Week 692

What’s this? I’m blogging about my work on a weekly basis – a simple way to track and archive whatever it is I spend my time on.

Last week I produced/directed/hosted another Bashers Gameclub, this time about snowboarding game SSX. The first edition of this bi-weekly live podcast with one game per episode took too much time, and the second went a lot better. I’m also much happier with my role as host. I had more to do, standing next to the table with a wireless microphone and interviewing people in the audience, and was more at ease. I predict that the next one, about Journey, will be the best yet.

I also finished Fez, with about 40 cubes, and wrote a long review for nrc.next, which they unfortunately haven’t published yet. I really like the game, its tough puzzly nature and the way its eccentricity seemingly mirrors creator Phil Fish’s personality.

And I love how the gaming community collaborated to beat its puzzles: this happens on forums like Gamefaqs.com with every major game, but it usually doesn’t take as long.

In other newspaper news, I edited a piece on Kinect by Rogier Kahlmann, which also hasn’t appeared yet.

They did, however, publish the previous week’s Next Level column about animation in games.

I finished Jacked by David Kushner, and wrote an nrc.next review together with David Nieborg, which was published today. Our conclusion: it’s an exciting, entertaining book, but it’s also on the light side. We’ve seen deeper cultural analysis of the Grand Theft Auto games and their impact elsewhere, but Kushner was obviously not going for that, opting to write a fun pageturner about a controversial franchise instead. It’s the first time David and I co-wrote a piece doing multiple passes over Google Docs, which worked pretty well.

For the Dutch Official PlayStation Magazine (OPM), I wrote a new column, about Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. (My monthly column is retro-themed, I’m basically going through all the games for the original PlayStation that made a big impression on me, and through all the memories connected to these games. When I’m done, I’ll do the same for the PlayStation 2.)

I got the latest issue of OPM in the mail, which contains an extended edition of the interview I did with Journey’s Jenova Chen at the Game Developers Conference. And another column of course, this one about music games, especially Parappa the Rapper and Guitar Freaks.

On Tuesday I visited Two Tribes to talk through recent development progress on the upcoming puzzle game Toki Tori 2, for which I’m creating the story. As the creation of the game world is edging closer, we’re reworking our setup to make it fit better with the essence of Toki Tori (which of course means figuring out what that essence is). Secondly, everything should be logical for the player and feasible production-wise.

On Friday I was moderator at the Festival of Games conference.