Sunday musings — iPhone, Watchmen, and 1UP

I don’t want this to be one of those things I rarely update, but I think that’s more because I haven’t figured out who it’s for yet. For me, to have an outlet for relatively creative/personal writing I don’t have a place for otherwise? Or you, the amazing audience I’ve worked hard to garner in my short career, and would love to maintain? I think it’s more the latter, but also by virtue of the former; I have quite a few passions in my life, and if I can share and infect others with some of my experiences related to them, I’ll be happy. So that’s that.

Firstly, and most excitingly, my iPhone arrives tomorrow. Now, I’m about the biggest Mac whore you’ll find, ever since my dad bought me a Performa 6116CD for my bar mitzvah (on which I enjoyed countless hours of Marathon, Myth, Sim City 2000, and plenty more). I fully believe that Mac people are a different breed from those who don’t understand the appeal, and I’ve been fighting an uphill battle with my friends since high school. I was always the lame guy quietly pimping Macs whenever I could, and now they all own Macbooks. It’s been…manically satisfying. Mwaha.

So! When the iPhone was first announced, my best pal Dan and I watched the entire 2-hour press conference online, and I drooled through every second of it…at least, until the very end, when they announced the launch pricing, and I know it would be a while til I was able to get one. I also hate cell phones, as evidenced by what I’ve been using for the last 5 years or so: a pay-per-minute, bottom-of-the-line Virgin Mobile phone that actively discourages me to use it (and that’s how I like it). Obviously lots has happened since then, and when I found out that I got 15% off my monthly service as a Sony employee, and that they had refurbished 16giggers for $200, I cracked. Upon first seeing the iPhone, I thought that it would change American culture like the iPod did, and I’m insanely excited to have it change my life as well. Even being able to look us bus times on the go will be a godsend. Also, I’ve had a game I want to make in my mind for about two years, and the iPhone is a perfect platform for it, so I should probably finally get familiar with the whole mobile gaming scene. So I guess this is a good time to say that if anyone reading has any sweet games or apps to recommend, please do so in a comment (especially cheap ones!).

I might write a full Watchmen review sometime soon (it’s been years since I’ve written a movie review), but generally I fall into the camp of having definitely enjoyed it, but finding it a bit unnecessary as a near shot-by-shot adaption of the novel. Except…missing all the periphery stories that act as microcosms of the main narrative and give everything a little more context. Some of it was sublime (the intro, a few of the music choices, the Comedian and Night Owl’s casting and performance), some of it was horrid (Laurie’s performance), and some of it was just unnecessary (the extra violence/swearing/nudity). Though I am glad that a slightly more thoughtful superhero film is out there for the masses who’ll never take the time to read the novel or indulge themselves in deeper comic book culture.

One last thing I wanted to touch on this evening (since I’ve forgotten most of the other things I thought about that I wanted to write during the week). I haven’t written much at all about the 1UPocalypse, and one day, I certainly shall (I was actually thinking it would make a great book: “1UPocalypse: The Rise and Fall of Gaming’s Enthusiast Press”). But something that’s struck me even after two weeks working at a very big company is how wonderfully isolated we were at Ziff from the corporate end of things. It’s not bad by any means where I am now (my small group particularly is great), but walking around the building it’s clearly…a business. At Ziff, we were just a bunch of writers and filmmakers who loved hanging out and making things together. Sam and Simon did all the dealing with New York (our corporate office) that needed to be done, and I now realize just how amazing a job they did shielding us from everything. There was a never a sense that we had to look a certain way or behave a certain way or write a certain way or not play loud music during the day. We could do, almost literally, whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. Yes, we were being paid to make editorial content, but we did it because we loved doing it, and cared about the industry, each other, and — against all odds — the fate of 1UP and EGM. I try not to think about it too much because it makes me sad, and I know I speak for many of us who got laid off when I say that losing our jobs really wasn’t that distressing in the end — it was losing 1UP, and everything we had built together.

Man, that’s a bummer to end on, I apologize. See you soon!

Published in: on March 9, 2009 at 10:36 am  Comments (21)  

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  1. I just saw Watchmen tonight, and, despite my inability to fully enjoy the film version due to my love of the original work, it was a pretty good show. The changes made in the film often decreased the value of the overall experience, and for that I am unhappy, but, at the same time, I was happy to see Rorschach say “human bean juice” on the big screen. If only Zack Snyder could have found a way to fit the alternate narratives in there somehow…

    Anyway, Nick, enjoy your iPhone.

  2. iPhone games – labrynth (sic) and rolando!

  3. Keep writng these. As a fan of your work at 1Up and, I was happy yet bummed that your unique perspective on games was going behind closed doors. So… keep writting blogs and I’ll keep reading them.

  4. iPhone games that are a must: Rolando, Crayon Physics, and Word Fu.

    apps-wise: find a good twitter app, i use twitterific, but only b/c it’s free. Shazam and Sportacular are musts, as well as google earth, plus digi drumkit is a fun time-waster too.

    i would buy that 1upocalypse book so fast, don’t even tease me!

    as far as what this blog is for: i’ve come to enjoy just listening to your opinions on whatever, so i would try to cater to any one particular audience. since all the readers of this blog know games are not really an option and we’re still here reading, it should tell you that we just want to hear what you have to say.

    if you really want suggestions on future blogs though, i’d really like to hear about the inner-workings of your new position. i know you can’t divulge much on the games side, but what are the offices like? what’s a typical day? did they make you toss your 360 into a wood chipper before they made you the offer? (that last one might have been a joke…)

    also, when a game that you worked on does come out, will you tell us that you had something to do with it? again, i know you probably can’t say much while it’s still in development, but i know i’d rather play a “Nick Suttner Approved” game than one that didn’t go through your talented hands.

  5. whoops, i meant “wouldn’t* try to cater to any one audience” my bad

  6. Cool blog man, I am sorry about 1up. At least it still exists in some form, it would have been awful if the name had vanished too like EGM. It would be cool to hear what stuff you are up to at Sony if they don’t mind too much. 😛 Take it easy

  7. Hey nick, I thought about getting an iPhone too, but instead decided to go for the HTC Touch HD. Now I love the phone but it has thrown into sharp relief MS’s total lack of organisation, I wish there was a WM6 app store instead of having to trawl through the interweb for apps here there and everywhere. So thumbs up to Apple for getting their shit together! Enjoy the new phone!

  8. Maybe now’s the time to revel in an atmosphere that will forgive informal and structureless writing!

    Look forward to your take on Watchmen, if you go there in a more elaborate form. Cheers!

  9. Congrats on the iPhone. I’ve had mine for over a year now and I take it so much for granted now that I’m pretty sure I’m an iPhone user for life.

    Also: if you can see my email in the Blogspot backend, hit me up – I don’t know yours, but if you get in touch with me I might have something iPhone-related you’d be interested in.

  10. I’m glad you dug the Watchmen movie, I definitely did as well, and while I can understand your not enjoying the added gratuitous violence and such, I think it actually added something… to me, at least.

    One of the big meta themes in the original Watchmen is the subversion of the usual comic expectations… superheroes are introduced into our reality, and they make it worse… a super villain comes up with a horrific scheme to kill millions, and not only does he succeed, but he saves the world in the process… etc etc…

    So, the way I see it, there are 3 things you rarely see in a modern superhero movie… realistic (for a superhero) violence, heroes cussing (not over the top cussing, just the normal amount most people do), and realistic love affairs. In adding these things to the movie, you get another layer of meta commentary, this time on the modern superhero movie, and that subverts the modern movie goers expectations.

    I will give you that maybe the realistic love affair was a little bit too realistic… but still, I can definitely appreciate what it added, and I don’t think any of it was added just for shock value… it had shock value, but with a point.

  11. Always enjoyed your work Nick and am glad you have a spot in the web to continue on some level. Your opinion and writing has always been solid, even when I don’t necessarily agree with what you are saying.

    I know what you mean on the corporate / business culture, being shielded from it and taking that for granted. I am not in the same field as you but I have experienced the same thing and am thankful in the very least that I have worked with people that allow me to do my thing rather than get caught up in all that.

  12. I pretty much fall completely into that camp with you, Nick, of feeling that it was not necessary. But Night Owl was so spot on – I loved it.

  13. i always got excited when you mentioned the impossibles (one of my favorites as well), but you’re seriously the only other person on the internet i’ve ever seen listening to the stereo, i swear. that album is so great! good old fueled by ramen.

  14. Disagree with everything you said except for Nite Owl. He and Rorshach were the best performances.

  15. iPhone apps:

    TwitterFon for twitter, its free

    Smiles is a wonderful game

  16. No mention of Jackie Earle Haley’s spot-on rendition of Rorschach? Zack Snyder and the cast did right by Alan Moore and the enthusiast community- personally, I have no problem overlooking the few less than stellar moments.

  17. Great to read more of your writing Nick, I hope you can keep it up now you’ve entered the Sony Mothership. And welcome to the iPhone club!

    Here are a few of my faovurite iPhone games (Most have a ‘lite’ version too, so you can test ’em out before laying down the €€€):

    Anything by ngmoco:). Rolando being an absolute must, Dr Awesome and Topple are both also very cool.

    Fieldrunners. Really fun and addicting tower defence game, perfect for the iPhone.

    Sway. This has to be a ‘must buy’, its a fantastic iPhone platformer which truly could only be done on the touch device. Slightly short on content, but devs have promised new levels by way of free update.

    TikiTowers. Pretty cool game, kinda like elefunk on PSN, but with monkeys.

    HoldEm. Great little poker game by Apple, features ‘real’ people. Very smooth app as you’d expect from Apple.

    Engimo. Probably my favourite iPhone Puzzle game. You have to guide water from the source into the goal, using all sorts of objects to bounce, deflect and shoot it towards the destination.

    Galcon Lite. The lite version is enough for me, its like risk in space.

    Warfare Inc. Quite a cool RTS, reminds me of the old Red Alerts. Works suprisingly well on the iPhone.

    Enjoy it :D.

  18. Pandora and are both great music streaming/discovery apps as long as you’ve got a decent connection, either wi-fi or 3g. I don’t think they hold up so well under Edge. One thing to consider though, is that some streaming seems to freak out if you’re commuting and run through a few cell towers, although a good buffer should handle that.

    One thing that’s kind of random, though, is if you set up a space online with direct access to any mp3/aac that you want, you can stream those. I’ve used the RSS of some podcasts to stream new eps when iTunes hadn’t been updated yet or I was only on 3g and it wouldn’t let me download the whole podcast. (Which makes no damn sense.) And also set up some audiobooks at my personal web space which I can then stream from wherever, without having to keep them on the phone.

    Also, apparently jailbreaking your phone and using it for data access on a laptop is all the rage with the cool kids these days. I haven’t bothered to set that up, myself, though.

  19. An especially cheap comment? Here’s one:
    Watch your dangling modifiers, you twit!

    Ouch. Sorry. You asked for it.
    And what kind of friend would I be if I let even the slightest ambiguity pass in your writing?

    Love this ‘blog.
    Going to see Watchmen tomorrow night. From the promo material I’m already completely disappointed by Ozymandias’ casting. He was my favorite part of the book.

    I’ll leave you alone now. Until my next comment I won’t say a word. And you can count on it.

    (a single, crystalline tear drops for the long-awaited day that you own an iPhone)

  20. As sad as I was about 1up no longer being what it used to be, I was saddened but excited from your announcement of leaving RebelFM to go work for Sony. I am extremely happy for you on your new job. I think your opinions and views are truly valuable; which was one of the things that made me love 1up so much. Your insight on games is entertaining, intelligent, and most important, interesting. I am aware of how old the news of you leaving is, but I felt compelled to express how much I have enjoyed listening to you on 1upFM & RebelFM and watching you on the 1up Show. I wish you nothing but great success, and thanks for the suggestion on the Phoenix track from an earlier post.

  21. Watchmen rules saw the movie wated more got hte comic at the capters in the mall i saw the movie then just befor reading your latest entry orderd the blueray of the moshon comic

    also ive been a gamer since i could hold a controler and press a butten games have been cancled compnies have gone under games that were sposta be good have sucked ive been let down and sad more times then i can count butt when i the day egm died and everyone was laid off and 1upfm and the 1upshow were no longer will go down as the sadest day by fair olney good thing that came out of it is knowing u have a grate job and hearing the cats on reble fm lol also one of the firt thins i did was go out and got 20 compies of egm got home downlaoded ever 1up fm 1up yours and 1upshow useing some fun tools made some torrents and im keeping the memeries alive this is way to long and has no .,s at all lol sorry for that good luck at sony and long live the artform that is teh video game.

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