Hans Zimmer

Riddle me this: What do Captain Phillips and 12 Years a Slave have in common?

Well, they are both movies about a protagonist being forced into adversity. Captain Phillips does a serviceable job, being mostly interesting because the concept of modern day piracy is fascinating and foreign. It does have some emotion injected at the end but it’s hard to argue that 12 Years doesn’t deal with weightier injustices. The latter film also educates audiences on some of the smaller details of slavery and the period outlook, and while not perfectly executed, is probably the better film.

But what else do these movies have in common?

Hans Zimmer’s fucking Inception music.

Time (Inception)

 

The track Time plays during the final scenes of Inception and serves as the perfect capstone for a powerful tour de force. Unfortunately, Hollywood wants to piggy back off the best of the best and this song has been showing up in other movies.

Here it is in Captain Phillips:

Safe Now (Captain Phillips) – start at 0:55

 

Probably less obvious is its rendition in 12 Years a Slave:

Solomon (12 Years A Slave)

 

Now, I understand the song can be a real tear jerker but, I gotta tell you, Hollywood, it kind of ruins the movies for me. I’m watching a boat captain get dragged into an escape craft by Somali pirates and then I hear the Inception song and think he is in a dream within a dream. Or maybe all poor Solomon Northrup has to do is kill himself and wake up in the arms of his loving wife, a free man again.

That’s the problem with trying to usurp something that is already iconic. Imagine if a gritty heist movie attempted to use the Darth Vader/ Empire theme from Star Wars- it just wouldn’t ever work. And I feel the same way about Inception’s flawless soundtrack. Leave it alone, please.

Now, Captain Phillips was composed by a student of Zimmer’s, although the credits do give the man a shout out. 12 Years? That was composed by Hans Zimmer himself. So here he is, essentially, just phoning it in.

But the plot thickens. Apparently there is another, very similar song, also composed by Hans for The Thin Red Line, called Journey To The Line. Listeners will discover that this is just an earlier version of Time (and Safe Now, and Solomon).

Journey To The Line (The Thin Red Line) – start at 1:24

 

So now, how can we blame anybody but little old Hans? And, for someone very much on the record as hating everyone overusing techniques he pioneered in Inception, isn’t he being a little hypocritical?

Brenda Romero

Wow, Brenda must be a bit embarrassed right about now.

Brenda Romero (formerly Brathwaite) is something of a women’s game developer icon. Unfortunately, the majority of her draw appears to be the fact that she is a woman, and to me this is the beginning of her unraveling reputation. It is one thing to be a great developer who is also a woman, another to be considered specifically in the female subset. Ironically, she may not agree that women like herself appearing on ‘lists of women’ isn’t much of an achievement. What would be a fucking achievement is if a man managed to appear on that list! Rather, I would push for the merits of a developer to be tied to their professional work and not their gender.

A few years ago she was elected to the board of directors of the International Game Developers Association, of which my distaste shall be saved for another post. Suffice it to say that she is, in my mind, a bit of a figurehead, and she has even been criticized by women in her organization as not doing much of anything. Despite being involved in the making of a Playboy video game, Romero has since been a known opponent of booth babes at industry events and uses her position to raise awareness for female inclusion. While this is certainly a good cause, she seems to have misstepped at GDC 2013.

Apparently she woke up Thursday morning to a torrent of messages expressing outrage over a party the night before. The event featured "scantily clad women" and other "outrageous" offenses. Her initial reaction, while extreme, wasn’t entirely her fault- a popular Forbes article (read: Forbes-contributed blog post) improperly cited the IGDA’s (and Yetizen’s) involvement. This seemed to be the perfect reason for her to resign from the powerless organization (although personally I am guessing she was on the way out already and picked this moment as a PR opportunity).

"I woke up to DMs, texts and links to news of the IGDA party. It really saddens me. I have been a long-time supporter of the IGDA. However, my silence would have been complicity. I had no choice. And just hours after our panel, too."

The outrage stems from the fact that a party at a nightclub, which was purportedly co-sponsored by the IGDA, had dancing girls in skimpy outfits. The media stoked the fire and treated these girls as if they were strippers and "OMG what was the IGDA thinking?". Of course, not only was the IGDA not involved with the party in question, but the actual party they co-sponsored was held the night before. Here’s the timeline.

Tuesday Night – IGDA/Yetizen Party (at Ruby Skye nightclub)

Wednesday Afternoon – Brenda’s GDC Panel (no outrage)

Wednesday Night – Wargaming Party (at Ruby Skye nightclub)

Thursday Morning – Outrage! (against wrong party)

This gets a little more ridiculous. Yetizen, who had been accused by Romero for being sexist in the previous year, had been careful this go around not to draw the wrath of the IGDA. They got explicit approval before the party from the IGDA’s female executive director for the costumes the models were wearing. The performance troupe of stilt walkers and others were likely dressed a bit sexy but they were not strippers and most attendees thought the affair quite modest, including the IGDA pre-approval. So models, not hired dancers, got on stage for a few minutes and danced to the DJ’s music at a nightclub.

Now Brenda Romero is left looking like she perhaps jumped the gun a bit. The up-in-arms cries and wave of support seem a bit silly, in the aftermath. Now, I freely admit that I wasn’t at the party so I don’t know if there were any extenuating incidents. But the thing is, Romero wasn’t at the party either. She is responding to public backlash and media rumor-mongering just like anyone else. The difference is, the media outlets have corrected their facts and admitted their mistake after Yetizen’s official response. Brenda Romero? Not so much.

People outraged at Media Coverage

I keep seeing posts from people who are outraged at the news coverage of the Connecticut school shooting. People complain that the topic is being spammed everywhere, missing the irony that their last 6 Facebook posts were about the incident. Even worse, Morgan Freeman is freely quoted as being a genius who claims the news is making heroes out of the killers and shouldn’t be plastering their names everywhere, which only serves to convince others to do the same and become infamous. For one, attributing Freeman to that quote was a hoax and the whole thing never happened. Even if it did, that wasn’t the actor being a genius- whoever wrote the quote is just a person echoing what every serial killer expert and crime behavior analyst has said over the past 50 years.

So is there some truth to it? Is the media behaving irresponsibly? Yes, and perhaps. I’m surely not defending them. But what the majority of the people don’t understand is that traditional news is a platform for old people to be outraged. Kids aren’t tuned in to Fox News watching this story unfold. You know who is? Parents who grew up without the internet who can’t believe how different the world is today. You know why you are saturated by this coverage? Because you choose to be. Who in their right mind bitches about a tv show and keeps watching it? You are part of the problem. If you don’t want to be inundated with sensationalist media, don’t give it views or clicks.

Wedding Photographers

You may notice that I’m on a bit of a wedding kick lately. I don’t expect that to stop soon either since these things are expensive. On top of food and drink, invitations, venue, decorations, flowers, dj, etc., you can pay the price of a small car for a wedding (I could insert a joke about which is statistically likely to last longer but that might be in bad taste given my current situation). Figuring out how to cut some of these expenses down is important but you just need to learn to stomach some of them. That said, is there a bigger single expense rip-off than wedding photographers?

After paying somebody 2-4 grand for taking pictures for several hours, they want to then sell you the ‘rights’ to the pictures of your wedding they took? I saw a website refer to these as "digital negatives"! If there’s a clearer sign that something is a rip off then I can’t think of it. Adding a computery word before an old outdated process doesn’t mean that there’s any of the old work involved. Imagine if you had to pay for e-stamps when sending email.

This is simple. If you pay someone thousands of dollars to take photos of you for 6 hours, they should be giving you 6 hours worth of photos. Instead, they just give you 30 "best of" shots and want to sell you the rest. What the crap was the thousands of dollars for?

Another thing wedding photographers want to sell or package for you are the wedding albums, online slideshows, etc. Now this is surely a valuable service for some people but giving me a "best of" physical album and not giving me the pictures I paid thousands of dollars for is missing the entire point. I’m paying for ‘wedding photographers’ not ‘wedding photo album makers’. Let’s not lose sight of this basic fact.

Paul Christoforo

I don’t usually use this site as a platform for reposting trendy internet news but Paul Cristoforo of Ocean Marketing has really gone out of his way to be a hilarious failure. Plus, I still enjoy email threads as an old school bit of internet comedy.

So the story is this: some guy named Dave bought a couple PS3 controllers from a third party company and was emailing their marketing representative (Ocean Marketing) about the shipping delays. Paul Cristoforo, resident representative and prick, engages in a colorful and confusing email exchange.

From: Dave
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 16, 2011, at 1:34 PM

I ordered 2 of the upcoming PS3 controllers (invoice xxxxxxxxx—Nov 3, 2011). Any chance of getting an update of when these items will ship? I’m not really happy about being forced to pay upfront then have the advertised date of “Early December” be completely missed without any sort of update on availability. I really need one of them for a X-mas present as well. Anyways, looking forward to finally using one of these bad boys. Thanks and happy holidays.

-Dave

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Dave
Dec 16, 2011 2:45 PM

Dec 17

- Paul Christoforo

From: Dave
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 19, 2011, at 11:02 AM

Thanks for the reply Paul.  Can you clarify whether my particular order already sent or if Dec 17 was the first day shipments went out?  I have not received any sort of shipping confirmation email or tracking information.

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Dave
Dec 19, 2011 11:21 AM

They still haven’t shipped yet on the way here from china

From: Dave
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 20, 2011 4:29 PM

So then delivery to customer doors by December 24th is no longer likely correct?  Do you have an estimated date of when units will arrive in California? Thanks.

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Dave
Dec 20, 2011 5:11 PM

They are in the USA now in customs so its wither before or after Christmas.

From: Dave
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011, at 9:47 AM

I noticed the updated info on the webpage, and I don’t understand why there is absolutely no benefit given to those like me who have already ordered, and paid their money.  You’ve had my money interest free for nearly two months, yet now ANY new order will get $10 off….meaning I should just cancel my order for 2 controllers, get my money back, then re-order.

My other questions is regarding item compatibility.  Ocean Marketing seems to be involved with the Xtendplay controller holder, so I was wondering if the Avenger N-Controller can be used in conjunction with the Xtendplay (for both Xbox and PS3)?  Thanks

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Dave
Dec 26, 2011 10:14 AM

Yes it can be used with xtend play if you remove the stand and no one is allowed to cancel and re order if we catch anyone doing it we will simply just cancel your order all together and you can buy it retail somewhere else.

Things happen in manufacturing if your unhappy you have 7 days from the day your item ships for a refund. You placed a pre order just like any software title the gets a date moved due to the tweaks and bugs not being worked out and GameStop or any other place holds your cash and im sure you don’t complain to activision or epic games so put on your big boy hat and wait it out like everyone else. The benefit is a token of our appreaciation for everyone no one is special including you or any first time buyer . Feel free to cancel we need the units were back ordered 11,000 units so your 2 will be gone fast. Maybe I’ll put them on eBay for 150.00 myself. Have a good day Dan.

From: Dave
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 12:11 PM

Then cancel my order if you want to.  I’m making a legitimate complaint about your poor communication and you’re the one stooping to childish levels, a patronizing attitude, and threats.  Hell you can’t even get the spelling of my name right.

And Gamespot pre-orders…wow what a terrible comparison.  Retailers take a couple dollars IF THAT for you to guarantee your game availability on the release date, whatever that is. That’s the understanding and that’s what you get.  Plus, I don’t have to complain to Activision or Epic games about these issues because they’re usually not missing the street dates for their AAA titles.

Now let’s take YOUR situation:
1) You’ve promised a new product based off the design for an existing, working product
2) For the longest time, you’ve stated on your website (your failure to update regularly is another issue) the initial/special/limited batch of your new product by early December, obviously in time for the all-important holiday gift-giving season.  I and thousands of other customers GIVE YOU OUR MONEY, INTEREST FREE on the promises you made online.
3) I reach out to you, on Dec 16 (AFTER you have FAILED TO MEET YOUR ADVERTISED DEADLINE AND FAILED TO COMMUNICATE TO ANYONE WHAT THE SITUATION IS) obviously a little frustrated but more curious about when I and other customers can expect the product we paid for.
4) Your reply to me is a cryptic “Dec 17” with absolutely no explanation of what that means.  In the mean time you having been using funds from pre-paid customers to complete Research & Development, product redesigns, and manufacturing mis-steps.
5) You force me to follow-up with an email asking for clarification about what “Dec 17” means since the day has passed and I have yet to receive any new information about my order.  Now you instead of ANSWERING MY QUESTION OF WHAT THE NEW DELIVERY DATE IS, you tell me the goods have yet to leave China…  Why are you telling me this?  I’m not your employee I’m your goddamn customer!  TELL ME WHAT THAT MEANS IN TERMS OF MY TIME AND WHEN I CAN EXPECT MY PRODUCT I PAID FOR.
6) So great…I have to email you AGAIN trying to get a CLEAR answer from you whether a Dec 24th delivery date is possible and if not, what the new date is.  Rinse & repeat: You give me an update of the delivery process (wow, thanks…you haven’t told me anything I don’t know about the order of international shipping procedures) but instead say “…so its wither before or after Christmas.”  WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN?  GIVE ME A DATE!?  One that you’re actually going to follow, because I already see “late Nov to early Dec”;  “Dec 17”; and now “CHRISTMAS” in my rear-view mirror.
7) So I guess what’s left for me to do but just wait?  Oh but what’s this, you’ve updated your website…Ok at least you’ve clarified the dates more, I can expect my controller my latest first week of January.  But now as a “token of our appreciation” to all your “loyal customers” (you mean like customers who put up cash for you hold an use?) you’re giving a $10 coupon.  Let me get this straight…so you held my money interest free for 2 months to help bring this product to market, and now some new customer can place an order and pay $10 less than what I paid?  You have financially penalized me in two ways for being a “LOYAL CUSTOMER.”

I’m SURE you’re getting tons of other inquiries and I’m sure you’re not enjoying the fact that your product is not out when you wanted it to be.  I and everyone else understands that “shit happens,” but if you want us to be understanding of that, then you need to keep us in the loop.  You’ve already set yourself up for failure by making explicit promises that aren’t even “likely” given that the design and manufacturing are still be refined.  Then you make sure you’re going to fail by actually taking all of our money, Not just a little bit….THE WHOLE FUCKIN BEEFALO.  Why wouldn’t we trust that you’re going to deliver our merchandise on time?  Besides…it’s based off an existing product so how hard can it be?  Well as your youtube video shows, making any consumer device is hard and requires many iterations and improvements.  But I’m not going to apologize for holding your feet to the fire.  You created these expectations by acting like the release was already a done deal and by hiding the fact that it was faaaar from it.

I want my two n-controllers.  I 1) PAID FOR THEM   2) WAITED   3) DEALT WITH YOUR UNHELPFUL ASS.  I also didn’t want to feel like my trust and loyalty as a customer was being abused and then actually punished in comparison to other customers.  But I guess we can’t have it all… so right now I’ll settle for getting my merchandise and hopefully never having to deal with you again.  I’ve spent enough time writing this email which I hope you gain some insight from.  If you actually do want to screw me over by not fulfilling my order, then I assure you be hearing more from me or people representing me.

You show a surprising lack of business polish for someone who’s quite established, AND an lack of awareness of your customer base: Hardcore gamers.  We’re a demanding, vocal customer but the flip side is we’re loyal and eager to spend.  It’s lucky for you that I really want this product because it seems really deliver on making the gaming experience more effective and enjoyable.  Hell, I want to combine the avenger-controller with the xtend play to make the ugliest, most comfortable, most awesome controller ever.  And I’ll still buy the xtend, so let that be a testament to your products, the rise above your poor representation.

-DAVE with a V

p.s. You look really douchy be having one youtube video complaining about the noise of traffic next to your home and then another video showing off your obnoxiously loud rice rocket (which is nice, I gotta hand it ya).

p.p.s. Welcome to the internet, bitch.  That’s how I roll.

Now granted, Dave with a V went a bit overboard with his reply. Paul Cristoforo was not handling things well and Dave was understandably concerned and lost it. What is amazing is how Paul, representing Ocean Marketing and the Avenger controller, responded:

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Dave
Dec 26, 2011 2:19 PM

LOL Thanks for the Free PR I know the Editor N Chief of Kotaku , IGN , Engadget I’ll be meeting them at CES .The noise complaint was for people high up on the food chain in a corporate world of real estate you have no clue about.  Thanks for the Rice Rocket Compliment too love me some motorcycle . Send that over to Engadget you look like a complete moron swearing and sending your customer service complaints to a magazine as if they will post it or even pay attention do you think you’re the first or the last what are they going to do demand us to tell you were your shipment is or ask for a refund on your behalf … Really … Welcome to the Internet ? Son Im 38 I wwebsite as on the internet when you were a sperm in your daddys balls and before it was the internet, thanks for the welcome to message wurd up.  Grow up you look like a complete child bro. I Don’t have my controller so im gonna cry to the world … Really ?? Hey take that free time and do something more productive. All you had to do was check the like everyone else , people have inquired but you’re the douchiest of them all J

To all our pre-order customers looking for information on the status of their orders after a busy couple of months The PS3 Avengers are on their way from our Manufacturing plant overseas. We are aware that everyone is anticipating having their Avengers under their Christmas Tree and were doing our best to get these orders shipped out as fast as possible. We appreciate you as loyal customers and for supporting our company. Customers will start receiving their products this week before Christmas and After Christmas and into the New Year. As a token of our appreciation we are offering all our pre-order customers and new customers 10$ off your next order with us just enter Avenger1001 at Checkout. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

Oh and FYI When a street date gets pushed by a publisher on a video game you pre ordered do you cry to them too ?

You just got told bitch … welcome to the real internet check kotaku in 2 weeks when they are reviewing free PS3 Avengers we send them as well as G4 and all the other majors hell yeah , don’t forget to check Amazon, gamestop.com, play n trade , Myers , Frys and a ton of other local stores coming your way you think you speak for billions son your just a kid you speak for yourself no one cares what you think that’s why were growing and moving 20-50 thousand controllers a month. We do value our customers but sometimes we get children like you we just have to put you in the corner with your im stupid hat on. See you at CES , E3 , Pax East ….? Oh wait you have to ask mom and pa dukes your not an industry professional and you have no money on snap you just got told.

Once frustrated, Dave sent this email thread around to several news sites including Penny Arcade, and since Paul bragged about being at PAX East, Mike, one of the guys who runs the site and expo, joined the email chain:

From: Mike Krahulik
To: Dave, Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 at 8:45 PM

Holy shit this is unbelievable. Dave, if this guy has a booth at Pax east we will cancel it.

From: Dave
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 8:53 PM

Hey thanks Mike.  It’s truly a shame because I think this device is great for gamers with disabilities and problems.  I think of Child’s Play and if anyone’s gonna need greater accessibility when using complicated gamepads…it’s sick kids!  Shit man, I’m really gonna feel bad if I think that sick children may somewhere down the line have fewer avenger controllers because I got into a pissing match with a sad old man.  Please don’t cancel their booth on my account.  As much as I hate this asshole, I still WANT his product and think it should be out there.  GAH, I wish I was in a position to make a competing product to really stick it to guy.

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 8:54 PM

Hey Mikey,

We’re not renting a booth at pax east this year , bigger and better shows to be at we got nothing from the show . Oh so you know this guy has sold over 500 thousand dollars of product in Dec and is my main distribution arm landing us in GameStop , fry’s , Myers , Best buy , Activision , MLG , play N trade and a lot more . Were in 6 countries and you’re not going to take my money for a booth that’s a crock I can guarantee I’ll get a booth if I want one money buys a lot and connections go even further.  He’s a native Bostonian from Little Italy . Who are you again ?

From: Mike Krahulik
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:08 PM

I am mike krahulik, Pax is my show. Feel free to google me=) I can promise you that you will never have space at any future Pax event.

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:33 PM

OK Mike whatever you say lol , are you sure hour not in Boston I spoke to the person who ran the show in Boston last year. If you let some little kid influence you over a pre order then we don’t want to be a your show ,Ill be on the floor anyway so come find me , I’m born and raised in Boston I know the people who run the city inside and out watch the way you talk to people you never know who they know it’s a small industry and everyone knows everyone. Your acting like a douchbag not that it matters pax east pax west , e3 , CES , Gamer Con , SSXW ,Comic Con, Germany I’m all over the place. If we want to be there we will be there with industry badges or with a booth you think I can’t team up with turtle beach , Callibur or Koy Christmas , I can’t get Kevin Kelly to pull some strings or G4 , Paul Eibler Ex CEO of take 2 ,  Rich Larocco Konami , Cliff Blizinski Epic who were working with on a gears version , Activision who were working with on a MW3 and Spider man Bundle , The Convention Center Owners themselves , Mayor of Boston come on Bud you run a show that’s all you do and lease a center in Cities you have no pull in its all about who you know not what you do.  I’ll see space where ever I want , with who I want when I want and where I want so many ways around you and so many connections in this industry its silly. Anyway , I have no issue with you Sean Buckley Engadget, Scott Lowe IGN and the list goes on and on. Little kids unhappy with a PRE ORDER starting trouble and you email that to us , he’s a customer unless you’re his boyfriend then you should side with the company not the customer. Be Careful

It’s important to note that all the name dropping Paul Cristoforo of Ocean Marketing is doing is subterfuge. He is attempting to bully his recipients by pretending to know the mayor, or video game industry employees, or whatever. And the funny thing is, because he is lying out of his ass, he probably assumes everyone else is using his tough guy act and lying as well. Except he just picks fights with people without checking.

From: Mike Krahulik
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:40 PM

I do run Pax, but I also run a website called penny arcade. It’s kinda popular.

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:41 PM

Love penny Arcade !!

From: Mike Krahulik
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:42 PM

I’m glad you like it! You will be on it tomorrow:)

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Great !! Love PR

And then, possibly upon reconsidering:

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Mike I’m not trying to fight with you I’m really not , you should give me the benefit of the doubt before judging over one person’s bitching . Did I feed into his emails a little bit too much yeah ok . But it’s one person dude for real. No disrespect intended for you , My name is good in this industry and I know a lot of people. I’ll be at CES are you going ?

From: Mike Krahulik
To: Ocean Marketing
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:47 PM

Please remove me from this mailing list

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 26, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Your spamming me you’re not on a mailing list you idiot ! You sent me an email remember . Make sure you stir up a lot of controversy about us the more the better we needed some drama gets good blood flow going about the new product launch .  Your sites amateur at best my son could put together a better site than yours and you run PAX ?? Wow , Ill put my marketing team on a smear campaign of you and your site and your emails , I have about 125 dedicated people to run PR , Blogs , Articles , Videos you have no clue who I am . Thanks again

At this point the entire email chain is posted on Penny Arcade and shit begins to hit the fan. Other news sites cover the story and the collective internet begins making fun of Paul Cristoforo. Here’s a great example and summation of events so far:

 

It is around this point that Paul Cristoforo calls mercy:

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 27, 2011 at 7:12 AM

You have the power Mike Please make it stop

And then, about an hour later, an ‘apology’:

From: Ocean Marketing
To: Mike Krahulik
Dec 27, 2011 at 8:15 AM

Hey Mike,
I just wanted to apologize for the way our emails progressed I didn’t know how big your site was and I really didn’t believe you ran Pax , So for what’s its worth I am very sorry. Your post has obviously made my life very difficult and I have not slept yet dealing with all the spam and personal information intrusion as well as my family being smeared on the internet.
If you can please accept my apology and anything you can do to help if not me my son and wife please do. I have apologized to Dave and apologized to you what else can I do please tell me so I can make things good. I obviously care or I would not be emailing you.

Needless to say, it was too late. The internet can not be put back on its leash. Ocean Marketing was more or less dissolved or something, not sure, but they no longer represent the Avenger controller. This poor guy has been berated all Christmas and probably lost multiple clients and screwed up his reputation but he still didn’t learn.

He tried to extort a cushy contract from Avenger after the fallout by holding their digital property (like their Twitter account and email addresses) for ransom until that exploded into even more internet stories until he relented. The whole thing is just great comedy.

Not sure what is next in the Paul Cristoforo saga, but much like Jack Thompson (the crazy anti-video game lawyer) it is likely that gamer sites will continue running trivial news about him until some other shmuck comes along.

Jonathan Blow

By all accounts, I want to hate this guy. This may come off as strange since I am a game developer who has long wanted the existence of an indie game scene and Jonathan Blow is an advocate of the little guy and experimental gameplay. And these are things I’ve never had a problem with. But I do begin to get irritated by the pretension that artists and their craft sometimes exude.

Here, of course, I am speaking of Braid, a simple Xbox Live Arcade platformer emulating (and parodying) Mario. An annoying art style was only the beginning. A time reversal mechanic garnered high praise and the critics lavished the indie title with near ridiculous support. Having never played Braid myself I am really just perturbed at the critical acclaim which is perhaps more an indictment of gaming media than the game itself. To point, I have to admit that I probably have been too hard on this game.

Nevertheless, when it comes time for Braid creator Jonathan Blow to speak there is always a high-minded artsy slant to the coverage that encourages me to roll my eyes. But a recent gamasutra interview changed my tune.

It’s easy for certain game advocates or “futurists” to ignore how self-important they sound and make broad statements about the industry and what it should be. While Blow definitely has his opinions on right and wrong I was surprised at his lack of absolutism. When asked pointed questions about the ethics of certain games, he prefaces with, “I don’t want to be in the business of saying that all games should be anything.” As a person who uses qualifiers for *almost* everything, this style resonates with me. It is less about being authoritative and more about personal opinion. Speaking with authority does not make one an authority.

Then there are his thoughts on so called ‘social games’ and their impact on players. This is a hot topic in the game community and everyone has there own opinion, with my thoughts already posted to this blog. He posits:

It’s not about designing something that’s going to be interesting or a positive experience in any way — it’s actually about designing something that’s a negative experience. It’s about “How do we make something that looks cute and that projects positivity” — but it actually makes people worry about it when they’re away from the computer and drains attention from their everyday life and brings them back into the game. Which previous genres of game never did. And it’s about, “How do we get players to exploit their friends in a mechanical way in order to progress?” And in that or exploiting their friends, they kind of turn them in to us and then we can monetize their relationships. And that’s all those games are, basically.

What I appreciate is that I find his insight interesting while his tone is mostly balanced. Not that you’d imagine I favor these qualities after reading this blog.

Taco

The League is hands down one of the best new comedies on TV. It’s about fantasy football. It’s about a group of friends ragging on each other. It’s a guy show that stands out from the other guy shows by being unapologetic about being a guy show.

Of course, there are some legitimate complaints about The League. The show structure is a bit formulaic after seeing a few episodes and the writers try too hard to create lingo in scenes that are heavily ‘inspired’ by Seinfeld. But by far the biggest problem of the series is the character named Taco.

All of the guys on the show have their thing. Taco’s thing is more or less being Joey from Friends. He’s the dumb guy who puts himself in odd situations without knowing any better for cheap comedy relief. He’s an easy way out for the writers any time they need something completely off the wall to happen. Seriously, his shtick is playing an acoustic guitar and singing wacky songs not unlike Adam Sandler from SNL in the 80s. Or Phoebe from Friends in the 90s. For a mostly original sitcom I really wonder what went on behind the scenes to have this happen.

Stevie Wonder

Stevie WonderI was recently at the 2009 Spike Video Game Awards. Several celebrities and musical guests made appearances and handed out trophies to game developers. At one point, Stevie Wonder came out and said that video games have a lot of potential and he likes the industry, but he would like to see more video games made for blind people.

That’s great Stevie and I feel bad for you and all, but how much music did you make for deaf people?