Something that isn’t Peggle

Really, two weeks since I posted? That’s too bad. Still trying to find that direction, I suppose.

I just watched Synecdoche, New York on Blu-Ray, which I was heartbroken about missing in theaters last year. While I thought it was a grandiose, beautiful experiment, told with a fairly elegant self-indulgence, I don’t think Charlie Kaufman is cut out for directing his own work. I think he’s a brilliant writer, whose ideas need reigning in somewhere between inception and screen. Though I do have to admire his ability to make it work as a film at all; my friend Dan and I once started on a screenplay — rather, an outline — of a similarly…meta set of ideas (for lack of a better word), and had a ridiculously tough time even keeping the basics relationships straight in our heads.

I had wanted to see Knowing yesterday — after Dark City and the horrendously under-appreciated I, Robot I’ll see anything Alex Proyas does — but ended up seeing I Love You, Man instead when Knowing got a 25% on RT and it became a lot tougher to convince friends to join me (though I still have every intention of seeing it this week). I Love You Man was alright…Jason Seigel was great, I’m just getting a bit tired of the Apatow crowd and sensibility, regardless of whether he’s involved directly or not. It was refreshing for a while, but now I find myself just wanting more Wes Anderson and his ilk; comedies that are actually films, as well. It’s also tough because really, nothing is remotely as funny as Stella or Arrested Development. The bar is set so goddamn high for comedy right now, it’s disgusting.

I’ve owned an iPhone now for 11 days, and yes, it’s pretty great (except for the sometimes miserable reception in my apartment) . It’s just astoundingly cool how everything works so well together: I can be playing a game on Scrabble on the train while listening to a podcast, and then suddenly the audio fades away since I’m receiving a call, and there I am, talking to someone simply by doing the douchey thing where you talk into the headphone cord. I haven’t played them all yet, but I’ve bought Word Fu (3750-something is my high so far, I have no clue how Karen got 33k), Scrabble (not a bad version, wish it was online), geoDefense, 7Cities, Zen Bound (brilliant), Eliss, and Fieldrunners (and Lite versions of a few like Rolando and Edge). I’ll buy almost anything for 99 cents, and I don’t mind ponying up 5 bucks to support a unique idea.

I’d love to see some of the more creative, successful iPhone devs move to console development at some point (though I understand that would be somewhat of a step back right now, business-wise). I just think the forced distillation of small game concepts could make for a better grounding for full-scale development; I thinking having to write 90-word reviews of twenty-hour games for EGM really went a long way toward making me a better writer. Though I received about a million app and game recommendations on Twitter that I have yet to check out, I’d love to hear any more.

I’ve played through the 5th act of Resident Evil 5 co-op, and I’m really, really enjoying it. I feel like I’ll never catch up on all the great single-player games I have to play, so I’m really happy to be playing something building from the ground up for co-op. I’d also recommend everyone check out last week’s episode of RebelFM, where they had a great discussion of the Great RE5 Racism Debate. Phil was kind enough to read a letter I wrote in to the show during their discussion. Being a white Western gamer who was born in South Africa, I figure I have a relatively unique vantage point of the situation.

And before I forget, I must take a second to give my highest recommendation to A Life Well Wasted, Robert Ashley’s new podcast. The “This American Life” of gaming, as people have been calling it. It’s absolutely fantastic, as good as anything on NPR, and the production work he puts into it really shows. As much as I’ve loved 1UP Yours for years, and the podcasts I’ve been a part of, I think Robert’s work has the best chance of pushing the perception of the industry forward if it can find a larger stage. So please, check it out.

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Published in: on March 23, 2009 at 8:59 am  Comments (14)  

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14 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I, Robot, under-appreciated? Are you sure? :-/

    Agreed on ALWW though. The quality is up there with the best BBC radio documentaries, and Robert Ashley’s drawl is always easy on the ear.

  2. Where did you live in SA again? I was in the greater Joburg area for a couple years.

  3. I really liked ‘Synecdoche, New York’ even though I know it’s not for everyone. And I look forward to more of Kaufmans film’s regardless if he’s directing or not. I think Kaufman really strives for making a film he’s way and being a true auteur in the most classic sense of the word. I really don’t like the way people feel his ideas need to be reign in. Just let him loose. We have far too many filmmakers who style is drab and boring.

  4. If you’re going through Apatow apathy, you might want to check out Eastbound & Down on HBO. It does have a few cameos from Will Farrel and Craig Robinson, but Danny McBride and Jody Hill have their own unique voice, which is a rarity these days. It is a bit mean-spirited at times, but I like the fact that it takes place in a small, southern town but doesn’t rely on hick jokes. I know you said you’re looking for movies, but at only six episodes, Eastbound is much more doable than most television shows.

  5. i totley aggreee about a life well wasted its not like the a shit radio show or aney ordanary podcast its so well dun well cut well peaced togheter well spaced well copletley well dun like a nice cut of meat mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm and so fair the 2 topics and and the bside intervew were asome better then a book it just for a gamer and podcast fan sucked me in like a good book movie or conversashon sorry for the lack of gramer and spelling good gameing and hope u r haveing a blast at sony

  6. I don’t know if Kaufmann needs anyone to reign him in, exactly. He just needs a collaborator who does not share his crushingly bleak views on art, interpersonal relationships, and life in general. Gondry and Spike Jonze (and George Clooney, even) injected a bit of levity into their respective Kaufmann films. If anything, I wanted Synecdoche, NY to be even more maximalist and overstuffed, if only because a happy person would have been nice to see.

  7. Haven’t yet heard the RebelFM podcast (I usually listen on my long drive home!), but I would like to pre-emptively chime in and say that RE5 is not racist.

    @ all…

    And I’m a Black man!

    Done.

    Off to listen!

  8. Dear Mr. Suttner,

    It’s great to see your blog, this my first time looking at it, and I’m glad to read some of you writing again.

    I also noticed that you are listening to the dodos, they are amazing, they preformed here in madison, WI, but I didn’t get to go, my friends did though.

    your fan,

    nathan henry.

  9. I noticed your glaring omission of The Crow as one of Alex Proyas’ great works. I guess he recently derided a planned remake, and also mentioned being interested in a sequel to Dark City. Here’s the link if your interested:

    http://www.digitalspy.com/movies/a150358/alex-proyas-knowing.html

  10. Nick, I must admit, I never really read your work at 1up as much as I should have, but I did enjoy your opinions as expressed in the various podcasts you have been on. I would just like to tell you how much I have enjoyed your writing on the blog and am amazed at how much your voice carries into your writing. It is something that I have been looking to be able to do in my writing.
    Thanks for giving me something to aspire to.

  11. You ever played Agricola?
    Friends here are recruiting me.
    I’m going to invest in Settlers of Catan as well.
    Get back to Chicago and play a game with us.
    -Danny

  12. Knowing is absolutely horrible. The set-up is decent but things fall apart as the ending approaches. I highly recommend skipping that one given the exorbitant price of a movie ticket.

  13. Aside from the movie credit, you’d be unable to tell Proyas was responsible for this.

  14. TVT: The Crow doesn’t hold up. At all.

    Nigel: Thank you very much sir, I’m thrilled to hear that.

    Danny Boy: Trying to. June 11thish.


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