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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Issue : People : 88mph


A short time ago I picked up this journo gig to write about Ernest Cline while he was in town working the Comic-con circuit. I knew his name from way back, matter of fact I knew him before I even knew his name, because he was the guy winning all the poetry slams in Austin with nerd topical work that the guys at the game studio over there would send over. They knew him because he worked the ground floor tech industry as a day job, while writing his stuff at night.

I learned his screen style from Fanboys, and his posts outlining all of the work a screen writer goes through just to get anything finished, and then all of the sacrifices they go through to just to get it on film, and then all the sadness they go through looking back and forth at what made it from the page to the film. And then I ran into his sequel to The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension floating around the inter-webs, and then I had a pretty good idea of who he was before I even met him.

The editor told me my best chance to corner him would be at a reading he was doing at a local landmark bookstore over in Clairemont. He said I wouldn't be able to miss his entrance, because he would be driving a Delorean. Then he winked at me, and went "Yeah, a Delorian, this guy is right up your alley!" Then he jabbed me in the arm like we were in on some secret code.

I didn't have the heart to tell him I died a little inside every time someone talked about nerd life like it wasn't everywhere all the time, like it was special. Sometimes I wished he would have gone the other route and only gave me music and "culture" gigs like everybody else. There is still a certain old-timey comfort in that brand of branding.

Anyway, Ernest Cline came in and did his thing, reading from a book he had out about gaming in the future but more about a famous dev from the past who created games like adventure where there was a key for every door but they were hard to find. And he died and left a will in the form of a game with keys so hard to find that nobody could do it and everybody gave up except this one kid who had nothing else to do but look for keys, because it was all he had left to look forward to.

After his reading I hung out in the back while he chatted up the audience, and when almost everyone else had left I walked up to him and asked if he had time for a quick interview. He said it had been a long day but he would be in town a few more, so I pulled a familiarity gambit and suggested we check out a local game shop called Luna that I was sure he would enjoy, right up his alley as it were. He said sure, but was probably just saying that to be nice.

The Protoculture Mixtape v.86 Issue : Games : DMC-12

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Issue : People : The Illustrated Man


Ray Bradbury... Man... I just. Ok, Ray Bradbury was an author, poet, playright, visionary... See here is the thing, there is nothing to say abut this man that is not in his books, what the hell is the point. There are certain people that have been in this world to which all other people after spring, and if anyone fits the bill for sci fi writers or readers it was this guy.

He is also his books, as in his life is his book. He has an origin story, really, an origin story right out of a marvel one off where he met a carney by the name of Mr. Electro, and after a performance he touched Mr. Bradbury with a sword and said, "Live forever!" And then Mr. Bradbury started writing every day like a boss.

A while ago a game guy had stuff to say about Neil Stephenson and China Mieville as far as what they placed upon the science fiction altar, as in not much of anything good, and I only kind of agreed with him. But now after this loss its kind of apparent that the current top of the craft mostly miss the mark on what the Asimov, Bradbury and Vonnegut generation did best.

The guys today seem to focus on the sights and sounds and things to be done in the future, but the guys of that age were almost monastically centered on who the human race would be when we got there. Be it filled with  one newfangled invention or idea or a sprawling utopia, you always closed their books feeling one way or another about the future people you met and less the future industry they painted.

Not so much of that these days, and maybe that's because we are constantly inundated with new versions of the future in the present, smart phones, wide webs, face chat, bar codes. The shit gets to be a lot, enough to make you want to put it all down for a while and take a breath.

Then for enjoyment we are supposed to pick up these books that read like Biff Tannen's skymall almanac, only promising more stuff to put on vibrate. Not a very escapey escape, much less a thing to hold your breath for. Anyway, thanks for everything Mr. Bradbury.

The Protoculture Mixtape v.85 Issue : Games : The Pedestrian

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Issue : People : Extravaganzas


Best of luck to all gift baggin' and taggin' around the E3 unobtanium jubilee. I'm skipping the pomp and watching vids of the circumstance this year. It's pointless to say that the show is no longer for game players, because straight up and down, it hasn't been for a long time.

And it's also pointless to mention that the event organizers still support the anti internet thing that most of the attendees claim to hate, but everyone has seemed to put aside their differences so Flo Rida can do his thing, it's all good I guess.

Nowadays the real E3 occurs the week before through skype and x-chat and aim, people teasing and passing and slipping stuff through nda gates to get that last pair of truly interested for non fiscal or competitive eyes on a trailer or demo before it's tossed into the pit for the emperors pleasure.

And then its bizzarro E3, a shoddy remake of  Plains, Trains, and Automobiles, and handshakes and lines and grumpy floor staff and cynical journos and after parties where everybody stands around and tries to point out everybody else and game people acting like famous people and vice versa and deadlines and back on the Plains, Trains, and Automobiles but with hangovers this time then more deadlines then waiting a year to play all the stuff you saw.

Good times, and somewhere in that cycle you really start to appreciate ergonomic chairs, germ x, and gametrailers.com.

The Protoculture Mixtape V.84 Issue : Games : Booth Bros

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