It’s nice to see things like this finally breaking into / becoming more established in the medium. Gail Simone is a brilliant writer, I’m very much a fan of her current run on Batgirl, but I’m now an even bigger fan of her attitude.
I was greatly saddened to hear the news that LucasArts would be shutting there doors, to no longer develop their own games but instead sell out the licenses to other studios.
Not only did they make some brilliant games they had some of the sharpest and wittiest writing in gaming, games such as Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle had me hooked from the get go and I will also love them for that. A pity.
In other news (both game related, seem to be in that mood this morning) these articles are worth a read:
We’re very much still in the early stages of writing comics, learning a lot and exploring what we can do, but it’s all fairly straight forward so far, nice light stories which are fun to write. It’s always enlightening to come across people pushing their field, be it writing, film or gaming to do new things.
Which is when I came across this it was worth shouting about; That Dragon, Cancer.
This is a brave and difficult ‘game’ to create, which really shows the new and interesting ways that the gaming medium can be used to explore difficult and sometimes hopeless human realities.
I’m not sure I’d actually want to try it, but I feel I probably would and the creator, Ryan Greene, has my full respect for trying to create something that might give some peace or a positive message from the most personal of subjects.
Gaming has a unique ability, unlike any other medium, where you can become fully immersed in the experience, and it’s the sign of a maturing field that it’s starting to be used to properly explore aspects of the human psyche.
The article itself is also well written and you can tell the reporter Jenn Frank was genuinely moved by it.
Both MacTruck and I go to the gym, quite often to be fair but not so you could tell. Mainly as an escape from our work, what with the clicking and typing and the constant incessant bleating of other people. God I hate people sometimes, it’s the breathing… the raspy mouth breathing… just horrific. So the regular lunch time jaunt to the industrial shed down the road, in which to lift various heavy objects, in variety of manners and then putting them down again, is an exhausting and yet strangely cathartic past time.
Importantly though it is also the time I have all my best ideas, which is actually a bit frustrating because, as this is a proper gym, it’s incredibly frowned upon to be sitting and jotting them all down. You should be beefing and beefing with great gusto, only then do you gain approved nods from the various bulging mutants.
I’m not clear if it’s just being distracted, for example trying to not choke yourself with an overloaded bar, that frees up the mind to chew over ideas you’re too busy to properly consider earlier but you finish your last rep of jumping split squat blitzers and blam! an idea for a story jumps out on you. It proceeds to get far to close for comfort. You try and keep focusing on your next exercise but suddenly it’s like that man on the bus, the one who keeps jostling you and stroking your leg, makes it impossible to focus on anything else.
Which is why I can be found muttering to myself round the gym trying to flesh it out before it vanishes, which might explain the ever expanding circle around me as the session goes on. It also explains why I take so long in the shower, I’m in there jotting ideas down, not that anyone ever buys that excuse. In that environment it’s often less embarrassing to go down the alternate route as a rationale, at least that’s a reason they understand.
Point being always carry a pen and some paper, or a tablet, or something to jot notes down on, as typically your best ideas spring into life when you aren’t really thinking, and don’t worry about dropping everything to write it down there and then, people can wait, this is important! You wouldn’t want to lose that perfect idea for a new fan fiction of Dr House and Sherlock crossing lighting fast barbs while in the bath together. Wilson and Watson staring on disapprovingly yet helpless to stop them.
For me there is nothing like the gym for letting you zone out and let the mind roam unimpeded for a while. Then back to work where all your ideas become intellectual property of the company…
Plus if you have a PS3 do yourself a favour and pick up Ni No Kuni, it’s a beautiful game, lovely sentiment, clever battle mechanics, sincere characters and Studio Ghibli do the in game animation for gods sake! What more could you possibly want.
Here a few things that I particularly like at the moment, all are worth checking out and all are great time wasters, which if your day job is like mine is incredibly important…
Mobile Frame Zero – Looking for a new game? love making fun robots out of lego? When then this is for you, this brilliant table top strategy game was funded as a kickstarter project (that site alone is a massive time and funds sink) and once you’ve got your entry pack with the rules you can build your own units to play! They also sell lego kits which I just want for my desk if nothing else.
Looking for some new graphic novels but not sure where to start then check out, the always useful, CBR’s Top 100 novels of 2012. I highly recommend ‘Nao of Brown‘ and if you’re not reading it yet get on board with ‘The Unwritten‘
One of my favorite and most informative things to watch on-line is the penny arcade sponsored ‘Extra Credits‘. Now onto it’s firth season it’s a brilliant little show which explores the concepts, mechanics, themes, writing and psychology found in gaming. Most of the topics they discuss can be applied to most forms of media though and it’s 100% worth watching.
The final site I’m going to pimp today is io9 which frankly I’m sure most of you will know about. If you enjoy science, science fiction, TV, film or generally geeky topics it’s a great resource. Not many other sites cover universal origin theories, Joss Whedon myths, amazing concept artwork and animals that should be Pokemon. Well none quite so well.
I thought I’d go ahead and add a few more links and make some recommendations.
Naniiebim I was lucky to meet at the Bristol Comic convention last year and pick up some of her work (Orange). The artwork is lovely and her blog gives a brilliant breakdown in the processes involved in producing and printing your own work!
One of the biggest problems with getting into comics, even small press, is the amount of effort and time it takes to produce physical products to sell. We submitted a story last week and it won’t see print for at least another 8 months, which is why web comics have become so popular. It might not be the same as holding the comic in your hand but for huge access, flexibility, low cost and creative control it can’t be beaten, so below are my recommendations to check out:
Penny Arcade – If you don’t already read this, the most successful web comic franchise of all time, I don’t even know what to say…
SMBC – Always funny and incredibly inventive
PVP – An absolute classic webcomic with brilliant characters
Those are all the classic big hitters that jump to mind, I’ll add some obscure comics and hidden gems soon.
Our good friend Mr Edward Zabkiewicz, after many moons writing solely for his own amusement and catharsis, has finally been persuaded to create a small home for his writing and expose them to the brutal expanse of the world. His stories are inventive, engaging, intriguing and often a challenge. He is a young man with much potential stretching his literary muscles and I quite frankly can’t recommend them highly enough. I admit I may be a little in love with the man but that shouldn’t dissuade you!
Check out his blog in our ‘We Greatly Admire’ section or follow the link directly here