The annual Games For Change event is going on here in New York City, an event fairly dear to my heart (and not just because coverage of the event in 2007 was the very first feature I ever did for Gamasutra). The field of applying gaming and game design concepts to learning and activism is still shaping up, as more and more organizations notice the enormous economic and social breadth of the medium. This is exciting to me, because it means people will be exploring the power of interactive entertainment and the goodness of play for all kinds of things besides just the fun of it.
How is it that it isn’t even E3 and I’m already tired? I hung with One Life Left maestro Ste Curran this past week here in New York and finally learned to play cricket (special thanks to Sabrepulse for being my batting coach), so I suppose I’ve been a little heavy on the revelry.
It’s finally warming up in New York. Of course, now that I typed that, I’ve jinxed us for another week of 45-degree gray skies and perma-drizzle, because the weather here’s sadistic. Sigh. So I’d better catch you up quickly, because I want to do as little sitting-inside-typing as possible.
While it was raining I finished watching Twin Peaks and started playing Portal 2. Early opinion, besides the obvious “it’s awesome”, is that the people who complain about its length are probably trying to wolf it down too fast. You can play Portal 1 in one sitting, but this one’s meant to be done in small bites, I think. Besides, it’s not like I can rush into co-op while PSN is still down.
I also wrote an article about procrastination and one about escapism over at Thought Catalog, being something of an expert on both of these. I also talked to Randy from Gearbox about games as art. Ha, I mean, I actually kind of did, but we’re more talking about the sophistication of content in an evolving landscape blah blah blah no don’t go away.
The FFVII Letters are still going strong as we approach the end of the game, so stick with us on that. I’ll be sad when it’s over, but then I’ll probably just start playing FFVIII or something. And if you want me to go on a podcast for an hour, having two excellent accents is probably the way to get me to do it.
[Today's Good Song: Actually, it's an entire album. Go listen to the new Fleet Foxes at NPR!]
Clearly I’ve been thinking lots lately about how your relationship to games changes as you grow older. Games are changing as they grow too, and that has a lot to do with it. (I mentioned “Why Don’t I Lose Myself In Games Anymore?” from Kotaku yesterday and if you’ve been following the FFVII Letters, you’ll recognize some of the themes).
Besides the stuff I’ve already shown you, I’ve also found a slightly more obnoxious way to state my impatience with modern roleplaying games. If you follow my Twitter feed, you might have heard of Suparna Galaxy. For background, here’s a helpful transcription of the conversation that started it all. Then we began to take it really seriously, and a big group of us made a wiki of lore for our fake game world.
Now we have done a podcast with the excellent Big Red Potion crew. There is professional voice acting. There is soundtrack material. And we thusly offer ourselves for interview as the developers on the project. We are very, very serious. I can’t explain it. You should just listen.
And in more straitlaced commentary on the changing gamer, I’ve done a Gamasutra editorial today about the portable platform market and how, with his comments about how people are “too old” for the Nintendo DS, Jack Tretton suggests Sony might be misidentifying the market a little. Still really want an NGP, naturally. I get gadget-lust easily.
In other craziness, I am apparently a centerfold. Look, ma! In good fun, I participated in GayGamer’s ‘PlayNerd Centerfold of the Month‘, following in the tough-to-follow footsteps of friends of mine like Anthony Carboni and Andy Schatz and gave an interview and did a photoshoot. I had so much fun, as the team there’s so cool.
Today’s Good Song: via Pasta Primavera, Loud Valley, ‘The Refrain’ — there is a Red Dead vibe here, I think.
If you’re wondering why you are looking at footage of a tornado in Brooklyn, it’s because this is the fluke phenomenon that caused me to abruptly lose my internet in the middle of an enormously entertaining podcast discussion with the team from Big Red Potion. I was flattered that they chose my favorite personal mantra regarding games, “engagement is a choice“, as a central point of the discussion, and we talk games from Red Dead Redemption to Mass Effect and Persona 4 (and lots more).
The podcast just went live, so I can finally listen to everything they discussed after the tornado killed my internet (for like two days). Hopefully you guys give it a listen, too!