Default Tester

Help people get better with video games. Donate to Child's Play for karma Achievements.

Join Default Tester and save the Galaxy. Service guarantees citizenship. Would you like to know more?

Great question. If I only had one video I could play it would be this.

Oh crap sorry! Extra Credits! Along with Heathcliff, I dedicate this story to the following people, in no particular order:

Ada Lovelace

Kurt Vonnegut

Bill Gates

Steve Jobs

Grace Hopper

Ray Kurzweil

Gabe Newell

Barack Obama

Michelle Obama

The Fam

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Issue : Games : Bye Felicia

Ralph H. Baer is gone. He made video games, as in, he created the industry. That's pretty interesting in and of itself, but that is not the most interesting thing about Ralph. There are tons of interesting things about him. Personally, I find the most interesting thing about him is he not only built something from nothing, he continued to work on that newborn something quietly and enthusiastically every single day until he died.

I find that most interesting because he proved it can be done.

Other interesting things about Ralphie... Let's see... Had em' right here... Oh ok, So he was born in Germany but had a hard time over there cause his family were Jew's when it really wasn't cool to be a Jew in Germany. Baer's family left a few months before Kristallnacht, which is a defunct German holiday where confused Germans go door to door kicking the shit out of Jew's.

Ralph Baer and his family traveled to America, where it's ok to be whoever you want to be as long as you aren't black.

Ralph got really into radios, was drafted into WWII as a military intelligence operative, then returned to Germany and fucked up their shit. That had to feel pretty good on some level.

Goddam, the file on this guy is massive... Let's just hit the high notes. Ok, Bachelor of Science in Television Engineering before the discipline even existed. Chief engineer at Wappler, Inc where he pioneered surgical cut machines, epilators, and low freq pulse gen equipment. Worked at Loral, IBM, Transitron... Blah blah blah... Jesus, did this guy sleep?

And finally (not really he did a ton of other stuff) dude made the Brown Box and the Magnavox Odyssey, the first consoles. How must it have felt to be talking about what were to become video games at that time?

He must have been the weirdest of the weird guys at parties. I imagine him walking up to people in a conversation about a recent boxing match and positing the ability to actually control the action of the boxers on screen through electrode manipulation, only to have them roll their eyes are give the 40's version of Bye Felicia.

I'm sure he wasn't bothered, he was beyond proving a point or corralling the masses. The show wasn't about him, only the vision mattered. He was Lucy on the sidewalk with the chalk.

Anyway, he's dead and there will be no more Ralph in the world, and that is sad. But there is room for others who will no doubt come along and elaborate on the picture Volta and Edison and Tesla began painting. They are out there right now as a matter of fact.

I hope information hasn't taken my radio silence for submission. Just a detour, the plan hasn't changed. Also, had nothing to do with this clusterfuck, my plate is super full, ask the kids. Also Dragon Age: Freaky Tales is the truth. Also Ubisoft get your shit together, Jade left for a reason. Also Midrats at 3:00 also JERBZ.

The Protoculture Mixtape V.XX Full Stop

Friday, October 17, 2014

Issue : Games : Betrayal of the dragon

In Double Dragon brothers Billy and Jimmy Lee fight a gang called the Black Warriors in order to rescue Marion. If playing the game Co-op, after beating the final boss you are forced into single combat with your brother over the affections of said female.

No game had ever put me in the position, I was eight years old and had no concept of how to respond when shit gets real.

While processing this new information player 2 beat me to death with a pipe.

In the beginning of the game Marion got punched in the stomach and dragged away. We were two guys out there who saw this happen, and decided to do something about it instead of letting it slide. Were we not there to save a friend? Wouldn’t we have done the same for anyone? Couldn’t we go somewhere and talk this out?

After he went home I sat on the porch until nightfall, thinking about what happened. He was my boy, road dog,  mi hermano. We had fought together. So many Abobo’s, so many team up attacks.

The next day at baseball practice I would be fielding grounders and the scene would flash in my mind of Jimmy in his matching red leather pants vest, no undershirt; beating me senseless while Marian stood in the periphery clutching her pearls, awakened by the violence.

That night I sat indian style in the laundry room staring at the dryer, surrounded by the spent casings of Capri suns and Lunchables. I knew Mom would be pissed when she found out I consumed a weeks worth of lunch fixins. Didn’t care. God was a lie and nothing mattered.     

Wart, Pimple, and Zitz didn’t have a friendship, it was an arrangement. April O' Neil was gonna break Raph's heart. If Luigi died, would Mario even show up to the funeral?

I dubbed that event “The Betrayal of the Dragon,” and swore a silent pact of vengeance on the kid. Without getting into litigious details, in later days that kid paid a real world price in blood and fire. He claimed not to remember what the hell I was talking about, but he knew.  

Nevertheless the event distorted my views on relationships and left me a broken, cynical, husk of a man whose deep seeded intimacy issues all share the common point of origin.

Anyway, I’m over it. Time marches as time do, it’s all goodie. I’m chill. Psh… So dumb… Yeah so Double Dragon is a great game and you should check it out. I hope information realizes it’s about games, and everybody should get to play. You know where I stand on the topic, if you have any questions, come see me. Also, JERBZ

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Issue : People : förlorat

Sweden is a country in Northern Europe. It's bordered by Norway and Finland; it's connected to Denmark by a bridge tunnel. Sweden still has a king, Sweden social system is the envy of the world, and all the people there are said to be staggeringly beautiful. Sweden sounds like fairy tale town in real life.

The Swedish word for lost is "förlorat."

It would not be hard to get lost in Sweden, 85% of the population lives in urban areas. I imagine the Swedish countryside resembling lush vistas not unlike that old Microsoft Windows default wallpaper. It would roll on for days and days, a dirt path cut through to the next town. You could wander in like an adventurer from an old sword and dragon story, or an RPG. There is an Inn, a general shop, a blacksmith. The NPC's chat you up, point you in the right direction. That kind of stuff.

Sweden sounds great on paper but I don't think I could live there. It's a little too perfect in my mind. I think of this angry, loud, and chaotic turd factory we call the USA and my heart skips a beat.  I'm in love with an abusive, neglectful, obnoxious, brilliant, asshole. We can't fucking stand each other, not one bit, but the music we make sounds all the sweeter for it. But then again, I've never been a sword and sorcery guy, I'm into guns, star-ships, and the electoral college. To each their own.

A group of Swedish gaming folks are a lot richer today. That's for sure. Not that they care, they traded off more than they gained. They just don't know it yet. Out there in those lush vistas they nurtured something they no longer felt responsible controlling so they let it go to people who's job it is to control pets with thyroid problems. Just feed em and feed em and feed em, and they grow until they pop.

What does this mean for the free lands and the kids and the stuff they built? Who cares. The real story is that the King has abdicated, and parliament is guiding the transition. Good luck with that. He really sold it though... he just... Sold it. I know it's not right to expect things of people, I just... I'm legit surprised. Maybe he beat the game?

The Swedish word for surprised is "överraskad."

I hope information doesn't for a second think I wouldn't do the same shit. for two billion I would eat my own taint with no hot sauce. Also maybe now you have more time to run that lame solly in TF2 Notch. Also I was never gonna play Destiny, far be it from me to deride your chosen god. AAA is not what it used to be. Also JERBZ.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Issue : Games : Time Enough At Last

There was this episode of Twilight Zone called "Time Enough At Last" I find myself thinking about a lot, even though I have seen pretty much all the original episodes of Twilight Zone about a million-billion times. At first I watched them with my dad, then I watched them by myself. The Twilight Zone is one of the many great things he gave to me.

The episode revolves around a guy named Henry Bemis. Henry Bemis is a bank teller with gigantic ass glasses who loves reading books. He reads under the counter at work, he reads on his lunch break, dude loves to read. All that reading doesn't make him a good bank teller though, so his customers don't feel him like that, and his boss gets in his ass on the daily.

His wife isn't about all that reading either, she wants him to give up the dreamland shit and head over to reality where the rest of the mature pods play. She rips any written word she finds in his hands right out, and doesn't feel the least bit salty about doing so. Beamis' life revolves around work, and home, so there is no place for him to read in peace. The only thing he likes to do, he can't do.

This is around the point you ask yourself, "Why didn't this fool become a librarian?" Well, the show never addresses that question, but if it did I would venture to guess the answer would be something along the lines of, "Because that's life, people rarely get what they wan't."

Anyway, one day Henry is reading down in the bank vault when an H-Bomb goes off. He leaves the vault to find that everybody is dead. His boss is dead, the customers are dead, his wife is dead. He walks around for a bit and finds food, so he's gonna be ok on that front, But it sinks in that he is alone, he is comfortable, but so alone. It is in this realization that he finds no hope in life, so Henry is all about offing himself. That is until he stumbles upon the public library. The library stands, and is full of books, Frost, Shakespeare, Shelly, they all there.

Beamis' couldn't be happier. He finally has what he has always long for, which he realizes was not to be alone, but time to do what he really want's to do, which is read, for some goddamn reason. So there he is, all set up, books staged, dat smoke nearby, snacks on deck, about to throw down what might be the last, longest, and greatest chill session the world has ever known. He leans down to pick up a book, and what does this nigga do? Breaks his glasses, can't see shit. Game over, clumsy ass.

Anyway, I don't know why I drift back to this story. My life is almost the polar opposite. I'm a baller, my glasses are normal sized, all I ever want to do is play video games, and I play them all the time. At work, at home, whatever. But there has to be something in there, something in this particular story, out of all of the great first season Twilight Zone stories, that has me walking past it's storefront every few days. I don't know, I'll figure it out.

I was also wondering why no one had ever taken a crack at a Twilight Zone game, turns out Jamar and them are working on one over at Legacy. That's cool. only i0S though? I guess... Whatever, the art style looks legit and the trust is there. It will be fine... only i0S though? Nah, it's cool. Also, There are so many damn reasons to hate me, no need to make any up, but I do respect the hustle. Also September is light, i'm down for shenanigans.

Oh wait I was gonna tie the Twilight Zone episode into how physical books trump digital storage and how that scenario could not play out in this modern age and there is true tragedy in that and goddammit...Also JERBZ.

The Protoculture Mixtape v.X Issue : People : Serling

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Issue : Games : SeaTac

Seattle Tacoma International Airport is an embarrassment of islands connected by an underground train system. All trains terminate at the main island. It's the only way to get out. I imagine they are separate for a reason. I don't know why. Once outside, a shuttle is required to get to a rental car area, and a car is required to get to Seattle. You could take a cab, but that costs around 70 bucks. I wouldn't recommend it.

Orchestrating an event can be shipping labels, asset creation, social media buys, vendor walk through's, facilities meetings, receipt of goods, unloading's, zoning checks, e-mail blasts, promises, introductions, and waiting. But it can be more than that, sometimes. I prefer the setup of an event to the actual event itself. Between buildup and arrival the space feels like a an amusement park in the morning.

Our booth girls show up, we chat for a bit, go over the guidelines, and they head off to change into uniform. The event starts. Lines, handshakes, cameras, product sells, music. The booth girls stand for pictures. The customer puts his hand on the small of her back, near the crest of the mini-skirt. She smiles straight ahead, next. The customer puts his hand on the small of her back, she smiles straight ahead, next. Must be hundreds. Sometimes the patron nods, or says thank you shyly, sometimes the customer walks away, as if she were a plaque, or a bridge.

Breaking down an event can be shipping labels, asset collection, social media data aggregation, vendor walk through's, facilities meetings, receipt of goods, loading's, zoning checks, e-mail blasts, reassurances, goodbyes, and rushing. But it can be more than that, sometimes.

After the event everyone on the team heads to a bar. We drink, and yell, and laugh like any proper survivors of a battle should do. I ask one of the booth girls what all those photos, all those eyes, all those hands feel like. She says she is usually thinking about what she is going to eat later, or about her class homework.  She tells me most times it feels like nothing, feels like work.

At the bar my DT co-conspirator Skype's me in on the latest fallout involving a video game maker and a video he, and she, and I, support. She says they found where Anita lives, and she has gone into hiding. She says girls get to safely assume there is a high statistical chance one of the commenters is physically dangerous, and would act out those threats in real life given the chance. I agree, and take a drink.

I tell her Seattle is ripe with the issue. I have already lost a few industry friends over how they stand, and I will doubtlessly loose more. I sit and watch the table take a collective breath but can't stop thinking about something Leigh said a ways back.

I imagine if I stay quiet enough that one day I will wind up in a back office of a game company. That back office has always been my goal, everything I do from the time I wake up has been toward that end. As long as I work hard, laugh at the jokes i hate, agree with the comments I disagree with, and execute the actions that keep me up at night, there is a high statistical chance I can reach this goal.Then I think about what I don't wan't, and who I never want to be. I take another drink, excuse myself from the table, and head back to the hotel. Another event starts early tomorrow.

I hope information get's a bunch of touchdowns or whatever. Fantasy Football is basically a pen and paper adventure, or a strat game. Nothing wrong with that. Also, more jobs to be had, hit me up. I heard I was hard to find in real life, so not true. Is it? Am I? Shit, let me know how to get better at that and I will do that thing you say. Also JERBZ.

The Protoculture Mixtape v.X Issue : People : Painburgers

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Issue : Games : Ice Buckets

It's not weird to log onto the internet and find everyone doing the same thing anymore. A couple days ago I hop on and see people pouring buckets of water over their heads, and you know what? I didn't even care. I accepted that people decided to film themselves pouring buckets of water over their heads, and that is where we are in life now.

I didn't dismiss it in some grumpy old man way, even though I am a grumpy old man and have the right to do shit like that. I didn't turn my back on the idea that it's a fun, inclusive thing to do, and is probably serving a cause or some other form of greater good. I dismissed it because, I know I can close my eyes, open them a week later, and people pouring buckets of water over their head will seem like a wet dream (I stand by that pun). People pouring ice cold buckets of water over their heads is just this weeks Jam.

Also, it's easy to let this one go, because pouring ice cold water on ones head is by far the safest Mensa academy group-think adventure that has happened in the last few months. Let's hop in the wayback machine shall we?

Remember the cinnamon challenge? Fun! Remember right now when the pass out challenge was a thing? How about that dope trend where everybody decided to set themselves on fire? Remember getting mad over how america treats black people for a week, and then everything snapping back like a rubber band until the next incident? Me too!

There should be a lot of schools of thought on this. The Darwin people are probably loving life right now. The protectors of a free internet people are shrugging their shoulders. Everybody else is waiting in line for their 15 minutes. I really, really don't have an opinion, and don't feel I need one, because all of this is being recorded.

The future can look at this data and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that their ancestors were fuckin' fun loving scamps glamoured by the iridescent light, or, they can look at this data and know that their ancestors were so bored they would literally set themselves on fire to get other people to pay attention.

Either way, the internet is working as intended. Can't find the bug. Time will tell.

Hope information stays safe. I joke, but it's because I don't know how to be angry responsibly. I know that. There was a river there once, by the way. I'll tell you about it sometime. Also JERBZ.

The Protoculture Mixtape : V.X : Issue : People : Again

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Default Tester : Issue Games : Independent Games Festival 2015

The Independent Games Festival just opened it's call for submissions. Its  is an event honoring the best indie games of the year. Think "Sundance Festival for Video Games," and you are kind of there. You should check it out, even if you don't make games, or like games. It's something to do.

Video Games have historically been a binary thing. A game can either be a story driven experience, or a game-play driven experience. A 0, or a 1, as it is. And that's cool, but in that binary nature things get pretty complicated for anyone trying to make art out of the experience. Unlike in other artistic endeavors where the creator only needs himself to create the art, in video games if you want to create an interactive story, but you don't know how to draw, or code, you are kind of fucked.

A movie takes a director, actors, boom grips, etc.. A music album takes mixers, producers, singers, and sometimes songwriters. But you couldn't play Thriller. I wish you could play thriller.

So you hire people to do these things, and the more you hire, the more the vision gets spread out, until one day you wake up and there is a building full of people that have no idea what the original vision was about, they are shading boxes all day, or building sprint plans, or testing disparate parts of the whole that they never fully understand. You end up playing art by telephone.

It's weird that it started out with on ore two people making a complete game, and then it grew to 50 - 200, and now technology has made it so that one or two people can make a game again. "You have to go forward to go back." That's some Will Wonka shit.

I think independent games are freedom, I think they are the future. I work(ish) in large scale game development, but I am under no illusions that it is a dying business model. It cost too much to put out the stuff we make nowadays. There are too many platforms, too many choices for a customer to have big companies retain the revenue they are used to. It's just not realistic to believe we can carry on this way. Can't make a game for two hundred million, and make twenty million.

And the games are just not growing either. The same FPS's every year, the same game mechanics, the same franchises. Gaming is an industry with a big bag of tricks, yet we use the same ones, because they are safe. Not to say that Indie games aren't susceptible to this, honestly a majority of them suck, and these games make it apparent why sometimes publishers, timelines, and experience exist. But it's not about hitting a home run every time, it's about people finally being able to see their vision come to life, on their own terms, and there should always be a place in the world for that. Innovation can't come any other way.

So long story long, for folks asking how do I get a job in games, this is the answer. You make one. Make a game, there are a million ways to do it, it's cheap, it's not as hard as you think, and there has been no better time in the history of gaming to do so.

Wheeew! That job wen't south quick, didn't it P3#PZ? Can either be famous or free, can't be both. That's why it's IRC quiet. But for what it's worth, I get why you tried, and I don't live there, so I really can't say, but It's ok to be scared. Anyway, I hope information makes it out to Seattle, faces to names and all that. And also I'll be back to No Heroes soon, and also JERBZ.

The Protoculture Mixtape v.XX : Issue : People : Canadaigua

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Issue : Games : Flower-Con

Flower Garden is about being in a garden doing garden shit, I guess. It’s one of that new crop of games that aren't really game’s proper. They are “Interactive experiences” where the gamification is basically you trying to figure out what's going the fuck on for two hours then telling all your friends how great the game was because you are scared they will think you simple for not getting it instead of boujie for enjoying doing nothing which is good now, I guess.

There is a jet-pack situation you can activate by pressing the spacebar which allows you to fly high above the garden world. I don't know what to do with that information, so you take it. Flower Garden is a dollar store version of Flower by Thatgamecompany. It is what it is, doesn't mean it souldn' exist. 

I told LL I would write something about the Comic-con adventure. The thing is I... uh... one, don’t remember much about it, and also it’s too soon, and also lawsuits, and also that's a sad excuse. I should have just done it that day.

Comic Con is an interactive experience I walk away from thinking it should be more gameified, thinking there is some win-state to the event. I always feel like I know what it is supposed to be about, then that something changes. I used to think it was about celebrating comic books. Yeah, no. I used to think it was about connecting with like minded friends. I don’t know, sometimes. These days I imagined it about creating exciting activation's for business initiatives, but alas, nope, the people pretty much do that for themselves, or don’t. Doesn't matter, they still buy shit and that's all my dark brood care to feed on.

This incarnation of Comic con is a garden you walk around in, and enjoy. Shit don’t mean much, but it doesn't have to. It’s about the flowers, and the jetpacks, and being at the whim of the wind. The people that get pissed are the people who want it to be what it used to be, in our control, which it is just not anymore. It's about the plants and not the garden. Whatever, one less thing.

What am I doing here, some flower metaphor or something? Man, I don’t even know…. I warned you I am not giving a fuuuuck for a bit and I can't write about real life things that are actually happening in the moment because what becomes of the system then.... WHAT THEN DAVAUGN!!? 

Anyway, I hope information chokes on that clam chowder and the sourdough bowl. Shit wasn't even right, everybody knows that's my Jam, I miss it tuurribly. You don’t do that to people, Snapchat. Also, for the love of god I dropped the ball on filming the show, I know, my bad. Also any locals of the QA clan currently on vacation and looking for a super solid gig ping me, it’s gonna go fast so be quick. Sorry, salty vets only, no nubbers. Also JERBZ.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Issue Games : The Intercontinental

Sup. So the last day of The International is happening. There is that. It's a DotA 2 championship tournament with a prize pool of like 10 Million dollars. I like DotA, I don't Ten Million like Dota. The prize pool was crowdsourced, so obviously there are a lot of people that want to give the Dota money. I don't know.

Should I just skip to the jobs? I feel like it's only going to get worse from here. I challenged myself to finish this by the time my Noodles pop and I am on track. I cook my Cup-O-Noodles in the microwave like a goddamn man. Shit don't scare me.

I want to continue talking about Dota but I am scared that my lassitude toward the game will slip out, and I will be  marked a fraud and nobody will like me because I no longer like the thing they like as much as they like it. I'm trying hard to like everything better but it is slow going.

Ok, lets Segway to Divinity: Original Sin because it's actually a good game. Ok, let me get on my reviewer shit for this one, because I really want to go in and make you wet for this software. Ok.. so... Divinity: Original Sin is like Diablo, but better in some ways, and the same in others... If you have nothing better to do, you should play it...Yup, killed it.

I'm so sorry, I feel like I dropped the ball on this one, and all the others. It's just next week the crucible begins again, Day job activation's, Comic-Con, PAX Primme, or Latvia, or wherever the frak they be at now, and the party goes on till question marks. Anybody that just thought, "Fun!" needs to calm the hell down. It's the administration of fun, and if you haven't dealt in the administration of fun, then don't, or do, I don't know.

Thought I was going somewhere with that, huh? Nope, all these paragraphs are dead ends. I'm only writing this to look back at it later and shake my head.

How many paragraphs was that? 5? Can we count it 6? This should be the wrap up part where I shout out information, say some very inner circle thing directed at somebody no one else knows, then I say a last snarky thing, then I write JERBZ in bold letters with a link to the creative heads job board. Ok.

Oh, then sometimes a Mixtape. Only one track, I'll keep adding. Noodles are done, Nice!

The Protoculture Mixtape : v.XX : Issue : People : TraV

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Issue : Games : FlowJam and Whirl

3D animation? I guess. I don’t know. 

See here’s the thing. I had this whole dope scheme where I was going to talk about how everybody told me to pull my pants up my whole life but I never did. Now I still sag my pants and I still smoke and I still engage in willful ignorance even though I very well know better. Then I was going to say and look! My life is completely fine and pulling my pants up was never a requirement to get any of it done.

So stupid, because I look around now and most of those people aren't even here to witness my victory! the only thing here is me, and the only trophy I have is a large indentation on my butt. By that I mean over the many years where I have sagged, my lower torso and upper buttcheek have been molded by my belt. There is now two caverns there, any pants I wear settle into them after even the lightest of movement. I literally couldn't stop sagging now if I wanted to.

I thought I was fighting the good metaphorical fight, the fight against the idea that a person could not succeed in the world if they sagged, or had tattoos, or behaved like a misanthropic asshole, or smoked hella cigarettes, or refused to conform to whatever plan "The Man" had in store.

Never once did I imagine that the true battle was against time, or moreso, the ramifications of actions and decisions of my own choosing, that in no way affected another person, but that bystander still might feel obliged to say, "Hey, that's not safe." What these haters really meant was that my butt would literally be shaped by my actions, and once I crossed a certain threshold there is no going back. Some people just actually don't want you to hurt yourself.

I showed them though. I may have British teeth, an ass that looks like a medical mystery, an apology list that reads like an alcoholic anonymous amends compilation. And also I’m an alcoholic. I still showed them. I did what I did and it was what it was. And dammit, it's been fun. We really shook the pillars of heaven, didn't we Wang?

I bet nobody told ToeJam and Earl to tone it down. Those two had swag for days (See swaggiest dance above for reference). I bet there were no funkatron haters saying button it up, and they really took it to levels nobody has close to reached yet. 

I don’t know, man. I don’t even know what I am trying to say here. I would go ahead and cite a current game character or group of game characters, but they don’t have any these days. All game characters are a disembodied gun, don’t exist, or are just a setpiece of pathos-less Id that only exist to collect nick knacks or kill some equally boring walking Mcguffin in some far off place, after killing waves and waves of equally boring pieces of code along the way.

It probably sounds like it didn't really work out that well for me, but it did. It did in a way. To all the kids out there in ARPANET, just listen to whoever tells you things and do those things. That will always work out well. The struggle is real and later down the line you will either pay the consequences, or you won’t and will be happy. It’s been maybe 60% - 40% for me, bad leaning, but you are smart and will win. Don't stop anything unless you want to.

I think this whole thing was an excuse to post the Shmoney dance. I really have nothing to say at the moment. Also, congrats on figuring out it was my birthday internet sleuths. Loved all the toys, try and not get the cops involved next time ok? Also heads up, I will be phoning it in like this for a while because I'm working on something else that pays me. But if you are still hanging around you must be hoping I get better or at least more consistent at being bad, so believe in me Mr. Jones. cause I don't believe in anything. Also, JERBZ.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Issue : Games : Infinity@beyond

So Voyager 1 is a 1,592lb space probe that NASA launched in 1977. It's mission is basically to chill out in space, look at stuff, take simple commands from deep space command, and return data. A road trip.

It's been doing well at it's job so far, not that it's job is that hard. Easy work if you can get it. It's sibling, Voyager 2 is out there as well, but it doesn't get as much shine, and wont, as long as Voyager 1 keeps doing cool shit.

The latest cool shit that Voyager 1 did was to be the first human made thing to get to interstellar space. It smebbed past the Heliosphere a year back, which everyone who cares about that type of thing thought was pretty cool, but interstellar space? That shit right there? That's some next level business.

On board Voyager 1 is this gold plated disk containing Earth. Info on what humans have learned so far, pictures of plants and animals, sounds of waves breaking on a shore, a baby crying, friendly greetings, music. That kind of stuff. The scientists did this so anybody out there that finds Voyager 1 knows who we were.

Voyager 1 is expected to die in 2025, when it's generators will no longer be able to support it's instruments. It will only be dead to us though, because we can't talk to it anymore.

Tomorrow, that far tomorrow that comes the day after this one, when the world is full of things that go where Voyager 1 has been, and they take people with them, and far is no longer far, Voyager 1 will still be out there, and it will still be the first to see all the things. See you, space cowboy.

I should probably link this to some fuckin' game, so play Kerbal Space Program. And not because it's topical, it really is a good game. Also, in news not about space, a group Brazilians forgot how to play soccer, which sucks for them. If the Brazilian team is lucky they can catch the next ride off this planet before Sao Paulo gets hold of them.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Issue : Games : Old Man

A medium time ago I was a game tester that was pretty sure he had it all figured out. I had gone from writing sad "C" bugs to frequently tossing "A" bugs in the basket, I could tell the difference between a code, design, or text issue, and the crunchtime hours, pressure, physical, and mental harassment of the job no longer had me sneaking into the bathroom to cry while pretending to take a dump.

Most importantly I made friends with all of the major players in the building, smoking with the smokers, shit talking with the shit talkers, geeking with the geeks, bro-ing with the bro's. I quickly built a reputation as "that guy you want on your team."

Having a solid reputation is important because how Leads hire for testing gigs is exactly like how kids in a park choose players for a pick up game of basketball. The best performers get picked up first, next up are the selectors inner circle, last are the least obnoxious or least likely to fuck up. At the end of the development sprint, finally it's anyone with opposable thumbs and a pulse.

I wanted to be all four just to cover my bases, and my plan was working. I was landing the AAA titles, the managers and developers knew me by name, well, they all called me "Black in the Hat," but it was close enough. I figured it only a matter of time before my yellow badge turned purple. After that I would impress the development team with the design prowess I had yet to learn and become a dev, then producer (I would figure out what they did on the job), then creative director (same thing), then my own company.

And I would accomplish these feats by the ripe old age of thirty. I was twenty six at the time. That timeline makes perfect sense for  twenty-something person. I'm sure it still does.

Anyway, one day near the end of a development cycle the leads cart into the bay a bunch of the above mentioned folks with only opposable thumbs and a pulse. The insertion turning the test bay from a zen garden full of quiet, productive, professionals, into an animal house full of boners on vacation from reality.

I knew the drill, no see no speaky. "Those types" will do whatever it takes to make an impression, and if you make the mistake of eye contact it's over. You are now best friends forever and they are calling out skank bugs to you every minute, hollering about their "super hot girlfriend in canada," or forcefully enlisting you in some other fuckery that kicks your productivity in the dumps.

There was an open seat to my left, so I knew it was over for me. I could smell the guy that sat down there before he sat down, smelled like wet leather. Turns out, he was wearing a black Fonzie jacket over a tank top. Turns out, he looked like he was pushing sixty years of hard livin'. Turns out he was covered in water and it wasn't raining outside. I fell in love with my pure, blinding, hatred for this man instantly.

And he made it easy. He could talk and talk. not once did he ask for invitation into a conversation, he just went for it. I never saw him write a bug. Every day he brought in a Game Gear attached to a T.V. tuner that he was immensely proud of, and from time to time he would watch Telemundo at full volume. He admitted he didn't know a lick of Spanish, but loved "Them Mexican skirts."

When he found out there was a VCR in the bay he would bring in tapes of Wanda Sykes comedy routines to pass the time during work. He said he brought in Wanda Sykes because he thought I would like it. He also brought in videos of animals being hunted, and "Woop" whenever a kill was made. The hunting videos also included the skinning, and he would rewind and analyse Sportscenter style every clean cut.

The old man was a smoker, like me, and we both appreciated Jazz and Blues. So we would sit over by the rocks in the parking lot and chat about this or that musician sometimes. I would say a song, and he would sing it at the top of his lungs, and I would laugh.

I would tell him about my plans for world domination, and he would laugh. He told me he was on his tenth career, and fifth lifetime. He said I shouldn't be in such a rush, because it doesn't get easier the faster you do it. I didn't get it then, I thought he was just another goofy old man that failed because he didn't have a plan. But I sure get it now.

Plans and reality rarely fall in line. You are where you end up, and continue from there.

The old man was only on for two weeks before he was let go. The official reason was because we were cutting staff, but that is never really the reason. Turns out one of the leads had seen how pissed off the old man made me and did me a "favor." I still think of him from time to time, weird. The reason I think of him now is because Bobby is gone, I'm guessing. Old man loooved Bobby, and so do I.

I hope information isn't pissed at that extra business. Such is live... whoops, I mean life. Also JERBZ, also "Full contact skydiving?" Really?.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Issue : Games : Diminishing Transistors

Transistor is a game about the internet, or hacking, or like, humans are the internet, or some other weird shit. It's kind of like Watch_Dawgz, or Enter the Matrix, or Quadrilateral Cowboy, or Uplink, or System 15000, or Gunpoint. It's boring like some of those, and fun like others. I don't know. Honestly I just started it up. All I know for sure right now is it's pretty as OG sin, the UI looks binary, the skill tree is ass, the tone and music are amazing, and the narrator gets on my fuckin' nerves. So basically it's Bastion 2, which isn't a bad thing in my book.

I didn't buy it in the Steam Sale. So eat that Steam. I talk about the steam sale every season and how much of a damn money thief it is but at this point I am kind of out of breath for it. I hop on, check the sales, and buy the very few titles they offer I haven't bought already. How long can this business model last? They throw in games and democracy here and there but I don't have time for a scavenger hunt and I could give a shit less about that card system.

there has to be more to life than the diminishing returns of logging onto a platform and seeing the same old shit. They have the new titles, even if they are sketchy Greenlight offerings, for as long as green-light is around. Lord GABEN, hath thou forsaken me?

I guess Transistor is more like Tron, right? Because you might be, like, in the internet. I don't know if you are totally in the internet in the Matrix, but you can be in the internet if there is virtual reality in the Matrix which I am sure there probably could have been. It seems right for the time period. That would be crazy, yeah? VR while in the Matrix. Anyway, long story short the frozen version of California Pizza kitchen kinda does taste like California pizza kitchen so I ate a whole pie now I don't understand anything and regret my life choices and I just bought five things from the Steam sale and I think I already own two of them but this is where I am in life and I have to accept that.

Information is having fun in Niagra Falls and also JERBZ and also I have an extra Transistor code first come first serve.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Issue : People : Guidance

Sup. A question I get a lot is, "What is your job?" Y'all know I work in video games. Y'all know I am QA turned product marketer. I just don't think you understand what a product marketer is. I don't hold that against anyone. I mean, a person in sales obviously sells things to people directly. A person in advertising tells a person to purchase a product through audio, visual, or whatever way they can make it happen. So what room in that comfy set up is there for a marketer? Well, the fact people still ask this question is the reason marketing continues to thrive.

Marketers deal in the art of suggestion.

It's the secret war being waged somewhere between convincing someone to buy something face to face and telling someone to buy something over a loud speaker. A marketer will never ask you to buy anything. It's a marketers job to convince the consumer to buy the product they are selling, without ever directly engaging with the consumer. That's the suggestion part. A marketer figures out what a person wants, or better yet, whatever desire needs to be fulfilled for them to buy a product, and gives it to them. Wanna feel sad? Wanna feel happy? Ya horny? Want a formerly horrible thing to be a feel good thing? We got you. It's like that cup game, because ball is wherever the marketer wants it to be, or not there at all.

Another way to do it is for instance instead of telling the consumer to buy something, they will give that something to someone the consumer trusts. That someone the consumer trusts will then use that something, and act like he just thought to use it him/herself. It's a silent agreement sealed in payment, be it product or money. The consumer then turns on their thing that allows them to see other people, and they see that person they like using that something. So the next day they go out and buy that something, and now they are cool by proxy. All that persons friends see them using that something, as well as that person they like on the viewer thing using that something, and now they have to get that something. And so on and so on... Until it's time to sell another something.

There are many other ways to go about it, and there are many other disciplines. That's just the most common one. The other ways get exponentially more complicated and manipulative. And it's not just video games. It's everything.

Anyway, hope that helps clear things up a little bit _NeZt0. We are the dark magicians and puppet masters blah... blah... blah. You know what? Fuck it. I'll just get it off my chest. People's willful ignorance makes the job easy mode. People pretty much believe anything anyone presents them no matter the evidence to the contrary, if it's something they want to believe. And people want to believe E-R-E ting...

It's one of the saddest events to watch play out over and over, and the worst part is they always feel like they are making the decisions themselves, when for the most part the only decisions presented to them were fabricated by someone else. There really is no trick to this gig, and it is not as special or as clandestine as Marketing/PR wants you to think. The hardest part is your first assignment, which is not to convince someone to give you a job, but to convince them that no one else could do the job but you. Good luck.

I hope information doesn't puke in the cab at E3 this year! All y'all skrippas swing by the booth and say waddup if you are in the neighborhood. Also  JERBZ! Also thank the folks from creative heads if you see them. They are awesome for putting up with my shit, and helping everyone out. Also an extra long mixtape because I'm binge watching Orange is the new Black and can't be bothered.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Issue : Games : Watch_Dawgz

Watch_Dogs is a game about Hacking. Although you don't really hack in the game, you kind of just use your cell phone to do shit. I don't know. They talk about hacking so much. Aiden Pearce, the bland white protagonist in the game, must use the word "hack" at least a million times in the intro. And the other characters use it for every verb and noun. "We need to hack into the CtOS mainframe and de-sync the webcode parameters of the goddamn bianary switchblock." Shut the fuck up, ho. You ain't doing shit cept breaking and entering, knocking people out with a retractable baton, and reading some damn e-mails.

The game is fuckin' stupid. You can tell it was written in 2011, and updated with every popular internet shenanigan up till now. Lol-sec is popping, toss it in as Ded-sec. One percenters are hot, oops no now big government. This Edward Snowden guy is on the scene, lets call a character Smedford Broden. This game makes internet culture look more fake and contrived than the film "Hackers" did, and that shit came out in 1995.

On a modern reviewers scale, it's like, and 8 out of 10. They know it's fuckin' stupid, but if they tell the truth it's no more full page splash, or Ubisoft site takeovers. So no more money, so no more job, so 8 out of 10. I don't blame em, the game is not bad enough to get fired over, fans would think the game is getting singled out, and industry people would think the reviewer is trying to peacock or Billy Jean. It's a zero sum moral stand. I don't care. Nobody takes my opinions seriously, or expects me to behave, so I can call a turd a turd and it's all good.

I should be writing about Wolfenstien, it's better. But I don't feel like backspacing, so here we are.

Ok, so why else is it stupid. Well, it's also stupid because Aiden Pearce is not a good guy in any way. He kills people all the time, but the game wants us to care about the couple of people he lost because of his own damn decisions. Every person in the game that he kills has a family, not just him. This has to stop in video games, we have to follow the rules. Or the characters don't matter. We can never like them. Also, he is just not interesting in any way. We don't learn who he is, or what he does, or why he does it. He is the most generic and irresponsible character. There is no excuse for this anymore, Ubisoft. We met Edward Kenway, we know you can do it.

Also, it's stupid for boring, stereotypical, and downright lazy ancillary characters. Also it's stupid for complete the circuit puzzles. It's also stupid for being 60 bucks. Also it's stupid for trying to cash in on something no one quite understands yet. Also it's stupid for wasting a mechanic that gives you glimpses into peoples lives without following that thread down the path. You get the option to rob the people, but can't help them achieve their goals or alert them to a dangerous ailment if you see a clear and immediate need to. Also it's stupid for salting the earth of the premise for the next seven years, so much wasted potential.

That's about it. Other than the things I have mentioned, the game is pretty fun. I recommend you go out and buy it right now, and then buy everything else, as long as you are there. Who gives a good god damn.

I hope information hasn't succumbed to the abyss like I have, there should be at least one member of the team manning the wall at all times. Also, congrats on the gig Kbeamski. I hope the Naughty Dog team treats you nice, and you helped me more that I could ever have helped you. Also JERBZ.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Issue : People : Heart Shaped Box

The Heartbleed Virus is a nasty bug that allows ne'er-do-wells to exploit a flaw in the OpenSSL encryption software used in pretty much every website of note in this land of milk and honey. It's been around for a few years, but I guess the right person called it out, or the wrong person got caught exploiting it, so it's famous now.

I say that not to diminish the defect, because it's legit. Anyone could be behind the curtain, making off with your credit card numbers, passwords, or pervy internet pics, and U.O.E.N.O.

Actually, let me back up. OpenSSL (that lock thingy on your address bar) is an open source implementation of the SSL and TLS protocols.

Shit, let me back up. Open source is a development model/ buzzword from the mid 2000's that promotes universal access to a products design and blueprints, in order to level the playing field. So basically you allow anyone to walk into your place, play with your toys, and build on those toys if they want.

SSL and TLS are cryptographic protocols, created to bolster web communication security. All the bullshit you send gets scrambled, and turned into a super secret key. The receiving party grabs the key on their end, everything gets unscrambled, and they interpret your bullshit. Heartbleed exploits this process by replacing the small introductory pack of data, called a "Heartbeat" with a hot shot of fake data that tells the receiving computer that the hackers computer is cool, and to go ahead and send over all of its shit.

It might seem weird that a majority of internet security protocols function in an open source environment, but don't worry, somebody hella smart made that decision. And so far it has been going great, so don't worry. Also, the Heartbleed flaw is undetectable by current standards, so... I mean... what are ya gonna do? Amirite?

Off topic, but remember all those high profile hacking incidents over the last few years? I don't know why I bring this up. I will say though that one thing QA taught me was the best way to resolve a bug that can't be fixed is to release it to the public, then it becomes a feature.

I get it, information. I'll stop making the posts all about me... Nobody cares what my breath smells like, I'm getting super boring (Wait..getting?), somehow even more pretentious and self-involved, and I will suck forever at this rate, and never go platinum. I get it... Jesus, words hurt, ya know? And stop yelling into the goddamn mic. It's not that serious! Also, everybody waiting on me for a deliverable, or a callback, or something, I'm working on it. I suck at life, can't you read? Also, ya momma. Also, JERBZ

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Issue : People : G.O.A.T

Listen, a couple things are probably never gonna change about me. My breath will always smell like I just fuckin ate a shit sandwich, and washed it down with an ashtray smoothie. That's my life shit, something I gotta deal with. Also, I will probably never not be a weird shit that says weird things. It's not something I can turn off, it's not a "bit" I do. I am genuinely this awkward in life. And finally, I just don't like Final Fantasy. Don't care, gasp as much as you want. It is a shit game in the middle of shit planet, and you all are fooling yourselves.

And you ask, "but Jeromey-Rome, which version of FF do you dislike?" I don't know, pick one.

That's harsh. I'm sorry... shouts to Cloud, and Wakka. don't know why I said that. I'm just going through some stuff right now. And my stuff is I hate video games. Can't play them, they make me throw up in my already septic mouth. And I don't know why.

No wait I'm over that, I want to talk about something else.

Ok, so I wind up in a lot of conversations with people that don't play video games. That's ok, no problem there, but they always find the need to tell me all about why they don't play games, or what they see bad about video games, or what video games could do to turn it all around. They seem to want me to defend video games, or better yet the idea of an adult's continued interaction with them.

I just want to tell them:

"Yo, I don't give a shit if you play video games. Nobody gives a shit if you play video games. I work in video games. I hate them, most days. Whatever job you have, that you hate going to, that is how it feels to be at my job, hating life. But someone has to make comic books, and toys, and video games. Children can't make them, and the adults that enjoy them don't have the time to make them. So we step up and do it, because that is what adult people do, they choose a path in life, and walk it, so that thing carries on. It's not about looking back, its about moving forward.

I am not the ambassador of video games, I am not the Al Sharpton of tech. Nobody cares if you play them, you are probably better off not playing them, ever. You are obviously too sophisticated to lower yourself to such base entertainment, also they are just a fad, like science, or the automobile. They add nothing to society whatsoever, they make your read, and make you fat. So just go ahead and wait it out, that sounds like the best idea.

But here we are in a bar, talking about video games, and you did that, so now I hate you. That's the transitive property in action."

Anyway, that's what I wan't to say, but everyone is a potential consumer, and I am a soulless dark magician, and puppet master, so I tell them to check out Goat Simulator. It's a game about the struggles of a goat trying to make it in life. That's it. And guess what, it is the best game ever made. Not even joking. It doesn't give a shit. It goes in. It'll fuckin make you cry if you let it. Games are stupid, but fun sometimes. Goat Simulator is the stupidest game ever, and fun all the time. So Goat Simulator is the best game ever.

Oh yeah, and then I whisper something in their ear, something hella deep. Then I walk away. Yup, I stay on that shit.

Anyway, crossfit is a sham. It's a goddamn fitness cult, and you all need to accept that. Niggas have been doing pull-ups for three thousand years what the fuck has made it into such a goddamn biblical revelation? I am just so angry! I need a nap or something, I am way too turnt up. And yes TF2 family, I am still alive, but life has been throwing fastballs so I'm dealing with that. We will get back to the Goonies shit in due time. Or just sort it out amonxt yourselves for now I'm not your dad. Cept for you, FIRE, I'm your dad. Also they are slow getting back to me, information. I haven't forgotten. also JERBZ.

The Protoculture Mixtape Issue v.XX Issue : Games : Peicemeal 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Issue : Games : Brockular Smiff

Look, First off I want to let you all know I am going to be phoning this one in. Not like the usual way I phone it in, which is pretty much every time I do this. But this one I will be phoning in hardcore, like one of those text where you write a detailed message with action items and a solid question at the end, and the response is just, "K," or some other type bullshit.

Y'all ma'ufukas keep asking me about this VR stuff, and my opinion hasn't changed. It does not matter who has the office keys, the tech isn't ready for this type of discussion, fervor, or money being thrown at it yet. It's mass industry dementia, it's the creators trying to drive the market. It's trying to make "Fetch" happen. It's a bunch of writers on a movie set.

And to head it off at the pass, no I am not hurt over VR tech, no I do not have some kind of thing against Facebook, and no I do not feel like Carmack shamed his dojo or jumped from frying pan to fire. Listen, I don't have a horse in this race. We'll... I do have a work horse in the race. And maybe a personal horse, like a small breed pony, at most.  But as a wise man once said, "I'll take any mothafuckas money if he givin' it away!"Sheeeeeeeeeeeeet.

But here is the thing. Everyone is out of the room, its just you and I. Would you buy this technology as it is now? Have you seen this technology first hand? What types of games can it play? Is it going to play movies? How do you want to control what you see on screen? Would you like it to be like a TV? Is it a game console? How does it fit into your everyday life? Can you see the product roadmap? What do you really know about this thing, and would you buy it, no matter who brands it?

Probably not many answers to those questions at this point. So who cares who owns it?

Sorry bro's, but you all don't know what you want from your anointed system, and if you don't understand why this deal was made, you don't understand what it takes to make this technology a reality. You are all acting like a bunch of fucking babies, honestly. It's not a good look.

But if it makes you feel any better, the big fish that are jumping into the pool are dumber than you. They can't answer those questions, and better yet, they have yet to realize they have been on full tilt for the last four years. Example, Remember when camera integration was going to be a big deal? Remember when watches were going to make a comeback? Remember smart glasses, and ARG, and how cyberpunk was totally going to happen today because if you invest enough money in it and market it hard enough it has to. Yeah, no.

The only thing that can drive new tech, is pure, simple, need. Also availability, also want. The people dictate all of that, not the companies, or how much moneyz you throw at it. And all the money in the world ain't gonna convince enough people to strap some heavy ass goddamn headache, fuckin' vertigo inducing contraption on their head for longer than an hour, tops. Let alone buy the thing. Unless it can tell a story, unless it can enrich a life, unless it can take you someplace you want to be, someplace you remember, someplace you miss, someplace you would spend any amount of money to return to.

Facebook accumulates the collected images, words, and memories of planet Earth. Think about it, really think about where they might be going with this. Hint: It's about more than video games. It has always been about more than video games.

I hope information bounces back from the recent big hit. I have seen it happen, but never so sudden and so stealth. It's a goddamn cold world. I'm down to get back to the strip, gotta get Doc Brown over crunch though. Also if you think you see me at Pax East don't just sit there staring all weird and shit. Matter of fact walk up to any black person you see a say whats up. Odds are good that it will not be me, but that shit will be sooo funny, and you will have made a new friend. I mean, what are they gonna do? Beat you up? Maybe, but I'm guessing it's not that serious. Also go f@#!k yourself. Also, peace be unto you. Also, JERBZ.

The Protoculture Mixtape v.184 Issue : People : Socket

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Issue : Games : Mr. Wizard

A long time ago I was a little kid in the jungle. We lived in a cul-de-sac on the north-side of town. Our house was the last to the left, framed with big palm trees on each side, and surrounded by a thick green plant wall. It doesn't get much more California than that.

Cul-de-sac means, "Bottom of the bag" in French. But it really wasn't that bad, as far as places to live go. Everyone knew everyone, for the most part. The kids rode bikes in the street and threw rocks at beehives, that kind of stuff. But the adults kept a respectful distance from each other, waves while driving by, and short conversations while walking the dog. But it was never a "Come over and play cards every Wednesday" or, "May I borrow a cup of sugar," situation. I don't know why.

An old guy lived at the end of the cul-de-sac on the far right by the stop sign. He lived alone in a blue house. His garage was always open. Inside his garage were all these machines. Things that clanged and spun and shot sparks. I knew why the adults didn't like him, they thought his garage shit was too loud. He was the common conversation denominator of every adult homeowner for two blocks.

Some people heard he was an engineer, some people heard he was a mechanic, my buddy that lived across the street told me he was a child molester, or a serial killer, or something. I heard that and thought, whatever. He was that one kid that regurgitated rumors and just made up shit all the time. Every thing and everybody he didn't understand was by default the worst thing he can imagine, or whatever the T.V. or an adult said something might be. That kid was an important figure in my life because he taught me early how to tune out people who spout shit like that.

But the seed was planted and the question of who this dude really was began eating at me. By not taking this case I felt like I was letting down my heroes. Pete and Pete would have figured it out, Harriet would have gotten to the bottom of it. How would I ever be able to Salute My Shorts with pride if I didn't address this?

So I went to the drawing board, building a list of things I knew for sure based off empirical evidence. I knew his shit was loud, I knew he liked to work at night, and I knew he was an asshole. I knew he was an asshole because he had signs up saying don't play on his grass, and his grass is right on the corner. That is a dick move out of the box.

The list and stakeouts began taking too long, so I decided to just ride my bike over there and get in his face. I was a busy little kid, didn't have time for all that bullshit. If this dude touching my wiener is what it took to get some answers, then fuck it. At least I was gonna get molested for a reason. It was the nineties, kids were out there getting diddled for nothing.

So I ride into his driveway and post up like, "What's up, bruh? Game over." He waves me in and shows me what he does. Turns out he was some kind of engineer. shaped stuff with chemicals and metal. A loud, long process. So that was that.  He had retired a long time ago though and did it now on the strength. He showed me things here and there. Wasn't that major.

He was also a teacher for a little while, and he had a wife, but she died. That bastard cancer took her in 85, according to him. She was an astronomy teacher. Taught kids about the stars and stuff.  He said she was up there, like a star, or something. He said every night he would look through her telescope, and talk to her. That solved the night work mystery. And he was also kind of a jerk, but like the teacher kind of jerk, the type that got too old to lie to children a long time ago. If he wanted me to pay attention, he told me to pay attention, if he wanted me to shut up, he told me to shut up, if he wanted me to leave, he said leave. that kind of jerk.

All in all a good guy though, if he molested me I wouldn't have been too mad. I popped my head in here and there, but a year or so later I started running with kids with names like "G-Rocka" and "Mr. Graff." I just didn't have space in my super cool life for an old man and his science anymore. Kids are dumb.

Anyway I'm only bringing this up because of Cosmos. I had long forgotten this guy until NdT reminded me just how small our problems are in the big scheme of things, but how cool it is that we have them, and that asking questions are the only way to be sure, and you will never be totally sure. I hope information is happy and healthy, despite it all. I get why he talked to that star now. Also JERBZ.

The Protoculture Mixtape v.183 Issue : People : Gazing

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Issue : Games : Infobahn

I don't hide the fact that I operate in the real gaming world, making substantive contributions to the industry I love, out there walking my talk. I truly take great pride in that. I don't hide the fact that I do extra circulars from time to time, simple networking, information brokering, recruitment. Super legit, above board stuff, for real!

Don't think they don't know. I would not get the jobs I get any other way. No one really gives a shit, trust me. To them I'm just another lifer with some weird shit internet persona. I hope it is not surprising how many of us do.

Every once in a while someone will walk up to me at an event or break room, lean in all conspiratorially, and say "Hey, so I heard about the thing... how do I get involved?" Or, "Hey, that weird blog you do, what the fuck is that all about? It's like an, ironic, diy, subversive, thing right?"

Well let me clear all that up. This is just some weird shit, fuckin' bullshit, dumb, angry, ranting, manifesto. A terribly spelled, this side of gawker media, piece of shit blog on the internet. It's badly played three chord and puts on no airs of anything else. Sometimes it plays to empty rooms, sometimes to packed houses.

Sometimes the band is on their A-game, sometimes the band shows up drunk, sometimes the band don't show up at all. People throw bottles when they like what they are hearing, and when they don't like what they are hearing. It's loud, sloppy, simple, expression. The chords haven't changed since the start. Everything is not ok, we deserve our version of happy, and if you don't like that, fuck you.

Hope that helps, because I forgot what the diatribe was about halfway through.

Anyway, that Shadowrun DLC is legitimate. The Berlin campaign is doing everything right so far. Between, this, Wasteland, X-Com, and the new Fallout on the way (don't act like that is a spoiler) we may be in the dare I say it.. post fantasy, sci-fi ascending era... can it be? No more goddamn wizards and dragons? What, there are dragons in Shadowrun? And magic? Yeah.. shit.

I hope information doesn't get shot. Sorry bro, war sucks. Who knows, maybe people will come to their senses and allow the diplomatic process to cont... hahahahaha j/k, don't drop the soap n!@#a. Oh also all you Yay area upwardly mobile jerks need to go ahead and get this community service over with. It's a hassle, on some dangerous minds shit, but whatever it's worth it. I'll roll with if you want. Also I will never leave the house again, also JERBZ.

The Protoculture Mixtape v.182 Issue : People : Aegis

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Issue : Games : Ribald Canine

Damn bro, they finally got her. They got my boo. THE STRUGGLE IS REAL!! It was only a matter of time. I should care more, but I don't. She can write her own ticket. She will be fine. Besides, It's bad all over. And by all over, I mean like, allll over, like, happiest place in the world, all over. So what? Better she walked out on her two feet than dragged out by her... oh she was dragged? Oh, ok. Wait no she walked out? Which one is it?

Listen, here is the thing about the end of anything. Each side has a story, each equally bullshit, be it by design or omission. Choose the lie you are most comfortable with, and as Slim Charles says, "Fight on that lie."

I choose to believe she had been stomping around the building at war with every green ass new jack know it all ass executive ass third year writer turned rock-star ass question the boss ass secret meeting having ass "god I wish she wasn't such a goddamn bitch" saying behind her back ass question the direction of a series she created ass "Why don't you just take an observatory role on this project" ass shoot themselves in the foot ass cool kids club ass ma fukas. And it finally caught up with her.

Not a problem with me, cause as I said to Dub not to long ago she will make a fine general in the Indie army, and upon her arrival to the promised land we shall put upon a feast for the ages, and blow the glass pipes and whatever. It will be some shit to see. Then next will be Fumito Ueda (Is he still there?), then Jaffe (oh wait he is already gone), then Jack Tret.. oh yeah wait.

Its looking shaky over there. Don't know what to tell ya folks. But like I said, it's bad all over. These are the badly laid business models of the 90s - 2000's come home to roost. This is what happens when people waste talent and money in equal measure. This is why we are still a child's industry.

And honestly, all cards on the table. She is kind of tough to work for, standards on standards, with an annoying insistence for on time deliverables and integrity. But if they fired people solely on acting like a bitch or an asshole, not many of us would have jobs. and look at what she made. Isn't that the point?

Anyway me and information are gonna start skating again and kill ourselves in the process. Anybody that wants to join us in voiding their health insurance feel free. I vote to call the session, "No kickflips for old men" Also JERBZ.

The Protoculture Mixtape v.181 Issue : People : It's Dawg

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Issue : Games : Shawarmageddon

Red Faction: Armageddon is a game you get in a Humble Bundle. You tell yourself you are going to play it one of these days, and then you do. And while playing it you realize why you got it for cheap in a Humble Bundle. The story is about some goddamn asshole that lives on Mars. He is a former military asshole that got tricked into fucking up some mission, got sad about it, quit the military, and became a civilian asshole.

As a civilian asshole he takes any job anybody pays him for, and during a job gets tricked into fucking up the planet, like a goddamn asshole. The main characters name is Darius, or Marcus, I don't know. You would think he is a black dude from a name like that, but he's not. His skin tone places him somewhere between the Martian equivalent of Europe and the fertile crescent. Volition was very non-committal about his race, but were adamant about making him a goddamn goon.

Um, oh yeah so this fuckin' dude lets out a bunch of bugs, I think they are bugs. They look like what happens when you tell the art department to mock up some "Monsters from space hell," and the inspiration sheet says, Bugs, Space, Aliens, Starship Troopers, whatever. The art guys shrug, copy over a bunch of shit from their Deviant Art accounts and year two portfolios, then go back to trolling Pinrest. The producers lose their shit, "Wow, Art Department, nail on the head, out of the park!" The assets get rigged up, one less thing.

Around hour two of the game Darnell finds out he was tricked, and vows revenge on all the bugs, and the sons of bitches behind this vile ruse. So he goes ahead and kills everything, and gets his friends killed along the way. That's about it.

The game runs on the Geo-Mod 2.0 engine. Altering and destroying the environment is a fun mechanic. I would love to see what else could be done with it, but so far it's only been used in Red Faction games, which guarantees not many people are going to see it. I hear it was going to be used in Saints Row, but wasn't feasible for interiors.

The game cost me forty five cents and I call that breaking even. I don't know why I hate the main character so much. I would recommend watching Total Recall instead of playing this game. I would recommend watching Total Recall instead of life, but this game and Total Recall have Mars in common, which is why I am bringing it up.

Speaking of assholes, who host's the Olympics, then invades a country right after? There are dick moves, and then there are Russian dick moves. Word is they have been hanging around Crimea for weeks, troops with no insignia, watching the revolution like any other winter event, like sporty vultures. I don't know, vultures is a bit harsh. There are not too many times in this modern age when a country has the chance to turn a green tile red, there is a black sea to reinforce, and who is to say the US wouldn't set up shop there if they didn't? Ruthless pragmatism seems to be every countries marching orders these days. We are all in this together, after all.

Anyway, I don't understand your pings, information, but I like your vodka. I agree something should happen, but I have no goddamn idea the play. It seems things are happening by themselves. Also, any Venezuelan peeps get in touch, a legit inquiry for LL. Also no I'm not too good to rock swag, just out of shape, and over the free advertising. Also, grats to the Twitch Plays Pokemon endgame crowd. The most beautifully worthless achievement I have had the pleasure of seeing in a long time. Also, fuck YouTube, Mixtape all day. Also, JERBZ.

The Protoculture Mixtape v.180 Issue : People : Encroach   

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Issue : Games : Orphans

So Irrational is shutting down. Thats sad. People are wondering how something like that can happen to a company that makes such good games. A lot of journalists are pointing to the incident as evidence of how bad game development is getting. And they ain’t wrong. Fans of the the game are beside themselves wondering what is going to happen to Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth, and I guess that makes sense.

But what is going to happen to the characters is something I wouldn't worry too much about. These days it’s not often that characters in a video game transcend the game itself into cosplay, mainstream recognition, and whatnot. The characters of Bioshock exist, the IP is proven profitable, it will survive in some form, in some way. The only people to truly worry about are the real life employees, people that gave their all, and succeeded in making a great game, that lost their jobs.

I know I spend a great deal of words here fucking around, talkin my shit, or actively working to make you cringe, but let me not equivocate on this one.

The quality of video games are getting worse because people of quality are unable to find work, do work, or keep work.

Working in the video game industry is a lonely, hard, uncertain, and above all a scary road to travel. Scary if you have a family that depends on your stable employment. Scary if you are alone, and you are all you have to depend on. Scary when everyone in your life does not understand why you run the crucible time after time, with the same results. Software pays better, Web development is more in demand, IT is more stable.

“But I love video games,” you say. They don’t get it.

Comfort is a dangerous illusion not only in the gaming industry, but work in general. And all employees at video game development companies are orphans. We start out as babies, in a big group of a bunch of other babies. We learn how to walk, talk, draw, write, and code. We watch the people around us get taken in by families and eagerly await our turn.

The people that run the orphanage say, “Don’t get your hopes up.” But you do anyway. If you are lucky a family will walk in, see you, and take you home with them. And you think, “Well, ain’t I lucky!” You show up at this cool place where they are doing cool things. You get a your own computer station and free snacks. All the other kids in your new family are interesting and like what you like. You begin to nest, you feel at home, you love your work, you love your life.

Then one day, you get called into a room, and let go. They say its not your fault, the family just doesn't have enough money to support you anymore. You are scared, hurt, and confused. You wonder if its something you did. You wonder if its something you could have done better. Why don’t they want me? You end up back at the orphanage.

This happens over and over, yet somehow, you find the strength to step back up to the plate.

But you are a bit older now, and the families that come only want babies. You don’t even know if you want a family to take you anymore. The hurt of rejection is beginning to overwhelm the longing for acceptance. You get picked up by a family, but they only take you in to collect a check.

You don’t respect the game they make, you lose interest in getting to know people you will probably never see again in eight months, you lose all expectations. You don’t listen when your new parents report anything positive, because they lie. You know the second things get bad, you will be first to go, and they won’t even care. And you won’t give them the satisfaction of crying over it.

You do your job, keep your head down. The guillotine close enough to cut hair of your neck at all times, but you don’t care, nothing lasts forever. You give up on love, give up on dreams, you accept the broken system for what it is. Happiness is for the end user. You just assemble it.

And when you arrive at this emotional plateau you are pretty much where AAA game development is today. That is not to say that the situation has to be totally bad. And This is not all encompassing, there may be plenty of people that worked at one studio all their career, and love it. I have never met one, but they could be out there.

The situation at Irrational is proof that no one is safe. No company should think they are safe, and if they do they are a fool. Every house is one publishers fiscal decision away from dismantling. Every company is one bad game away from the cliff. There are no exceptions, not with this kind of money on the table.

Good games lose good people just like bad games lose good people. It’s not a meritocracy.

The people that survive in this industry all have multiple good and bad studios under their belt, multiple firings, multiple broken relationships, multiple failed ventures. Multiple missed dance recitals, weddings, and first steps. Multiple job offers passed on from outside the industry. All to make video games for little kids. And that changes you. What you gain in dedication you lose in yourself, piece by piece. But you do it because someone has to, because that is love, dedicating yourself to one thing, for the long run. Even if that thing is hard to do, especially if it is hard to do.

After all this bullshit I still love video games, I play them after work, I talk about them with my friends. They are my life. But I understand its a business. A company I work for is not my family, and the company is not why I do what I do. Video games are my family, the people that love them, the games themselves, and the way I feel when I play. They have been with me my whole life, and are not going anywhere. A job is just a job.

Anyway, hope information does a lot boom boom and a zoom zoom during the vacation time between titles. And you know the drill, hit me up and i’ll toss leads your way. First come, first served. Also I know we are all taking tough hits, but don't give up, this is where you belong, don't let them take that away from you. Also yeah Youtube is not being cool so I gotta figure out what to do about the mixtape, and of course JERBZ and shit.

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