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The Podcast II.

So, that’s over with. Game Industry News (GIN) didn’t last as long as I’d like, but, few good things ever do last as good as you want them to, y’know? I wasn’t able to put the time into writing it that I wanted, or try some of the other methods of distribution, so rather than throw time into something I didn’t feel I could do justice, I backed out. Justin, the host, didn’t feel like keeping it up, so he backed out as well. Dude’s doing two jobs and another podcast right now (the awesome Gamer’s Garage,) so I can’t imagine it was too painful for him.

That said, I did write a goodbye that the slack bastard (I kid, I kid; I love the guy, he knows that,) never got around to recording, so I thought I’d post it here. (Seriously, it’s not like there was a huge following, so it’s no big deal.) I wrote the majority of them “as him,” so to speak, so here it is:

Welcome to the Game Industry Newscast for this Friday, August fifth, I’m Justin, and it’s last call.

We’ve had fifty-nine weekday micropodcasts cataloging the day’s game industry news over three months time. The most-listened-to episode has one hundred and thirty five listens as of this recording. The lowest, four. New episodes would get about a dozen listens that day, and a few times that after about a week.

It seems odd to think about it, but many episodes will continue to get a few more listens until this domain expires or they’re taken down. So in a way the podcast isn’t dying, just hibernating. It was a new idea that was never entirely pulled off. A weekday micropodcast that was intended to be syndicated as a weekly news update for other podcasts. Crazy? Maybe. But it was fun, and it was aided wonderfully by friends who chimed in and some talented musicians who let us use their music free of charge. Maybe one day it’ll return, and it’ll work as imagined. But not today.

It’s an idea we may revisit in the far future. But it’s not one that we’re up for doing right now. Last week my producer Jeff decided that he didn’t have the time available to make GIN what he wanted it to be, and in turn decided would rather turn his attention elsewhere. With that, I don’t have the time to do it by myself.

This has been your Game Industry Newscast, I’m Justin, and on behalf of our producer Jeff, here, or elsewhere, we’ll see you in the future.

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If I Made the Next GTA.

Obviously the future of Grand Theft Auto lies between San Andreas and GTA4. What do I mean? Imagine the rich world (There’s so much room for activities!) created by San Andreas, but with the ability to download new chapters like GTA4. This is what’s needed. Of course, what will the next GTA be like? I certainly have no clue. I can only suggest what I would like it to be. And with that, I present Grand Theft Auto: Blue, Green, and Gold.

Imagine a rural community on the border of Tennessee and Kentucky. Wait, rural America? Damn right. Why? TN and KY are second and third in the rate of domestic US marijuana production (according to the latest numbers I found, 2006: This gives awesome potential for a series whose linking element is that you control a criminal.

See, I don’t want Rockstar to out-do themselves with a sprawling huge city with FOUR major areas instead of three and call that progress. I want them to out-do themselves with the amount of in-game data that they’re able to juggle. I’d gladly take a smaller more persistent world over a larger more sprawling one. More persistent elements in the world would go a great way toward helping create a more dynamic narrative structure, and that’s going to be important if we’re creating a world we’re going to want to expand on. I want them to make the game-story as open as the world, or to at least try.

So we start with a small town, an “across the tracks” neighborhood (where poor blacks live,) a trailer park (where poor whites live,) homes around the city for the more affluent, and a handful of apartment complexes for middle income folk scattered across the town. Straight through the city is one long six-lane Interstate with a four-lane loop around it. The ends of the six lane Interstate have a mountain tunnel on each end that just loops the player around. In the barren area around the city? Plenty of dirt roads, farms, a river with a few creeks, a small private airfield full of Cessnas, forests, maybe a sand dune, and hidden marijuana fields.

I want it filled with different actions like aircraft, bikes, side jobs, police missions, fire dept. missions, minigames, etc. just like San Andreas was. Keep a robust amount of activities with which to play off of later, but don’t use them all in the game’s plot.

I want Frank, the town drunk to start out at McDonald’s, and by the time I drive all the way around the town, he’s only stumbled his way down the road to Pearline’s Fried Chicken. (Whereas in the current GTA games, he’d probably just magically appear at random locations around the city.) I want some redneck named Clevon’s Station-Wagon-meth-labs exploding with a slight irregularity and small town news vans showing up like it’s the most important thing that’s ever happened. I want someone like Sheriff Buford T. Justice harassing a guy named Leroy for being black, but the Sheriff will claim that Leroy is a suspected drug dealer, so Leroy calls out the Sheriff on his racism, and the Sheriff skulking off. And once he’s gone, I want Leroy to actually sell drugs. If you shoot someone, the body should stay there (unless you move it,) and if someone finds it, the police and media show up. The county coroner plots against the sheriff, the city commission plots against him, small town politics get ugly. Cops keep their eyes open for any impropriety. I want cops to keep an eye out for your car, and your clothes, and changing them is how you ditch cops, not going through some magical paint shop. This is the world I want to play my games in.

But why? What kind of story could we get from this?

Put the player in the role of a young troublemaker banned from his similar county back home in Tennessee after being a known drug runner, but him never being caught. Keep alluding to “the shootout,” as the final straw that had the Sheriff of his last home threaten to kill him if he didn’t leave. Have a few references to a bloodbath in his home town, and have people who find out where he’s from be a bit in awe, and ask questions someone who’s been in serious shit wouldn’t ask. I’m convinced that this is golden.


-After the game’s end, the County Coroner arrests the Sheriff for being corrupt (as revealed in the game proper, after which our hero drives off in the sunset.) Of course, he’s even more twisted. In steps a secondary character in the game to save the day.

-Pizza delivery guy gets robbed and goes on an epic mission to get his $12.93 and tip.

-A pilot trying to make an important deadline makes an emergency landing on the town’s small airstrip and finds himself in the middle of thugs loading an airplane with gross amounts of weed. They try to kill him, but as he runs into the forest for safety, he stumbles across a cabin with a good ole boy who saves him. The player must now retrieve his aircraft by spoiling the operation, getting his plane fixed, and escape by a set time in order to make his mysterious delivery. More hijinks ensue.

I could go on all day, none the single most original thing you’ve heard, but all enough to make anyone’s imagination say “hey, yeah.” No, I don’t expect anyone to read this far, but, I had to expand on it. It’s been rumbling around in my head for a while and I meant to post it here a while back. Good to get it out.

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A Return to Writing

They’re called “365 Projects.” The idea is that you contribute to the project every single day, for an entire year. Naturally, what better time to start one than on January first, right? Right. So a guy I know, Nathaniel, blogged a few days back (best summed up on his “tumblr,” whatever that is,) about his intention to make one contribution to Ficly a day. (Ficly being a site where you get 1024 characters to write a story, regularly a sequel or prequel to an existing story on the site.) I can do nothing but applaud the guy; as I do on many fronts. On top of his smarts he’s always seemed an affable gent, so I wish him well.

What does it have to do with me? Good artists borrow, great artists steal. I’m going to steal Nathaniel’s entire 365 Project, from goals of daily short stories, down to his plan to Tweet a link to each Ficly entry, with the tag “Ficly365.” I may even make a weekly post linking to them. Not sure yet.

The obvious question to anyone who knows me: Do I expect to succeed? Well, I intended to write an entry for this blog on December 16th, having that date gone a full year without an entry. A year ago, and still now, I intend to shore up the blog a bit design wise. So, am I actually expecting to pull this off? No; but that’s because I’m a realist. Am I going to try anyway? Absolutely; I’m also a romantic, and what cause is greater than a lost one? I submit there is none. Only knowing full well the result of ones actions can one launch headlong into process without a specter of doubt looming over him, and knowing failure is imminent gives me the ability to proceed into an insane task without flinching.

Who needs opportunity? I want certainty, damn the outcome.

If you like, you can read the first entry here. It’s actually rather important to read the prequel and understand what the original writer was going for, as mine was just a riff on his.

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