All entries for Thursday 11 August 2005

August 11, 2005

Got Milk?

Writing about web page http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/howesn/

Nick Howes is a man of many talents.

However his most noticeable feature is his love of milk, I know that living with him is going to be a pleasureable experience simply because our fridge will never fail to be stuffed with this white gold that I too have a great and, in many ways, terrible thirst for. The love of milk is entirely grounded in scientific fact and very powerful advertising, which, as we know, is better than scientific fact.

Nick Howes is also a Lance Corporal which should mean he brings a sense of military discipline to the other slack jawed yokels I'm forced to cohabit with. Freeing me up for a few of my favourite pursuits , which is excellent. Nick can also lighten up even the darkest of evenings by imitating Police Academy's Michael Winslow with impecable timing. What a useful chap he is, and with the right wiring should be able to keep our home secure as well! Magic.

A poem about Nick

That guy on the news,
Had none of your flair,
He took an unscheduled cruise,
Sailed right through the air,
The poor chap hit the floor,
While trying Parkour.

Too soon?
That's why I'm no Nick,
While playing the loon,
He never misses a trick,
He's so cool,
Makes me look like a fool.

Thats why I'm watching him now,
As I tighten my grip,
I see him milking a cow,
One little slip,
Where'd he get all those cows?
God bless you Howes.

The best thing about Nick though, is that he loves making things, be it games, £10 pound note t-shirts, or wild photoshop antics he's always creative and thus great, and truly inspiring to have around.

Lance Corporal Howes; I salute you.

(Sorry about the delay on your application form Nick, beaurocracy and all that)


Indie Games

Writing about web page http://diygames.com/


Will independent video games soon rival the strength of the independent cinema scene, and provide a similar role in reinvigorating the conservative mainstream? These signs are definitely begin to show, with a few breakthrough games like Uplink showing that the small scale independents can still have large success, as they did in the dawn of the industry. While the team behind the game have said that if they'd known how hard it was going to be in the beginning they wouldn't have tried, somehow I don't believe them. On a much wider scale independent companies are having success in specific fields with good buisness models – such as in MMORPG games where players pay a monthly fe for an ongoing experience and are often prepared to do without expensive and time consuming graphics for a greater depth of experience.

There are plenty of signs from the more artistcally inclined game designers that they yearn for a stronger independent scene in which to exercise their skills. Warren Spector (Credited as the main genius behind the original Deus Ex) went on a 'rant against the games industry' panel at this years GDC saying:

We need Sundances. Independent Film Channel. Equivalents of those. Just try to find some way of funding your stuff that doesn’t come from a publisher.

See the full text here

Outside these big industry names there are also things happening; independent games are getting better. Observe this article over at Euro gamer on some of the more interesting titles around today.

There are new models for lower cost gaming emerging, with new distribution models. Check out Ritual's SiN: Episodes . They intend to use Valve's Steam software to deliver game content directly to consumers in a format like TV serials, evolving and changing the way the game plays as more content is released and players generate feedback.

Its exciting and somethng that everyone should encourage and be involved with. More independent games means more innovation, games for smaller markets, games for adults, women, artists. Games that make you think, make you cry, games that move the industry into a proper art form, worthy of the name.


Fantastic Formulas

Went to watch the Fantastic Four Movie a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed it well enough. The Fantastic Four were never going to make for a movie with any real darkness. Always designed as the 'first family' of Marvel Comics their story is that of being a sugary sweet group of millionaires bent on saving the world and all things cute, while smiling for the press.

The geek tribe is currently bathing in a giant, luxuriant, milk bath of comic book tie in movies – from Batman through Elecktra to Sin City, all types of comic book licenses are being mined by Hollywood as fantastic cash making forumlas. These same licenses are then filtering down into the games market with a barbarian host of titles troubling the shelves at Game - mostly terrible. There are other signs too, of what amounts to a 'geekification' of current modern culture. Witness Neighbour's Lou playing Dungeons and Dragons. Witness too the transformation of geek character Seth (in popular teen drama The OC) to a modern sex symbol. I can see why a superhero character like Batman or Spiderman could easily become many a girls fantasy, and like spiritual fathers, these super hero's may have bestowed their mystique on those among us who speak geek.

With certain caveats.

The media geek, is the acceptable face of geekdom, he is the geek for the 22nd Century. Wacky like Jonny Depp, and with the same smooth skin and faultless smile, this new breed of geek may speak of hit points and wear glasses, but dress him up in a suit and he's ready to walk down a catwalk. This new breed of geek is careful never to tread too close to the edge of dark geekery. Furries – your time has not yet come.

So now, as with all trends, must surely come the backlash. As the pace of comic inspired output in Hollywood reaches fever pitch, there will surely rise and rise the dissenting voice who wonders if we shouldn't all just head outside, get some fresh air and play sports.


Blog alterations

I've made a few changes to the layout of the blog again. These were undertaken to make it more interesting to write, and bring it up to date with my life.

If I removed you from my favourites list and you feel personally offended, then stop being an idiot. Also I've decided that favourite blogs can mean 'links to wherever I damn well please'.

In doing this I noted how long winded the process of removing your favourites from your favourites list is. A quick chat with blog insider Mat informed me that most of the good stuff, shall eventually, Come To Pass.


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