November 9, 2007

For the Record!!!


I have NOT quit the gaming industry!

Since the news of Cory Barlog leaving Sony has spread a lot of speculation has been going around, mostly about Cory. Yet somehow a rumor has started that I have completely quit the gaming industry. I have received quite a few emails, IM’s and even a few phone calls about this but I can assure you this is FALSE.

What is true is that I left SCEA Santa Monica Studios on Oct.1st 2007. Perhaps this is where the confusion occurred. Maybe I should have been more vocal about my departure to avoid such confusion but the people that needed to know, knew and that was good enough for me.

My time at Sony allowed me the chance to work on something truly great with an amazing team comprised of talented individuals. The best thing about it was we struck gold not once but twice so I have no doubts that they will continue to succeed in the future! It was an honor to design and build Kratos for the last 4 years but I passed the blades onto a more than capable designer. His name is Jason McDonald and he will be surrounded by one of the best animation teams in the biz along with the programming might of Magnus Danielsson and Fabrice Odero. Have no fear, Kratos will return with a vengeance that has never been seen before! The rest of the team will kick ass as only they can, best of luck to you all and end it with a bang!

A new career path is in sight and it can only be described as “The smartest thing I ever do or the dumbest thing I ever do” which was the same thing I said when I moved to California to start my career in video games instead of finishing college. Now that I think about it that is so cliché. I mean all choices could be summed up as such but I like the sound of it and since history sometimes repeats itself, here’s to hoping lightning strikes twice else there is that flower shop I always dreamt about.

They say Kratos was sad “that day” but I was just as sad, here’s to you old friend…


November 4, 2007

Flash Game of the Month: October

The flash game of the month is called Yin Yang from MTV games, WTF?!? I guess they have turned to games since Britney keeps letting them down or something like that…

Anyhow the game is kind of like Lost Vikings gameplay meets Spy vs. Spy art style creating quite the enjoyable experience. The game is pretty simple at face value since the goal is to get each character to his checkered flag by switching back and forth between them to open the path to the flag. Seems simple enough until the screen starts rotating around as you keep track of the frame of reference which is based on either black or white. It was fun to discover how the two colors change the way the characters interact thereafter so give is a try but be prepared for a little frustration and some excellent “V8 moments”!

Good Luck and Have Fun!

October 29, 2007

BAFTA Props!


Quick update to give props to my old teammates for kicking ass and taking names at the BAFTA’s! God of War 2 was nominated for 5 awards and managed to bring home two wins for Santa Monica Studios. It was cool to see that the awards were represented by actual names but everyone knows that it takes the whole team to create greatness!

Cory Barlog, David Jaffe, and Marianne Krawczyk brought home Best Story and Character while Tim Moss and Christer Ericson brought home Best Technical Achievement. It was an honor to work in the trenches with these stars and the rest of the peeps over at Santa Monica Studios, best of luck in the future to all of you!

If you want to see the rest of the nominees and winners click the link “BAFTA

I was a little disappointed that we were not up for Best Gameplay being a gameplay designer but I guess there is only so much room for the God of War, maybe next time… shrug. Wii Tennis is the business according to my girlfriend and her damn super serve, the Brits agreed!

October 4, 2007

Flash Game of the Month: September

The flash game of the month is the latest in the Grow Series entitled Grow Island!

I hesitate to call this a game because it does not seem to have any real logic.Perhaps I am missing something here and there is a way to look at the elements of the system and logically deduce the order but in all honesty I believe that to be false. The game should be called "Blind Decision Tree". So why play, I mean interact with this thing at all? Well think of it as a visual reward based on trial and error, maybe you are one of those "I need to know what happens" types, or better yet it might just be a time waster... shrug. At any rate I love these little “experiences” they remind me that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination. Ok I did just say that straight faced but I had to justify my time spent on this somehow, right?

The positives are pretty simple here; the animations are terrific, clever and at times funny. The wonder of how all the elements in the system relate and react to each other have you saying “just one more try”. It is a one-button design accessible to all users which seems to be a trend these days hence me bringing it up at all. The only negatives I can see are sometimes it takes a long time for all the level up reactions to take place thus dragging out the experience. Oh yeah, I did mention the game is based on trial and error so no bitching and moaning in the comments section. As if anyone other than Christer will comment.

spoiler alert: (there are 2 correct paths)

For more Grow Games check out this amazing Wikipedia – Grow Games page for links to the past entries in this series. My personal favorite is the RPG!

Good Luck and Have Fun!

September 5, 2007

Flash Game of the Month: August

The flash game of the month is Tactical Assassin: fun, Fun, FUN!

The first thing that stood out to me when playing this game is how good the presentation is overall. It feels like Metal Gear with the ambient sound and life like sniper rifle round discharge, hell I do not even know if that is the sound a sniper rifle makes for sure but it sounds incredible. The user interface and music also have a Metal Gear vibe, especially the music that is ripped directly from MGS, which I noticed in the credits later. The stolen presentation elements brings me to an important point about this game, by stealing those elements it probably allowed the creator to elevate the core game elements to another level… this is smart design, kudos for focusing efforts on the mission briefs and assassination scenarios and lifting the rest from games that got it right already.

I know I might be the only person out there that enjoyed word problems in math class or on silly standardized tests but I LOVE THE USE OF THEM IN THIS GAME! The mission briefs are so amazing because they explain to you slowly what you need to do while telling a bit of story and setting up the mood of the hit. The briefs get you thinking and out of that guns blazing mindset most players get into when they get a virtual gun in their hands. The creator penalizes this behavior even more be allowing the player to skip the brief and just shoot blindly which almost certainly results in failure. After failing the brief is read and read thoroughly ensuring that almost all players will have the same experience at some point. The brief has some other nice design touches such as multiple objectives so the player is again taken away from the single-track mindset, again very clever and maintains the theme of the game, good job! The change of location and weapon per chapter was a nice tough plus stick figure art is awesome too!

Good Luck and Have Fun!

August 9, 2007

G-Phoria 2007 Results!!!

Ok, we lost and more importantly Kratos lost, infinitely even more importantly Sony lost and may have to kill another goat to satiate Kratos. Cliffy B and company over at Epic destroyed us; we did not win a single award, sad day. Perhaps we will come out of this much like Al Gore did when he lost to Bush, we can release games about mother earth and how she is not happy with what is happening to her, and then we will be Heroes unlike those warmongers that brought you Gears of War! In all seriousness though, congrats to Gears and the guys/gals that put that game together, hell congrats to all the winners and remember your youth!

In other political news, I was floored when I saw a video game designer on The Colbert Report tonight. Previously I've talked about this happening and it finally did, so one small step for Ian Bogost, one giant leap for the games industry! Are we in the wobbly stage between crawling and walking, if so will Conan and Leno catch us before we fall? Jaffe clean up your language because you and fruit cake lady might be sitting next to each other in the near future or one can dream a little dream.

Check out the interview below and watch carefully as Colbert nearly swoons when he gazes upon the power of the purple tie…

Also Mr. Bogost is quite the busy man on the “internets” and his work can be found here, here, and here.

July 31, 2007

Flash Game of the Month: July

The game of the month comes to us courtesy of a Casual Game Design Competition. The winner was Wouter Visser's Gimme Friction Baby!

The circles obey a specific growth factor which is quite ingenious and kept me playing for much longer than I should have. The game has a certain minimalist charm with its monochrome color scheme and blocky numerics. The music was very fitting and added to the overall feeling of the game's "thinking gameplay". At first the time it takes for a shot fired to stop was annoying but after time I actually enjoyed watching its movements until completion but for most I bet it will bore them to the point of quitting.

A great example of a game that is roughly built around Newton's Laws of Motion or you can think of it as a crazy cross between breakout and billiards... either way remember to watch the circle grow because how they grow is almost the entire game.

My best was 19!

Good Luck and Have Fun!

July 16, 2007

G-Phoria 2007 Voting!!!

Ok here is the deal, God of War 2 is up for 4 Awards this year so cast some votes for Kratos and the crew that brought him home to you, please and thank you!

The voting links are here...
Game of the Year
Best Action Game
Best Voiceover
Best Soundtrack

Seriously go vote because last time we were there Johnny Hawkins was swimming in ladies and since he broke his leg during the making of God of War 2 it's the least the fans can do... I mean look at the smile on this kid's face. Cliffy B never came into work to with a broken leg to finish building and scripting levels so vote now and get Johnny Hawkins snuggling with porn stars again, you know it's the Right Thing To Do!

the hawkins

July 12, 2007

A Link to my childhood...


I love Zelda! There I said, the game has always held a special place in my heart and always will no matter what. The game has this special magic! Even when it is bad it always finds a way to redeem itself. So for all you Zelda fans out there you owe to yourselves to watch this History of Zelda! Get busy and leave a comment with your favorite Zelda moment because I love me some NOSTALGIA!

I loved the part in A Link to the Past when you have to blow a hole in the ceiling to let the light shine down so you could unveil the fake princess, Classic Zelda moment!

It's nice to know even the mighty creators of Zelda admit making video games is not easy, very comforting when feeling a little lost after finishing an epic game...

June 25, 2007

Coins Detected in Pocket


Last night was one of those nights that really only happens in LA and actually makes me like living here. A few friends in the industry go together to check out this arcade game documentary called Chasing Ghosts at the LA Film Festival in Westwood! The movie was pretty good overall and in true film festival tradition the Director, Producer, and a few of the players from the movie were there for QA after the showing. The bummer was that most people asked them boring questions like what kind of camera they shot the movie with and how long things took but then Walter Day launched was asked a question that made up for all the boring ones. I do not even remember the actual question he was asked but Walter stepped up to the mic and launched into something that has been on my mind for quite some time, the importance of Video Game History preservation and that is exactly what the film is if nothing else no matter what.

The film just took me back to a time where I was asking for some quarters everywhere I went, it did not matter if it was Zayer’s, Gold Circle, or Dairy Mart because any establishment of any salt had some kind of video game. I mean those were the days and I was only like 6 or 7 during the bulk of the time explored in the film but I remembered it all. But while I was just teething in gaming years these guys were out destroying games, setting insane high scores, getting t-shirts made, and having groupies, YES GROUPIES as evident by the hickey on Billy Mitchell’s neck, which lead to him to become “Video Game Player of the Century”. They even had contracts that addressed groupies, true rock stars of the moment. However like all good things it came to an end which one player said began with the ability to continue games by simply putting another quarter in the machine, that just shows how HARDCORE these guys were… they did not blame home gaming consoles they blame the ability to continue your game.

As for the film as a whole, I think it was pretty good as a whole but at times it made me feel like the line of showing people lives and making fun of them was crossed, in the films defense these guys are all a bit eccentric so it was inevitable. I think one of the best parts in the movie was a small reflections montage of the players watching video tape of themselves back in the early 1980’s and seeing there reactions, this was pure genius! It was pretty amazing that the film idea stemmed from one picture taken of all the players that Life Magazine ran, which was a major thread throughout the entire film. Again it was this little bit of history that could have been forgotten but instead triggered an entire movie that in the words of Walter Day himself “Might be the first real historical film about the video games”… It was a nostalgic night filled with great conversations before and after the movie with my gaming friends that I have known, made games with, and played games with for the last decade or even longer… so if the film gets anymore dates check it out!!!

It’s a shame this little gem never had a full release since it speaks to more of my arcade generation and a bunch of my friends are in the film or made the film. Perhaps in the wake of Chasing Ghosts and the upcoming The King of Kong enough interest will merit the release of Bang the Machine. Until then here is a little slice of that film for you to get behind and maybe it can finally find a home so we can all enjoy it!

May 22, 2007

Honda - When things just work...

I love this not only because it is a Rube Goldberg Machine but also is a great metaphor for game development sometimes. When you have this idea that is made of a million unknowns and then some how you string it altogether to create a boss battle or puzzle setup, the feeling is pretty much like the what you see in this ad. The part the player never gets to see is the failed attempt after failed attempt at trying to get these complex gameplay sequences working. Anyhow I found this neat and relative to what we do on so many levels I just had to put the video up… well ok I was testing to see how to put a video up but this was sort of relevant?!?

The story behind this ad is awesome so give it a read because it really brings home the trial and error experience of working on a game production. It sounds like they had a lot of “Show Stopper” bugs during the development of this commercial… I hate when a producer walks over to my desk with one of those bugs, HATE IT!

May 16, 2007

God of War on a Train!

So while I was on my vacation in Spain we were riding this train from one city to the next and this guy was reading a gaming magazine… Just as he opens past the inside over there is Kratos, I cannot seem to get away from him. It’s been three long years of working on Kratos day in and day out trying to get him feeling right and playing solid so seeing him on a train in a foreign country was sort of my personal reward for all the long hours. My deepest thanks go out to David Jaffe and Cory Barlog for trusting me to not fuck up the main character in their masterpieces!


Spain was an amazing trip! We visited Barcelona, Bilbao, Valencia, San Sebastian, and Madrid. I celebrated my 30th birthday at the Guggenheim with my girlfriend who wore her Frank Gehry earrings for the occasion, so that was quite a special day. We also visited the Prado Museo and Reina Sofia Museo in Madrid, the Guernica by Pablo Picasso was an amazing site to see in person. The Sagrada Familia was another amazing site which I could not help but snap a crap load of photos for our art team, the place was that inspirational. The Mediterranean Sea was beautiful but I got a little sunburn that day and was called Lobster Man for about 2 days after that by my girlfriend. Other highlights included much eating of gelats (gelato) and aquarius this crazy gatorade type stuff that was quite delicious. Since my sleeping schedule was a little messed up I played a lot of DS, which has an amazing battery life thankfully… Lost in Blue was the main focus and relevant since everything was sort of foreign to me, especially food menus in Spanish. So that was my trip in a nutshell, I highly recommend the visit if you have the time and means, it was SO CHOICE!

The Flash Game of the Week was really fun but I have decided to only do once a month so that I do not become lazy and only update the blog with flash games every week. Here is the last one until June at which point I will begin the once a month Flash Game Update… Sorry this one is a little tough to figure out since it is in Japanese but I had fun with it all the same. If this game had more levels and a gentler learning curve I might play it for hours. Go play PLUPON now!

Good Luck and Have Fun!

April 30, 2007

Flash Game of the Week: 04/30/07

The game this week is The Last Stand! It’s a zombie survival game which is one of my favorite genres for both films and games. The game pits you (a lone survivor?) against the ensuing mob of undead; the only thing separating you from them is a shabby barrier and your trusty handgun with unlimited ammo. Are you lucky enough to make it through the night?

The game is fairly simple because all you can do is move around inside your barrier and shoot the zombies before they destroy your barrier and eat your brains shortly after. The Zombies come in the form of average zombies, fat zombies, running zombies, and dog zombie. The gun mechanics are pretty straight forward and create a spinning plate scenario where you are firing, moving to a new location under attack, and reloading the weapon. Once you make it through the night you get points to spend on one of three categories to prepare for the looming night: repair the barrier, search for weapons, and search for survivors. The weapon selection is pretty cool and changes the gameplay up and the survivors are great because they add to the overall defense of the barrier. Once all the weapons have been discovered it is just a race to see how long you can last without becoming a mindless zombie yourself from the repetitiveness…

Oh this game is a memory hog or at least it was for me, slowdown was creeping up around day 6 from all the zombies and bullets on screen. For the record my machine is really old so that was prolly the cause as a friend had no issues at all... so if you have an old machine beware!

Good Luck and Have Fun!

p.s. The blog is going on vacation for two weeks while I run around Spain with my girlfriend!

April 22, 2007

Flash Game of the Week: 04/23/07

The game this week is The Fancy Pants Adventures! It is a platformer with an awesome stick figure art style and speedy gameplay making it feel like a cross between Comic Zone and Sonic The Hedgehog. Mr. Fancy Pants can run, jump, and roll his way to some unknown goal in hopes of finding a new level to further test his platforming skills. The animation is top notch and the music really brought the whole thing together, this is a must for any old school gamer!

Like I said this is a platformer in the truest sense of the genre because all you do is run and jump through the level. What is great about the game is that the physics of the character are very fun; he gains momentum when running altering the jump, which can then be combined with hills and ramps to create super fun launching pads. The run also allows him to run along curved paths for that Sonic loop-de-loop feeling which can then be turned into a roll by pressing the down arrow key. Mr. Fancy Pants wields the holy grail platformer mechanic... the controllable jump! Both the horizontal and vertical control feel natural which is a huge accomplishment, other than the frame delay on jump activation and moments of slowdown the jump was spot on. The sense of scale to the levels was awesome and made me want to explore all around which actually landed me into a secret level where I got the Wall Jump ability. After that I was hooked and cannot wait for more levels to play.

Speaking of more levels, Level 2 Demo is available now! The game overall feels much smoother and responsive. It also includes some other adjustments to Mr. Fancy Pant’s abilities such as a Slide, Ledge Hang, Wall Jump, Hand over Hand Rope Climb, and a CANNON! Give it a shot and lets hope someone snatches this thing up and puts it out on Playstation Network with a level editor!

Good Luck and Have Fun!

p.s. Thanks to Omar for sending this my way!

April 16, 2007

Flash Game of the Week: 04/16/07

Sometimes to a fault I am a creature of habit so I am starting a new habit, called Flash Game of the Week! From now on, Monday is going to start with me posting a link to my current favorite flash game. I hope you get as much fun out of them as I have!

The game this week is Indestructotank! It has juggling, explosions, and a combo counter people and that is all that really needs to be said but on top of that it has an EXP system to increase the probability of juggling. Basically you pilot this tank that is indestructible and crash into the enemy armaments to launch the tank into the air to smash into the enemies.

The design of the game hinges on the player’s ability to keep the tank floating in the air racking up as many enemy kills from one initial launch. The more combo hits and distance covered the more EXP gained. The EXP is then used to purchase a greater frequency in certain types of enemies; I think you are starting to see the vicious circle here! Like any addictive game there is a greed factor, the tank has a fuel gauge and when it runs out the tank explodes immediately. The trick is not to get so greedy that you keep a combo going on too long before banking the EXP, which only happens when the tank hits the ground. I was pissed the first time I had a 20+ combo and the tank blew up before I could land to hit the EXP plateau and refuel.

Personal Best:
Max Combo = 26
Max Combo Score = 1494
Max Height = 164
Max Experience = 1770

Good Luck and Have Fun!

April 5, 2007



That sure is a mouthful and by a mouthful I mean monster disintegrating death ray of spelling power found in Bookworm Adventures! Let’s be honest I am a terrible speller so the folks over at Pop Cap created just thing to help me conquer my spelling deficiency, a sort of turn based Scrabble RPG. I love me some games with learning!

The game sends Lex, a wisecracking bookworm, off on an adventure to save whom else but the princess. The princess is whisked away through the pages of three books, which are filled with mythological beasts, pirates, and monsters all standing between Lex and the princess. Each level is broken into a few fights with a climactic boss fight yielding a hidden treasure Lex can then use to boost his abilities. The hidden treasures range from damage upgrades to status boosts; one of my favorites was the Bow of XYZ that added extra damage to any word using one of those letters. In between levels there are mini-games, which can yield items and special tiles to aid Lex in his quest for the princess, which serve as a nice distraction.

The spelling gameplay is centered on a 4x4 grid of tiles, each containing a letter and colored dot. The colored dots serve determine the strength of the tile; there are bronze, silver, and gold dots and the strength increases in the same order. Length of word increases the amount of damage dealt per word spelled so when coupled with the dot system it creates a simple relationship for dealing damage. Sounds easy enough right, well now come the RPG elements; the creatures can cast spells and use special moves to change the status of with the tiles and Lex himself. Most of the status changes are variations on damage over time, wait X turn, and lose a turn. Now to be fair the designers also included almost all of the same abilities for Lex to use against his foes by allowing his tiles to care special properties. All of these systems work together to make the player create strategies for spelling based on the potential of their own tiles and the abilities of the creature. It may sound like a lot to take in but the game is paced to introduce these systems in such a way that once you think you have the hang of one element a new one comes into play and the learning starts all over again. Without this the game would have gotten quite stale and boring within the first 15 minutes, so kudos to the designers for keeping it fresh!

Now I am going to ramble a bit about all the little touches that made this game so endearing. First the dialogue is pretty funny Lex and the creatures all have personality and make you want to actually read the text bubbles. The sound effects, character models, and animations further the personality of the creatures to something rarely found in games these days. Mouse clicking on Lex himself makes him perform funny little animations that feel like taunts, silly and fun for no reason at all. Oh yeah Lex can level up as well with the traditional EXP gained from each creature he defeats yet another nice nod to RPG genre. If you actually die all of the mini-game re-spawn to help you build up potions and special tiles for the next fight, the system can be abused by just dying time and time again to buff up for the later fights. I am glad this is in there for the people that might be great a spelling but suck at the strategy aspect. Overall I loved this game even though I suck at spelling. Give it a shot if you have time… demo found at Pop Cap!

p.s. Here is a much more colorful and well written review!

March 19, 2007

Back to School

back to school

The wonderful vacation from work is over and tomorrow I go back to school so to speak. I think the time off was much needed but I kind of wasted most of it you could say because I was mostly trying to adjust back to having a life outside of work. I did not take any grand vacations due to scheduling conflicts with my girlfriend nor did I go back home to see the family like I should have, instead I read a lot, relaxed, and caught up on a lot of games and various entertainment. Oh and I reconnected with some friends whom I have not really talked to since E3 last year.

The one thing that is certain is that the best cure for a block in creativity is to become bored and honestly for me this is totally true! I have had more ideas for random things that I would like to either make or get involved in during my break than anytime in recent memory. Also not having to be anywhere lets me indulge in my favorite creative activity which I have dubbed "The Archimedes Shower". I know this may sound a littel weird but I do a lot of thinking in the shower and usually come up with many of the ideas for God of War gameplay mechanics while I am showering. I cannot count the number of times I would go home during crunch on God of War 2 baffled by some logic issue with a boss fight or broken system within Kratos himself not knowing how I was going to fix it but in the morning after a little bit of sleep it would always dawn on me during my shower how I might go about fixing these problems. I hope by coming "clean" about my secret muse I do not jinx it!

One of my favorite things to do during my vacation was to go back through all the old designs I have worked on and see if there were any seeds that could be nurtured for future projects. I kind of forgot how many games I worked on that were cancelled during my first few years as a designer. If you scroll down you can see the games, which I have been credited on during my 7 years in the business. So I have shipped 6 games in 7 years which is a super good ratio if you ask anyone in the industry but check this out I have also work on 3 games which were in development for at least 3 months and another 3 games which never made it past the proof of concept phase. Looking back at those numbers after completing a monster game like God of War 2, I wonder how many games I will actually ship before I turn 35… my guess is two if I am lucky with the scope and scale that next generation is demanding.

At first I was really bummed out by this realization, but then I thought about it: no matter what game I was working on I always worked just as hard no matter if it was good or not. So what keeps us coming back for more, is it money, fame, love for the craft, a sense of completion or some ill proportioned mix of those things? For me it’s the thought of not doing it that brings me back. I know I could do something else that pays more with normal hours I would be bored out of my mind and miss it more than words.

So I am going to walk into work tomorrow like a bright-eyed freshman on his first day of high school, we’ll see if I get to take the girl of my dreams to the senior prom! Sucks to know I will be shoved into a locker many times before the prom.

March 14, 2007

God of War 2 Launch

Sony let the kids out to play for a night up in San Francisco and it was quite an entertaining evening. Cory put on a show like only he can do and even got us up in front of the media for our 5 minutes of fame, thanks Hollywood!

I could go into detail about all the crazy fun things that went on that night but I am going to link to the 1Up coverage. You can see the backsides of Derek, Todd, and myself along with Mark McDonald of 1Up fame here… thanks again for meeting up with us Mark!

So here are a few pictures April and I took during the night.

gow2 team

God of War 2 Dev Team Members (sadly not all of us)

nate and derek

Nate (level designer) and Derek (combat designer)

cory and athena

Cory and Carole Ruggier (Voice of Athena)

cory and perseus

Cory and Harry Hamlin (Voice of Perseus)

1up crew

1Up Crew!

The 1Up kids were also kind enough to have us over to the office the day after. It was cool to hang out and see how the other side lives. Everyone was really friendly and genuinely happy to shoot the shit about games which is awesome because when you work in the industry you tend to get jaded after awhile. I really wanted to play some fighting games with them because its rare to find people down to play anymore but we had to catch a plane so maybe next time, good luck in the VF tourney Ryan! Thanks again to Karen, Brooks, Jason, and Cesar for hanging out and making the night even better!

Sorry for the short post but I am tired and need to sleep…

February 25, 2007

Opening a can of worms

It was hard to even write this post because I kind of just wanted to ignore what was going with all of the coverage. Until I got a phone call from a friend who was like dude you are drinking now, WTF!

I never imagined so many outlets would pick up the whole car story but I was so wrong. At first I thought it was kind of funny because lots of friends and co-workers were making light of it but then it all went a bit sour. Kotaku thought the story was kind of boring I guess so they decided to give it a little more spice by saying I was drunk. OK this is where I sort of draw the line because personally I have never taken a drink ever, not to say there is anything wrong with that, but for me it has just been something I stayed away from as a rule.

I am not mad at Kotaku but more puzzled as why did they felt the need to imply this falsehood, was the story too boring? I mean at least Joystiq took the time to figure out how much the bet would cost me and even went on to make speculation of the blog entry being a marketing ploy, I can assure you this not the case. Although I can see how this could be the case with the fowl up by Sony in the past which we all have a good laugh at, its like sometimes you win and sometimes you get made fun of on the internet. That being said I cannot really complain about being made fun of on the Internet, I was stupid and deserve it… hell I made the post just for that reason. In the end feel free to continue to make fun of this situation because I am laughing about it (except the drunk thing) but try to at least read the post, maybe even fact check, or ask for a comment like a journalist. It makes me wonder how much of anything I read on some of these sites is not quite accurate which really makes me not interested in reading them at all but then again it’s the internet so whatever. In writing this I am surely asking for more reticule but I’d rather set the story straight so here goes.

The bet was stupid and I will probably not honor it just because we make idiot bets like this all the time and no one ever pays up. The April fools joke comments sound like a good way out as well! Maybe I will rent the car for a day or something just to make fun of the bet itself, we can drive around Santa Monica like we are rich for a day and then return it as we return to reality. I wish game developers were paid enough to roll around in nice cars and such but the reality of it is that most game developers live in apartments with roommates or perhaps a condo with their girlfriend or boyfriend. Now this is not to say that we are not paid well, I cannot complain in the least because I do have a place to live, a car to drive, and food on the table. I mean we love what we do so we work crazy hours to bring great games to the public because honestly that is all we want as well, I love playing great games and even bad games because I know someone sat down and put a lot of effort into creating that experience.

We at Sony Santa Monica also try to put ourselves out there to the people. Everyone tries to answer questions, leave our work emails open to the fans, write blogs, etc... so when people made comments like I was trying seem all rich and snooty that made me feel bad but it was my own fault because I can see how the post could be taken that way. I would like to say I am sorry for that.

Also I am NOT really trying to persuade people from buying the game, I guess my dry humor does not come off so well in type. I just want to clear that up because I hope the game sells well because the team worked very hard to create something for the fans and hopefully new fans.

At the end of the day I am just a guy doing what he loves and hopes people love what I am doing… knowing this makes it easier to be away from friends, family, and life while you are creating these games… thanks for reading.

February 16, 2007


When I get tired my mind begins to wander and fills with Nostalgia… it’s like comfort food but for the brain. I love feeling like a kid and me feeling like a kid is Ohio… sure most think I am crazy when I talk about home but I love it, I miss it, I want to go back about every other day. Ohio is my Nostalgic Neverland, filled with sights of secret G.I. Joe forts, kickball games in St. Joseph’s parking lot, and that TV where I first took on Gannon. It’s all there, the building blocks of my imagination; the skill set that allows me to wade through the vast ambiguity of being a game designer.

I’ll be completely honest; I would love to build my entire video game career around Nostalgia. Connecting the dots from the "now" to the "then" so to speak always seems to trigger some sort of reaction in people’s minds. I mean the games I respond to most usually make me feel like a kid again because some “First Experience” has been tapped into which holds a special place in my universe because it was a “First Experience”! Take Calling All Cars for instance… made me think of this cops and robbers tag game we played as kids called Jail Break. I remembered the first time I played that game it was great, 20 kids running around 2 city blocks telling kids to go to jail or freeing all the kids from jail. Even though Calling All Cars does not play like this tag game exactly, it has some of the same elements at the macro level, small playfield, cops, robbers, and a jail, which triggered the response in me.

Could designing games that trigger an emotional response be that simple? Just tap into a “First Experience” and bam you’re done! Of course this is not the case but it could be the building blocks for many games to come by selecting some “First Experience” which almost all people deal with in their lives. I mean to be honest I would say Fumito Ueda and his team are already doing this, it could be argued that both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are about a “First Experience”. Ico seems to be about a “First Love”, perhaps even “First Kiss”… I know I would go out of my way to never let anything happen to the girl that touched my life like that for the first time. Shadow of the Colossus seems to be about “First Loss”… again I would do just about anything to get back my great grandmother when I heard she passed away. I know that even if I were correct in saying these games are about those feelings, the theme alone is not something that will carry the game but if the theme is strong and true then it will resonate with people far beyond the idea that it is just a game.


After all that I find this a little interesting. Ask someone something about their own past and once in a while they will usually start by saying something like “The first time”. I love me some Nostalgia!

February 12, 2007

What was I thinking?

Ok, when you work a lot and hang out with the same people everyday you tend to do stupid things because you are bored and wished you had a real life. Normally these stupid things are relegated to food eating challenges and hey do this and I will give you a dollar but one day we (God of War designers) were really tired, I mean really tired and this crazy bet came up. The bet kinda goes like this if God of War 2 sells 500,000 copies by April 1st I have to lease a Maserati Quattoporte for one year and drive these idiots to lunch everyday. It was pretty funny at the time and everyone was laughing because it was so outrageous which was cool because it was the only bright spot of that day which is really sad if you think about it. So here is the car...

stupid bet

Well the bet spread around the office and people would not stop talking about what color I should get and if they could go for a ride or how fucking stupid I am for making a bet like that. Don't get me wrong because I like to tease and don't mind being teased a little but I might have to blow my entire savings on this bet, NOT COOL AT ALL. The worst thing about it is that all I get out of it if I win is like free lunch for a year or something stupid like that which proves how tired I was during the inception of this whole thing.

Now the game is done and the first reviews are out and OH SHIT people like it which is great but bad for me! I thought this was a safe bet and there was no way we would ever do those kinds of numbers first month but then I start hearing about pre-orders from Gamestop being great and all this other stuff and now good reviews... I am so screwed!!! So if you are a gamer and overall mean person then run out and buy God of War 2 day one and have a laugh at my expense as I become bankrupt. Now if you a gamer and overall nice person run out and buy God of War 2 after April 1st and feel good knowing you saved me from becoming bankrupt.

Regardless of our sales, Congrats to all the people involved with God of War 2, we busted ass on this thing for 2 years and finally it has to come to an end, well almost since we are still a month away from ship. Oh nevermind that the picture is from the future, it's cool Kratos is good friends with John Titor... (pictured credited to our own Jimmy Olsen, Sir William Weissbaum)


Special thanks to the Derek, Jason, Adam (Combat Team), and the Animators, I could not imagine working with anyone else... Level Designers you are special too so don't feel left out!

Oh and that Cory guy for not making me take the long and lonely Bruce (ok is was David on the show) Banner walk a few years ago with the sad music that was rejected from All My Children during the credits of the Hulk TV Show. I will totally be in the documentary next time if there is a shot of me walking to my car with the backpack and that music playing after you yell at me, PROMISE!