Monday, October 27, 2008

Macaroni Grill and Ouija Board Pasta

I had been complaining about my trip itinerary back to Perth. I left São Paulo 4 hours after Dan and Jack and would have arrived in Perth a full day after they do. My trip travel time is 53.5 hours and that doesn't count that we arrived at the São Paulo airport at 3:00 PM, which was an additional 8 hours before my departure at 11:00 PM.

But now as I camp out in the Chicago airport Macaroni Grill, during my 10 hour layover here, enjoying a nice bowtie pasta, I learn that Dan and Jack's flight out of Chili to Sydney was canceled and they are currently stuck with no idea when another flight will be available. I guess I can't complain about my long trip anymore... but I can giggle quietly to myself.

The guy next to me was reading a Johnathan Kellerman novel and we talked briefly. He was an older guy and was wearing an X-Box Live sweatshirt, small conversation ensued. I know I've read some Kellerman novels, but am horrible with names. I asked if he was the guy who wrote the Navajo Tribal Police mysteries, but that was Tony Hillerman... who I just learned passed away today! His books were another series I listened to when I first discovered audio books in the library way back when.

When I first sat down here at Macaroni Grill, I was also thinking about how a bunch of us phoned up and ordered take-away from a Macaroni Grill in Vegas one afternoon while playing a table top role-playing game. My friend Kelly convinced me that you didn't have to tip the bartender when you picked up the order; because, really what did he do besides take the food from the kitchen and hand it to you all boxed up. The bartender, however though he deserved a little more and made quite a show of the fact that I wasn't tipping him, at the top of his voice, as I was walking away.

The point of that is that I got a Facebook invite from Kelly while sitting there. Now granted, finally getting onto Facebook isn't the same as passing away, but that's two out of three Macaroni Grill coincidences.

The third was that I was also thinking about this girl I went on a date with years ago where we ate at Macaroni Grill. There was a memorable incident involving a reproduction of one of the paintings that I drew on the paper tablecloth with the crayons they give you. Nothing became of the date and we went our separate ways, but now I'm just waiting for something related to her to pop up.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Big Trouble in Little Big Planet

If you are even slightly in tune with the video game industry, I am sure you have heard of the controversy surrounding the up-coming game Little Big Planet. But for the rest of you here is a quick summary from the Little Big Planet wiki entry:
On 17 October 2008 SCEE instigated a worldwide recall of Little Big Planet and announced that the games release would have to be pushed back. This was after a PlayStation Community member reported that the lyrics to one of the songs in the game included passages from Qur'an and could therefore be offensive to Muslims. The song in question was entitled "Tapha Niang" by Malian singer, Toumani Diabaté, himself a devout Muslim.

Click the video above to listen to the song yourself. The two "offending" lines are:
كل نفس ذائقة الموت ("kollo nafsin tha'iqatol mawt", Translated: "Every soul shall have the taste of death")

كل من عليها فان ("kollo man alaiha fan", Translated: "All that is on earth will perish")
There has been a bunch of whining and complaining on every forum on the face of the earth about this and that's a whole other story. But then yesterday two new stories popped up:

Toumani Diabaté, the Man who wrote the song says Qur'an quotes are "Quite Normal."

M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D. , an American Muslim Group Leader Slams Little Big Planet Recall.

Poor Sony, damned if they do and dammed if they don't. You can hardly blame them for delaying the game to take out the song, they are probably still feeling stung about the whole Church of England controversy from Resistance: Fall of Man and the game Kakuto Chojin was pulled from the shelves back in 2003 for also having versus of the Qur'an.

I have some questions though. Has anybody considered that maybe Sony just doesn't want the lines "Every soul shall have the taste of death" and "All that is on earth will perish" in their game which is rated for children, regardless of what language it is in or where those lines might be quoted from? They might be afraid of one of the ratings boards that has given the game the children's age rating requiring them to reclassify the game.

And as to Dr. Jasser's comment that the free market allows for expression of disfavor by simply not purchasing a game that may be offensive. I think that is exactly the point, Sony wants to sell games to the people who would be offended by those lyrics in the game and would rather not have them boycotting the game. It's not like anybody has suddenly rushed out and canceled their pre-order because of the slight shipping delay.

Toumani Diabate, himself a Muslim claims that it isn't offensive to sing quotes from the Qur'an.
"It's quite normal to play music and be inspired by the words of the Prophet Mohammed. It's my way to attract and inspire people towards Islam."
So who exactly is saying that it is offensive, can we get an official ruling on this, reference link to the Qur'an online, wiki, something?

If anything it brought more national attention to the game and maybe will increase sales. I know its certainly given Mr. Diabate a lot more attention than just having his song used in the game. I listened to the song, sounds kinda cool and maybe I'll buy some of his stuff off iTunes and add it to the music I listen to while writing.

I do have one more question though. About the lyrics in the song, has anybody read the full, translated song lyrics? Not just those two lines, but the whole song? I'm curious as to what the rest of the song is about. Is it something like, "Every soul shall have the taste of death and all that is on earth will perish but Iiii-ah-iiiiiii will alwaaaaaaayyyys love you-ewwwwwwwwewwwewww."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thwomp the Vote ‘08

I found this picture on one of the video game news sites and thought it was kinda funny, but it took me way to long to find out it's source. It seems everybody is keen to post where they directly got it from instead of its original source.

I'm glad I took the effort though because The Minus World, where the post came from, has a bunch more stuff including the vice-presidential debates and the pundits take.

There is a bunch of other video game comedy stuff there too, some of it is even funny. I particularly liked the Resident Evil activity book for children done as a parody of that favorite of dentist offices everywhere, Highlights magazine.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Greetings Programs

It was widely reported that there was a teaser for Tron 2 (TR2N) shown at the Comic Con this year. Connie recently sent me a link to a video of it taken by somebody in the audience. It pretty crap as far as quality is concerned but its better than nothing.

So, I've been talking to a few people in the last few days and found out that none of them had heard of it, let alone seen the video. I just went to google the video and found several stories about it including the behind the scenes details of how this teaser came into being. But they all linked to another video taken by somebody in the audience that's way worse than the one Connie sent me. Don't bother watching the clip linked in that article, watch this one.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Late Jeff Freeman's Blog

I just clicked on the link in my list to the late Jeff Freeman's blog and got to some other blog. Its by somebody named gRACe goh and only has one entry entitled "This is my first blog entry :D" dated May of 2007.

I used the Way Back Machine to check and Jeff's blog was definitely there. I also noticed that there were two URLs that I had for Jeff's blog.

The URL I had in my link section was (I'm fixing it now) which is the now broken one, but that I confirmed was correct back when I posted the news of Jeff's passing. The Way Back Machine even has this other blog there when I posted the news and doubled checked to see that his blog was still there. But if you go even further back, Jeff's blog shows up at this URL. I'm confused.

The other URL I had bookmarked was which still works. Whew, I would hate to see it get taken down. I'm updating my sidebar now.

I'd advise against reading the comments in his last post. The morons of the internet have been there, assholes.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Larry Probst new U.S. Olympic Comittee Chairman

It was announced last week that just two weeks after being named to the U.S. Olympic Committee’s board of directors Larry Probst, former CEO of Electronic Arts, has been named its new chairman. Probst will oversee the committee’s bid to hold the 2016 Summer Games in Chicago.

Probst first act as the U.S. committee’s chairman was to begin hiring more middle management, stating that you can’t get anything done if you don’t have enough management. Layoffs of actual working staff members were also announced.

Probst refused to comment on the legal action he is bringing against the Special Olympics for unauthorized use of the “Olympic” brand name. But he did announce that the Olympic committee had bought out the Common Wealth Games. Probst say there is no plans for any changes to be made at the Common Wealth Games and that the Olympic committee believes that the Common Wealth Games will be a strong addition to the Olympic line up.

Asked about his other plans, Probst said that although they were bidding to hold the 2016 Summer Games in Chicago, citing a need to consolidate operations, Chicago will in fact be closed down. Some residents will be welcomed to relocate to other potential Olympic locations while others will be welcomed to just relocate.

Due to budget and time concerns, if the Olympics were to be held in Chicago in 2016 it would only be a basic set of competitions. Others events would be included in a “Chicago 2016 Summer Olympic SSX” expansion event that would be held in six months. Furthermore, the actual 2016 Chicago Olympics would become a yearly event with new stadiums and updated Olympians. Probst said that they would plan the first “2016 Chicago Summer Olympics II” to be held in November 2017 because the Christmas market is much better than the summer market.

Probst also talked about the committee’s research into technology to prevent ticket counterfeiting. Purchasers of Olympic tickets will be secretly injected with a radioactive isotope that will imbed itself in the person’s DNA. Probst claims this isotope is non-harmful and simply helps the Olympic committee match the identify the person to the ticket they purchased and validate that the ticket is genuine. Questions about the isotope remaining in the person’s DNA after people are done with the ticket or how the isotope is passed on to that person’s future children were not answered. Instead members of the press were asked to direct those questions to the 2016 Summer Olympic’s newest sponsor, the Department of Homeland Security. Questions about the fact that 2016 Chicago Summer Olympic tickets had in fact already been counterfeited and were already available, were ignored as if they hadn’t been asked. Instead estimated ticket counterfeiting numbers compiled after the 1996 Olympics were recycled even though nobody knows where those numbers originally came from. The press was told that since those numbers have been recycled so many times, we have to believe them to be factual.

If the Olympic committee wins its bid to hold the 2016 games in Chicago there are also a number of changes that would affect the athletes. First Athletes will only be allowed to win 3 medals, after which point they will have to call a special 800 number to explain to special outsourced Olympic officials what circumstances led them to win additional medals. Probst sites that most Olympic athletes don’t win any medals, let alone more than three, so this will only affect a very small number of Olympians.

Second, only U.S. Athletes would be able to compete at first. European and Asian athletes would compete within a few months. Probst said that the date for when Australian athletes could compete had not yet been set.

In other news Electronic Arts announced it has secured the exclusive video game rights to the Olympic Games in perpetuity. This include the rights to names and likeness of former Olympians going back to the days of ancient Greece, though after negations with the Olympic committee, they won’t have to pay those former Olympians anything for the rights to use their likeness and instead those athletes will have to pay Electronic Arts for the right to look like character’s in EA games.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Okay, here is the Studio 60 post I said I wasn't going to post because its long and boring. But I still need to proof my funny post so I figured I would throw this up since I'm just sitting here waiting for Dan to decide if the servers are going to come tumbling down soon now that we sent out emails or if its going to take long enough that we could go get dinner and come back in time to watch them crash.

Studio 60 logoI purchased a number of shows from iTunes to watch while traveling about, one of them being Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I am a big Aaron Sorkin fan so it was the first show I started watching on the trip. To be completely honest I’ll admit I cheated and watched Season 2 of Dexter before the trip started.

I heard various things about the Studio 60 while it was airing, but I couldn’t watch it as I live in Australia where television is more dramatic. That doesn’t mean they have more dramatic shows. Its things like the fact that the episode order of a show having little to do with the order the episodes are aired. Sometimes they aren’t aired at all, for example if there is a big cricket match on completely different station, they might decide that airing their regularly scheduled show would damage the space time continuum or something so they’ll throw on a English, 2-year old, Jamie Oliver cooking instead. And if Big Brother runs late; oh just forget it! The rest of the night is screwed! There is also the fact that Stuido 60 wasn’t on Australian television. Or if it was they hid it at 12:30 on some random weekday like they did with Firefly. Gee, wonder why nobody watched it!

Sports Night AdTo start I didn’t get the name of the show. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip conjures images of the infamous nightclub "Studio 54" (which, according to the wiki was actually CBS's Studio 52 at one point, learn something new everyday) When I first heard about the show, I pictured a Melrose Place type soap opera type show set in a night club. Granted, that included images of sexy young women bouncing around in flimsy little clubbing outfits which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, the show is actually about the behind the scenes workings of a live, late-night, comedy show. I imagine Aaron Sorkin's first show; "Sports Night" had the same problem as it sounded like a sports show when it was actually about the behind the scenes working of a sports show. An ad for Sports Night read, “It’s about sports the same way Charlies Angels was about law enforcement.” You’d have thought though, that if he had those problems with Sports Night he would have thought of a better name for Studio 60. If I didn’t know anything about any of this and I saw either of these shows listed in the TV guide; I wouldn't have watched them because of assumptions I would have made about them based on their name. The wiki for Studio 60 mentions that it was called “Studio 7 on the Sunset Strip” during production. Not too much better. I think maybe it’s a matter of showbiz people having studio number whatever conjure up images of a television studio where the rest of think other things.

Studio 60 on the Sunset StripBut about the show itself, as with all Aaron Sorkin scripts, the dialog is very fast and dynamic. It is very intelligent and assumes you are as well. The show doesn't feel as polished or as snappy as West Wing but you can easily see it was going there.

Although a lot of my political beliefs are opposite of Aaron Sorkin’s on a number of issues, as with West Wing, I never really felt he was treating my position unfairly. He does a respectable job of presenting strong arguments for both sides of most issues. Again as in the West Wing, I felt a lot of time he is just throwing the issues out there, letting the characters debate them back and forth, and letting you see both sides. There were exceptions, some of them even justified.

I liked pretty much all of the characters and sub-plots the show went into. I liked that Matthew Perry showed he isn't still Chandler from Friends, but that isn't really fair as he really already showed that, for example when he played Joe Quincy on West Wing. I also thought D. L. Hughley did a great job as Simon Stiles. In West Wing I thought that a lot of the sub-plots into the lives of the characters were choppy or cut short. You would see a character get involved in a relationship or something in one episode, then nothing about it for half a season, and then finally that character would return and you would learn they had broken up. In Studio 60, since it is more about the characters than the place or the events like it is in West Wing, the show is more personal and it follows those character-based story lines as the main flow of the show.

In the end I understand that the show was very expensive to produce and the ratings just weren’t anywhere near where they needed to be. But it was a quality show and it was obvious that the show needed a beat to find its rhythm. I read on the wiki that the show had the highest percentage increase in ratings numbers when you include people who used a DVR to record the show to watch later. I wish they had let it have more time to breath and find its place. The actual ending of the show was a bit of a letdown. It felt like a quick, "The show is ending, quick lets tie off all these ends." Granted, that is better than just leaving us hanging. But with the quality of the rest of the writing, I expected that 'tie off' to be handled better.

Fox is going to Terminate Sarah Conner

Just a quick mid-work day post. I read last week that the declining rating for Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles may lead Fox to cancel the show. I watch all of last season and so far only the premier episode this season, and I realize that the storylines have been a bit slow, the conclusions to plot lines that have been built up have been a bit anti-climatic, and the show needs an serious induction of dramatic excitement. But I still like it and its first on my list when I buy my next batch of season passes on iTunes.

Then at lunch today when I was doing a quick bounce around the internets, I see that is shown on Monday nights opposite Heroes and Monday Night Football. Gee I think I figured this one out!
Dear Fox,

Move "Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles" to a different day/time slot. Don't pull another Firefly on us.


P.S. iTune subscriptions don't show up in Neilson Ratings do they? Seriously, its way past time to toss that system and find out what people are really watching. I was part of the Neilson system in the 80's and the way it worked sucked then, technology passed it by in the 90's, and you are all still using it because you are scared of the shake up. Its been 3 years since you realized that data gathered from digital recorders were having a significant impact on your numbers and you still haven't figured out anything to do with that data. Be a leader, fix that crap.

P.P.S. Then again this could be all the sci-fi fan boys boycotting you for that Watchmen bullshit you are pulling. Ya never know.
There. I am sure that will straighten everything out. I've got to get back to work now.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Viral Marketing... or more like 'Evil Marketing in General'

Mad Men
Patern RecognitionI was looking up stuff on viral marketing while watching Mad Men TV episodes that I downloaded from iTunes. (I was going to photoshop the cover of Pattern Recognition into the Mad Men logo to make it look like he was reading the book... can you imagine what would have happened if they had though of viral marketing back then? We'd be so doomed.) I’ve been kind of fascinated the whole viral marketing thing since reading William Gibson’s “Pattern Recognition.” Things like hiring attractive girls to go to bars and order a certain brand of drink while talking to various men a.k.a. the target demographic. I wonder what other ‘stealth’ approach campaigns are out there and what effect they are having and is that effect measurable? Though there is a big argument that no advertising is really measureable and who is to say somebody wouldn’t have bought that product anyway. Kinda related to that is something I read a few years ago that said that most of the high rated beer commercial campaigns didn’t correspond to higher sales of that brand of beer. The notable exception was the popular “whassup” Budweiser commercials.

There are other ‘non-stealth’ viral marketing campaigns such as the Alternate Reality Games, called ARGS, such as “I Love Bees” which was used to promote the video game “Halo 2” and “The Beast” which promoted the Steven Spielberg film “A.I. Artificial Intelligence.” In those type of things you know, or find out pretty early on that it is part of a marketing plan. They are less evil and more fun that way.

I’ve always had a love hate relationship with “marketing.” I one of the little annoying and completely pointless stories I used to tell was how Marking People are more Evil than Lawyers. Lawyers are just tools, things to be wielded when going into battle. I hire my lawyer, you hire your lawyer and they fight it out. The problem is that I can’t hire a marketing person to fight your marketing person, at least not directly. Marking people bypass all normal defenses and go right after you. That would be a NND Attack for your Hero Role-Playing system people out there. (Sorry, RPG geek moment.)

I’ve been told at least twice that I should have gone into marketing because my brain functions that particular way. I’ve never been sure if that was an insult or not.

The point of all this is that I found an article on Techcrunch from late last year. It is written by a guest author Dan Ackerman Greenberg and details some of the things his company The Comotion Group does to promote videos made by their clients into viral sensations that get spread out across the internet. The article caused a huge sensation with lots of people calling him out as a dishonest, unethical, spammer. You should read the article, its choice material. He posted a second article to answer some of his critics, but that just caused more criticism.

What I just don’t get is the fact that everybody knows this is going on; he is just laying out the details. And, all things considered how is this different than hiring popular actors to promote your product, product placement in movies and TV shows, paying money to appear higher in a search engine’s results, air-brushing models in layouts, etc.?

Here let me tell you another random, only somewhat related story. (Shut up Adam.) There used to (and maybe still is) a series of television commercials, I think for Lucky supermarkets. They claim that they had an independent accounting firm randomly selected 100 grocery items and then added up the cost of those items at their store and the stores of their competitors. When they looked at the total price for those grocery items, Lucky Supermarkets was cheaper!

It isn’t a lie, but it is pretty obvious what they are doing. They had their accounting firm randomly select more than just a single ‘set of 100 grocery items’ and they decided on which was the best set of 100 that they could use in their commercial.

In the seemly endless comments and other websites about Dan’s article, I especially love all the indignation regarding how people who work for him have multiple accounts to have conversations with themselves on various forums. To you personally, what is the difference between a bunch of random internet posters who you know anything about and a secret marketing person pretending to be a bunch of random internet posters? Is anybody out there really following the advice of strangers on the internet?

The Graveyard BookAs you may know I buy audio books from, who should be paying me for all the times I’ve plugged them on my site (I just got the new Neil Gaiman novel, “The Graveyard Book” woot!). Unfortunately Audible’s plot Synopses and user reviews aren’t as robust as I would like, and their web layout makes them hard to read. So normally I go over to for that information. When looking at Amazon reviews if I see a bunch of positive reviews, I usually pick out the negative ones to read. I think I do this because I believe negative reviews are more honest most of the time, than positive ones that tend to be too fanatical and fan-boyish in nature. I do the same to movie reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

I did read something else about the U.K. passing a law last year where it is illegal for marketers to pose as consumers.

Hypnosis WatchI really have nowhere else to go with this. This whole post was me writing a quick little something about that article and look what it ballooned into. What you really don’t know is that hidden is this message was a subliminal advertisement guaranteed to get you to buy a certain product. Don’t believe me? Well in the near future when you are in the store reaching for something you’ll suddenly remember this post.

Anyway, I just wanted to post this and get it out there before burying it with the really funny video game related post I wrote last night. I'm probably not going to post the Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip post, let me just sum up the major points: I liked it, wish they would have let it go one more season to get its legs, and I am a big Aaron Sorkin fan and wish I could write dialog like he does. Stay tuned true believer!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Uber Lame Nintendo

I've said before how much region locking pisses me off. I just read an article over at CVG that says the new Nintendo DSi is going to be region locked. The DSi is the new version of the Nintendo DS hand-held that is thinner, bigger screens and has two cameras.

To clarify that, the specific DSi cartridges can only be played on a DSi hand-held of the same region. If you have an American DSi (which probably won't be released until next year) it won't play any DSi cartridges that you bought in Australia. You can still play any normal DS game on any DSi hand-held, it is just the specific (market dividing) DSi games that are restricted.

A Nintendo spokesman explained to CVG:
"DSi is region locked because DSi embeds net communication functionality within itself and we are intending to provide net services specifically tailored for each region. Also because we are including parental control functionality for Nintendo DSi and each region has its unique age limit made by different independent."
Dear Nintendo,

Bite me.

I will not be buying a DSi whenever you get around to releasing it where I happen to live when you deem it worth to sell outside of Japan. That is unless you are going to have a representative at every international airport that will exchange my DSi cartridges for ones of the region of the country where I have just landed.


Seriously, this is bullshit. There is no reason their excuses above can't be built into the system. It is nothing more than an attempt to block importing games from one region to the next. Once again it is me, the normal consumer who is going to be hurt just because I travel a lot. I think the DS being region free is one of the reasons it is so successful. Its a hand-held system that you TAKE WITH YOU WHEN YOU TRAVEL!

All of this is also going to hurt the smaller developer. It just sucks all round.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Buying Fallout 3

Several people have made offhand comments about the fact that I haven't posted anything about my trip, one person even going so far at to imply their lives are so boring that they have to live through my adventures. I have been wanting to post stuff but just never seem to get around to it. I even wrote a review of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip after I finished watching all the episodes, but haven't posted it because I wanted to put up a travel post first and just haven't. But then Jeff died and I wanted to post something about that, then I saw the article mentioned below while waiting to run a game demo and kinda found myself typing that up and now posting it. So, I just want to say that I will say something about the trip soon, but for now lets talk about Fallout 3.

I have already said I am not buying Spore because of the overly aggressive and invasive Digital Rights Management software screwing me, the legitimate user.

I thought that since I was going out of my way to spout off about what I wasn't buying because of DRM, that I should also point out what I was buying because the publisher was smart enough not to put in overly aggressive and invasive DRM.

I hereby announce that I am buying Fallout 3.

Shacknews has just put up an interview with Bethesda's Pete Hines in which he is specifically asked about DRM in Fallout 3.
Shack: What kind of copy protection will be included on the PC version of Fallout 3?

Pete Hines: Pretty similar to what we did for Oblivion, which was--we basically don't do any--we do the mildest form possible. I actually don't know if I even want to get into what it is that we exactly do, but we try to be really noninvasive when it comes to that stuff.
He also talks about the Australian Ratings board issue which was one of the factors in them removing the names of real drugs, like Morphine, from the game as well as his views on PC versus consoles and their desire to continue to support both platforms.

Speaking of the Australian Ratings Board and their banning of games, Woody of GU comics put up an amusing comic about that last week.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Goodbye Jeff Freeman

I just heard that Game Designer, Jeff Freeman, has committed suicide. I met Jeff a few times and didn't really know him but I read his blog often.

A lot of people blamed Jeff for the sweeping, unsold to the community and pretty much unannounced changes to Star Wars Galaxies, called the "New Game Enhancements." The NGE were supposedly put in to make the game feel more like Star Wars and less like an "Uncle Owen Simulator." This being what everybody was blaiming for the falling subscription numbers, but pissing off your remaining customers isn't always a good idea as in the MMO market when people leave they don't come back.

The blame for that failed plan which caused even more people to leave the game, isn't really something that belonged at Jeff's feet. MMO design is a huge complicated beast that takes lots of people to design and put together. Even then you still have to factor in the ideas and decisions from above.

I make no claim to know what went on at SOE when all this went down. After it happened and community went into a tissy, everybody over there went silent. The problem was there was a blog post that Jeff had made just prior to the changes going in, that even though he later deleted, was found by players.
So don't get the crazy notion that I'm "in charge" here. "The Man" is a many-headed beast called Management. I just try to help it make good decisions. With regard to game mechanics, it even lets me decide, sometimes.

So a few months ago The Man comes along and says "What can we do to make this the most fun game it can possibly be?"

It was the lead designer who holed-up in his office for a few days and then said, "Hey, come look at this."

There's no way we can do that.

There's no way we should do that.

Man that's fun.

The Man will never let us get away with doing that.

We can't do it.

We shouldn't do it.

Oh man that is fun.

When an executive producer sees something that is impossible to do, but which is too fun not to do, he makes a noise like "Hoooooooooph."

My job was to be the guy to say, "Yes we can do that." I had to say this about forty times a day for two months.
Jeff was really only even talking about the combat changes and had little to do with the rest of the NGE. But he became the face of the debacle and the players dumped on him for months and months. Even after Jeff left SOE the comments and blame followed him.

I personally think the original combat sucked big fat donkey balls and the changes Jeff put in actually made the game a lot more fun.

Jeff's brother has come out to say that the ire of the SWG community that isn't what caused him to take his own life.
"I want everyone to know that it was not SWG that led him to take his life," he said. "He has been troubled for some time. There were a lot of personal issues that tore at him."
Unfortunately this leave me with little solace and we are left with one less talented game designer. Sorry to see you go Jeff, we are lessened by your passing.

The link to Jeff's blog will remain on my list. I encourage you to read it.