E3 Highlights from the Show Floor

photo 2 photo 5 photo 4 photo 3 photo 1I know, I know, no post last week. I had fully intended to, but E3 was very very busy. I barely had time to sleep, let alone write a blog post (I’m not even kidding, between jet lag and a busy schedule I barely slept that whole week)! Luckily I’ve just about recovered now, so it’s about time I wrote something about my E3 experiences.

Well, my experience was this – mostly meetings and night-time networking/work events. In fact, I probably only spent about a total of 2 hours on the actual expo floor and I was mainly zipping in and out of there between meetings (which mostly took place at the hotel bar across the road), I didn’t really get to try anything as the lines were pretty much all incredibly long. So, to be honest, you guys checking out the news and watching the conferences online were probably caught up on all the highlights before I was. However, I did go to the Sony and Ubisoft press conferences and did see a bunch of cool stuff on the floor that I can share with you. Apologies about not having too many great pics – I’m no photographer and during the conferences I was more focused on listening than snapping blurry images of trailers and people walking around on stage as I’m sure you can understand.

photo 2Same as always, I have to watch what I say about the big publishers, but I can talk to you guys about the games I’m most excited about from the conferences I attended and the ones I didn’t and had to look up afterwards. First of all, I was genuinely and absolutely blown away by the Ubisoft press conference. And no, not just because it was awesomely flashy with all the smoke, lights, flashing bracelets and all the stuff that good press conferences have. That side of the conference was definitely fun and being around so many like-minded people who are all as excited is you is an amazing experience that I think you really have to experience to get. It definitely beats watching it from home, although there’s of course nothing wrong with doing that either. But really, it was all about the games. The Ubisoft line-up is possibly the strongest I’ve ever seen from them and got me seriously excited about some of their upcoming games.

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The Cheeese is in LA for E3!

Yup, that’s right, I’ve arrived! Weeee! Actually I arrived last night and have been trying not to let jet lag kick my butt. Ouch, is all I can say. So unfortunately, since the run up to E3 has been so busy, I haven’t really had time to blog this week, but next week I’ll be writing up an extra special post about some of the happenings at E3. Admittedly many of my experiences will be meetings, meetings, meetings and Microsoft/Sony parties and the like, which will probably be of little interest to you, but I will be attending the Sony and Ubisoft press conferences and will of course will be patrolling the Expo floor at least a bit, so I’m sure I’ll have plenty to report back to you. So you’ll hear from me very soon! For now, have a great Sunday!

Gaming Can Save Your Life

Image by sean dreilinger

Image by sean dreilinger

I’ve mentioned this briefly on here before, but one of the least talked about and from my perspective one of the most important aspects of gaming is the psychological and emotional benefits that it offers. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that gaming in general, but a few games in particular have gotten me through many of the most difficult times in my life and in some cases, has deeply affected the way I view the world. In all honesty, this truly transformative and healing effect is what made me want to get into the industry in the first place – so that I could be part of the process of making games that people can get lost in. It’s easy to focus on the negativity both surrounding the industry and coming from within it and there are no shortage of politicians eager to jump on the ‘video games are violent and bad for children’ argument, but often people seem to gloss over the benefits that games can provide to your life if consumed in moderation (just like everything else).

Like everyone else, I’ve had some difficult times in my life. There have been periods of extreme stress, especially during my undergrad and postgrad years (because there are few things quite as masochistic as a law degree) and in the prolonged and stressful period of job searching afterwards, things got tough. I’m sure everyone goes through times where stress levels seem to exceed themselves day by day and when problems sometime seem insurmountable. It’s just part of the human condition. Sure, some people seem breeze through life without a single hitch or any crushing disappointment, but I’m pretty sure they’re robots or at the very least not being completely open about some of the obstacles they’ve faced. During times like these it’s important to have an outlet. Writing or drawing or making music or any other of the thousands upon thousands of creative pursuits work very well as forms of cathartic self expression, but sometimes you just want to sit down and consume something. Sometimes you just need to switch off and get lost in another world. And that’s where games come in. Continue reading

True Love – The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition

Rather embarrassingly it’s taken over 20 years to get around to playing any of the Monkey Island point and click adventure games. To be fair though, the first entry to this series was released in 1990, the year after I was born and the gaming bug didn’t hit me for several years yet. The more I heard about the series though and it was overwhelmingly positive, I knew I had to play at some point (even if just to prevent further incurring the wrath of people who seem to think that all gamers have to have played all the classic games in existence). Then of course, it ended up sitting on my ‘to play’ list for god knows how long. The thing about older games is that when you want to go back to play them, whether you loved them as a kid or not, is that sometimes it can be a pretty disappointing experience. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the game wasn’t excellent in its own right or that it wasn’t an important entry in the history of gaming, but the truth is that many games just don’t age well. In fact games that you used to think were good might actually find to be pretty much unplayable when you go back to it decades after the fact. The Secret of Monkey Island by Lucasfilm Games (as LucasArts was formerly known as), however, is not such a game. In fact, it really was love at first click. I might even venture that it’s now one of my top 5 favourite games of all time. Not bad for a game almost as old as myself. Continue reading

A Sickly Cheese: An update and upcoming Q&A

Hello all! So there’ll be no post or videos this week (as you may already have noticed) since I’ve frankly been feeling like absolute crap this week and I think I need a little down time to really recover. But not to worry, I’ll be continuing with my usual schedule next week.

Also, soon I’ll be doing a Q&A as I’ve been seeing a lot of people recently talking about the difficulties of breaking into the industry and seeing as I’ve been there, I completely understand and would like to help in any way I can. Also, to be honest, I’ve been noticing more and more that most people really don’t know much about how game development works (which is totally to be expected considering it’s not a transparent process at all). So if you have any questions about breaking into the industry or just about games development in general, just leave them in the comments below or email me at cheeesetoastie555@gmail.com and I’ll pick a few and do my best to answer them!