DID YOU READ

IndieCade: What I’ll Be Doing This Weekend

IndieCade: What I’ll Be Doing This Weekend (photo)

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The premier international celebration of indie game design kicks off today. As I type, I’m in the air, wending my way to lovely Culver City to take in three days of what promises to be awesome hands-on and panel talks. Here’s what I’m looking forward to from the programming:


Punk Rock M*****F*****
Brandon Boyer, Frank Lantz, Richard Lemarchand, John Sharp

Game culture is often thought of as naive, disposable and operating in a cultural vacuum, isolated from everything other than genre fiction and Japanese pop culture. Brandon Boyer, Frank Lantz, Richard Lemarchand and John Sharp beg to differ, and offer punk rock as a case in point. Punk demonstrates the ways in which pop culture can be simultaneously exuberant, naive, primal, critical, disposable and savvy, sophisticated, intellectual, and culturally self-aware, and is therefore a wonderful inspiration for videogames. These four old school punks will talk about the overt and hidden connections between games, punk rock, and the arts.
[Boyer’s the recently appointed head of the Independent Games Festival. Lantz runs NYC dev studio Area/Code and is the acting chair of New York University’s Game Center. I love that they’re tackling the idea of the naïf game designer and can’t wait to see how punk rock this talk gets.]

Discovering Multiplayer Dynamics in Journey
Jenova Chen and Robin Hunicke

In ThatGameCompany’s upcoming title Journey, players meet and travel with strangers through a vast landscape. Players cannot speak to each other via voice or chat… which means that they must communicate in other ways. In this talk we will share some of the early prototypes that inspired our decision, discuss challenges we’ve encountered, and demonstrate the resulting dynamics in Journey itself.
[Jenova Chen’s the design heart of ThatGameCompany and the man responsible for the touching, brilliant Flower, while Hunicke’s brought her sharp game sensibilities to fun, simple game like “Boom Blox”. I’ve been waiting to see “Journey” for months, so this should be great.]

Project Next
Jonathan Blow, Ian Bogost, Alex Neuse, Paolo Pedercini, Chris Hecker, and moderated by John Sharp

Want a sneak peak at the next wave of indie games? To see how finalists and ground-breaking indies are following up their successes? Project Next is a series of quick previews of unreleased games by a wide range of indie developers. Confirmed speakers include Jonathan Blow (Braid), Ian Bogost (A Slow Year), Chris Hecker (Spy Party), Alex Neuse (BIT.TRIP RUNNER) and Paolo Pedercini (Every Day the Same Dream).

[This one speaks for itself. New games from top designers, at their most unfiltered.]

Interactive Storytelling Goes Indie
Erik Loyer, Jamie Antonisse, and more, moderated by Dan Pinchbeck

When you think of story and games, the first things that might come to mind are big-budget AAA titles and their reliance on cinematic conventions, genre and fancy graphics. The indie scene is also quietly working away at the enigmatic story-game problem, but in ways that differ from the mainstream industry. Erik Loyer (Ruben & Lullaby, Blue Velvet) and Dan Pinchbeck of the Chinese Room (Korsakovia, Dear Esther) will discuss their work and opinions about melding game and story, the tensions and connections between the two, and why the indie scene is likely to pave the way for great interactive storytelling.

[Indie games don’t have to worry about pandering to the middle and it’s paid off in the stark immersion of titles like Limbo. Hopefully, this talk will show that more risks are to come.]

If you’re in the LA area, come out and check out IndieCade. Find info about getting tickets at the official site.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.

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It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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