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Tycho / on Wed, Apr 30 2003 at 7:47 am

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Occupational Hazard

Committing time-sensitive data to a format which only distributes once a month is already a harrowing proposition - it is not overstating the case to say that this method of dissemination is behind the curve roughly five hundred years.  It certainly doesn’t help that when these magazines do secure an exclusive of some kind, maintained artificially, Bob in the copy room or Bob at the printer has scans of the whole Goddamn thing available for absolutely every one, as many as three weeks before the periodical itself hits stores.

I enjoy reading magazines very much, I read them roughly once a year after E3 when my backpack is full of promotional copies.  I am of the opinion that paper smells good, I like to scrutinize a screenshot with a furrowed brow.  I am electrified by the sexually charged ads.  But outside of the occasional excellent coverdisc - and you’ll note that this only applies to console mags - I just can’t see subscribing to something like this.  Gabe showed me the digital version he snagged of EGM, and while I was mightily impressed with it, the delivery mechanism is only half the problem.  What I need is a higher rate of delivery.  I need organizations with the clout of a Ziff Davis to make a magazine that might be thinner individually, but contain fresher data - two a month sounds good.  What I’ve been waiting for is somebody to take the reins a bit, pull off the beaten path, and cook up an honest to God gaming zine with dependable, preferably bi-monthly juice for me to digest and meditate upon.  I’ve got my money out, and I am waving it around madly like a sparkler. 

I spoke with Alex Rodberg (a.k.a. “Marweas”), Sierra’s “Brand Manager” for the Tribes franchise a couple days ago.  He - like other feisty readers - feistily brought up our strip entitled “The (Product) Cycle” so as to make my enthusiasm for the new Tribes game seem hypocritical.  There are two points I would like to make.

Point number one sounds like this, in English at least:  I hope that you have not been, thus far, under the impression that I am an infallible source for data of any kind.  As it turns out, I am a person who likes to play videogames a lot, as much as anybody, and my opinions are based on a number of factors - prior experience, gin, mood, whatever.  My perspective on many games remains fairly stable, but especially in the PC world where patching can wholly alter an experience, my positions are somewhat malleable.  In addition, particularly in the case of a series like Tribes in which I am very seriously invested, a certain amount of whimsy comes into play.  It’s very much like relationships I have had, where one minute I am buying one of those grape ring-pops and mock-proposing in the aisle at the grocery store, and the next minute I am trying to find a way to kill her with only the contents of my pockets.

Second of all, the entire thing was constructed in a very specific way.  Observe this quote from the post, upon which much depends:

The only thing Vivendi’s thrall race Sierra could do to get me back in the fold now would be to license Tribes out to a third party I actually trusted.

Wow, seems sort of prescient now, doesn’t it?  It’s almost like I knew.  I mean, dude.

This last part isn’t even a proper point:  it’s that I associate very little ego with being wrong about something in gaming.  Alex was delighted that he would be able to “prove me wrong” in a year and a half, and I would like nothing better than for the next Tribes game to be the best.  Why wouldn’t I - so I could be right?  About something I said in 2002, which can be accurately described as pre-history?  Please.     

I absolutely must direct you towards the short film series “Strindberg and Helium,” which I have found to be without compare - I would like to thank the mysterious “Bill” for making me aware of them.  Also!  I had to turn down a little Raven Shield last night with Gabe and Brad, which I did not relish doing.  In my defense, I was going to see Optimus Rhyme

(CW)TB out.


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