Wednesday, August 4, 2010

All Things Uncharted

So you'll have noticed a distinct lack of updates recently. That's because I've been hard at work on several projects, which I'll talk about eventually.

I can tell you that I've started a new gig writing for a website called "All Things Uncharted", a gaming website devoted to the excellent Playstation franchise UNCHARTED.

My first article is up here.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A New Family Member

I had never owned a gaming console when I was growing up. As such, my gaming experiences were limited to the PC and, very early on, the Commodore 64. And I enjoyed every minute of them. Some of my favourite gaming experiences were on the PC, ranging from Point and Click adventures like Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and The Secret of Monkey Island to space sims like Wing Commander and X-Wing

And yet, I couldn't help but feel like I was missing out on some essential gaming experiences, not when my friends were crowing on and on about Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda, and Metal Gear Solid.

Don't get me wrong, I never felt deprived, and appreciated everything I did have. Still, nowadays, I can't help but wonder: "What if I did grow up with a console? Would my writing make-up have changed at all? Would I have gotten into the videogame industry quicker?"

In September of last year, I finally fulfilled one of my lifelong gaming ambitions. After signing a contract with a game developer to write them a game, I remembered what someone in the industry once said to me: "Even if you get a foot in the door, if you don't have a 360/PS3/Wii, you won't go far". It makes sense. Just like in publishing, if you never read books, you'll never be able to make a living writing them. You have to know the market. You have to play games in order to be able to analyze what they do right, what they do wrong, and just why you're heart starts racing at certain points of the game.

And so I got a PS3. And I've loved it ever since, particularly enjoying Metal Gear Solid 4, Fallout 3, and Uncharted 2 among so many others. And, beyond the fun, I learned so much about both the writing of games and game theory itself.

But, and this is admittedly a bit greedy, I wanted more. I am a huge fan of RPG's, Space Opera, and Bioware. And so when Mass Effect 2 came out, I desperately wanted to play it. Thing is, I didn't have an XBox and my PC was too old to play it. I let it slide, telling myself that eventually I'll build a kickass PC that can play those games.

But then, all I kept hearing was that Mass Effect 2 (and Alan Wake after that) were some of the best exercises in modern videogame storytelling. And as a story guy first and foremost, that definitely piqued my interest. "Why?", the creative center of my mind asked, "Why are they considered as such?" Add to that, the fact that a lot of my friends have XBoxes... well, suffice it to say that I started canvassing around for dirt cheap units.

And then, a fortuitous series of events happened: 1) The new Xbox came out, dropping down the prices of older models. 2) I got hired for a story editing gig, meaning I had a bit more spending money than I had budgeted for this month. And 3) The silly BC government decided that, by July 1, taxes were going to rise.

And so, on the 29th of June, my wife and I welcomed the newest member of our little family:

Mass Effect, here I come.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

On Writing

Writers write.

But they also read books and comics. And play games. And watch films. See, much like the way gasoline fuels any old automobile, whether they be BMW's or Kia Prides, the stories that we read and consume give us the vocabulary that we need in order to speak the language of our chosen medium. Without said vocabulary, we would have no idea how to construct our sentences or our scenes in such a way to make them artistically or commercially viable.

But merely consuming media is never enough; analysis is also required. As a screenwriter, a video game writer, a story editor, and a (budding) prose author, I have read, viewed, and analyzed countless stories. Some of my analyses have been short, others have been detailed and exhaustive. But each of them has taught me a little something about the strange, wonderful, demeaning, fulfilling craft of writing.

So here we are. I've set up this new blog, not to post random nothings about my everyday life, but to give myself a forum in which to analyze the media I consume, and hopefully to share them with any interested readers out there.

So, people, next time you see a writer playing video games, reading comics, or watching a movie, just remember that he's not wasting time; he's working.