Comic Updated July 25,
Friday, July 25,
Happy Birthday, as of yesterday,
to my brother, Jason! He's flyin' home from the great, if muggy, state of
Florida today, and I can honestly say that I don't envy him the experience
-- flying! Unnatural!
But, he seems to take it in stride,
as does his wife and infant -- the latter once slept through an entire ballpark
fireworks display, opening her eyes only once briefly to determine if the
deafening explosiongs were signalling that there was a bottle forthcoming.
There was not. She took that in stride, too.
Gonna cut this one short -- lotta
cartoon work, today, all for you readers! And, you know, your cash, as well.
Speaking of which -- E-comic store! Check it out at the banner below today's
Wednesday, July 23,
Nintendo's Sataru Iwata has apologized
for Nintendo's E3 Press Conference sucking. I can't be sure, but I think
that's a first! Now, if Microsoft and Sony'll step up to the plate and present
their corporate heinies for the hickory switch of public sentiment, we can
get started on the BETTER E3 we should've had this year.
With Animal Crossing off in November
-- and, admittedly, me not even owning a Nintendo Wii as of yet, though
I now have a deadline -- it's worth looking at some of the other stuff
that'll be hitting the street in the months beforehand. Like Fable 2!
I'll tell you flat-out, I'm a
Peter Molyneux fan, even if I just misspelled his surname. I suppose I'm
not enough of a fan to check. You know who I'm talking about. MollyNoo. I
guess technically I'm a Lionhead Studios fan, 'cause it's not like he's in
there coding the whole thing by himself, but two things I really admire about
the guy -- one, he doesn't balk at dreaming. Even if he can't ultimately
deliver on his insane promises, you can still look at him and think, you
know, there's a guy who's approaching fifty, and he's absolutely STUCK in
love with the art form. Early love, where he's still popping a mint in his
mouth every time he talks with it, just in case.
Two, he loves Artificial Intelligence,
and that -- along with animation -- is where I think the game industry really
needs to focus in the current generation. We make our monsters easy enough,
but bringing 'em to life? Not so good at that, yet. Mostly, these days, it's
smoke and mirrors -- and even then, there are different grades of mirror
and smoke suppliers.
For a ready example, look at the
villagers of Fable one versus the townspeople of The Elder Scrolls Four:
Oblivion. If we're looking at ACTUAL AI, not window dressing, we're seeing
two sets of NPCs that are just about on par with each other -- they can walk
around without bumping into (too many) things, and they can react to acts
of violence. Almost everything else is a trick; carefully penned dialogue
trees or pre-scripted reactions. And if we're counting, Oblivion's characters
have a significant edge on the latter in terms of quantity.
Be that as it may, however, Fable's
NPCs come across as FAR more real. For one thing, they sound like they should
actually exist in that fantasy world, as opposed to Oblivion, which assigns
the same New York housewife accent (and dialogue!) randomly to numerous
characters, be they Nord, Elf, or Orc. The Fable characters have distinctive
animations, too -- workers tromp around the docks heavily under the weight
of the crates they move, barmaids glide around with tankards of ale, drunks
stagger around with tankards of ale -- whereas it seems that all humanoid
Oblivion characters, regardless of function or appearance, use the same animation
set. Fable doesn't have anywhere near the variety of character models as
Oblivion, but it has FAR more characters.
Monday, July 21,
Yes, we STILL have an E-comic
store! It did not disappear over the weekend!
So, E3. Intense disappointment,
and I'm happy to learn that it wasn't just me who thought so. Not that I
mistrust my judgement (I mean, I DO mistrust my judgement, look where it's
gotten me), but age skews perceptions. E3 used to be the gaming industry's
Christmas and Mardi Gras, all rolled into one big, sweaty, excessive package.
Game journalists thought it was a hassle, granted, but as I only worked on
the fringes of the game journalism world and did not have to do any of the
actual running around and hailing of cabs and battling of crowds and bargaining
with bouncers, I really only got the good parts of the convention. BIG
announcements! Big games! Booth babe attire in flagrant violation of dress
And then came the purge. The show
was downscaled, booth babe attire was upscaled, the convention went
invitation-only. Old hands'll say that the convention had begun going downhill
years earlier than that, but if downscaling was their solution to E3 becoming
a sprawling, chaotic, ineffective mess, it was the wrong one -- unless
their goal was to turn E3 into a cramped, boring, ineffective mess, in which
People this year, well, they aint
happy. Even Electronic Arts' Renaissance CEO John Riccitiello was of
the opinion that the show either needs to go back to the old, mad carnival
that it was, or just die. A lot of analysts are leaning towards the dying.
Companies have been moving progressively towards their own, smaller, independent
venues, these last several years, and towards other conventions like GDC
I say, cut out this foolishness.
The world needs an E3, and it needs it to be huge and insane and drain the
very life-force of everyone who participates in it. It's gotta be E3, because
even if other conventions grow to byzantine proportions, well... they wouldn't
be E3, and people know this. It's gotta be in America -- we KNOW excess,
we inspire it in others. The benefit of huge E3 isn't to the journalists
-- though they sure get their traffic spikes out of it, and it isn't necessarily
even to the companies that exhibit there, who've long complained that the
effort just doesn't justify the monetary returns.
The benefit of huge E3 is to the
industry as a whole, because it aint about the news and promotion -- it's
about the symbol. E3 is the gaming industry's Great Pyramids, or any other
behemoth monument built by a megalomaniacal tyrant out of the blood and sweat
of his people just to show the rest of the world how big and scary and awesome
his nation is. The gaming industry's huge. We NEED the huge show, to whip
up every gaming fanboy and girl into a shame-filled frenzy once a year,
so that even if the nongamers don't know WHY, they'll know that something
in the air is different. Something in the air... tastes likes
Which can be remedied by brushing
one's tongue a little.
Check out the e-Comic store, at
the banner under the strip!