Thursday, November 15, 2007

Premium Games

Here's a post on what's going on with me and all the media coverage it's been getting. Pretty exciting stuff.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

San Francisco

Long time no post. I've been here in San Francisco a little more than a month now, living in a little Studio apartment in the South of Market district.

San Francisco is a lovely city in a lot of ways. I just happen to live in the ugly part. No, really, it's actually not that bad. It's actually been good for me. I've always been kind of a coddled middle-class white boy, so being thrust in the middle of what someone has referred to as one of the few "bad" parts of San Francisco has been enlightening. A few things I've learned:

1) Just because it's a poorer neighborhood, doesn't mean someone's going to jump out of the shadows and kill you for your iPod.

2)This is San Francisco. The bad neighborhood is two blocks away from the really good neighborhood.

3)Homeless people are not scary. They're tired and hungry. Sometimes strung out.

4)Just because a street is unclean doesn't mean it's unsafe.

5)The open-air market at the UN Plaza on Sundays is a great place to buy nectarines.

6)I've rediscovered how much I love going to the library. Especially since there's a really big one near me.

7)Being able to walk to work is unbelievably awesome. I walk to work ten minutes every day.

8)It's only warm when it's sunny, and only cold when it's windy.

9)You can open your windows in San Francisco without letting in a million bugs. Take that, Atlanta!

10)Not having a car in a major city isn't that bad. Until you need something specific.

11)Two movie theaters right across the street from each other isn't a joke. It's a temptation.

The biggest change isn't that it's San Francisco...but that I'm living in the heart of a major city. It's always bustling and busy. Loud. About ten percent of everyone you see has something wrong with them, but then you realize that's up to par with the're just seeing a lot more people at once.

And the city really is beautiful. When it's a sunny, warm day walking down the street I'll pass a beautiful little park with a waterfall behind the Metreon on the way to work.
The breeze will stir just right, the sun will hit my face and I'll think "Here I am." And that's nice.

The job's going well, too, hopefully I'll have more to share on that later. I miss my wife a lot, but she's coming to visit in four days, so that's be great. I hope she learns to like San Francisco as well. Right now I've been writing this to try to get out of writing the chapter of a game writing book I've been assigned, but I guess I'd better get to it.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Leaving Adult Swim

(Largely copied from the Adult Swim Message Board)

It makes me very sad to say this, but as of August 22, I will no longer be working at Adult Swim. It was a very difficult decision for me to make, but starting next month I will be the new Creative Director of Games for

This is likely to be insanely long, as I’m a writer and can never get enough of hearing myself type, but please bear with me.

I remember four years ago, waiting in the lobby at Williams Street for the interview that would determine whether or not I got an internship with Adult Swim. There was a set of nice glass double doors with the logo for Cartoon Network printed on them. I sat there in awe, not quite believing where I was. I had been a fan of Cartoon Network for years and had watched Adult Swim from the very first night it aired, so to me just being in the building was an overwhelming experience, whether I got the internship or not.

The doors opened and I was greeted by Karen and Matt. (Karen is now a producer at CourtTV and Matt is the Narrative Director of FusionFall.) They led me past the double doors and into the Rosie Room. (Now demolished; the new tape library sits in its place.) There were some comfortable couches, a plasma TV, glass display cases with Cartoon Network toys in them, and a life-sized wooden replica of Rosie the Robot from the Jetsons with a computer monitor in her chest. It was totally awesome. Kind of a Willie Wonka feeling, you know?

Well, obviously the interview went well and even before I got back home I had an email offering me the internship. Before I knew it I had a cubicle, two computers and a job to do. I think I did it well; they seemed most surprised to learn that I did indeed have some writing chops and my internship abruptly changed. During that time I was really just a junior junior writer. I never had to do any of the crap intern work many interns are forced to do, which is a great thing about how Cartoon handles its interns. After my internship was over I got a call from Chip (Who now works for the kids side of Cartoon), the creative director of, and he offered me a contract job as a writer. That eventually turned into a full-time position.

It was crazy. But in the years that followed I never really lost that feeling of waking up and thinking “Oh my God. I work for Adult Swim.” I’ll miss that.

The people here have been wonderful. Many of the people who were here when I first started have moved on to other things (Hockey Chicken is the only remaining staff member from that era) but they were all just wonderful while they were here. As I leave, I feel confident that the site is in capable hands. Jeff is a fantastic creative director who isn’t afraid to dive headfirst into new things. Casper has a great creative sense and his contributions to the games have been and will be invaluable. Liz is a consummate producer and has whipped us all into shape far better than I could have hoped. Merrill is Merrill, take him or leave him. (I’m kidding, he’s a great creative mind who’s done a lot for show support on the site.) Vanessa seems to have boundless energy. Brandon is just inherently a funny person, I think. Terry is a fantastic animator. Win is exactly what the site needed in a head technical person and in general just a really cool guy. Drew is a great developer who brings with him an amazing sense of fannish enthusiasm. I’ve worked with Dave C. the longest now, and he’s always blown me away with his great design sense and outspoken approach to sitebuilding. Jordan has a unique appreciation for the weird and the strange and manages to design things that are both while still making everything useable (at times, he also sports a huge mountain-man beard which you can’t help but have respect for.) Dave B. has been a great editor and is always fair game for a nice, random nonsensical conversation. I’ve hardly had a chance to get to know Justin or Ken, but they both struck me as both skilled and invaluable. And of course, Mike L., who I have actually found in many ways to be inspiring. I used to think he was this terrifying, rampaging madman (and he still sort of is) but once I got a chance to work with him I quickly realized that he was a brilliant anti-executive. I learned a lot about pushing boundaries from him and I can honestly say I enjoyed the last year of working under him immensely.

Kongregate's really cool. It’s a kind of “YouTube for games” where anyone can upload a Flash game and wrap it in community functionality like chat, high scores, badges and gamer points while taking in a share of the ad revenue. I’m very excited to be directing their premium/sponsored game effort. I think Kongregate has the right idea by creating a community-driven and community-centric site that will hopefully be a showcase for the best in Flash games on the net.

So here goes. Off to San Francisco!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Darkness

I'd seen several trailers for The Darkness a while back and it was never something I found interesting. Mobsters with demon powers? Meh. But then I saw some gameplay footage on Monday that showed something we're thinking about doing for a game at, so I ran out and picked it up the next day to see how they handled it.

I haven't finished it yet, so this isn't a formal review or anything, but this game is badass. The opening car chase scene was incredibly grabbing and did some amazing immersive things that as a writer had me literally on the edge of my couch. The realism to many of the conversations is great; in the car chase scene the two mafiosos in the front seat carry on full conversations that you really can't hear for all the shooting and crashing, but that's what so cool about it. They're not saying these things just for your benefit, which is a great step towards realistic characters and situations.

Later I watched in writerly glee as Jackie (the protagonist) visited his girlfriend. You could actually sit on the couch and watch TV with her (which earns you the Romantic Achievement) until she falls asleep on you. There is such common ground there, such human sympathy, that I actually felt guilty for finally getting up and leaving.

Even subway train riders have their own personality. You can see them walking around, throwing away trash, picking their noses...all ways in which they're in their own world, not simply existing for you to talk to them. Unfortunately that illusion is broken if you try to talk to most of them, when they say some inexplicable variation of "Are we good?" but it's impressive nonetheless.

Add to that two badass demon eels coming out of your back that do your bidding and I found the game incredibly satisfying.

It's not perfect and there are some clear holes (like why Jackie isn't the least bit surprised to find that he has demonic eels growing out of his back.) but all in all this is one of the best surprise plays of the year for me. I'm sitting here at work just wishing I was home playing it, which doesn't happen to me all that often.

Now if only the multiplayer weren't so damn laggy.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A $24.95 Value!

I got this email the other day. It was to let me know that I, as a BellSouth customer, am very important to BellSouth. They appreciate my business. And in light of said appreciation they, BellSouth, would like to offer me, valued customer and all-around great guy, a free gift! Amazing! Since I am such the aforementioned great guy and swell customer they're prepared to give me a free personality test! A $24.95 value!

Wait, what?

Since when is a personality test a twenty five dollar value? Since when are they not, Did I miss some sort of revolution in internet personality quizzes? The next time I want to know what kind of Power Ranger I am, am I going to need to pony up five bucks? Whenever I desperately need to know what Firefly character I'm most like am I going to need to swipe my card for a buck fifty? A type personalities get charged ten bucks but B types get charged more cause you know they'll do whatever you want them to?

Clearly I'm now out of my depth on the internet. Next, I'll be getting Flickr galleries of LOLcats as a reward for using Verizon. A $30 value.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Xbox Live Account Restored!

My faith in huge multinational corporations has been restored! My Gamertag has been returned to me!

Also, thanks to my wife, who spent a day bitching the huge multinational corporation out. ;)