I was a clumsy kid. I was such a klutz – a total failure at sports, P.E. and general moving around the place – that my mother sought professional help for me. We lived in North Carolina at the time – it was around ‘82 – so I was 10. I remember driving to an unfamiliar part of Charlotte. A university campus? Or maybe some collection of government buildings? We went into a small medical office where I was subjected to a barrage of physical tests. My mother got a binder full of results. And I got a new after-school
There’s a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie coming out. I’m not here to savage the thing. That’s the work of countless, more predictable others. I am here, though, to explain why I ever liked the goofy comics in the first place. Partly because Unwinnable’s boss man so flippantly dismissed ‘em. He’s totally right, though.
When you’re the first born, you are a pioneer – a child explorer navigating a giant, confusing world. If you’re lucky there are adults looking out for you. Even so, it’s up to you to make your own mistakes and wander down dead-end paths with no practical guidance from those who have gone before. Parents can tell you what to do and what not to do, but it’s the wisdom of other children that carries the most weight. Of course, when you’re a little kid, you have zero grasp of these complexities. Your view of the world has little nuance.
There’s no conversation more boring than the one that hashes out what’s wrong with massively multiplayer online games. Everybody has an opinion, based mostly on having played one or two or a shit-ton. I tend to take these game design critiques with a dump truck of salt. Gamers only know what they want. And often that desire is what makes the game fun. Designers, on the other hand, I am terribly interested in how they think they can save the MMO. Back in 2007, I went to a conference for independent MMO designers. I was somewhat amazed to meet a
After a somewhat misspent youth experimenting with drugs, my biggest disappointment was that I didn’t see a pink elephant. Or blurry demon. Or a talking hot dog. The time I tried acid was mellow: I felt like I was in a sound bubble moving through the Florida night. And, truth be told, I was inside a pick up truck with Aphex Twin on the stereo. The best thing I can come up with was the time we were in an after-hours club by our house, high on ecstasy. It was well into the morning, so we kept our trip rolling
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or have real things to worry about) you know that the venerable game maker Nintendo has been having trouble making money lately. Now, I’m not a financial analyst. And I’m not really an expert on the Japanese game development or hardware business either. In fact, I’m not even that huge of a Nintendo fan any more. I kinda don’t like those Super Mario Galaxy games. BUT! I did beat Super Mario Brothers 3 back in the day (and I have a column due) so I’m pretty sure that makes me qualified to opine
If I was a bat – like a real live, nocturnal, flying mammal who navigates the sky with the help of sonar – I’d have real problems with the way my species was portrayed in videogames. I mean, movies already give bats a bad name. You’d think all bats do is fly noisily out of caves, like a cloud of vermin sending the womenfolk into a tizzy. Never mind the vital ecological contributions of plant pollination and seed dispersal that bats do every day with nary a “thank you.”
I can’t quite remember when I started following Paul Alexander on Twitter – probably some time during the early development of République, the newly launched stealth game by Camouflaj, the independent studio formed by Metal Gear vet Ryan Payton. I probably pressed follow and forgot, but over the last year or so, I’ve found myself to be somewhat simpatico, for lack of a better word, with the young designer. So when Alexander queried me about an interview (wait, is that how it’s supposed to work?) I didn’t think twice. I knew he’d be somebody I enjoyed talking to about games, art and ambitions. I hope you enjoy reading our chat and are inspired to
Last week, the Los Angeles Times informed me that I am weird. This, I already knew, but it is nice to see the confirmation in print. It turns out that only 1% of married couples with children of a certain age include a stay-at-home dad. Since this March (more or less), I have been one of that particular one percent. I wrote a little bit about what it’s like to be my particular flavor of new parent before. It involved much moaning and wailing about finding time to play videogames. I can report that a couple of months on, things
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – A loose-knit collection of programmers, anarchists and baristas launched an indie gaming console to little or no fanfare Thursday. The collective chose not to give the gaming device a name, a standard set of specifications or even a price point. “We’re trying to avoid the whole gaming hype train,” said hacker/forestry science major Arturo Gutierrez. “I mean, when I think of a brand, I think of cowboys searing the flesh of innocent cows. This isn’t about cattle capitalism.”
Last weekend we buried my friend Carlos Batts on the side of a hill in Glendale. It was the magic hour, so the sun and smog conspired to give mourners a Tony Scott panorama of downtown Los Angeles while we pondered the loss of a friend gone too soon. In attendance were the bent and burnt of Hollywood. I counted more than a few pornographers in black, models with tattoos spilling from dress sleeves too. One dude looked like a East L.A. biker. More than a few bore the cultivated look of art collectors and gallery owners – pricey-looking clothes
Knowing something is one thing. Grasping it can be something entirely different. I have long known that parents are hard-pressed for time. There’s a lot that goes into keeping a small child alive. You must feed them, change their diapers, stop them from crying and keep them from accidentally killing themselves in a world pretty much designed to harm small, incompetent creatures. These mandatory tasks don’t leave room for things the childless might take for granted, such as an afternoon spent playing a videogame or an unhurried bowel movement.