Hello and welcome to my Sunday blog! Huzzah! This blog is being brought to you by three cups of coffee, which is my very favorite way to start out a Sunday. This will give me just enough energy to make it until about 1 pm, at which point I will crash and take a nap until about 4. That's my plan, anyway. I'm an ambitious guy!
I'm going to go ahead and self-righteously say I deserve this day of rest, however, as the previous week found me, as mentioned in my last blog post, on a brand new team at EA, after a mere 4 weeks on the job--a stressful situation that left me tired and somewhat overwhelmed by end-of-day Friday, but also happy and excited for the future. (And let me add, I don't deserve this day of rest even a third as much as my new co-workers, who worked later than I did every night, and who were coming in both days this weekend to work again. Yikes.)
I hadn't written a whole lot (or at all) about exactly what I was doing in my first four weeks, largely because it was Top Secret, though I think extra-astute readers might have seen that I did drop a few hints here and there. It was a project that was a bit off the beaten path but had the potential for greatness, or at least very goodness. So the bad news was that the rug got pulled out from under that project, before I could really ever crow about it here and spell out exactly what I was up to. The good news is that I think I *am* at liberty to tell you what I'm up to now--sort of--because the project is one that has already been announced: I am now a designer with the SimAnimals team. Woot! I heart animals! Look! Look how much I love animals! Even ones with crazy alien eyes!
Huh. I can't tell if this picture is sideways or not. Anyhoo: Yeah. That's the deal. I'm on that project, which is a game for the Wii, which is boatloads of fun for me. Note, however, that this game is way far along in its production--I am joining very late in the project, which is why the team is working so dang hard. So my input into this game is only going to be somewhat advisory and peripheral, as the design is essentially done. Still, it's fun to be in my usual critic role and actually see stuff getting affected/changed right there-and-then. Not that I'm lusting to lord any control over them: This is their project, and they're working their asses off, and I'm honored to be listened to or taken seriously at all, given my lack of experience in such matters. My real work begins with the NEXT project, which I shall have a crucial role in, and which I can't wait for. Now we're back at the "I can't tell you anything yet" phase, but there--I at least told you basically what I'm involved in. And I'm happy. I'm doing creative, fun stuff (I sat in on a 45 minute meeting about eyebrows, and it was super cool--no joke) that is challenging me in new artistic ways, just as I hoped for when I decided to make this career change. Stay tuned, though. I foresee lots of ups and downs and bumps and hills and valleys along the way....
Meanwhile, there are other games to discuss. World of Goo, for example, a fan-freakin-tastic WiiWare game that I believe was made by 2 guys, which is a nice humbling lesson for anyone. Funny, challenging, unique, loaded w/personality, it's one of my favorite games of the past few months. It's also kicking my ass on certain levels, because I am a physics loser. (Note to self: Enlist aid of your smarter 14-year-old daughter, who actually knows something about physics because she is paying attention in school, unlike you, who used to draw Don Martin cartoons all over your class notes instead of listening to the teachers.)
I've also begun Warhammer Online, which I was loving in the beta and am trying to love now--except for the unending streak of crash-to-desktops that take me out of the game over and over. Now, the fact that I have a Special PC With Problems has already been established, but a Google search tells me that these crashes are not unique to me, which is both a relief and a bummer. But I like this game enough (and not just cuz it's published by EA, promise) to keep at it while hoping for a fix. Moronico, Dwarf Engineer, is ready to take on you chuffin' greenskins! Oy!
And my third gaming obsession, at present, for no reason at all that I can explain, is a newfound addiction to Ticket to Ride on XBLA. This is one of my favorite boardgames ever, and I also dug it a lot on the PC, but now I'm hooked all over again on the 360. Mostly I'm hooked, however, because I am convinced that the AI is cheating, and so I am determined to beat it. You know how when you play(ed) Tetris a lot, and you'd be waiting for that ONE piece (usually the "L") to come down to fulfill your grand scheme, only the game would never give you one? And you convinced yourself in your brain that the game KNEW this, and was denying you on purpose? And then after your plan was foiled, then five L's in a row would come cascading down, as if to mock you? Yeah. I think that's what Ticket to Ride does too, in its own way, always taking the cards I need, and always blocking my paths ahead of time, as if it knows what cards I have drawn. Maybe not. Who knows. I just know that I am not admitting defeat to any fuggin' Digital Overlord, mmmmkay? HUMANS FTW.
That's really all I got right now. We must sit down and discuss television again, soon, though. We must discuss why House is so great, still, and why I am glad that Kenley got her comeuppance on Project Runway, and why Mad Men is so brilliant on so many levels (is there a more loveably despicable character--other than Kenley--on TV right now than Pete Campbell?), and why, for the over 40th time in my life, I will be watching "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" on TV this week, despite the fact that I could do the whole episode for you right now by heart.
But I feel my book calling to me, and my couch, and those are voices that I really try to listen to when I can. Especially on a Sunday.