GX notes - October 1999friday 10/29
scenes from the berkeley street outside our office:
two taxidrivers in turbans nearing fisticuffs
middle aged chinese women with little command of english interviewing mexican construction workers about their thoughts on marriage for the reverend sun young moon. the men get away quicker than some.
"Every once in a while I realize what a surreal place I work at - there's a guy next to me in a Cat in the Hat hat listening to old Bon Jovi." - Allan
it's a struggle to stay positive and creative in a corporate environment, when you're working on a team together to try to propell your brand and win profit. getting credit, making money, thinking about these distracts me from pure performance.
PlayStation is so thoroughly Japanese; there they make tons of games, in a wider variety of genres (can you say "Simulation Zoo" ?) and they make parodies of their games as well. As best as I can tell, PlayStation in the US is not developed enough to afford parodies of itself.
discussion this morning centers around Age of Kings (Age of Empires 2), and the sequels ability to record in-game movies.
there's sometimes when i'm typing and i start to wiggle a little bit around my rapidly poking fingers and i feel maybe a little bit like I'm playing the piano or singing or something, making music.
amy noted that i have "diseased skin" probably resulting from all my time in front of the computer.
our instant messenging ap is fucking awesome! and it was written in house! in fact, most all of the site is really cool, with all these nifty little customization features that allow me to change the site to reflect myself just a little. clearly there's much still to be done, but this is very fun to get my hands on. i'll be interested to see whether the web at large enjoys this as much as i do!
Terence's 21st birthday today - joel picks him up a cake and a rather large beer. thanks for the picture nat.
sometimes, joel writes "woot!" as a reply to an icq. I think that means "enthusiasm" but i'm not actually sure what it means. does it map to a real life exclaimation?
My personal view now is like the closing credits of "Death Race 2000"-which makes the point that violence is what caused human intelligence to evolve and is innate. Now that warfare itself has become so terrible, acting out our capacities in gaming is a necessary sublimation.sunday 10/24
our co-founder/CTO just bought himself a BMW 323. is that a good sign or a bad sign? maybe if he leased it, that would be a gooder sign.
i got to meet the marketing guys, by virtue of being here a lot and paying attention jimmy invited me into their meeting i guess. my introduction of hotwired and electric minds didn't seem to ring any bells for them. they come from a different market, shall we say.
marketing people are nice, these are nicer than usual. one guy made a joke about pissing in our sink because the urinal has a sign "don't use the urinal" on it. that was camraderie. we discussed britney spears and her real fake boobs. fast friendship among men.
people here really like their jobs it seems. they talk a good game, very few people feel dissed much.
"Buttmonkey Mania (Japan)"
one of those mystery Japanese Playstation titles.
The bestselling Nintendo 64 game, and number 5 on the Playstation charts is WWF Attitude. A game with characters representing actors who play characters who are wrestlers!
If you've read enough of these, you'll see that we are breeding hamsters, and we are all very close together. So naturally it was only a matter of time, this weekend was the week that everyone started getting sick!GX arms race
first bob bought a Vortex gun, then he bought one for Sam, Tim and Kenn, then Nat got one, and got the vortex2 pistol. For a while then, orange rubberbands were flying pretty much constantly overhead. So Allan and I visited Games of Berkeley looking for some Vortex and found them for 30$ - 2x the price at Toys 'R Us so we settled for tracer disk guns - 2$ for the gun and 1$ for ammunition. Smaller, plastic, far less accurate, but also less noisy, semi-automatic, faster reload and more portable.sunday, 10/17
now the office is armed with two types of guns and there were many afternoons where sam and i would be smiling at eachother across our respective weapons. i would feel charged giddy, empowered by my gun to shoot and make someone across the room feel me. but things got out of hand, we were running out of the room shouting and shooting and ducking behind the walls and shooting back inside and at any moment you could be targeted. I found the tracer disks did very well shooting off the flourescent lights, into people's laps. I did enough of this that last week Joel came to my desk where I was bunkered underneath, and pinned me, took my gun, and shot me full of plastic disks at point blank range. That kind of mellowed my participation in the GX Arms Race.
i went to dinner tonight and i was looking at the menu with weekly specials and i was thinking, okay, what day of the week is it? wednesday? thursday? it was sunday.
more kpop madness - new H.O.T. video from Hank, "Hope"
"Go! Go! Pig Racing Simulation Game"
one of those Japanese Playstation mystery titles.
Dennis just returned from a CEOs convention in Monaco, where his gaming and gamers.com talk was quite well received, according to his reports. It's quite exciting - all these VC dudes excited about our computer bodes well for our enterprise, and our semi-public/press launch Monday October 24. It reminds me i'm working for a cause, we believe gaming is the future and we are gamers.com.
When I was listening to him and thinking about the talks I've given, more speaking to smaller groups of people who have less power and less money. Did I feel jealous or anxious that I wasn't in the same kind of power position as this self-assured and sky-ward propelled 22 year old "online superstar"? I never aspired to be a wealthy business person - more power to Dennis. It looks like I aspired to be a raconteur, and here i am.
another power spike today, the lights and everything kind of blinks and shudders, and then a few of the UPS/power supplies start beeping at us.
i'm drinking coke to propel myself towards a numerical deadline. i've drafted three asian 16 year olds just fresh back from their PSATs, they're looking up information on Double Dragon and equally obscure Playstation titles. bless them.
I want to play Dreamcast, I want to lay down, I want to play Metal Gear Solid, or dare I play Jagged Alliance 2 and work on my review, but I must soldier forward, to set a good example for those I would ask to work with me. Advil helps. I need Guarana powder.
75 jumping jacks feels good - i never have time to deal with the Y nearby.
sometimes rapidly rocking back and forth in time with my typing makes me feel good too.
funny watching Terence use Roger Wilco to play Team Fortress Quake (Capture the Flag) and call out commands to his teammates.
i gotta keep remembering that if i feel underpaid, that's because the education and experience are free. these people live and breathe games - on consoles, computers, at CompUSA and on FTP servers, new games old games team games and solo games. I am so deep in games I can't see out to realize that normal people can't barely get this kind of exposure to gaming. I don't get to play anything for very long, but I get to see a heck of a lot go by. i could pay $30,000 a year to go to a gaming college, instead I get paid $30,000 to keep up with this gaming fraternity.
12 hour saturday! yar.
i noticed this morning, at 6am in my boxers making a poached egg, that i'm developing a bit of a pot belly. a protrusion just above my groin. reminds me physically of howard, whose belly I've seen a lot of recently.
I guess bellies are alright - they look buddhistic perhaps, the mark of a settled soul. mine i think is the mark of eating rich food and sitting on my ass, plus occasional beer.
note: two recent lunches:
barbeque chicken with cheddar on a croissant roasted sliced turkey sandwich with layers of turkey skin and mayo
every day since i've been here i've left the office to pick up something to eat. good stuff to eat around here! but it costs money, like usually 6-9$. today I brought some lunch from home, I cooked spinach and mushrooms over rice for my and amy's lunch today. it tastes good, but then all of the editorial office but three people left to eat lunch together at a Thai restaurant, and I know that's fun. I like my coworkers, I pay to eat lunch with them. I'm going broke! Should I ask for a raise? Or sacrifice eating lunch with my coworkers? (Or something else should give).
plus there's nowhere else to eat really besides sitting in front of my computer, which is an unflattering lunch experience. it's not entirely without it's perks - i get to listen to sam and brandon compare hampster training notes.
rented "Hell comes to FrogTown" starring Rowdy Roddy Piper (former pro wrestler) as one of the last fertile men on the planet, charged with killing aliens and impregnating women.
it's now official - I'm at work 12-14 hour days almost every day. i drive amy to the bart by 7am and then I drive to work and play Jagged Alliance and answer the phone until 9am when other people arrive. then i work until 7-9pm at night. and I don't mind! but my wrists mind - darn weak flesh. maybe when i'm older i won't have problems with my body.
every office seems to have its media files, jokes and humour passed around - .mp3s and .movs and even powerpoint presentations. It seems particularly representative that Tai Mai Shu.mp3 (3.5megs) is what we've been passing and chuckling at, a self-depricating asian rapper.
Also, Wild Things 8.2meg - a clip of two bikini-wearing actresses having a lesbian catfight in a movie that is probably remarkable only for that scene.
pictures I took of Tim were turned into this banner add, quoting "It's soo simple!" from Tai Mai Shu.mp3 (3.5megs)
what i wish i could put on my site is this 143 megabyte FinK.L. video hank sent me. this is amazing - lovely young korean women dancing around in clothes most resembling trash bags, as the sound and light tools of rock concert spectacle developed to mezmerize young americans on drugs are adapted to this silly form of Casio pop. I guess this would be less amazing for me to watch, A. if i wasn't male, and B. if I had paid more attention to the Spice Girls, the Backstreet Boys, or any of the other teen bands with similar production qualities.
9am sunday morning, Sam is sprawled out on the double easy chair, watching Jackie Chan's "Who Am I?" he's been awake for 20 hours, just drank 4 shots of espresso. why? it's never made clear. probably running benchmarks for our GeForce and Coppermine coverage.
last night, i was talking to James about Jagged Alliance 2, that I've been playing every day here for the last week. single person turn-based strategy, more thought than reflexes and RPG-esque character building fun. I did say that I thought I was missing out on a Quake education, he said if I play here, I will become better. I've watched them play, but I guess I gotta practice more, huh? He recommended I read the GamersX Quake Bibles, starting with Quake I - not playing it, but the skills transfer over.
10:30, terence is here. and i find myself actually looking at spreadsheets and doing my job! on sunday!
sam gets mad at me during soul calibur because of my "button mashing" playing style. i hurl my character up against my opponent and attack repeatedly in the same way. "if you knew how to play, I could beat you" he says
terence and I go to Toys 'r Us to buy Ready 2 Rumble. I buy myself an "Island Blue" Playstation controller - pure vanity: 33$.
guys who work here use DVDs in much higher proportions that people in society at large. Gamers.com editorial likes to listen to Tool. If i stretch my arms at my desk, I hit Allan.
Lynn is getting a computer and might look at some games - nice to have a mature family member to share this stuff with.
on a saturday, the smell of James' roasted chicken he brings from over two blocks away. we've never collectively braved that distance as a lunchtime posse, so I've only smelled the tantalization.
this october weather in berkeley has been so sweaty warm, it's nice to be inside this not yet stuffy office under too much air conditioning today. i turned off the lights - makes it more bearable.
I've been discovering my coworkers, and i'd like to make some subdirectories here about them, but i haven't felt quite right about it yet - maybe once we launch and the early days have a nice patina of nostalgia, i'll be inspired to solliquize the early days and all the young dudes (and even a dudette or two).
the plan is clearly to launch and then to expand and to grow - our new office will be 10 times the size, and it's not all for rubber band gun shooting galleries. what happens when we have a marketing and ecommerce team the size of the current editorial. and then what? i'm not too often stuck worrying where i'll end up in that kind of a company, i always end up finding something to do. i guess stock options make some kind of a difference, perhaps the essential hard gaming core of this company will make a difference as well. dare to dream!
i'm becoming interested in why people play games, or moreover, what role games play in society? easily diversion, maybe training? socialization, socializing - howard recommended Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture by Johann Huizinga
four days in a row we have a power outage!
first there was the powerstrip burnout i mentioned below,
yesterday we had a brownout (i was at sonoma state with hlr) and a few of the computers all over the office went down. then today, bob had brought in a few of the Koosh/OddzOn breand Vortex Tornado rubber band guns, and had one sitting on top of his monitor. it fell off, down behind his desk and hit an outlet and knocked out power to james and sam.
we had 20 appliances plugged into 4 daisychained powerstrips, and today they blew. the one under my desk blew out. 4 17" monitors, 5 computers, a TV, amp and tuner, playstation, cellphone rechargers. this is a shit building for this kind of operation - we risk fire and lost productivity from this. i got so pissed off that my stomach hurts. why? because the powerstrip blew out and smelled like burning chemicals. and that sucks.
this last weekend saturday the Quake III Arena Road Tour. going with GX is like going with gaming royalty. a GX t-shirt, membership got me ahead of the line for the quake bus and into the late staying private tourneys afterwards. strangest thing is watching all these kids ask about Thresh - not quite sure which one he is but reverent still of the figure. autographs, and i am signing things as part of the GX team.