The big difference: TJ Hooker - Payday Pirates:
"That's what separates the rest of us from scum like you."

In a rather big coincidence I happen to watch The Terminator (the first) which reminded me of what happened when we were making a Terminator game at Virgin. There had been a Terminator game for the Genesis made by Neil Young, David Perry, and Nick Bruty, which was one of the shortest games we ever published. The second Terminator game for Sega CD was one of the largest console games we ever made. Each level in the Sega CD RAM could be nearly as big as an entire cartridge for the Genesis. The second version was programmed by Silas Warner who is famous for having made the very first version of Castle Wolfenstein. Nick Bruty did about half of the art - Nick was a master of specular highlights back in the days when computers didn't calculate it for you. Most of the shiny levels (heh, that's a pun [and an inside joke]!) were by him. Tommy Tallarico went to town on the sound and music.

Silas programmed up a video player and so we took the Terminator movie and edited the shit out of it. Basically, our assumption was that people playing the game knew the story, but would love to see a quick action clip between levels that moved the story along a little bit. I have to say it came out great.

Unfortunately, James Cameron didn't agree - he thought we were recutting and, well, butchering his film. Which was true, but our purpose was different from his when he created the film. Ultimately we were allowed to use one or two small clips from the movie. It was a serious bummer because a big part of our job when adapting licenses was to reinterpret the material in an interactive setting, and Mr. Cameron just didn't "get it." Oh well. (I'm still a huge fan. I'm sure if I could have sat down with him I could have convinced him of the rightness of what we were doing.)

Later on, when we made Demolition Man for 3DO, we edited the shit out of that movie, and it integrated beautifully with the game. Woot.

Which brings me to the minisodes. Someone has taken classic TV shows and cut them down to their bare essence. Which I think is pretty cool. I remember when The Phantom Edit version of The Phantom Menace came out. I never saw it but the idea of cutting all the painful parts out of Star Wars Episode I was brilliant - although George Lucas didn't see it that way and things were clamped down on that.

I guess recutting a person's movie isn't something to be done lightly. But with their permission and even better - their involvement - adding movie footage to a game can improve the game.

More recently (well, a few years ago), Griptonite Games was making the Lord of the Rings game for the Nintendo GBA and believe it or not, they had extra cartridge space. My idea was to play a short video clip at the start of the game and EA/New Line managed to approve that and I think it really helped send the message that "this game is special" (which it was) and gave the game a little extra shot of buzz. Woot.

Anyway, minisodes seem cool to me. I don't want to watch 22 minutes of TJ Hooker but I found this five minute clip entertaining. I would love five minute versions of every Star Trek episode. That would rock.

Somebody get on that.


I Dare You

I dare you to watch this Dennis Kucinich video and actually listen to him instead of staring at his wife while her hair blows in the wind. (I confess I read about this in Vanity Fair magazine.)

Go on - I dare you.

© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.



Guy Johnson's Safari - click on the picture to proceed to Google Maps

My friend Guy Johnson who I have known for many years (15? 20?) recently went on a huge road trip and documented it as he went using Google Maps. He posted a little anecdote from each stop he made. Most of it is true except generally the last sentence, which is a joke, which I need to point out, because Guy's humor is very dry.

Anyway, check it out - it's pretty cool.


Windows Vista: Under the Hood: Page 6

Windows Vista: Under the Hood: Page 6:
So the entire codebase was 'reset.' Instead of being based on XP, it would be based on Windows 2003 Service Pack 1. Although 2003 is itself based on XP, it had seen improvements in important areas such as reliability and security. That codebase also formed the basis for Windows XP on x86-64 platforms, so was probably better from a compatibility perspective, too. The development work on the old Longhorn wasn't completely scrapped; features from the old codebase were integrated into the new one, but this time they had to achieve much better standards of reliability and quality.

People keep saying Vista was Longhorn but it sounds to me like whatever Longhorn was, was completely scrapped. Which sounds like a good thing. I have to say, someone deserves the "big balls" award for tossing all the garbage and hitting the "reset button." That was some gutsy move.

How does a dirty word get that way? - By Michelle Tsai - Slate Magazine

How does a dirty word get that way? - By Michelle Tsai - Slate Magazine

I didn't see Bull Crap in that article anywhere.


Ancient History

vcr plus encryption scheme - rec.video | Google Groups

Wow. A Usenet post from 1991. Does anyone still use VCR Plus? For that matter, does anyone still get the paper version of TV Guide?

Here's a post from 1987 about the X Window system.

Back to the Future!. (A post from 1989.) I think the filmmakers revealed in the box set that in fact this was an editing error.


Universal's gamble: Will consumers win?

KRT Wire | 06/04/2007 | Universal's gamble: Will consumers win?:
Q: Sales figures for Blu-Ray movie discs are significantly higher this year than for HD-DVD. How do you counter the argument that the tide has turned in Blu-Ray's favor?

A: We didn't have many hot releases in the first quarter, or many releases at all. They had some real biggies, like "Casino Royale." The fourth quarter will be telling. Our releases will be stronger, and we're looking for a big attach rate [that's disc sales per player] when people jump for an inexpensive HD-DVD machine to show off their new high-def TV set.

To that end, we're doing a lot to educate the retailers and the consumers. You know, there are now HD sets in probably 25 million households. But more than half of those owners still believe, incorrectly, that anything they plug in_including basic cable and standard-definition DVD_is going to be in "high definition" on those sets. We've got to show them what they're missing.


Don't Cry for Me ...

I was just listening to this song "Don't Cry for Me" and I swear I thought the words were:

Don't Cry for Me
If your NUTS are cold and lonely

but apparently it's

Don't Cry for Me
If your NIGHTS are cold and lonely

© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.