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Game Boy Music, Video Game Improv, and a Message From Kojima: Game Engine 2 in NYC

FortNinety

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Last night was Game Engine 2 which was the closing program for this year's New York Video Festival. It brought together various talents from all sides of the video gaming spectrum, from people who make games of all different kinds, to people who enjoy them in their own special ways. For a full detailed report of the event, you can go here. But here's a few of the highlights...

- I got a chance to meet the “video game player of the century” Billy Mitchell. As the whole world already knows, Billy's the the first person ever to play a perfect game of Pac Man; he got the highest possible score of 3,333,360 after six hours of intense gameplaying, in which he never died, never once missed a dot, and got all the way to the “last level” in which the machine runs out of memory and the game gets all messed up. Anyways, he's sort of a weird guy, but still pretty friendly. We all watched a video of him breaking 1,000,000 on Donkey Kong (just the first few minutes though, the whole thing took 12 hours of something). Plus he even gave me a bottle of his hot sauce; Billy's real job is president of a Rickey's World Famous Louisiana Hot Sauce.

- The events were kicked off with a reel which began with one of those classic Intellevision commercials starring George Plimpton as he compared Intellevision sports games to Atari 2600 sports titles. It then immeditatley cut to footage from today’s games. I’m assuming the montage was supposed to illustrate just how far video games have evolved over the past 20 years, but the choice of games were rather poor. It’s not to say that they weren’t technically impressive, they were obviously light years ahead of the primitive blips and blocks that the aforementioned commercials proudly featured. It’s just that every game was an Xbox title, so it came off as a lame Microsoft commercial. The strange thing was that the package was “courtesy of Microsoft and Sony” but there was just one lone PS2 game, and it was shown at the very end with very poor image quality (and was Hot Shot Golf 3 of all things).

- Saw a bunch of independent game designer from New York City (the main reason why I attended the event actually). Easily the best of the bunch was Eric Zimmerman, who's undoubtedly one of the top talents working in not just the city, but America. Everyone needs to do themselves a huge favor and check out his company gameLab's games, especially Loop, which might be the best web game ever created IMHO.

He touched upon the three main things one needs to content with when making games: economics, technology, and culture, plus he spoke of how the gaming industry is indeed turning into Hollywood. Games today cost millions upon millions to produce, and 90% of all game released do not make a return on their investment, which has caused publishesr to become increasingly conservative. Zimmerman called upon not only game makers to step things up when it came to content, but game players as well when it came to making choices on games to invest their time and money in.

- Another person was a guy who produced Pi and Requiem For A Dream, two films which I really dug, and is now producing a game. Sadly, it looks to be just another lame Grand Theft Auto rip-off and the guy came off as just came off as another Hollywood guy (even though he technically isn’t) who just wants to cash in on gaming market and has very little clue about video games in general.

- Saw a brand new trailer for Metal Gear Solid 3 (no new footage was shown sadly, but it was still nice to see what I’ve more or less memorized in my head by this point projected on a huge screen, and with the sexy Snake Eater song full blast). Plus there was a personal message to the New York audience from the game's creator, Hideo Kojima, which was cool.

- The wold's first referee dedicated towards video gaming spoke. It was actually Walter Day, founder of Twin Galaxies, and has been keeping track of every world record related to video games for past 20+ years. He described what it takes to be a champion game player, which is mostly a clear mind and good health; apparently, most gaming masters don’t smoke or drink, but then again, the same goes with most nerds, so this news ain’t exactly mind-blowing.

- Listened to some music played entirely on the Game Boy. The two artists, Nullsleep and Bit Shifter simply rocked the house is really worth checking out.

- Next was a short making of video featuring Sudeki, which was to illustrate an example of Western game makers using Anime as a main source of artistic inspiration. Too bad the game does it horribly (sorry, but that's how I feel).

- There was a few clips from the Machinima Film Fest. Machinima is basically movies made entirely within a video game environment; people take preexisting game engines, like from Quake or Unreal, and apply their own characters and environments to try tell an original story. The key word here is try. Almost everything I’ve seen from Machinima has been ultra lame. I suppose I should be more supportive, but it’s nothing but amateurish, art school caliber melodrama (or just pointless running and shooting, just like the video game it’s based upon, but with slightly different characters and Limp Biscuit). I say give it ten years for it fully be realized as a respectable art form.

- On that note, the night ended with an improvised comedy routine using video game characters in a real time game environment. While the performers spoke, they controlled their characters and used suggestions from the audience and it was actually pretty awesome.

All in all, it's nice when any video game related event takes place in NYC, but this one was actually pretty cool.
 

FortNinety

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neptunes said:
what was the message from kojima to NY about? :)

Basically that he wised he could be there, that he loves New York City "and it's movies" and that development on MGS 3 is at its apex. He asked for everyone to expect much and that he hopes everyone plays the game later this year.
 
D

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FortNinety said:
url=http://www.gmlb.com/]gameLab[/url]'s games, especially Loop, which might be the best web game ever created IMHO.

Killer DS app ;)
 

SolidSnakex

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The actual game is due out in November. I'm really starting to think that we aren't getting that demo though, unless they ship it with some magazine demo.
 

BuG

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FortNinety said:
- There was a few clips from the Machinima Film Fest. Machinima is basically movies made entirely within a video game environment; people take preexisting game engines, like from Quake or Unreal, and apply their own characters and environments to try tell an original story. The key word here is try. Almost everything I’ve seen from Machinima has been ultra lame. I suppose I should be more supportive, but it’s nothing but amateurish, art school caliber melodrama (or just pointless running and shooting, just like the video game it’s based upon, but with slightly different characters and Limp Biscuit). I say give it ten years for it fully be realized as a respectable art form.

- On that note, the night ended with an improvised comedy routine using video game characters in a real time game environment. While the performers spoke, they controlled their characters and used suggestions from the audience and it was actually pretty awesome.
I'm just curious as to why you thought the improv machinima (which is basically what it sounds like) was better than the traditional machinima? Is it just that the plot of the traditional form rarely have any substance and the improv did? Teh funnay? The audience participation? It just struck me as odd that regular machinima comes across as art school melodrama and the improv machinima as pretty awesome (note: I don't believe I've ever seen any truely decent machinima, either).