Monday, September 08, 2008

Words of Wisdom from Raymond Chandler

From a letter Chandler wrote to the editor of The Atlantic Monthly about a proofreader who changed his text:
"By the way, would you convey my compliments to the purist who reads your proofs and tell him or her that I write in a sort of broken-down patois which is something like the way a Swiss-waiter talks, and that when I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will remain split, and when I interrupt the velvety smoothness of my more or less literate syntax with a few sudden words of barroom vernacular, this is done with the eyes wide open and the mind relaxed and attentive. The method may not be perfect, but it is all I have."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

EP Daily debuts this week

Yep, that's right. Electric Playground is back with the debut this week of EP Daily. Reformatted into a sort of Access Hollywood for geeks, the show is available now for viewing at the newly redesigned Electric Playground website:

Make sure you go over there, check out the new show, and let me know what you think ... especially since I've been working with Vic and the guys this season.


Monday, August 11, 2008

We can rebuild him ...

Yeah yeah ... I know I said I'd be more active on here leading up to Comic-Con and for the foreseeable future thereafter. Then, I disappeared for a bit. Well, here's the deal. During Comic-Con, I was running myself ragged working on the filming for Electric Playground (check it out when it goes daily next week) and still juggling some meetings I had to attend in-between shootings. As soon as I got back into town, I had to deal with TSA screwing up the bag I had with all of the goodies I picked up at Comic-Con. Then I found out my car's electric system had died on me somehow while I was gone. And finally, I came down with some sort of nasty virus and was part of the living dead for a few days. Now? Now it's time to play catch up.

So, if you're old enough (or geek enough) to pick up the reference of my headline here, then you've probably guessed some changes are in the works. For lack of a better term, it looks like it may be time for a little upgrade to yours truly ... a sort of WldCard v2.0, so to speak.

"Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world's first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster."

While I won't be quite "bionic" and the price tag will run well under the Six Million mark, but by the time the year ends, I will certainly be running "Better, faster, stronger" ... and also a bit smarter as well.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

"I hate the bands you like!!"

It's strange how the guys at Red vs. Blue can so eloquently point out how ridiculous some people can be. I'll admit, there are a lot of little things that drive me nuts in my industry, but one of the most irritating is what I'm deeming "rampant fanboyism".

We've all seen it at least once, particularly in this Age of the Internet. Usually, someone somewhere makes a critical comment about something ... be it a game, a band, a TV show, a movie ... whatever. Most of the time, it's not even a terrible criticism, but rather a valid point just saying that Product X isn't necessarily perfect. That's when the fanboys start foaming at the mouth, break out the torches and pitchforks, and take to the streets like they're hunting down Frankenstein's monster.

While I'm all for fans supporting their "teams", there's a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Personally, I'm sick to death of seeing zealots proclaim their way as the only way. Here's a few newflashes, folks:

  • Final Fantasy XII coming to the 360 in North America and Europe is NOT a "betrayal" by Square Enix targeting PlayStation fans ... it's smart business.
  • If a Nintendo game has the words "Legend" and "Zelda" in its title, that doesn't automatically justify a 9-10 score.
  • Namco isn't playing favorites by giving PS3/360 owners Vader/Yoda in Soul Calibur IV. Yoda = Xbox 360 = Green. Vader = PS3 = Black. And do you REALLY think there won't be downloadable content that'll ultimately bring balance to the Force on BOTH systems?
  • While good games, neither Halo nor Gears reinvented the wheel in the FPS genre.
  • The Wii is a fun system, but not really "next-gen".
  • The PS3 hardware is a powerful system, but it's a royal bitch to program for.
  • The Xbox 360 is easy to program for, but the hardware should have been built better.
  • Consoles aren't killing the PC gaming market ... a lack of solid titles is killing it.
  • Just because a game works on the PC doesn't mean it'll work on a console.
  • Just because you slap a number and/or a subtitle on a game doesn't mean I feel like replaying the same old experience.
  • Just because I don't agree with your viewpoint, it doesn't mean I shouldn't be doing my job. It's an opinion, people ... everyone's got one and they aren't always the same.

Okay ... I'm cutting this short, because I have a lot of work to get done, but there's going to be more about this subject soon.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Comic-Con overview

As you can tell from the lack of detailed entries, I haven't exactly had a lot of free time at the show. Between meetings, filming, more meetings, and more filming, I've barely stopped to breathe. Today, though, it all comes to an end for another year. Interesting stuff this time around, as I got to say hello again to Thomas Jane, met Simon Pegg, and today will be meeting with both Grant Morrison and Deepak Chopra. By the way folks, definitely check out the interview we did with Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, and Jessica Hynes for Spaced. I fed a great little joke to Vic in there for Simon referencing both Star Trek and Hot Fuzz. If you know me, you've probably heard it already, but the reaction was absolutely priceless.

As I've already alluded to (isn't that just a great word? Alluded?), aside from filming, most of my time has been taken up in meetings at the show. Found out a metric ass ton of information on future projects, in video games, comics, and in film. I'll be spending most of the week following up with people and hope to be able to tease some of you with more details soon.

Anyway, I'll try to write some more about the show later today or over the week. Right now, I'm getting all packed up, as I check out of the hotel this morning before hitting the show. Then it's a red-eye from San Diego back to Jax, so I can start the work week off bright and early tomorrow. I can already tell, the first order of business will be a fresh pot o' coffee.

Before I go, though, here are a few quick bullet points:

  • Heroes Season Three looks to be awesome
  • Activision's Ghostbusters game is a LOT of fun once you get the hang of it.
  • Konami's Rock Revolution? Not so revolutionary.
  • Be sure to check out NECA's toy line soon. Fans will be absolutely "Rabbid" for what's in store.
  • DC's line-up may look strongest right now, but Marvel may still have a few tricks up its sleeve next year.
  • Hollywood has MORE than its share of geeks ... Kevin Spacey, Milo Ventimiglia, Dennis Miller, Sam Raimi ... that's right folks, screw the Skrulls, we're the REAL "Secret Invasion"

Anyway ... I need to wrap this up. Gotta finish packing and get ready to leave. As always, more to come.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Comic-Con Preview Night

Here's just a taste of the pics from the Preview Night of Comic-Con. If my connection was more reliable, I'd have 'em all up ... but they will be up soon.

Meanwhile, I got a few things I wanted, since it'll be hectic during filming. And it only took two hours of waiting in a ridiculous press line.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The new phone ...

As many of you know, I'm a gadget whore. I LOVE me some gadgetry. Well, recently I decided I was due to replace my phone. Ye ol' Dash just wasn't cutting it much anymore. So, out I went on a quest for a good phone and damned if I didn't find one that got me all geeked out again ... the Nokia N95-3.

This little guy is fully packed with all sorts of goodies.

  • 3G Support
  • 5 megapixel camera
  • Video recording at 640x480 @ 30fps
  • FM Radio
  • Built-in GPS
  • Music player (MP3, WMA, RealAudio, SP-MIDI, AAC+, eAAC+, MIDI, AMR, and M4A)
  • Video support (via built-in RealPlayer)
  • TV out
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Accelerometer
  • MicroSD support for up to 4G

... and a whole lot of other fun stuff I'm learning everyday (video calls? really?)

Now, this thing was a royal bitch to get set up the way I wanted it. Emails, text messages, web support, and everything took a while to get tweaked, but I'm almost there. I also loaded fring for the first time on a phone. For those of you familiar with Trillian, it's a lot like Trillian, but for mobile phones. My AIM, ICQ, MSN, Skype, Yahoo, Google Talk, etc. are all together in one convenient package now. And look ... off to the right of this very page. It's a fring widget so you guys can see if I'm online and drop me a quick message if I am. Ooo ... ahhh

I'd love to go into more detail about this thing, as I'm like a kid in a candy store right now ... but I'm under the gun getting a metric ass ton of prep work done for Comic-Con (see previous blog entry). But I'll be playing with this and using as many features as I can.

More to come ...

Comic-Con '08 coming up

Woo hoo!! Another year, another Comic-Con. Actually, it's going to be a busy year this year. I'll be at Comic-Con again, producing a host of segments for Electric Playground. Comics. Video games. Movies. You name it ... I'll be covering it.

I've been setting up interviews for weeks now, and there's still a lot that I'll be doing on the fly. Also, thanks to the new phone (more on that later), I'll be adding all sorts of pictures and videos from the show. I'll be organizing a lot of the coverage that EP (and Greedy Productions as a whole), and if all goes as planned, I'll be running around w/ my own camera. You won't actually see me in front of the camera on the segments, but I'll be one of the guys with the mic. Also, it looks like I'll be doing some extra coverage for some of the other outlets. I'll keep you posted here.

End of line ...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New column is up ...

Another week, another Crispy Gamer column. The latest "News in Review" is up ... here's a link to it:

The News in Review

Just like last week, things aren't going quite like they're supposed to. For starters, the column is once again in the News section, as opposed to the actual Features/Columns section. What this means is as soon as the new news stories pop up this evening/tomorrow, the column will get buried under the deluge of news bites. Second, they still haven't found a way to fix the character limit for the news stories. While this really doesn't affect actual news bites, it DOES affect the feature length column. So, the column was apparently split into two news stories ... a solution akin to putting a Band-Aid on a sucking chest wound. But hey, at least it works and it's up.

Oh ... for the record, the last line isn't a typo. After losing a third of the column last week to technical issues, I couldn't resist the play on words. If you get the joke ... great. If not, ah well ...

Now comes the time for me to ask a favor of you guys. Go check out the column and make sure to let me know what you think. Let Crispy know what you think too. If you feel so inclined, sign up for an account on Crispy (if you haven't already), and join up with the Crispy Gamer Development Group to tell them you want to see more. It's also a great place to throw in your own suggestions on how to make the site better.Right now, I could definitely use a little extra support. If the column stays buried in the News section and doesn't get too many hits, it may not be around much longer. Right now we're in the "testing the waters" phase, and I need Crispy to know you guys wanna take a dip in that pool.

Okay, that's enough for now. Feel free to let me know what you think of the news recaps, as well as any suggestions for what you'd like to see from me in the future at Crispy (or anywhere else).

End of line ...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

So ... who's been keeping track of things?

First and foremost, since a lot of you have been wondering where all my updates have been, here's the latest. Most of you probably already know that I've been writing regularly for TeamXbox. What games have I been reviewing? Well, here's a handful of links from April:

Okay, so there's the start ... I'll post links to May's stuff later. I've also done a couple of podcasts for Crispy Gamer, as well as working the news beat for the site. Now, the all of the pieces fall into place, I'll also be starting up a weekly column there, reviewing the week's news and offering up my ... umm ... "unique" take on the stories. Expect a healthy does of wit, sarcasm, and just about everything else.

I'll have more news soon, and I'll be working harder to keep this blog updated.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It brings a tear to the eye ...

For all you video game fans out there who missed the news, Judge Dava Tunis has released her preliminary report on the Florida Bar's case against Miami-based lawyer Jack Thompson. In the report, Judge Tunis recommends Thompson be found guilty on 27 of the 31 charges levied against him.

You can read the GamePolitics article here.

For those who missed it the first time around, I've had more than my own share of dealings with Thompson. Check out the piece from my time at Game Almighty, Dealing With a "Jack" Ass.

Now, if you guys know me, you know I'm not petty ... I usually take the higher ground. Of course the key word there is "usually". In this case, I still have to ask one thing:

Who's the piss ant now, Jack?

Ahh ... that felt good.

End of line.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Vindication and satisfaction ...

Ahh ... the life of a game journalist.

So, early last week, I had the pleasure of writing the TeamXbox review of Assault Heroes 2. Now, I spent the better part of the weekend before the review playing the game AND the original one, long before I ever typed the first letter for the review. I compared both games and weighed the sequel against the first title and on its own merits. I was wavering between a 7 and a 7.5 before finally settling on a 7 for the final score. In my mind, a 7 isn't a bad score by any stretch of the imagination ... but it just shows that there was plenty that could be better too.

Overall, I simply felt like the game didn't bring anything really different to the table. To me, the game felt more like an expansion than a sequel. And considering that you can get the first game for half the price of the second ... well, it's the better deal. Still, fans looking for more Assault Heroes action would probably enjoy it. So, I settled on my score, wrote the review, and then things went ... "wonky". I won't go into too many details, but no sooner than my review got posted, I started getting flak for it. Apparently TeamXbox had scored the first game an 8.5, and there were people who felt like I scored the sequel too low by comparison.

Now, let me start off by saying that I had nothing to do with the review of the first Assault Heroes game. If I HAD, I'd have probably still scored it at around an 8 ... considering how it stood out at the time. Keep in mind that when AH1 came out roughly a year and a half ago, the Xbox LIVE Arcade library was a lot smaller. These days, though, there's a lot more on the service, and if AH1 came out today, it just wouldn't stand out as much ... especially in the light of other similar games I've played, like 1942: Joint Strike and Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 ... both of which I recently previewed.

So, here I am catching heat from all different sides about the review. In retrospect, maybe I could have explained a couple of things a little better in the piece, but I still stand by the review and stand by the fact that a) a 7 out of 10 ISN'T a bad score, and b) the game WASN'T scored to low. As I've said from the beginning, a review is simply one person's opinion of a given thing at a given time. I don't expect everyone to agree with me when I write a review, but I do my best to explain my opinion and why I think the way I do. My reasoning has always been that, whether you agree or disagree with me, you hopefully understand me.

Having said all of that, and taking the heat like I did for the review, I've gotta say that I felt a little better about everything after taking a new look at Game Rankings ... and found that, despite the initial reaction I got, it looks like I wasn't so far off the mark after all. The Official Xbox Magazine apparently gave Assault Heroes 2 a 7.0 score as well, and GameSpot gave it a 7.5. Neither review took away from the enjoyment of the game, but simply said it could have brought more to the table.

Admittedly, none of this would have changed my thoughts on how I do my job. Hell, if I scored a game at a 4/10 and everyone else scored it as an 8/10, I'd still stand by whatever I wrote. Even so, it's more than a little satisfying to see that I'm not alone in my thoughts ... and that some people out there even decided to stick by me and my work.

Okay ... that's my rant for now.

End of line ...

Monday, May 12, 2008

More to come

Yes ... it HAS been a long, long time. Too long. But no, I haven't forgotten about this little slice of internet real estate. I'll be doing more to update this soon, possibly with a whole new bag o' tricks. It'll take a little while, but bear with me.