Week 699

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 was E3 week, as the world’s biggest games trade show took place in Los Angeles. I didn’t find the time to watch all the keynotes, though I did write a Next Level column about Nintendo’s MiiVerse announcement, which appeared in nrc.next today. It’s about the idea of singleplayer games really being multiplayer games, too, as you often play or discuss them together, in the physical world or through an online community.

Perhaps it’s because I wasn’t as involved in E3 as I would like to be this year, but I regarded the announcements, and especially the disappointed fan-banter about them, with a fair amount of amusement. From my ivory tower, of course.

Additionally, last week I continued with what Wikipedia refers to as the physical act of laying tiles. My dad and I spent all of Monday in the pouring rain, with nothing but one sturdy parasol to keep us from soaking. We got a lot done, but didn’t finish. On Sunday my wife and I tiled some more, and now our garden is really almost ready.

Also on Monday, the paper published my analysis of the cinematic elements in Max Payne 3 (which was in the film appendix of NRC Handelsblad earlier). Alongside the piece was a very short version of my report on word games, cutting out almost everyone I spoke with. They did publish my short reviews of six interesting alternatives to Wordfeud, though, and I may use the interviews elsewhere later on.

The latest issue of the Dutch Official PlayStation Magazine appeared, which contains my interview with Johann Sebastian Joust creator Douglas Wilson, as well as a PlayStation Memories column about one of my personal favorites from the PS1 era, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The magazine may have been out earlier, but I erroneously didn’t get it in the mail and didn’t see it in the kiosks until now.

Tuesday was spent at the Ministerie van Veiligheid en Justitie, for the consultancy project I do with David Nieborg.

Wednesday was spent at Two Tribes, building a bigger version of the Toki Tori 2 island in Lego, and at Sonicpicnic, where the progress of audio art game Remembering was discussed. It’s becoming way more abstract, in every sense, which I think is a good thing.

That night, I visited the Max Payne 3 game comedy night at Tivoli Utrecht, which was way better than it might sound. Six comedians, including two former game journalist co-workers, did their usual comedy routines, with some newly written games material thrown in. I have a ready laugh, so it doesn’t really mean much that I made a lot of noise all evening, but still: it was a lot of fun.

On Thursday I wrote an article for Items magazine about the idea of the ‘futuro-retroistic game’, or games that look old, but could only have been made today.

On Friday I did some translations for Nintendo: PR stuff like fact sheets about upcoming games. Every year around E3 they ask me to fill in for Jurjen Tiersma, who is their standard go-to guy, but always goes to LA at this time of the year. Translation is a job I have long ago stopped accepting, but when it’s Nintendo who’s asking I’m somehow urged to reply with a nostalgia-tinged ‘yes’. And hey, it pays the bills.

That afternoon, I had a meeting with Oscar Kneppers, former publisher of Bright and founder of Rockstart. I asked him for his thoughts on Bashers.nl, but instead of getting advice on media and games, as I had expected, he peered deep into my soul and lectured me on wanting less, doing what feels right, and knowing when to quit. Very zen: the cadence of that conversation resonated deep into the weekend.