January 2006

What’s up with David Jaffe?

Careful, I could be stringing together posts that have no meaning and/or no relation, but I’m kinda bored so I pose this question: What the hell is up with David Jaffe?

On January 18th David Jaffe posts (here):

You are floating in a river with no current.All around you are bricks of gold and shiny red lips.

It feels nice to float here; like you never want to leave…but it is very hard to swim in these waters. And if you stay here too much longer you may drown.

The bank of the river, off to your left side, is dark and mysterious. You are terrified to get out of the water…but staying in the river will probably kill you.

What do you do ?

Seems odd, no? Sounds to me like a man at a crossroads asking if he should submit to gold and big-talk despite personal loss, or risk the unknown path in an attempt to save himself. Should he tick with what has become comfortable, or take an opportunity to reinvigorate his life by striking out, away from the comfort? Stick with Sony, or leave’em. Then on the 26th, this possibly unrelated post came (here):

The blog is going on hiatus for a bit. Not sure how long…a few days? A few weeks or months? Maybe for good (in which case it would not be a hiatus, but an ending).I have really, really enjoyed working on this blog and chatting with all of you guys and gals. So much so that I may very well come back in a week and be like: what the hell was I thinking?!?! I can’t give up the blog!

But for now at least, I’m going to give it a shot.

For the last few months, I’ve been toying with the idea…it was something that kept coming up in my mind. But I’ve been reluctant to stop blogging not only because I enjoy it but because this blog has raised my visibility as a game designer; amongst gamers, amongst fellow game developers, and with the press as well. I’ve gotten lots of coverage, gained new players for the games I’ve worked on, and gained lots of great career opportunities. I have to admit I am worried about letting all of that go.

But I’ve always followed my gut. Within my personal life and within my work as well. And it’s never steered me wrong. I started this blog from a gut desire to have a space on the web to share my game development life and it’s been a blast. But right now my gut is telling me it’s time to let the work- and the work only- speak for itself.

Thanks for the interest and support. And thanks to Sony for letting me do this crazy thing. You guys have been nothing but supportive even when I’ve said stuff I maybe should not have said! Thanks!

So, he decided to go with his gut and stop blogging, despite at least two blogs before this one. The artist decides to let his art speak for itself, rather than speak for his work. He thanks his readers, his fans, and Sony, then signs off (after recommending potential game designers keep two very important things in mind; Red Lobster and Service Merchandise.)

It’s not unheard of for employees to catch shit for their blogs. Though it’s more likely he’s being sincere and appreciates Sony, that doesn’t fit in with my ranting and raving, and I’m going to pretend that’s not the case. I believe that David Jaffe has made up his mind to leave Sony, and is trying to convince himself to finish his current projects before leaving. Why else would someone put the kibosh on a blog that has elevated his status, helped his games, and created job opportunities? He’s trying to avoid those things so that they don’t become a distraction and he can finish his PSP game, “HL.” Think about that. If you had helped create a famous IP like Twisted Metal, and given your all in a wonderfully reviewed game based on IP you first through up back in high school ideas (which is now owned by Sony, who optioned it for a movie and gave you a role in the production (that for the sake of this I’ll argue was a pleasantry to keep you happy and slightly paid rather than actually involved in the film),) but only achieved a newfound level of respect and popularity after going out of your way to create a free blog on the internet… You may not be perfectly happy with the company that you’ve been working for. In fact, you may be more pissed at them than you are yourself. And you should be.

But then, good to his word, he soom completely posted his mind and posted an update on the same entry:

EDIT: Ya know…fuck it. I changed my mind….the minute I posted this it just felt….I don’t know….wrong. There is SOMETHING about not blogging anymore that feels right….but then the moment I step away from it, it feels wrong….and I miss it very much….I like having a spot on the web…..so I don’t know…..I will keep doing this for awhile….but I will keep this post up so you guys can see how confused I am about the whole thing…. :) Take it easy….going to bed….will post soon! Sorry for the confusion!….David

Fuck he’s a confusing guy. My prediction? He’ll keep blogging, and soon quit Sony. He may even finish the games he’s working on, as he seems to be intent on that.

In the comment-section of his blog I asked for him to email me, as he (understandably) doesn’t advertise his email address on his site. I realize he’s a busy guy and can’t email every schmoe who asks him too, but at least I tried to get an interview of sorts. (Not that I’m a big draw. I’m just saying, I tried.) But hey, I still welcome him to call me “batshit insane.” I call it “bored” and “creative.” :D

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Legally? It’s just an opinion.

Inspired by Shivam Bhatt’s open letter, I’ve decided to share two notes with the vastness of the internet. Mostly because writing letters to people is fun, but also because looking up their email addresses would take five minutes I don’t wanna waste.

To: Valve
Re:In-game advertising.

Fuck you. I can do whatever I want on my server as long as I’m not enabling people who pirate your game. If you want to host all of the servers, then fine, you can choose to not advertise and decide if you want to go after private servers. But if you’re not, then don’t complain about what I do on my servers. I’m paying for them and/or hosting them out of my own pocket. You either provide full functionality of the game, or you keep your hands completely off of what I’m doing to provide that. You want to label them as an advertising server on your game browser? Hey, I think that’s a fantastic idea. I’m sure a single bool or bit on the server telling if it advertised wouldn’t be too hard to implement. Hell, I’m rather sure that most server ops would be honest and set it accurately. You want to not list advertising servers at all? Completely within your right. But if I’m paying for it and doing the work, then you don’t get to make the rules.

And no, I don’t really run any servers. I don’t even really use the webspace I paid for aside from hosting a few files of DJ Z-Trip’s excellent music (which I heartily recommend, and you can get at http://ztrip.jeffool.com/) and a few pictures. But I still hold firm the opinion that whoever is paying-for/running a server gets to decide everything about it. Be careful Valve. You’ve already launched the next great step in publishing with Steam, not to mention you make damn fine games on your own. But remember Image Comics? Founded by a group of guys who didn’t like the ‘Suits’ telling them what to do? Well, it turns out they were just jealous of the Suits, and wanted to become Suits. And most of them failed at it and again make their money off of Batman, working for the same Suits they walked away from. You’re going to have to decide. Are you going to go all the way or are you going to go home. Are you going to become those guys you were trying to get away from, or are you going to make them irrelevant?



To: Shoe
Re: Moore’s Law interview

Don’t let Penny Arcade give you a big head. Your interview with Microsoft’s Peter Moore was cool, and much closer to what we as readers should expect. But it wasn’t overly ball-busting. Well, okay, that ‘naming names’ bit was fucking hilarious… Here, lemme quote that:

EGM: Wouldn’t you be pissed if you paid $400 for a new console and many of its games looked only marginally better than their current-gen equivalents?

Peter Moore: You wanna call out some games? Because I’m not gonna call out any games.

EGM: The 2K Sports games. Amped 3. Tony Hawk. Need for Speed. Gun. King Kong.

hahaha! Hoooo boy. That was fun. But next time, go ask Neversoft about why THAW and Gun looked unimpressive on the 360. Peter Moore didn’t make the game, he’s in marketing for fuck’s sake. We all know where most marketing people rank on the list of importance.

Shoester, I firmly believe that you know just as well as I do that there’s an air of change about. And you’ve placed yourself firmly on the cusp of the coming change. Don’t let us down. You owe us. We’re not only readers and subscribers, we’re just like you. Rather, you’re just like us; you’re a gamer, and you want better games. So to use the ‘cliff’ metaphor, when you see the change coming, don’t doubt what to do for a second. You jump right off that mother fucker head first. We’ll catch you.


PS. When/If you ask questions that they don’t answer, print those questions noting as much. There’s little as embarrassing as people knowing you’re afraid to answer a few honest questions.

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Why you make me hurt you, Games Journalism? You know I love you!

Warning, below are the half-assed angry ramblings of someone who’s annoyed with all the hubbub on Games Journalism.

Twisted Metal and God of War designer David Jaffe complains that Games journalists aren’t doing their jobs but merely becoming cheerleaders for games, sometimes regardless of the quality of the game. The argument being “Games are something developers make. Journalism is what journalists make.” He argued that if Games Journalism would hold Games’ proverbial feet to the fire, then maybe games would be better. Yes, an assistant producer to the game “3 Ninjas Kick Back” wants to be held to a higher standard of gaming greatness. Masochist? No. He wants to do better, and to do so he needs better feedback and critique. That’s admirable.

EGM editor Shoe comments on how sad it is that ‘cover story’ journalistic coverage is up for sale. (Here.) And to put this in perspective, let me remind you that this coming from a man who, literally, sells the cover of his magazine. So that’s saying something. (Apparently that ads-for-covers should be an option, just not an open bidding process.) And he caught a little heat for not revealing who did this. Should Shoe have named names? Naaah. It’s like he said on his blog, “that’s for some news organization to take care of, not EGM.” In dereliction of duty? Quite the opposite. His magazine’s intentions have never been ‘hard journalism of the underside of gaming’, of which there is apparently much. He just knows where his strengths lie (in actually covering the games,) and is saddened that his peers don’t take their jobs as serious as he does. That’s unfortunate.

Now the two articles that were the straws that made me think more about this.

Just the other day Slashdot linked to 1UP editor Sam Kennedy’s blog where he laments that developers rarely help his job. (Here.) This after he says that “publications like 1UP are still a business — we’re all here to grow. And we’re going to deliver (within reason, of course) what our audience wants in order to accomplish that. “

(Speaking to Games Journalism in general here, mind you…) Well, why should developers scratch your back? You’re going to scratch theirs regardless of what they do to you. Your aching for their acceptance to ‘Gaming’ and their input to your magazine has you trying so hard to make it all seem so ‘cool’ that John Carmack could beat you like an abusive spouse and you’ll not only completely gloss over that if got an exclusive review of id’s next game, you’d possibly go out of your way to make a Romero joke in the article.

I’m not suggesting take their insulting behavior out on the game critique, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t express disappointment or anger at a developer.

But Sam Kennedy linked to what I think is possibly the best article of this entire thing. (Here.) And so far as I know, it’s just by “some guy,” much like myself. Shivam Bhatt says:

How intellectual can you really be when talking about something like final fantasy or metal gear? The medium is barely into its teens when it comes to depth in story telling, and the stories we’re being given are as deep as a teenager’s high school journal. There’s very little subtlty and hidden meaning in games, as producers browbeat us with their points over and over across a span of 50 hours or so. Yes, square, i get it. Catholics are bad. Organised religion is control. etc. Kojima and his obsession with nukes comes to mind as well.

And that’s what it’s all about. Even David Jaffe’s original article. Games aren’t even a teen in my eyes, but a toddler. Games are just now developing their own language. After decades they’ve began to form words to describe the world around us.

Games Journalism, do you remember highschool and/or college? Remember the kid that constantly takes shit from the popular kids just because they let him hang out with them occasionally? Don’t be “that guy,” Games Journalism. No one likes “that guy.” Games are finally beginning to grow a little, and it’s time for you to do the same. So the next game that comes out and beats you over the head with “organized religion is bad” for fifty hours by having, gasp, a religious leader using the religion for his own evil deeds? Print “I don’t like being repeatedly browbeaten with obvious points. The developers treat the player like a simpleton.” And if you call them on it, even half the time, then hopefully people will begin to catch on and demand more. Better to be known as demanding prick than an oblivious suck-up, Games Journalism. And besides, the developers asked for it.

That’s the end for now. Just had to get that off of my chest. For the record, this started off as three paragraphs, but then I got angry and made it two pages of raving lunacy. Then I tried to cut most of the anger out. (Though, I loved that domestic abuse bit too much to cut.) I mean no offense to anyone mentioned, for the record. Nothing but love for you all. Tomorrow’s post? Angry and silly outtakes!

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