Skip to main content

Harmonix has published an interview with Alex Rigopulos, co-founder and CEO of Harmonix. He talks about the history of the company and their games Frequency, Amplitude and Karaoke Revolution. It's pretty interesting.

I know some people at Harmonix, and at GDC this year I had the pleasure of visiting them in one of their hotel rooms. I played Karaoke Revolution (evidence of which can be seen here) and saw the new game they currently have in development, which does something very cool I won't mention here. I had a great time - thanks to all the people from Harmonix for their hospitality! I urge everyone buy a copy of Karaoke Revolution, it's a lot of fun.

(Interview link found on Slashdot Games.)

Weird Japanese game update: Happiness Controller, Uo

I just read this article on GamePro about Happiness Controller, an upcoming game from Sony.

The goal of Happiness Controller is to make 100 people that you control happy. The kinds of characters the player needs to keep happy drastically vary, from the white collar average Joe to a social recluse. Each character has their own daily cycle, enabling you to control interactions at home, in the workplace, or outside. Some of the types of people you need to make happy include:
  • Happily married businessman, whose company is about to go bankrupt
  • Manga artist
  • Party animal with an utter disregard for everybody around her
  • A child whose father is a slob, and whose mother comes home late at night drunk
  • Bar club hostess, who gets paid to listen to rich Japanese businessmen talk
I definitely like the choice of subject matter. Very original, and quite daring. I wonder how tightly setting and gameplay are integrated though.

And while you're over there, have a look at this preview of Uo: The Seven Seas and the Tale of the Nushi, a game where you play a fish, and which apparently has sophisticated chewing and eating game mechanics.

(From Slashdot Games.)

Update: this post appeared on TV. Sort of. If you're interested in weird Japanese games, you may also want to read this post and this really long one on innovation.

GDC 2004: More pics

I have done some some rigorous pruning of my GDC pictures, and the ones that may be amusing or edifying in some way can be perused here.

The intro picture was shamelessly stolen from Thad. His pictures are working again, or at least they did the last time I checked. You may have to click through some rants against Apple to get to them.

There may be more pictures to come, but not ones made by me.

GDC 2004: Plus ca change

The great Steve Meretzky sent around the following observation on this year's GDC:

As I was filing my GDC materials from this year, I was looking through some of the old GDC (or, more accurately, CGDC) materials. I was struck by how similar so many of this year's sessions were to the sessions from 15 years ago. Can you tell which of these are from 1989 or 1990, and which are from 2004? Answers follow.

1(A) Building Big Licensed Games With Big Teams 1(B) Movies and Games: Living With a License

2(A) Aristotle for Nerds 2(B) Game Narrative: What Would Aristotle Do?

3(A) Applying Artificial Intelligence 3(B) How AI Enables Designers

4(A) World-Building 101 4(B) Fantasy World-Building

5(A) Diversity in Game Development 5(B) Gender and Cultural Bias in Games

6(A) Game Versus Story 6(B) Storytelling in Games

Of course, there are some sessions that are easy to assign to an era... such as "Prototyping Your Games with Hypercard"...

Answers: 1) Building Big Licensed Games With Big Teams was a 2004 session by Don Daglow. Movies and Games: Living With a License was a 1989 panel session including Noah Falstein and Eric Goldberg. 2) Aristotle for Nerds was a 1989 session by Brenda Laurel. Game Narrative: What Would Aristotle Do? was a 2004 session by Warren Spector. 3) Applying Artificial Intelligence was a 1989 session by Dave Graves. How AI Enables Designers was a 2004 session by Brian Reynolds. 4) World-Building 101 was a 2004 session by Dan Arey and Bob Rafei. Fantasy World-Building was a 1990 panel. 5) Diversity in Game Development was a 2004 roundtable by Darrell Porcher. Gender and Cultural Bias in Games was a 1990 panel moderated by Brenda Laurel. 6) Game Versus Story was a 1989 session by Doug Sharp. Storytelling in Games was a 2004 roundtable by Bob Bates.

Score: 0 to 6 correct. You win a trip through time to the 2019 GDC... where the keynote address will be, "Can a Game Make You Cry?" More than 6 correct. You are cheating.

"Evolve", indeed. As Hal Barwood has pointed out, these are deep issues, and we're probably doomed to talk about them for a couple of more decades. (But what if we keep accumulating issues like this? The free flow of ideas at GDC will become clogged up and it will all collapse under its own weight.)

Back from GDC 2004

Well, I'm back from GDC. I had a monster meeting on monday and tuesday and then spent the rest of the week doing the follow-up of that meeting, starting a small side-project I am also producing, catching up with everything that has happened (or not happened) in the last week and a half, and recovering from jet-lag (which apparently always hits me a couple of days after arriving back in Europe). But now I am back in my normal rhythm, sorta kinda.

I have Things to Say about the GDC, and I will do so in various posts. Of course, knowing me, those posts may not turn up until next year. After all, where are my posts on GDC 2003? Or Imagina? Luckily, the fate of the universe does not depend on the timeliness of my writing on this site.

Of little men

Thad's little men have done it again. And this time I didn't scoop him on his own pictures. This is not about victory in an RTS, but rather some good personal news for old Thad. Congratulations, man.

Now excuse me while I go adjust the schedule of my current project.

Pics from GDC 2004

Scoop! You can find pictures from the GDC here. They were all taken by Thad. We're both sitting here in our hotel room using the free WLAN network provided by some unknown person somewhere else. Thad went to a great amount of trouble to publish these pics and is now going to a great amount of trouble to write something sensible. Meanwhile, I am just posting the link to his pics before he is.

I am in the first picture of the GDC entrance, among others. The bizarre gesture Steve, Mathilde and I are adopting will be explained in Due Time.

Live from GDC 2004

Well, here I am at the GDC in San Jose. I arrived last thursday and hung out around the Bay Area with some friends. I shopped until I dropped and saw some great sights. Now it's the first day of the conference and things are already pretty hectic. But I have met a lot of people I haven't seen in a long time, and that's the main reason I like to come here. It's too bad some good friends decided not to come this year.

More later.