Two new columns from the past two weeks.
Nowadays, coin-ops still litter our bowling alleys, highway rest stops, and the occasional full-fledged arcade. But innovation is rare. Beyond the derivative racing and hunting games, retro cabinets dominate, like the ubiquitous Galaga/Ms. Pac-Man combo. But as a grad student at USC’s Interactive Media Division, Diamante took a chance on something new. He and his project partner, Shelby Wong, not only built an arcade game: they put a whole cabinet on wheels.
It was a pleasure to speak with Vincent after briefly meeting him at this year’s GDC. He is a mad genius renaissance man, game developer, composer, and writer. His principal web hub is here.
Back in the 90s, when we listened to folks like Naomi Klein and Bill Hicks, “advertising” was a dirty word. Not so today. For example, by and large, gamers don’t mind seeing ads in their games. When ads get in the way or slow your Wipeout HD load times, they raise hackles – but if they’re subtle or better yet, if they’re the reason for the entertainment, nobody will complain.
Not many folks got in a tizzy when Jason Rohrer, poster child for sensitive, independent game making, signed a contract to work with ad agency Tool of North America. After all, many indie games live on portals that depend on advertising and sponsorship. In fact, last June game blogger Rachael Webster had an idea: what if a hot new indie game on Kongregate was flanked by an ad game? Players would score two ad-supported interactive entertainments, sitting side by side.
So let’s run with this idea a little …
I took a chance on that second one, relying on conjecture and satire on the hopes that if the column flopped and people went, “Huh?”, there’s always next week to make up for it. That’s what I love about being weekly.
I poked light fun at ARGs in that second column, but upon rereading it, I really love the rabbit hole aspect of it: that you could devise a game that turns into an ARG that jumps to another brand, and on and on and on. Brandon Boyer pointed out that I based the article on an idea from Rachael Webster, and didn’t mention that she is also an ARG. See what I mean? Maybe my whole column is an ARG. The head spins.
In other news, while I’m not using this blog for much, I am considering posting a developer’s diary here. See, I’ve started trying to code a game, and I’m learning a hell of a lot in the process, so I thought I’d share. It may be presumptuous to start something like that before the game is done, and more importantly, before I have any idea if the game is any good. Actually, scratch that – I don’t expect this to be any good at all. I’m in the same boat as someone who decides to learn guitar and ends up being an amateur guitarist. I’m not looking to land a hit on the iPod – I just want to learn more about something I love.
So with all those caveats, maybe I’ll start writing about it, ’cause it has been a fascinating process. And I want to link to all the resources and folks that are helping me along the way. So watch this space.