After months of addressing stage fright through karaoke, I put my mettle to the test by participating in a live “Geeks vs. Nerds” debate at Yuk-Yuk’s Comedy Club tonight. “Geeks vs. Nerds” is a comedy debate show where two teams of three argue over which fictional character is better. My roommate hosts it, so that’s sort of how I got involved. Tonight’s show featured the match-ups “Tintin vs. Indiana Jones” and “Superman vs. Goku”. I wound up on Team Superman.
I seriously had no idea that Superman costume of mine would get so much mileage this year.
The first debate between Indy and Tintin went hilariously wrong as Team Tintin berated Indy’s “let’s use child labor and get Hitler’s autograph” policy, while Team Indy printed out some portrait-sized images of Tintin punching black people in the Congo. In the end, Tintin won the “Best Globe-Trotter” award on the grounds that by calling dibs on the moon, he’d effectively trotted more globes than Indy.
Our following debate was a bit more dramatic. The audience was clearly pro-Goku when we started, but as time went on, we think we pulled a “Rocky IV” with the crowd. By the end, it was a close call, but Team Superman pulled through.
My friend Zach had the best one-liner of the night with his “Goku is the #1 cause of world hunger” jab. As the debate was in regards to who was better suited for protecting Earth, it was in our favor that Goku was a walking natural disaster who allowed three planets to be destroyed under his watch. The other team pulled out some great jabs too, and even produced a skit depicting the climactic battle. Our version of the battle ended in Superman using rainbow-colored kryptonite to turn gay just so he could memory-erase Goku with a kiss.
All in all, it was a great night. Plus we followed it up with drinks at the EXP Bar (this fancy new video game bar in the city where I’m now apparently known as ‘Commander Shepard’ just because the waiter encourages nicknames at the table to make separating bills easier.)
Not sure what else to write. That’s what I did today.
Here’s an inspirational picture I’d been looking at to pump myself up for the debate.
Looks like we’re on the air! Nerdcorps’ new show “Slugterra” is hitting the network tomorrow. It’s been three months since I started on the show and it’s been a blast. While none of my work will start appearing until episode 13 (or sooner, considering we’re using episode 9 as the pilot), the show is still fun to watch. It’s basically Pokemon, except they ride mecha-beasts and use the cute little critters as ammunition. WHICH IS AWESOME. AND TOTALLY INCONVENIENT. BUT STILL AWESOME. I can’t wait for the toy line to start coming out. It’s going to be a Slugterra Christmas for my family and friends. Nerf guns and slug plushies all around!
Here’s the trailer for the pilot episode:
And here’s the show’s opening sequence. The words to the theme song are very easy to memorize.
Look at those little dudes fly! I wish I had a gun that punched people.
So… to follow up from the previous “the Two Guys have reunited” announcement, they’ve now got their own Kickstarter going for the new game. Personally, I’m already very excited for this one as they’ve not only got Gary Owens onboard, but also Paul Robson (Yakko from Animaniacs), Robert Clotworthy (Raynor from Starcraft), John Lowrie (Sniper from TF2), and Ellen McLain (GLaDOS from Portal) all providing voices. Not to mention they’re already in talks with Supertramp legend Bob Siebenberg to return and score the game. This is shaping up to be one of the more exciting Kickstarter projects.
The game promises to be in the style of Space Quest, with the same brand of humor, tons of the usual deaths, and with more modern sci-fi references. So check out their Kickstarter video and go give them a few hundred dollars.
In the vein of things that only happen when hell freezes over, after 20 years, the creators of the “Space Quest” series have reconciled their differences and reunited to make a new game. And they want us all to spread the word.
I’m sure this has more to do with Tim Schafer’s Kickstarter success and not so much with the three massive Space Quest fan-games that came out three months ago (although I’m sure all three of our teams like to sit around grinning like idiots and twiddling our thumbs thinking “Yeah, we did this.”) But in any case, the legends are back and they’re in full costume once again. And The Narrator, Gary Owens, is back on board. How’s that for head-exploding crazy awesomeness?
And it’s not just the Two Guys either. Other fellow ex-Sierra developers are also jumping on the bandwagon.
Jane Jenson (creator of the Gabriel Knight series) has started her own Kickstarter page and will be developing a new sci-fi murder-mystery thriller called “Moebius”. As of now, she’s only half-funded, but I’ve already put in my two cents (or more) and I implore other fans of hers to join in.
Also: Al Lowe (creator of Leisure Suit Larry) wants in as well. His Kickstarter project involves a complete HD remake of “Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards”. As of now, he’s got two weeks on his Kickstarter as well, and if this one goes through, he, Josh Mandel, and a group of Sierra vets will be HD-ing the whole Leisure Suit Larry series (and I really want to see LSL2 and 3 get the golden treatment).
So all we need is Roberta Williams (King’s Quest) and the Coles (Quest for Glory) doing their own Kickstarters and we’ve pretty much got the entire Sierra family back in business. Providing we still have enough money left over to donate.
Incidentally, the Two Guys aren’t asking for money just yet. All they want is for you to spread the word. And then they’ll probably ask you for money. In any case, spread the word!
Wait – people are willing to just THROW money at you?
Okay, so I already sort of knew this thanks to such local celebrities as that guy who plays recorder on the sidewalk and the guy who stands outside the Safeway with a paper cup. But that’s chump change compared to what a well-earned reputation can get you.
Take Tim Schafer for example. I’ve blogged at length about the guy many times in my ongoing effort to get people to play “Psychonauts” and “Brutal Legend” and he’s at it once again. Only this time, he and Ron Gilbert are going back to their roots and making an old-fashioned adventure game. But the catch? No publisher will give Double-Fine Productions money because people don’t buy adventure games. So they came up with an alternate solution to raise money: go on kickstarter.com and ask their fans to help them raise $400K in one month.
So far, the internet his given them $2 million.
UPDATE: The final tally was $3,336,371, with 87,142 people backing the project. That should be enough for about 7-8 games, I’d imagine.
To his credit, I think very few people could bring in that kind of fan-funding. If Joss Whedon asked for donations on “Dr. Horrible 2″, he’d probably bring in enough to fund a full-length movie. In Tim’s case, he hasn’t even pitched an idea yet, so his fans are basically just giving him money to exist.
A few people have already sent me e-mails telling me to jump on this bandwagon, but I’m still iffy about the legal ramifications of getting donations to make more fan-games or especially “Ducktalez 7″. I still wouldn’t mind seeing how much money people throw at it, though. The average Kickstarter project normally brings in around $10K, and before now, has gone as high as $1.4M, so I can’t say I wouldn’t be interested.
Hmmm… I do have a novel in the works. Anybody interested in throwing money at that? I promise I won’t stop you.
For now, check out Double-Fine’s adventure pitch video. It’s pretty awesome.
I’ve been waiting almost twelve years to make this blog entry. From the humbling beginnings back in high school where this existed as a crudely-designed fan-project, to the revival spent making the first couple rooms on my laptop in 2006, to the four years spent animating battle sequences on my couch while juggling work between “Vohaul Strikes Back” and “The Silver Lining” to my move to Vancouver where I spent several months programming and beta-testing my fingers off and swearing never to make a project of this magnitude ever again. At the cost of my sanity, the game is finally here. You can go download it. You can go play it. You can come back and tell me it sucks – I don’t care. It’s finished, and that’s what matters.
I keep expecting some Highlander-type Quickening to happen to me, but so far, it’s a no-go. I’m pretty sure I’m out of shape and have very poor social skills, though. Is that a prize?
Most people would probably use an announcement like this to toss out a generic “special thanks” and describe the game… but I think on my own blog, I’m entitled to just spill my real feelings. This is huge for me. This is a right-up-there-with-#1 moment for me. Disneyland, being a best man at my brother’s wedding, Samosa Night with Nick, New Years 2006, DucktaleZ 3, the train ride to Toronto – I can add ” finished Incinerations” to the list.
And the people to thank – right off the bat: I won’t embarrass him on any other forum post, but Frederik Olsen stuck with me through to the end. He made a great soundtrack, we stayed up late discussing the games, he’s very passionate about his work and committed to see things through.
And Team VSB – Andres Kalle, Patrick C. Johnston – I’ve learned so much from working with them. The game wouldn’t be possible without their input and know-how (actually, it WOULD be possible, but it would be crappier.) I’ve thrown so many requests their way, and they’ve always thrown back quick and easy results. It’s just mind-blowing to me.
And I know I give “The Silver Lining” crew a lot of flack for having driven me completely up the wall at times, but Cez Bittar and Rich Flores – they helped make this game possible. They pushed me further than I’d ever pushed myself and once I built up speed, I just kept adding things to SQInc that was never in the plans. Would I work with them again? I would hesitate, but yes. Richard’s a talented and hard-driving animation director, and Cez flat-out knows how to run a team with that golden tongue of his – I swear I quit TSL about five times, and he still kept pulling me back in somehow. I don’t think anyone besides Frede stayed with SQInc’s team for more than 2-3 months, so I respect anyone who can manage a 40-person+ team of volunteers like that.
And of course, respect to the original developers and then some. Scott Murphy. Mark Crowe. Josh Mandel. Ken and Roberta Williams. Al Lowe. Daryl Gates. Corey and Lori Ann Cole. Not household names these days, but these people are my childhood. The Sierra family created something unique and wonderful with their games that holds the same kind of sway over their fans that Disney, the Looney Tunes and the Muppets hold over the world. “King’s Quest 6″ alone is as big to me as “The Lion King.” I think a big part of me just needed to share back the love they gave us in their own games.
The most embarrassing part about completing this game is just the whole “adventure” and “fan-game” aspect of it. I feel like I’m living in an environment where there’s only two types of games: shooters and Skyrim. And even trying to explain my game to my family at Christmas just met with a lot of confused reactions. A lot of people I talk to either don’t understand what an “adventure game” is, and they understand even less the concept of “letting people play it for free”. So support from my peers has been a very mixed bag when making this.
But to see this game finally finished, it feels like I’m reaching some undefined closure in my life. I’d be lying if I didn’t say the original SQInc’s failure didn’t hit me hard. People kept telling me to give up back then saying it was impossible, and they were right at the time. Nobody gets anything huge done at 17. That might have been what was driving me all these years. The Ducktalez cartoons, the Monkey Island games, The Silver Lining, Vohaul Strikes Back… sometimes, a little piece of your past just won’t rest until you’ve proven it wrong. It’s one thing to make a game for the fans, but it’s another to make a game for more than just the fans. This is for my inspirations, this is for my family, this is for my friends, this is for my friends’ friends, this is for everyone who believed and everyone who didn’t, and this is for myself.
Sorry for the long post, but I think I’m coming to the end now. This last stretch has been such a long one. The game was playable last December – and it still took a full year to get it ready for everyone. And how crazy is it to see “Vohaul Strikes Back” and the “Space Quest 2 Remake” all coming out at the same time? This is a very emotion-heavy time for me. I wish I could be putting as much effort into my schoolwork as I am into this blog post right now. But at least I feel like I can move on for a change. That I can put this behind me and start a new chapter in my life.
It’s a game ten years in the making, and follows 16 years after the cancellation of the original Space Quest series. And out of the dozens of Sierra fan-games made over the years, it’s the first actual full-length sequel (TSL doesn’t count because episode 5 isn’t finished yet. So we win!)
In this game, you help space janitor Roger Wilco sort out another bad case of his girlfriend, the planet, and the galaxy needing saving. Along the way, he learns some very important life lessons, escapes death-defying situations and makes some hairy new friends. It’s loaded with clever puzzles, tons of original characters, over a hundred beautifully-painted backgrounds, awesome music, hilarious dialogue, and lots of half-assed Flash animation from myself. Also: monkeys.
In the following weeks, expect to hear a lot more Space Quest-related news from me. In the last six years, this has been one of the top three things to eat up all my time and it’s FINALLY DONE. I’m in a self-promoting mood right now, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for any positive reviews or mentions on popular sites. Not to mention VSB is just the beginning when I consider what’s around the corner…
At long last, it’s over. I just flew back in from Edmonton last night, my brother’s married, I’ve got a couple new sister-in-laws, and Term 3 is now beginning. There was this crazy misadventure in which the airport lost my luggage, and at least two people’s cars broke down resulting in my brother being late to both his rehearsal and reception. But then there was also an awesome limo ride, a fine Ukrainian meal, and I got access to a karaoke machine for a better part of the night. So all in all, a good weekend.
And Brittany, even though you’re at Disneyland, I have an additional wedding present for you. You will laugh.
Ooh. And here’s an additional video I just remembered starring the happy couple from way before their marriage, back when the worst thing in their lives was Jayme eating crackers: