If you haven’t yet added Another Castle to your podcast rotation, you should do so now. It’s one of the very few I follow regularly, not least because it’s more or less the smartest of all gaming-related broadcasts — Charles semi-jokingly called it the ‘Charlie Rose‘ of games podcasts, but I think that’s actually pretty apt.
Anyway, the metadata description for the episode reads like this:
The chairman of the Independent Games Festival and former editor of Offworld talks to us about his long, off and on relationship with games, as well as his plans for IGF and beyond.
and, having recorded it nearly six months ago and not listened to it since it was aired, I can’t fully recall what more I can add about it, other than (again, as Sam reminded me) a total diversion into how I first became acquainted with the Church of the SubGenius and the massive impact that had on my future.
Have a listen to it now to hear how that’s at all relevant to anything, but be warned that it probably isn’t at all! And then subscribe to the whole thing and dig back through the archives, because there’s really, really good chats with people like Frank Lantz, Richard Lemarchand, John Sharp, Adam Saltsman, Andy Nealen, Steve Gaynor, and a whole slew of other names that should definitely mean something to you if they don’t already.
I probably definitely should’ve mentioned this sooner, if only because it’s the first time I’ve ever appeared in something hard-bound, but last October, as I was on a train to Nottingham for GameCity, 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die was released in the states.
I ended up writing somewhere around a whopping 1% of the book, while the rest of the duties were heroically covered by too many awesome names to list here, and all edited together by Tony Mott. I ended up on a parcel of games you’ve probably seen me write about a thousand times before, but now you can read about them again in a volume heavy enough to double as a blunt trauma murder weapon.
Here’s the quick guide to where my stuff lives, once you buy it, which you can do over here!
Chibi-Robo: p. 606; Edge: p. 835; Bonsai Barber: p. 842; Eliss: p. 860; Noby Noby Boy: p. 867; Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure: p. 888; Scribblenauts: p. 918; Zen Bound: p. 926
In August of this year, the organizers of Australia’s Freeplay games festival very kindly invited both Adam Saltsman and I to come and be their 2010 keynote speakers (aka international men of indie game importance). We obviously accepted and, after an all-day flight of screaming babies and marathon Clash of Heroes multiplayer, we touched down under in beautiful Melbourne.
Adam’s speech — which you can see over here — was fantastically and meticulously well-researched and spoke to the true universality of not just games but play, which doesn’t just pre-date formal game design but, like, man itself, and anyway was pretty eye-opening and mind-expanding and inspiring.
For my part, well, after a day and a half holed up in my hotel room subsisting on little more than a steady stream of tea and Tim Tams, I managed to emerge with what you can now view above.
It’s probably still a bit half-baked (I revised and expanded on it a bit for a talk at the most recent IndieCade), even built upon a message I’ve been trying to spread all year, but I think the soul-bearing sentiment’s still there. It’s as much a call for diversity (honest) as earlier, shorter talks, as it is a call for, well, sentimentality, honesty, humanity — putting more raw “you-ness” in your games — and also a short slice of Indie History as I understand it, and also there’s some junk in there about me and girls.
Anyway: it’s about an hour altogether, split into four parts, so you’ll want some cocoa and/or Tim Tams while you watch, and maybe you’ll want to skip the Q&A at the end (if it’s in there, I’m too frightened to watch), where I think I shrink further and further behind the podium at the prospect of trying to come up with clever things to say on the spot in front of a large audience. I write for a reason! (The reason is I’m a terrible extemporaneous speaker.)
Also, as a bonus, I’ll embed the two video clips I show toward the end after the cut, and also include two extra photos (including one chicken) from the audience (thanks to Polymonkey and Hiperactivo for those).
With a vastly different audience than my first talk, I knew I couldn’t — as I was invited to do — simply repeat my GDC Indie Rant, so I decided to laser-target the crowd in the room that night: Austinites, and more specifically, Austin developers who very probably weren’t working in and/or had little familiarity with the indie world.
I’ll let the now fully-annotated slides speak for themselves, but note that this is the first appearance of My Magritte Joke, which I almost hesitate to include here because I’m still using it in speeches, and it still gets the biggest laff, and I don’t want to wear it too thin. Too late now!
P.S.: if you have photos/audio or even (!) video of the talks that night, let me know! Anyway, OK, here we go:
Basically the very first real speech I’ve ever actually given, my five-minute rant at the 2010 Independent Game Summit was addressed not so much to the developers in the room, but the press. Granted, given that the press in the room were actually in the room for the Indie Game Summit, the ones that heard it were probably not the ones that needed to hear it. Still, I hoped the message would resonate.
So, like, I did, and ended up divulging most all of the dirty secrets of How I Got To Where I Am Now, etc. etc., which were tantalizing enough to be used as the article’s embarrassingly over-honest pull quote.
Anyway, you can read the whole newsletter online over here, with Reyes & Alexander’s contributions included, or just follow along below for the annotated version of just my bit. Bear in mind: this is from so long ago the iPad wasn’t even open for pre-orders yet, and I genuinely hope you don’t steal my idea for embedded-Unity cover discs. I’m gonna make that a thing.
What kind of game journalism would you say you do?
I’ve gone through a number of phases since I got my start: traditional reviews and features for Edge, business reporting and interviews for Gamasutra, and most recently and unquantifiably — with Offworld and the bits I write for Boing Boing — some strange brew of art appreciation and cataloging and advocating for the accomplishments of the indie game dev scene. Maybe, more broadly, I’m trying to help champion a new games culture that doesn’t have anything to do with discarded pizza boxes in the basement hovel and ‘Bawls’ and ‘booth babes’ and all the pervasive ‘gamer demographic’ tropes corporate marketers have adopted to help sell razors and Axe Body Spray and Doritos. [Read more →]
I am here, or rather, was when I started the post yesterday morning. I know I’ve been neglecting the site for too long, having moved most all my Awesome Links to my infinitely-easier-to-update and more community-oriented makeshift tumblr for now, but as you’ve no doubt sussed out (or heard me talk about ad nauseum for the past few weeks), there are major changes afoot, and so it’s probably best to get The Last Word down here.
So, first, the big news: as you will have heard, with Boing Boing’s relaunch, I will no longer be working on Offworld, and will instead be doing weekly columns on the Mother Boing (the first of which should be going up soon): round-ups of the indie/iPhone/retail games you need to be paying attention to, galleries of amazing things to lay your eyes on, and wider-ranging features that reveal something of the shape games are taking, still shining a sharp light on the stuff at the periphery and the people who make it, as was Offworld’s wont, but for a bit more generalized readership. In a sense, it’ll be quite a good thing, putting Boing Boing’s obviously sizable audience in more direct touch with indies and the rest.
But, a site like Offworld needs to exist, and I’d always approached it since its launch last November as the site I’ve been waiting ages for someone to do, so there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that I’m cooking up Something New basically like as I write this, and that there are a lot of exciting things that will go hand-in-hand with it.
Whether it’ll still be called Offworld or something new is irrelevant, I think: the site itself has been subsumed by the network and community of wildly intelligent, passionate game makers and game lovers that have grown around it and congregated through it (even if the commenting was too wonky to talk easily on it), and I’m not worried that we’ll find each other again quickly wherever we land.
As for the more personal rest: as of last Wednesday, I have left Austin for a bit, first to head to LA for Indiecade (which turned out to be proof positive of the collective wonder of the makers/lovers above: you should see my flickr [or Tiff's or Greg's or Felix's or Eric Nakamura's Giant Robot post] for some of the wicked times), and following that, to here — here being San Francisco — where I’ll be spending upward of a month. Or so. I haven’t exactly bought a return ticket yet, we’ll just see how that works out. The plan? Good time spent with good friends, particularly Ginger Anyhow, Steph, and Tiff, to say nothing of the billion other people I want to see while I’m here.
Don’t hesitate to contact me about anything at all on the past/present/future of my games coverage and involvement (email@example.com works fine!), and it’s probably easiest to see what’s happening when via twitter (@brandonnn, which probably everyone who reads this will be well acquainted with anyway). Let’s all talk more soon!
Herzog & Lynch & Dafoe & Sevigny & awesome: 'Inspired by true events, "My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done," is a story of ancient myth and modern madness. Brad Macallam, an aspiring actor performing in a Greek tragedy, commits the crime he is to enact in the play by killing his mother. The mystery unfolds in a series of flashbacks displaying the psychological destruction of the killer set off by an ill-fated white-water kayaking trip in a distant land."'
First official shots of Chris Morris's movie give you little more than goats and RPGs, but I guess that's to be expected. 'With editing on the film under way, Warp reports that "its small tornado of industry is now trapped and humming in a box".'
Hi, I'm Brandon. Click here for the long-form version of what I do. Most of the time now I write about video games. I used to do that for Edge magazine and the original incarnation of its website, later as news editor of Gamasutra.com, as the founder of Offworld, and as contributing editor to internet-institution Boing Boing. Currently I'm the chairman of the Independent Games Festival, and am hard at work on even more projects that will help bring a lot of awesome things to your life. We should talk sometime! Send me an email or an IM.