All entries for Friday 29 July 2005

July 29, 2005

The magic railroad

Scene: Just before bed time, Cameron's room. Cameron is four years old, and a keen devotee of Thomas the Tank Engine.

Cameron: We should throw away our tape of Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Daddy. It's silly, and I don't like it.

(T&TMR is a godawful attempt to make a full length movie out of a format which was originally intended to work in five minute episodes. Worse than that, it attempts to combine the old-fashioned, British, slightly surreal world of the Island of Sodor with the requirements of a modern American children's adventure movie – talking dogs, cute, plucky kids, magic, bad guys, heroes. It is truly abominable, and I loathe it. So I was pleased to hear Cameron come around to the same point of view.)

Me: Yes. Or perhaps give it to someone else.

(While getting rid of the tape is devoutly to be wished for, just throwing in the bin seems kind of profligate. Can we use this chance to think about charity and recycling and whatnot?)

Cameron: Yes. Somebody who might like it. Somebody like...

(Long pause for thought)

Cameron: Chris T!

(Chris T is what Cameron calls Chris Tilbury, to distinguish him from Chris May. I had to excuse myself from the room and go and laugh in the bathroom. If you're reading this, Chris, you'll no doubt be thrilled that Cameron has sized up your cinematic taste so perfectly.

Death to the games industry

A few weeks ago, Greg Costikyan gave a fantastic presentation on the video games industry, and why now is such a godawful time to be a games developer. (And more positively, what could be done about it.)

He's now made the presentation available online, and it's a great read; if you've been a games developer in the past, or you aspire to be one in the future (are you out there, Dan?), you should take a look at this. If you're a games player who sometimes wonders why games are basically all the same these days, and why there are no blockbuster films that don't have a tie-in game, this presentation has the answers.

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