Archive for March, 2007
I’m supposed to write a 100 word review of one of the SXSW events I attended for my Pop Culture class. How the hell can I smoosh down Will Wright’s astounding keynote into 100 little words?
Will Wright Wows SXSWi
Hundreds of SXSW Interactive convention-goers braved a thunderstorm and strong winds to duck into the downtown Hilton on March 13 for a keynote speech from computer game pioneer Will Wright. Wright, who is best-known for his “Sim City” and “The Sims” series, delivered a high-intensity, fast-paced, and thought-provoking talk about the nature and future of gaming narrative.
Wright also demonstrated his upcoming game, “Spore.” “Spore” will allow players to evolve from single-celled organism to spaceship-building civilizations, and embodies Wright’s gaming philosophy of allowing players to tell stories to the computer rather than vice versa. Game play will also be collaborative, allowing players to share creatures and planets with each other.
“Spore” is rumored to be on store shelves by the end of 2007.
He has some concepts that really gave me a lot of food for thought, especially in terms of ARG design. Let the players tell the story – we see this all the time, to some extent. PMs often adjust the plot in response to the players. Could it turn ugly quickly? Sure. But I think there is such a trend towards collaboration these days, where the audience wants to feel invested, that it’s very much worth exploring.
Since last year, I’ve been writing the parts of two characters in the alternate reality game that accompanied the United States release of the Korean movie, The Host. You can check out my writing on Enhance Yourself, where I played Amie Adams, or on KoreanFilmFan’s Myspace page, where I wrote the blog entries, audio scripts, and video scripts for Sun-Yi Park.
This was my first professional ARG job and it was a great experience. It’s always fabulous working with the incredibly talented and good-looking Dave Szulborski, who was the evil genius behind the project.
And if you like movies, please check out The Host. It’s a monster movie and a family drama with lots of pathos all rolled up together. Plus, the special effects are really amazing. It’s currently on screen in several cities and will be opening in more this Friday.
Coming up soon, I will be involved with World Without Oil, which is another ARG but it’s a “serious game” rather than a marketing campaign (not that there’s anything wrong with marketing campaigns!). It promises to be thought-inspiring, collaborative, and really interesting. It’s already getting a good amount of press, from MTV to Gamasutra, thanks to Jane McGonigal’s GDC keynote. I’m really excited about it.
Lester Burnham: [narrating] I had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn’t a second at all, it stretches on forever, like an ocean of time… For me, it was lying on my back at Boy Scout camp, watching falling stars… And yellow leaves, from the maple trees, that lined my street… Or my grandmother’s hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper… And the first time I saw my cousin Tony’s brand new Firebird… And Janie… And Janie… And… Carolyn. I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me… but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life… You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry… you will someday.
I hear Kevin Spacey speaking those lines at the end of American Beauty and I think, “I want to write like that.” He gives no quarter; makes no concessions to people who might not be keeping up. He just lays it out there and it’s amazing.
Hub and I went to the Backstage Steakhouse for dinner tonight, and we were completely blown away. We started with the Jalapeno Corn Cake with Crawfish and Gorgonzola with a Mustard and Red Chile Sauce – the corn cake itself had a nice crunchy texture to it, and the crawfish was nicely spiced. Then we followed up with the Spinach Salad with Poached Pears, Walnut-Crusted Goat Cheese and Raspberry Port Vinaigrette – my only complaint here was that the dressing was very sweet and needed a little salt to balance it out. For an entree, I had a pan-fried tilapia served over rice and under a crab salad, topped with a jalapeno bacon lime butter sauce. I could not get over how good this was, and I’m not usually one for fish dishes. The tilapia was piping hot and such a nice mouth contrast to the cold crab, corn, and gorgonzola salad atop it. Hub got a ribeye and asked for it rare, and happily it was cooked correctly. The meat itself was very flavorful. The best part is that they’re relatively modestly priced, and the happy news is that they have kid entrees, too, so I imagine we’ll go back with the girls since it’s not terribly quiet inside the restaurant.
I hesitate to recommend this place because if people knew how good it is, there would be no getting in, but some stuff is just too excellent not to share.
We went to see Zodiac at the Alamo Drafthouse last night. It was long, but I thought it was a great flick. The first half deals with the murders themselves, while the second is about the subsequent investigation. Great acting by all involved, and nice period settings.
After I came home, I spent about 4 hours obsessing on the unsolved code. Robert Graysmith, portrayed in the movie by Jake Gyllenhaal, claims to have solved it, but IMO that’s a joke. Some interesting theories, discussion, and argument floating around out there, though. Enough to waste houuuuuuuuuuurs on. Which I did.
Also, I just wrote a suggestion to the Drafthouse that if they’re going to show a three hour movie, at least let people know ahead of time that last call will be 30 minutes in. Pretty parched by the end, there.
ETA: Wow, that was quick! I just got an email back from Tim League, who founded the Drafthouse. He said that the early last call is one of his pet peeves, and it’s something they’re working on. He wants to have last call be 45 minutes before the movie ends. Awesome!
ETA2: And shortly after that, I heard from the manager of the Alamo Village, offering to send me passes. Have I mentioned how much I love the Drafthouse, even if their last call is early?
Whoever my regular blog visitor from Plano (on SBC) is, you were the 100,000 visitor to the site. Let me know who you are and I’ll send ya something.