe in terms of the atmosphere (sounds crazy I know, but that’s what I was reminded of for whatever reason)… but the gameplay looks rock solid, with nice little touches and innovations in terms of controls and interface. The “CNN cam” which is the view from behind when the character is huddled over and moving was really nice, and totally brought you into the think of things. Bleszinski was pretty adamant about his idea of what “next-gen” is, which isn’t more realistic physics but more sophisticated storytelling, and smoother interactivity. He was pretty proud of the controls scheme, which is mostly contextual and therefore doesn’t rely on a million different buttons and rote memorization when it comes to combinations. He even admitted that, if they really wanted to, they could have cut out two of the buttons used. With such an attitude, it?s almost hard to believe that the man made his name making PC games. So yeah… I’m really looking forward to Gears of Wars.

But the main reason why I went to the event was to check out Dead Rising, the new zombie-action spectacular from Capcom (and from Keiji Inafune, the man behind Mega Man, so you could say I’m a fan of the guy’s work). And the game looks and plays simply awesome. I actually got my hands on the controller for this one, and it felt oh so nice to bash in zombie skulls with random shit found throughout the mall (for those who don’t know, all the action takes place in a mall, so its basically Dawn of the Dead: the game). Swinging around a bar bell from the gym was fun, but the chainsaw from the hardware store was extremely satisfying (watching head and limbs fly and spray all over the place).

So yeah… I now have two new reasons to get a 360.

Anyway, since I forgot to do it yesterday, here’s some more pictures: first, here’s a few pics from the chiptunes show courtesy of Jeremiah

And if you are not in going to Maryland for the craziest sounding anime freak fest in North America (or so I have been told), and if you’re in the NYC area, you should check out the Warped Tour. Not for the music, but to check out Joe‘s characters, which are splattered all over the place, and some cases, full of hot air…

But if you are indeed coming to Otakon, here’s where you will find myself and MK:

TABLE LOCATION INFORMATION
Studio Name: Copykat
Table Start Location: T04
Table End Location: T04

So apparently we have a corner table in the guest section/artist alley, which I hear is very nice. You will find us with copies of Copykat, of course, and there should be copies of my Unlucky minis as well. Can’t wait! And I will have a camera on-hand to take plenty of pictures and catalouge all the wondrous sights.

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