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December 21st. For years that date had been discussed ad nauseum. The date the Mayan calendar ended. The end of the world. It became a joke. I thought it wasLife After the End of the World: My Dad, the Mayans, and Me

I'm reading a lot more comics/graphic novels now than I ever have. Sadly, that's not saying much, since I only read individual unconnected issues at a time - I neverAn attache case, an underground government, and a Spider-Man on the edge

Lee has his weekly Top 5 list up over at Quit Your Day Job. This time it's the "Five songs that have left their footprint in my life." That's aFive songs that altered my perceptions

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In my last post I asked for some help coming up with films for my annual New Years Eve triple feature. I got some great responses (though very few actuallyReview: New Years Eve triple feature

[caption id="attachment_638" align="alignright" width="300" caption="The Dark Knight"][/caption] Christopher Nolan, director of The Dark Knight, has stated that he's in no hurry to make the second sequel to Batman Begins. He hasDark Knight takes it slow, plus Robot Chicken and Terminator

March was a weird month. I actually got outside and did exercise. That's how weird it was. Doesn't sound weird to you? Talk to my doctor. (Actually, if you do talkMarch out

I was one of the minority who didn't get out to see Night at the Museum in the theaters. I wish I would have. This is one movie I thinkReview: Night at the Museum

How do you get Desitin diaper rash cream out of carpets, sheets, clothes, blankets, or any other cloth item? If my experience so far is accurate, you can't. Somebody please, proveHow to get Desitin cream out of... well... everything

[caption id="attachment_1690" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Salt Lake City - distant storm at dusk (click for bigger view)"][/caption] Last week I went on my first trip to Salt Lake City, Utah. I willMy Utah trip, or how I could have died at 6400 feet

Thanksgiving is a US holiday where we purposely focus on being thankful for our lives, and the people and things in them. Families get together and enjoy each others company,Thanksgiving - Epic version

Were you paying attention in those psychology classes? Do you remember the experiments where a rat was trained to press a lever to get food? It's amazing how relevant experiments on ratsGrilled cheese and the science of successive approximation

Hi-tech escape from Tower of London | Reuters.com This is a very cool, [tag]interactive[/tag], [tag]technology-enabled teaching[/tag] method. Visitors to the [tag]Tower of London[/tag] can participate in a [tag]game[/tag]—powered by GPS, aHi-tech escape from Tower of London

H&R Block - Top 10 Overlooked Credits & Deductions Here's a good list to keep in mind as we get ready to pony up for Uncle Sam's benificence. [tags]US taxes, april 15th,H&R Block - Top 10 Overlooked Credits & Deductions

Ever since "Ikea" popped up on one of my Pandora stations months ago, it's been one of my favorites. Every time I hear or see words like "Ikea," "Thor," or "Norsemen"Tuesday TubeWatch: Ikea and Jonathan Coulton

The Multi-media Empire of Orson Scott Card (or How To Save the Video Game Industry)

Wired News: Orson Scott Card Builds an Empire

The above link is an interview with multi-award winning [tag]science-fiction[/tag] author [tag]Orson Scott Card[/tag] on plans for his Empire franchise. [tag]Empire[/tag] was conceived from the beginning as a multi-media endeavor, with the story told in different ways through a novel, comic books, film, and [tag]video games[/tag].

By the end of the interview, he has made some comments about video games and how he doesn’t play them anymore because they are so repetitive (level, boss, level, boss, level, boss, etc.). I gotta say, I agree with him. I do enjoy playing those games from time to time, but they are mostly the same concept wrapped up in different packaging. (The packaging has gotten to the point where it’s mind-blowing in some games, and sometimes that’s enough, but it’s still the same concept.)

Here’s what he has to say about his attitude towards games:

The only thing I’m interested in any more is the exploration of the world, as a player, but in order to explore this world, you have to be able to master all of these techniques, figure out puzzles, and be really quick on the draw — all stuff that I wasn’t able to do very well after the age of 30. And I’d done it enough to not really be interested in it any more. In a way, I’ve been closed out of video games by the fact that I’m getting old and the games are repetitive.

He thinks the concept fo the Empire game will be trendsetting and a shift for the industry:

The experience from beginning to end in this game is that characters have their own agendas, which is not necessarily the players’ agenda, but is fully understandable to them. Gamers will sympathize with what the characters are trying to do. They will want them to win. So it will not be a matter of just killing mindlessly. It will be about achieving really important objectives.

If the game does in fact turn out to be more complex than “kill or be killed,” the non-player-characters really are sympathetic, and the story is more open-exploration than straight-line narrative, I think it does have a chance to be a serious hit. Those are some of the same qualities that made Myst so revolutionary for its time (and it became the best-selling game in history for over a year, I think).

The quality of, and immersion in, the storyline is something that can make or break a game. Card places the blame for lack of well-developed stories in games on the heads of game publishers (making a distinction between the publishers pulling the strings and creators doing the work).

Until you can get the mindless video game publishing industry off the backs of the video game creators and give them the time to fully create things, instead of working to constant, mindless, meaningless, stupid deadlines, we will never have game creators able to work to their full potential.

Unfortunately, that’s not likely to happen in a wholesale fashion. Every once in a while though, something will slip through and it will be a breakout hit. Will Empire be one of those superstars? Hard to say. The source is, after all, rather biased. But in the meantime, what these companies do crank out should at least include some increasingly excellent eye-candy!

[tags]Myst[/tags]

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