Friday, December 30, 2011

Say what you mean and mean what you say ...

Let me start off this post by saying that I don't ever expect everyone out there who reads my stuff to agree with everything I have to say.  I know, I know ... big shock, right?  Seriously though, I'll be the first person to tell you that when it comes to editorial or review articles, they're simply one person's opinion of a given subject at a given time.  In my time as a writer, I've had people criticize my reviews because they thought I gave something too low OR to high of a score.  And hey, I'm okay with that.  A lot of times, I'll even try to engage people and let them know that what I try to do is to express my thoughts on the subject, explain my praise and/or criticism, and that I try to look at things through the eyes of the audience ... though it's going to be filtered through my own experiences.

All that being said, I stand by what I say and I value my reputation as a writer.  What's been pissing me off lately, though, is what seems to be a trend of writers willing to compromise their integrity for the sake of simply ruffling a few feathers and cashing in on the almighty traffic of hits.  Let me explain ...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

When did we stop just having fun?

About a week ago, I posted a quick little monologue on Facebook asking when we stopped just having fun and being entertained.  At the time, I was frustrated at a lot of different reviews I was seeing online of everything from games to books to movies.  I was reading article after article in which this thing or that was being nitpicked to death, only to never actually answer the big question ... "Is it any fun?"

I'll be honest, at the time, my post was just meant to be me venting a little bit of steam.  Well, I was surprised at the response that quick post got, so I've decided to expand on the thought a little bit here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Just paint a target on my back ...

Earlier this week, I finally started spending some time in the early access multiplayer for Naughty Dog's latest globetrotting and relic hunting adventure, Uncharted 3.  Now, I could go on and on about how much I'm looking forward to the next chapter in Nathan Drake's story, and about how the game looks and plays so far ... which is something I'll probably do in a later post.  But this particular post isn't so much about Uncharted 3, as much as it's about the realization that I generally suck at competitive multiplayer ... and how I've finally decided that I'm okay with it.

Monday, October 03, 2011

@Gamer Issue #13

The start of another month means yet another issue of Best Buy's awesome @Gamer Magazine.  Of course, another issue of @Gamer means that another chance to check out a little bit of video game coverage from a certain video game journalist we all know and love.  Plus, this marks the debut of an extra little goodie in the magazine that we'll hopefully see more of in upcoming issues.  More on that later.

For now, though, let's take a quick peek through the pages of this month's issue of @Gamer and see what sorts of cool and interesting stuff you'll find inside.  Afterwards, if you haven't already done so, make plans to head out an pick up a copy from your nearest Best Buy ASAP.  Or better yet, head on over to the @Gamer website and get yourself signed up for a one-year subscription so you don't miss a beat.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

PCP Game Review: Marvel Super Hero Squad Online (PC)

In case you're just tuning in here, there's something you guys should know about me.  I am a self-professed and unapologetic comic book fanboy.  Marvel, DC, IDW, Dark Horse ... it doesn't matter.  I love the art, the writing, the characters, and pretty much everything about the medium.  Heck, before I got into this whole writing shtick, I even managed a couple of comic book shops.

Because of this "fanboy" mentality, whenever I see a new movie, TV show, or video game coming out based on a comic book, I kinda feel obligated to at least check it out and see if it's any good.  So when Gazillion Entertainment and The Amazing Society released the kid-friendly, free-to-play MMO based on Marvel Comics' Super Hero Squad ... well, who was I to pass up a chance to "Hero up!" and save the day?

Extra Content ...

Just a quick little post here to let everyone know that I've started up a second blog, PopCult POV.  PopCult POV is a collaborative blog I've set up to cover all manner of pop culture goodies.  Comics, games, movies, TV, books, food ... it's a wild mix of interesting and fun topics.  Because of this, I might not be posting here QUITE as much as I had been before.  To make up for it, I'll occasionally do a little cross posting here of articles I write over there, and adding an extra tag/label to point it out.

Be sure to let me know your thoughts ...

Friday, September 09, 2011

A "GD" boycott on Grant Morrison and Action Comics?

Every once in a while, I stumble across a story that, due to the sheer ridiculously absurd nature of it, starts to give me a migraine.  This morning, it was a piece at Comic Book Resources reporting that a North Carolina comic retailer was launching a boycott of DC's new Action Comics series and its writer, Grant Morrison.  So what sort of pernicious plot could have possibly been perpetrated in the pages of this periodical to provoke such a passionate proposition? (Ahh ... alliteration. Gotta love it.)   It's all because of a single panel that, according to Jeff Lamb, owner of aptly named Asheboro, NC comic shop, The Comic Conspiracy, shows DC's newest version of the Man of Steel in a blasphemous light.

Is Morrison's Superman flying around Metropolis spewing out bile and hate in the "New 52"?  Not quite. In fact, not even close.  Instead, the panel in question doesn't even have Supes uttering a single complete word.  Instead, it's just two little letters that have riled Lamb up as "a slap in the face to Superman, Christians and Superman creators Siegel and Shuster!!"

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Under the Radar: Firearm

When it comes to comic books, I'm often asked what my favorite series/character/etc. is.  Hmm ... well, I like a LOT of comic books and characters.  Iron Man, Green Lantern, Ghost Rider (both Johnny Blaze and Dan Ketch), Witchblade, Daredevil, Hellblazer ... I could go on and on.  I've got a lot of fond memories growing up with various superheroes and supervillains, and I still love making weekly trips to the comic shops to see all the new stuff.  I'm also lucky enough to work in a field where I get to follow all sorts of cool comic books projects.

What can I say?  I'll forever be a comic book fanboy.  But when it comes to my personal FAVORITE series?  Well, it's probably one you'd never expect and may not have even heard of ... which naturally makes it the perfect choice for this Under the Radar piece.

It's Firearm, a relatively short-lived series from the now defunct Malibu Comics' Ultraverse line.  And this is why you should try to find it in the back issue bins of your closest comic shop.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Under the Radar: Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion (3DS)

So I've decided to work on a new semi-regular segment for ye ol' blog here, titled (as you can see) "Under the Radar".  One of the things about my job is that I see a deluge of different properties coming out all the time. Video games. Comic books. Movies. DVDs. The truth of the matter is that there's simply SO much stuff out there, that inevitably things are going to slip by unnoticed and under appreciated.  Sometimes you might stumble onto a quick blurb about one of these hidden gems early on, only to remember about it far too late, after it's already been exiled to the realm of the bargain bin, or worse, faded into obscurity and out of existence completely.  Well that's where these "Under the Radar" segments will come in.

First up in "Under the Radar"?  Crave Games' recent 3DS brawler, Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion.

Friday, July 29, 2011

IT'S ALIVE!! ... and in 3D!!

So the big bit of video game news going around this week has to be Nintendo's surprise announcement that, less than six months after the retail debut of the 3DS, the portable system will be getting a hefty price cut come August 12th.  For gamers in the US, the 3DS price will drop from $249.99 to $169.99, a whopping savings of $80.  To put that in a little more perspective, if you were to rush out right now and pick yourself up a DSi XL from Best Buy, you'd be paying the same amount as you would if you wait just a couple more weeks for some glasses-free 3D action.

That's kind of a big deal, but that's not all ...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Batman: Arkham City gets a little "Ghul"-ish

Earlier today, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment released a new trailer for Batman: Arkham City, showcasing the in-game appearance of Oswald Cobblepot, a.k.a. The Penguin.  The trailer also showed a surprise appearance of Solomon Grundy.

Well, just when you think that they couldn't cram any more into the Arkham City experience, it was confirmed today at Comic-Con that Talia al Ghul will be making an appearance in the game as well.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

And I'll form the head!!

Assuming you didn't giggle like a little schoolgirl at the title of this post, you can probably guess that this one's all about the coolest cat(s) to ever defend the universe ... none other than the Voltron Force.  Just in time for Comic-Con, word has come out that the studio behind Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and the upcoming Cowboys & Aliens flicks has optioned the feature film rights for Voltron from World Event Productions, with plans to develop the property into a new live-action project headed for the big screen.

Beware my power ...

If you know me (or you've been following this blog much), you probably already know that I'm a BIG fan of DC Universe Online from Sony Online Entertainment.  Hell, I've got both the PC and PS3 versions of the game, and I play both on a regular basis.  The game is simply a blast to play, and you can't help but actually feel like your hero (or villain) is an active part of the DC Universe.  Well, at Comic-Con this week, SOE is showing off the game's first DLC expansion back, "Fight for the Light".  As a longtime fan of Green Lantern, I was already stoked about this before the show.  Now? I'm just itchin' to join the Corps.

If you think I'm just blowing smoke and you happen to be at Comic-Con, head on over to Booth #4436 and check in out for yourself.  For everyone else, read on to learn what you'll be getting when "Fight for the Light" goes on sale later this Summer.

Will Spock get a flight ring?

More interesting news out of Comic-Con today, as we learn that the Starship Enterprise is taking a bit of a detour from its original five year mission in order to warp straight into a brand new voyage ... this time straight into the heart of the DC Universe and an encounter with a certain group of 30th century Legionnaires.  That's right.  Earlier today, IDW Publishing announced its first-ever crossover with DC Comics, courtesy of the upcoming six-issue miniseries, Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes, beginning this October.

Don't worry, continuity buffs, no one is trying to shoehorn the entirety of the Star Trek mythos into the DC Universe proper (or vice versa).  As we all know, both groups have done more than their fair share of dimension hopping over the course of their respective histories, and this will be no exception.

So, what's in store for both groups of space faring adventurers?

Where does he get those wonderful toys?

With Comic-Con in full effect, it's no surprise that everyone is talking about how the comic book industry is making its mark in other media.  And when it comes to video games, especially those based on popular comic book franchises, well let's just say that you'd better damn well have your act together otherwise these fans will rip you apart.  One game on everyone's mind at Comic-Con this year is Batman: Arkham City, from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Rocksteady Studios.  It's pretty much a given that Arkham City is going to be big ... but what about that OTHER Batman game currently in development? You know, the one from Monolith? The guys behind F.E.A.R., Tron 2.0, and both Condemned games? The one that's a first person shooter starring a bunch of Batman and Joker wannabes?

You mean you haven't heard of Gotham City Impostors yet?

A long time ago on a 360 far far away ...

There's no shortage of interesting news coming out of Comic-Con this year. And I'll be honest, there's WAY too much for me to cover it all.  I'll be doing what I can here and there in between assignments too, so I can update this blog with those little personal bits that I come across which seem pretty cool.

This particular tidbit falls squarely into that "I Think It's Cool!!" category.  What is it?  Why, it's a Star Wars Xbox 360!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Saving" the day?

Considering it's been a couple of weeks since I've posted anything new to the blog (sorry guys), I was getting myself all geared up to write some deep, thought provoking, insightful post into the my world.  THEN I just got ticked at a silly little issue and decided to rant instead.  The issue? Why the hell is everyone up in arms over Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D inability to reset a player's saved data?  I've seen gamers declaring their utter disgust at Capcom over this matter that you'd almost think the company had become a new member of the "Axis of Evil".  I mean, seriously, people. Is this really enough of an issue to get up in arms about?

Okay, in case you missed what all the hubbub is about, here's a quick rundown ...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Old and busted. New hotness.

So, another E3 has come and gone.  While everyone in attendance had something to show off, one of the biggest impacts of the show had to be Nintendo's unveiling of the "Wii U".  No folks, that's not some sort of new college funded by Nintendo and dedicated to the development of new motion controlled games for the Wii library.  No, it's the name Nintendo decided to go with for it's newest upcoming game console.  While it's good to see Nintendo getting a jump on the competition and to see all the cool new games in development, there were a couple of major details conveniently left out of the presentation ... like a price or release date.  In fact, Nintendo was quick to point out that even the hardware being shown was still considered "prototype".  So, with all focus on the Wii U and the build up for its eventual release, I can't help but wonder if Nintendo's Wii U (the "new hotness") has essentially put a bullet through the head of the original Wii console ("old and busted").

Sunday, June 05, 2011

A little How-To PSA on on Sony's "Welcome Back" deal

It's been a while longer than I'd like since I updated the blog, but I've been a busy little bee as of late.  Still, I decided to chime in here with my own little PSA to help out those of you out there having issues getting your freebies from Sony's recently launched "Welcome Back" deal for PS3 and PSP owners affected by the recent PlayStation Network hack.  It's a really good deal (up to four free games and one month of PlayStation Plus) offered to gamers as Sony's way of apologizing for the PSN outage.  But the problem is, it really only helps if gamers can access the content in the offer.  I've been reading a lot of comments from people and even talked to some friends that have had issues.  Hell, even I had some issues getting it to work right.  Before you go tossing your system into the drink and cursing the name "Sony", rein in your rage a bit and see if this helps.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Superhero ringtones?

Last week, I was spending some time at one of my local comic book stores when I came across a copy of Power Girl #23, guest starring one of my personal favorite DC characters: Zatanna.  No, I'm not going to spoil any major plotlines or anything, and I'm not even going to review the issue as a whole (though it was a fun read).  Instead, I'm zeroing in on one particular scene in the comic that got the ol' gears in my brain working.  Without giving too much away, let's just say that we, as readers, learned that Zatanna apparently has her ringtone set to "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by The Police.  After I finished my little chucklefest at that revelation, I started to wonder something.  What would some of the OTHER heroes and villains of the DCU (or any comic universe for that matter) have as their ringtones?

Which brings us to this post.  That's right, here's a list of what *I* think would be great ringtones for some of comic's greatest (and not-so greatest).  Check 'em out and while you're at it, get creative and add a few of your own in the comments section, trend #ComicBookRingtones on Twitter, or over on my Facebook page.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Supporting the comic book industry

In case you didn't know it, or simply forgot with all the insane events of recent weeks, tomorrow (Saturday, May 7th) is Free Comic Book Day.  FCBD is a day in which everyone around the world can walk into a local comic book shop, check out the latest and greatest in the world of the graphic novel, and oh yeah ... pick up some free comics along the way.  It's kind of a big deal, folks.  If you're already a comic book fan, it's a way to show your support for the industry you love, and also a way to introduce some friends to the world of the four color media (that's a printing term, for those of you playing at home).  And if you AREN'T a comic book fan, well FCBD is the perfect chance for you to pop into a shop and check out what you're missing out on.  Think about it as a "risk-free trial offer".  It's definitely worth checking out, and hey, it's not like you've got anything to lose except a few minutes of time.

Of course, there's a whole lot more to the comic book industry than Free Comic Book Day ...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why "Utopia" ain't all it's cracked up to be.

Earlier today, I saw that Gail Simone (the accomplished and talented writer on comics such as Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman, and Secret Six) had started up a conversation on the concept of Utopia ... specifically writing about a Utopian society.  Admittedly, that got the gears in my head turning a bit, thinking about human nature, the concept of Utopia, and the fact that it might be a nice place to visit, but I'll be damned if I'd ever want to live there.

Here's the problem I have with a Utopian society.  Simply put, it's just "too perfect" ...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Adobe Story"telling

So when it comes to my writing, a lot of you out there are only familiar with my journalism work or my blogs.  I mean, I post links to everything on Twitter and Facebook, and I also post extended rants and the like over here. If you've been paying close attention, though, you'll notice that I occasionally mention that I've been spending time developing a few IPs ("intellectual properties" for those of you playing at home).  Usually, right about now, I'd be brainstorming or such, possibly posting my train of thought and such.  Instead, I want to take a minute to recommend something for any other armchair writers looking to try their hands at putting together the next great screenplay.  If you've got a story to tell, then you should definitely check out Adobe Story.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Flash in the Pan Syndrome

Over the weekend, I spent a little time listening to the latest podcast from the women over at Sarcastic Gamer's SG Pink show.  While the ladies were talking about the games they were playing, Jax (a longtime friend o' mine) mentioned how she's been spending a lot of time playing Rift over World of Warcraft.  That's not what really caught my attention, though.  Instead, it was when they mentioned how she'd been playing DC Universe Online prior to Rift, and how the game had just kinda drifted off the radar.  It's not that the game suddenly stopped being fun or anything, but rather that after the initial hype wore off, it just seemed like people moved on to the next thing ... or as Harley said, it was like everyone just went "SHINY!!! ... Okay, SQUIRREL!!", and then moved on to whatever was the next big thing.

That's when the wheels in my head started turning.  What causes so many properties to build up a lot of momentum prior to (and usually just after) release, only to fizzle out immediately thereafter?  Who's to blame? They say it's always darkest before the dawn ... so why is it that when it comes to entertainment, things are always brightest just before they go pitch black?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

3DS and a little "depth perception"

It's been a couple of weeks since I picked up my Nintendo 3DS.  I've been putting Nintendo's latest handheld through its paces since then, and I've been letting my thoughts come together into something concrete.  So, is it just a passing fad or is it the best thing since sliced bread?  Well, truth be told, it's neither.  I've spent enough time with the system and played enough games that I can put together a nice little breakdown on my thoughts.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse

Y'know, it seems like there's just no such thing as originality in comic books these days.

Take Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse by 30 Days of Night artist and co-creator, Ben Templesmith. I mean, if you've read one comic series about a wormlike demigod who wears dead bodies likes new suits, spending most of his time sharing drinks with an undersexed automaton sidekick and female bodyguard in an bar run by his ex-girlfriend who just happens to be guarding a pan-dimensional gateway in the basement, all while saving the world from the occasional apocalyptic supernatural threat … well, you've read 'em all, right?

New content ...

Well guys and gals, I figure it's time to give all of you a little something new.  Usually, you all come in here and check out my latest rantings and ravings on various subjects, pick up the occasional link to my work with some commentary, or just get a quick glimpse into my life.  That's just not enough for me though.  I've decided that I'm going to start adding some original content here.  Reviews and recommendations, feature pieces, etc.  Just some more stuff for me to write, akin to what I do for all those other outlets.

Overall, the plan remains the same for this blog as I don't know how often these types of pieces will pop up in the regular stream of consciousness that is this blog.  These articles will just an added bonus of sorts.  Sometimes I might be in the mood to write a little something extra.  There's any number of reasons I might get that burr in my butt to do something extra.  And if you guys like it, I'll do it more frequently.  Right now, though, I'm just in the mood to expand the content here.

All of that being said ... here we go.

Friday, April 01, 2011

PopCap heats up the console market with PlayWave (AFD #7)

With a host of hit games under its belt, including Peggle and Bejeweled, it should come as no surprise that PopCap Games is looking to expand its market.  Even so, today's announcement that the company was getting into the console biz was a shocker nonetheless. More surprising was the news that PopCap's new console, dubbed the "PlayWave", would not only be a gaming platform, but also a fully functional microwave oven as well.

While the idea might seem preposterous, it's definitely got some practical [Ed. Note: I think you mean "practical joke"] applications.  Besides, if the company can find success combining things like "plants" and "zombies", then who's to say that combining a microwave and a game console won't be just as big a hit?

Read on to learn more about the PlayWave ...

Blizzard announces a slew of new releases (AFD #3, #4, #5, #6)

Holy cow, it's been a busy time over at Blizzard Entertainment this week, as the company decided to unleash a slew of new announcements to gamers, just in time for the weekend.  I mean, if you're a fan of ANY Blizzard game, it's like Christmas in April for you.  Just take a look at what's coming from the studio.

Trust me when I say I'm excited by the news.  I mean, I couldn't make any of this stuff up!! [Ed. Note: But that doesn't mean someone else didn't]

Guild Wars 2 Goes Commando! (AFD #2)

Y'know, every time I'm playing a fantasy-based MMO, I find myself saying to myself, "Self, you know what would make this game even better?"  To wit the voice in my head says "Dude, you're talking to yourself again." and I respond, "No, that's not it.  What this game needs is more military grade artillery!!"

Well, apparently the guys and gals over at ArenaNet and NCsoft have been reading my mind through the tinfoil hat I made and answered my request, as they've announced today that their hotly anticipated MMO, Guild Wars 2, has bolstered its ranks with the inclusion of a brand new profession ... the Commando!!

Read on and check out the highly classified (and totally true) intel for yourself, along with the announcement trailer of the new profession:

Twisted Pixel announces exclusive partnership with Home Depot (AFD #1)

And so it begins ...

Those fine (and funny) folks at Twisted Pixel, announced via email early this morning that they had entered into a new partnership agreement with none other than ... Home Depot.  That's right.  Instead of doing some exclusive deal with somewhere like GameStop or Best Buy, Twisted Pixel is looking to cash in on the heretofore untapped crossover potential of video games and home improvements with its upcoming game, The Gunstringer.

I COULD go into a recap of announcement, but why not let genius like this simply speak for itself?  Oh, and please keep in mind exactly what day it is today too.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Putting the "con" in "convention" ...

So ... due to circumstances outside of my control, I sadly didn't make it down to MegaCon this past weekend, but I'll be damned if I didn't feel the ripples from Orlando all over the comic scene.  What on Earth could possibly have made that big of an impact?  Was it some epic cross-publisher event?  Was it some hot new property signed to a major development deal?  Was it a polar shift in the business of comics as we know it?  No ... it was none of these things. So what is it that could possibly sound the clarion call for comic book fans and professionals alike to stand up, rally together, and shout with a singular voice?

Well ... it all started with a guy named "Rob".

Monday, March 21, 2011

So what's happening now?

In my last post, I talked at length about my mom's suicide, the loss of loved ones, and how I've managed to cope with everything on an emotional level.  It's still a work in progress, but hey ... so's every day you roll out of bed.  Still, you've got to move forward with your life and try to make it through the rough times.  I was no different when everything happened to me.  It's been almost a full year since my world was seemingly shaken apart at the seams.  So what have I done in the meantime?  It took some time, it took some effort, but I saddled up and jumped right back onto that horse that threw me.  I stopped letting everything eat away at me, and I took my life back.

For those of you that have been wondering how I've been managing since the last birthday, here's the obligatory update:

One year later ...

So, this is a couple of weeks early, but it's something I'm thinking about a lot anyway.  April 1st is fast approaching and if you know me, you also know that's my birthday.  If you know me well enough, though, or if you happen to read through this blog enough, you know that it also the day my mom passed away last year.  It took me a while to really be able to talk about everything here, but eventually I did so in two separate blog posts ("It's been a long time ..." and "Moving forward ...").  If you haven't read those before now, do me a favor and read them now, because I not only want you to understand what's gone on in my mind, but I also hope that my experience might be able to help some of you (or those you know) out during some particularly rough times.

Go ahead and take the time to read (or re-read) those two posts, and then come back here and I'll let you know what's on my mind now ... 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Writer" vs. "Journalist"

Previously on Stacking the Deck ...

David went of on yet another rant, this time arguing the point that a journalist should be defined as such based on the merits and value of his work, and not the subject of the writing.  In short, he said that an entertainment journalist is, in fact, still a journalist.  Addressing critics who prefer that the term "writer" be used instead of "journalist", David claimed that that the two terms were related, but distinct ... and that he planned a future blog post to elaborate.

And now, that time has come ... (cue opening title sequence)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Defining Journalism

One of the biggest criticisms I get these days tends to have nothing at all to do with my writing.  Instead, it's my title:

"Pop Culture Journalist"

That's right. Instead of answering questions about actual work, things like my style of writing, the facts I present, or things of that nature, I get questioned about why I call myself a "journalist".  Really?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Casual Affair

If you follow me on either Twitter or Facebook, you've probably already heard me talk about picking up my new phone, a Samsung Galaxy S 4G.  Yes, I love my new phone ... but that's not what this post is about.  It's more about one of the first things I did with the phone when I got it.  After playing with the pre-installed goodies and re-installing the apps from my myTouch 3G, I immediately hit the Android Marketplace and downloaded Angry Birds.  Then, after deftly using my slingshot to pummel some piggies into pork chops, I put down the phone, signed into Facebook, and checked out the latest update to Pocket God.  All the while, my PS3 and Xbox 360 just sat on the shelf, staring at me accusingly, asking me, "How could you do something like this to us?"  "How could you just throw away everything we built together?" At first I tried to deny it, but suddenly I realized that they we right ... I was having an affair with casual gaming!!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The perks and pitfalls of PR

Every once in a while when I'm going through the grind of my daily routine, I stumble across something that makes me stop and say "What the hell?"  Last night, I happened across one of those things. I saw an article over at TechCrunch which, on the surface, looked like it was calling out a PR rep for some sort of unprofessional behavior.  The problem is, once you get past the headline, you realize that the article was dripping with overly sarcastic venom spewing forth about something that, to be perfectly frank, seemed to me like just a PR rep doing his job.  Instead of calling out some PR rep for being unprofessional, the folks over at TechCrunch ended up coming across as the ones lacking in tact and professionalism.

Which brings me to the subject of this post ...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Dead Island controversy

The vacation goes downhill fast from here.
First off, let me warn you that if you haven't seen the trailer for the upcoming game, Dead Island, it's not for the faint of heart.  It's gory, it's haunting, and yes, something very bad happens to a little girl.  It's actually heart wrenching. And apparently it's also stirred up a whole heaping helping of controversy.  While I can understand the emotional response the "trailer" has drummed up, I think it's becoming a lightning rod for knee-jerk reactions.  If you think you can handle it, go check out the trailer, take a second, then come back and I'll explain my thoughts on the brouhaha.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Effective storytelling in video games

Let me get one thing straight right off the bat.  I have the utmost respect and admiration for Will Wright.  Without his hard work, the video game industry wouldn't be where it is today. He is a creative genius and a talented mind.  Having said that, I've got to say I also think he's sorely mistaken.  Let me explain ...

Last Friday, ran an article with the headline "'Sims' creator: 'Games are not the right medium to tell stories'".  The article, which was promoting Wright's show, Bar Karma, quoted Wright as saying, "Games are not the right medium to tell stories ... Video games are more about story possibilities."  Now, it's possible that the article may not be putting Wright's statements in the correct context.  Hey, it happens to the best of us sometimes.  But take a minute to read the article for yourself, and then come back here with it fresh in your mind.

Don't worry ... I'll wait.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Busy weekend

Whew ... it's been a long weekend, and there's still more to do.

Long and short of it is that I've had a lot of writing to work on (which is one reason I'm only now updating this blog).  I've already put together a couple of reviews for USA Network's Character Arcade and three reviews for an upcoming issue of Best Buy's @Gamer Magazine.  I've also had to put together an assignment that was part of a writing assessment for a potential gig elsewhere. Now that I've got all that done and can take a minute to breathe, I'm popping in over here for a quick bit to say "Hello. Hi. Howdy." and then dive back into the writing.

 Oh, and let's not forget the fact that I'm trying to simultaneously write a book and a screenplay for an original IP.  Unfortunately, that's got to take a lower rung on the priority ladder for now, as it's the one thing that's really not on any actual deadline.  Well, other than the fact that I'd really like to get this IP developed enough to shop around sooner rather than later.

Aside from that, I'll be back working my skills as a professional wordsmith as soon as I wrap up this blog post.  I'm going to get ahead with some extra writing for a couple of outlets.  Meanwhile, I'll still be pushing forward to find some new opportunities, either writing for new outlets or helping to develop some strong online communities.  Of course, I'll also be evaluating any other opportunities that may cross my path, contributing my skills and experience where I can to do the most good.

So, that's the quick update for the weekend.  I'm sure I'll be back here shortly with an update, but at least I managed to squeeze in the time to poke my head back in here.

More to come ...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The comic book appeal

Comic books.

Y'know, I still remember back in the day when I was young and I'd be riding in the car with my dad, on my way to spend a holiday or summer vacation with him, when we'd inevitably have to stop for gas.  After filling the tank, we'd go inside, we'd load up on snacks and drinks and he would always ask, "Is there anything else you want to get?" He already knew the answer, but he made sure to ask anyway.  Sure enough, before the last words had left his mouth, I was running over the to wire spin rack and grabbing the newest issue of Ghost Rider, Daredevil, Green Lantern, and just about any other comic book that I could.  Dad always knew that those comics would keep me engrossed no matter how long the trip was ... with the happy exception of telling him how cool it was that Johnny Blaze turned into Ghost Rider JUST in time to save the day, or how Hal just HAD to recharge his ring, because his 24 hours was almost up.  It was back then that my love was born for the four color medium and all the action packed in those tiny panels.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Failure is ALWAYS an option.

If you've ever watched an episode of MythBusters, odds are pretty good that you've heard the guys say that "Failure is always an option."  When it comes to scientific study, that's a hard and fast rule.  After all, the "Scientific Method" we all learned in school breaks down as:

  • Observation
  • Question
  • Hypothesis
  • Experiment
  • Conclusion
Since the conclusion is all about discovering if the hypothesis was correct or not, "failure" constitutes a result and therefore IS an option.  And sometimes, it's the best option to learn from.  So, if failure is a great learning tool in science, why shouldn't it also be one in life?  The simple answer is that it is.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

DC Universe Online

If you've been under a rock lately and missed out out on any of the hundreds of television or print ads making up part of its massive marketing campaign, you might not know that Sony Online Entertainment recently gave gamers the opportunity to slip into some spandex and live out all their comic book fantasies with the release of its latest MMO experience, DC Universe Online. I recently wrote a review of the game over at USA Network's Character Arcade, but figured I could use ye ol' blog here to geek out over it a little more.

Sunday, February 06, 2011


If you're reading this and, well, if you've ever been here before this post, you've probably already realized the design changes the blog has gone through.  I decided it was long overdue to spend some time tinkering around with everything to make it a bit more manageable for everyone.  The archives are all working smoothly now, the Digsby chat box is still up (for now) so people can hit me up through the blog, and there are other features I'm planning to toy with over the coming weeks.

Why all the changes?  Simple, actually.  I want to do more with this blog and get back into the swing of things, updating all of you with what's going on, with random news and thoughts, and to genuinely build more on the idea of being active with everyone.  I'll post items here and you're welcome to dish out feedback.  Got a question? Let me know and I'll do my best to answer. Want to hear about a particular subject?  I'll do my best to get on it.  The focus here is be interactive ... to be able to talk to all of you out there and also to be able to listen.

I don't think this will be the final design, but it's a huge jump forward.  I'll probably tweak things a bit here and there until it feels just right to me (which means I'll probably never be done tweaking it).  So, let me know your thoughts and also tell me what you'd like to hear.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Connecting with the audience (or "Where marketing gets it wrong.")

Take a look around and one thing is easy to see ... everyone's got something to sell.  Companies everywhere are all vying for a piece of that consumer pie, but they're all so focused on what they think is the finish line, they lose sight of fact that real commercial success is a marathon, not a sprint.

In my role as a pop culture writer, I've seen companies come and go.  I've seen great projects fly so far under the radar, they may as well have been tunneling underground.  I've also seen projects backed with a huge media blitz collapse under the weight of their own hype. So how can projects fail so spectacularly but in two totally different ways?  Believe it or not, they've got one thing in common ... they've forgotten all about the human element.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Opportunities, expanding horizons, and the hell of tech support.

This has been a crazy bit of time on ye ol' calendar for me.  If it's not one thing, it's another.  Now, I don't necessarily mean it's been bad, just a LOT of juggling and the like.  Good stress, bad stress, crazy stress ... sooner or later I think I may take a couple of days and just "decompress" ... but that's later, and this is now.

So I've been thinking a lot about the work I've done and what's to come.  Y'know, I love what I do and I'm passionate about it.  But honestly there are days I'd love to trade in the "freelance" tag for something just a wee bit more stable.  It'd just be nice to have a place to, as I've put it, hang my hat.  Like just about anything in life, there are perks and pitfalls to working solo and to being part of the team.  I've played on one side of the fence for a while, and boy that grass on the other side is looking pretty damned green right about now.

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's a whole new year ...

Well folks, 2010 has come and gone ... and as far as I'm concerned, good riddance. It was a hell of a year for me, as you probably know if you've been keeping up with ye ol' blog here. And while 2011's engine has had a little trouble turning over, I've made it a mission to get it moving forward with all the horsepower I can muster. I'm thinking it'll at least make for an interesting adventure.