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GX notes - November, 1999

monday, 11/22

I'm discovering there's no shortage of female heroes in PlayStation games. Besides the buxom action archaeologist Lara Croft, there's Regina in Dino Crisis, the gal from Parasite Eve.

Beside that, I noticed the rather plain looking gal at the head of "Wheel of Time" for the PC. it's nice to see a wider range of people (besides buff-ass males) appearing as the action heroes of our time.

saturday, 11/20

i took a moment to stroll into a high-priced furniture store today, in my sandles, "landscaping masonry" t-shirt and jeans, and it's funny - I think to myself as I'm in there - these people have to respect me because I might be an internet millionaire. This internet thing has added a wealth spontaineity to the whole equasion. Perhaps in the sixties the unknown element was whether young folks were on drugs or prone to rebellion - now the unknown element, at least in the Bay Area, is that young folks could buy the whole store. Of course I'm not really like that and I don't know many Internet millionaires, but at least the media makes it seem like our generation is a bunch of precocious breadwinners.

The Japanese release all kinds of software for their market, a wider range than what the Americans get. It's like comics/manga/anime too - the Japanese use cartoons to talk to each other about economics ("Japan, Inc." for example), history (); mature themes, accepted by a wider audience.

Same for the PlayStation - how about Drug Store - where you get to run your own drug store! Pick products, try to avoid shoplifters, lay out the store. And there's at least a half a dozen titles devoted to opening up restaurants! Two categories I pushed these games into on Gamers.com: Strategy: Simulation and Strategy: Dating - surf those titles.

Each one of these games might blow your mind, if all you know is contemporary American games: (many thanks to Gabe for his research and writing many of these summaries)

Angelique Special
Aquanaut's Holiday: Memories of Summer 1996
Burger Burger 2
Cocktail Harmony
Drug Store, The
Family Restaurant, The
Family Restaurant, The: Shijyou Saikyou no Menu
Kitty on Your Lap
Let's Make A School!!
Let's Make A School!! 2
Princess Maker: Yumemiru Yosei
Sotsugyo III - Wedding Bell
Sotsugyou II: Neo Generation
This is exactly the reason I love my job here - I've been able to study videogame esoterica, and discover these games that broaden my conception of why people play these things. And they sound like a lot of fun! I'd love to get my hands on Bloody Bride. I purchased Tokimeki Memorial - a Japanese Dating Simulation Game from eBay.

I gotta learn to speak Japanese! I gotta spend more time on EBay looking for these things. If you have copies, let me know please!

thursday, 11/18

Wilda and I trade links - he wants me to tell him where to find gaming platform news and press releases, he tells me where to find CD Covers: CD CoverCentral, Covers Archive and pearlcloud.simplenet.com.

hank sent this around: http://tube.mit.edu/~marco/JuniorProm.jpg

wednesday 11/17

i ask questions, and it seems to get me involved in projects - like "if you care, you do it." I'm doing the staff bios, the gamer of the day, working on the space planning and architecture. I've had to ease off regular production of the internal company newsletter because i'm too busy.

talked to john tonight - i'm working on some stuff that needs design - Gamer of the Day and Staff bios stuff. So I'm in there, I pick up his guitar, and man does he know a lot about music! He went through the guitar and taught me some chords and then started playing a little bit of everything - hard rock, ska, country, pop - it was a musical tour, and into his wit and mind. He thinks glam rock is gonna come back in - or something like it, because mainstream rock is so simple now. Like Nirvana came and put an end to Glam Rock, maybe the pendulum is ready to swing back the other way.

monday 11/15

now it's monday. terence the warrior is going to go teach a class at noon. meanwhile it's 8.20am, we're waiting for our DNS changes to propigate. We wrassled with this beast through the night, seldom glancing at the clock for anything other than to see how much past our goal of midnight we were. We've cobbled together quite a beast - it's a gameriffic site! and i can't wait to see how it goes once other people can see it.

11/15 - 8.28am, berkeley California. it is born! visit gamers

and so after we have launched it and the holes in our underwear are revealed to the world, we hang out and play games much of the day - it was comforting to remind ourselves that we are gamers and we enjoy our simple rewards at the heart of our industriousness. Even John got in on the act, playing "Flea Circus" or something - some Java Lemmings type game.

I play Wheel of Time (based on the Robert Jordan books) some, and a buncha Quake 3. This is a place where playing Quake with your coworkers feels like self-improvement. Nowhere to go but up!

and I was amazed that during the entire 30 or 40 hours I've been at work I never really grew tired - it was only when I left to drive my car home that I felt the pain of the days set in and I was forced to descansar.

sunday, 11/14

We launch our "public preview" tonight at midnight, california time, so today's another day of jamming - the last and most fevered I expect. It's also the 16th anniversary of my Dad's death - it's been so many years, I just take up a keyboard and have a brief conversation with myself about it.

I think that's supposed to be easy, but reading the Thomas Gray stanzas from which he pulled his final words jars me immediately. I'm torn between printing them out and letting them take me into tears and tragedy and just going on with all that the web ever gave.

Just talking to Dennis, with his back to me, clicking through the site, he says "Oh yeah, PlayStation - someone IMed [instant messaged] me and said it was hurting." I'm confused, "Who?" "Oh I don't know." And he doesn't have anything specific to add. It puts me on the defensive and doesn't tell me what's wrong.

She let me know that Mercury is retrograde (moving backwards) right now - a particularly tough time for communications and technology:

what about our site? we're a communications company relying on technology! Mercury RX ain't best for that!
Expect misunderstandings and the site might act wacky and have some bugs in them that need worked out

well that's about right.

Julie was asking if it was raining, and we were debating whether it was from all of our computers until Gabe suggested "check weather.com"

multitasking moments - LTJ bukem, netscape and IE, aol and ICQ

joel is astonished - he can't keep up with his incoming icqs - allan suggests we each icq him "hi" and joel replies with a sweep of his arm - "i'll fire the lot of you!"

Nat puts up a slide show of girls kissing on Kenn's vacant computer - intensely distracting! even moreso perhaps than our first press coverage, in forbes.

saturday, 11/13

John our art director seems to receive at least two or three DVDs in the mail a day. There are stacks of DVDs in his office. I don't know why I ever rent or buy movies anymore - John has a tremendous supply. He is such a DVD consumer that he routinely orders multiple copies of movies by accident and sells the second at cost. We talk of setting up a company-wide purchasing/sharing program.

I'm burned out from doing nothing but work for days and days. i haven't played a game or read anything offline for more than 15 minutes in a week! I do nothing but interface with our database and I feel like I have no focus. evidently many of us feel this way; we debate ways to take a break today - between Q-Zar, Paintball, or just playing an all-day drinking game involving our work on the database.

Joel looks cute sleeping in our LayZ boy with his hiking boots off and a Mets hat pulled over his eyes. I asked Nat to take a digital picture.

we're surrounded by hampsters that spend all their lives all day trying to get out of their cages. There are 4 hampster cages in this room with 14 people in it.

we drink "Shadow Company Scotch" - a strange promotional gift from SinisterGames and head to Lyons and Toys R Us, FuncoLand and CompUSA. I buy Rygar (NES) for $3.24 and steal a motivational plastic placard from FuncoLand - "Smiles and Sales" - befitting mr. profanity himself, Terence.

entertaining myself at work leads my to explore my favourite games, and i found this IDEAL SITE FOR STARFLIGHT which is a game series that absolutely deserves it. Deep, well-reasoned, thought-provoking, gently educational, expansive, fantastic!

there's a lot of profanity where i work, I found myself just saying "is the fuckin shit fuckin fucked up and shit?"

friday, 11/12

talk to mom today and I feel bad for her feeling "underrepresented" at the funeral. so I wrote another poem about working and obligations.

hank announces "20 more days" (until december 2) When Britney Spears turns 18 - legal for fleshpix.

the biggest joke is thinking that there's going to be a relief after launch. then we're going to have more people noticing what's fucked up!

i'm listening to play by play coverage of historic Quake matches involving Kenn and Dennis.

I like questing for information and items on the net. Obscure things I can keep in the back of my head to seek out when I need a break. I decided today I would like to see a Real Doll in person. So for a laugh I searched for a used Real Doll on ebay. I'm fascinated by the idea of such a thing. They refer to "robot sex" sites in their links collection on the Real Doll site! Of course - Sony meets Real Doll - sex drives technology, right?

and I expect someone else will be tired of theirs and wanting to dump it and recoup their expense. I can't imagine they're selling many Real Dolls (granted the $5000 expense), but I suppose they'd never share that information. Of course all the search results for "real doll" on EBay turn up collectible stuff.

Real Doll, recreating but I did turn up some very strange Real doll promotional pages with very strange photos: Real Doll on location, which store window did you find her in?

So I think I'll settle for a Real Doll in-action video clip since I don't really hang out with the Real Doll purchasing type (maybe after Gamers.com IPOs - who knows). But I don't want to pay for that! It's not porn - it's science! Human studies! Exploration of Human-Technology relations!

Trucking, by Sega one of the stranger trends in Arcade gaming in Japan is simulating being Truckers - this news from Magic Box:

18 Wheeler American Pro Trucker - the latest game in Sega's profession simulation series, after Crazy Taxi and Emergency Call Ambulance. In this game you play as a truck driver, taking control of heavy duty trucks in American highways. The arcade cabinet will equip with a force feedback seat and a large 48 cm steering wheel, about the same size as a typical truck, both the seat and steering wheel will vibration like driving a real truck.
So are you actually delivering diapers and Dreamcasts to waiting Americans in these games? Can you attend Teamsters's meetings to fight for more rights and better pay? Why don't we put these gameplayers to work?

Kenn is playing in some Q3 tournament and he has a speakerphone on his desk and he's yelling commands and information with Den and Mack across the office and with some guy in LA and it's loud and spontaneous - "ENEMY QUAD!" "I"M GOING TO MEGAHEALTH!" "I GOT RAILED!" "HOLY FUCK!" "I'M AT YELLOW WHERE ARE YOU?"

I am inspired to add my own miliary ejaculations - "Fire in the hole!" "Man down!" "Large penis!"


when our interim CEO and his homies can't completely dominate the room with their gameplaying in the midst of our tightest deadline we'll be old fogies and more professional i guess. Kenn is literally shouting at the top of his lungs because of emotion, not to reach anyone in particular. it's hard to do anything but pay attention to their struggle.

it is a spectator sport, and fun to watch at that. but i can't help but laugh or remark after a few minutes of watching.


thursday, 11/11

Listening to KALX (you can too!) - Kitty on Thursday afternoons has been a favourite of Amy and I since Amy met her at a bar a few years back.

I plug in here for 14 hours a day now, the home stretch to "public preview" launch next week. There's so much to be fixed and I feel intimately in touch and aware of it. It's like a giant stick and I have my little sharpened butterknife and I'm wittling at the little knobs and outcroppings that extend out of the length of this thing. There are woodchips flying all around me as well - and there isn't much else to think about in my life. I hope my auto insurance brokers and the banks and telephone companies don't mind that I'm not good at answering my mail these days. And friends with birthdays, and visiting folks from out of town, and my beautiful Gal.

last night I requested an alternative from meat pizza and Joel gave the go ahead so I ordered Thai dishes for 13 people. That was nice - the food precipitated a round of riffing, including much discoursing on variations of How'd you like that shit, bitch. I laughed so hard I was silent. John, our art director, he's a very strange-minded fellow.

I take breaks today to browse Craig'sList ForSale - looking for consumer electronics, plants, furniture, vehicles - whatever cheap detritus the bay area has to offer my distracted mind. a lot of fantasies in online flea markets.

I can't jerk off and I can't scream, I'm locked into this fraternal order of gaming here - plodding feverishly towards launch. fix one, break two. will we be ready? can you say "public preview?" is this what it was like at MSNBC? Somehow I think so.

Binky (ICQ) Wrote:
tim just came in
hugged kenn
hugged me
then announced to nobody in particular:
"i need to go pee, but both of the restrooms are taken"

tonight i have sympathy for joel because he's on the receiving end of much shaft. everyone's comings and goings, the failures of our site, shitstorms on all fronts, all my extra life information that i'm constantly delivering. I gotta remember that the details of what I'm doing with my off-hours are of little interest to him, and might possibly detract from his impression of me.

we were talking about a firewall the other day and i said that sucked because we could use so many net apps (like ICQ) that are part of the net culture to which we belong. but now we have had our security compromised and it just generally sucks.

tuesday, 11/9

gramma's going in the cold cold ground right about now - thinking of her plot i seen just a few months back

cold medication and la woman

amy observed that these boys in editorial mostly have pictures of young actresses on their desktops and monitors - not really like mega-cleavage babes, but attractive young women.

monday, 11/8

Gramma died. between being sick (chest cold) and tired, a weekend of fried chicken with Joanne and Blood, maintaining a civilized looking PlayStation section, I'm a little blunted, out of it. My Mom seems to have bastante support staff so I don't feel that I'm being a bad son, but I did want to be there. Driving myself alone across Nebraska twice within 18 hours with this cold just seemed like too much suck.

friday, 11/5

fusty (11:54:14): there's a 18-29yrs old show taping dennis here, "IZ"
(11:56:04): yes
egg (11:56:27): do you wish they were taping you
fusty (11:57:27): not really, but when they said "it's a show about people in their 20s who are doing interesting things i couldn't decide whether i was gagging or feeling like i'd fallen from some glory as a former subject of interest in this media bordello
fusty (11:57:31): of a world
fusty (11:58:00): but then again i'm glad i don't have to abide by the director
fusty (11:58:44): okay justin, sit down next to her and say "hi"
fusty (11:59:15): dennis has to play quake with the pretty young hostess who hasn't really played quake before
fusty (11:59:43): she brought her PlayStation with her though - that was cute. she's from omaha, and she's superperky.
fusty (12:00:15): i'm farting silently and that makes me happy
egg (12:01:05): do yoyu think they can smell
fusty (12:01:11): no, too far away, alas
egg (12:01:12): you and me both farted first
thing this morning

fusty (12:01:22): i know. our poor bed. i guess
fernando didn't mind

egg (12:01:34): he likes it
fusty (12:01:41): heh, he'd better.
egg (12:01:59): joannes excited to see him
fusty (12:02:08): I know, aunt jo
egg (12:02:25): fernando kim
fusty (12:02:33): people are excited by the presence of
cameras i think - work has ground to a halt

current music, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee "Hole in the Wall" - Jane's Addiction "Like A Rolling Stone"

Dennis is a nice articulate young man. This girl is trying to handicap him because shes losing deeply on-camera. "is that a door?" "that's your dead body." it's funny for us old timers in here. "okay you can't have any ammo" "so basically, you don't need ammo to kill me."

we're subject to their banter, and this is a useful experience - this is what it was like for people in my life when Doug was around or maybe asking Amy to come to appear on set for ZDTV. media is a spectacle, and for each other we enact our lives and rituals, stripped of their focus and some spontenaiety, repeatedly as the camera registers what's going on. it creates spectators, and i don't generally mind being a spectator, but i think in my nature i'm a participant, i like to do stuff, to be a part of things. so sitting here watching someone else do something i can do too simply makes me work harder on what i can do. so back to work.

i was interviewed for a minute, somehow I accidentally had this picture up when the camera came by. The camera guy stayed late to shoot extra footage. Nora wanted to know where my screenname fusty was from and I made vague references to private juicy matters perhaps not appropriate for the camera and offered her one of the office hamsters.

then she was interviewing Nat and asked "can i use your private toy?" context or no, we were busting our seams.

wednesday, 11/3

it's joel's birthday, and rich comes in and says, "okay it's joel's birthday, he's got to go through the butt-rubbing machine. come on, everybody, stand up."

sometimes in spite of Terence, we turn off all the lights here on the edit side, and 18 high contrast monitors stare out of the half darkness, making this place into some unhealthy glowing packed den of happy hackerdom.

such fascinating stuff on slashdot but i don't have the time to look at The Boeing 727-200 Home Conversion Project or Why the DVD Hack Was a Cinch on WiredNews.

unfortunately, bud.com is broken, has been for about a week, and the only guy who can fix it is in New York.

tuesday, 11/2

i'm coming to understand in part why there's little mobility up and down the corporate chain of command. there's such a crushing amount of mindless work remaining to be done that the opportunity to expand your mind and share your thoughts with your coworkers happens only in those moments when you are so thoroughly tired of your work that you care only to complain, goof off or indulge in idle dreams.

if you want to take the time to do something interesting or contribute above or beyond your regular job, you must either detract from your routine duties, causing disrespect, or neglect your life outside of your job, which causes insanity and illness.

fortunately i still like my job. i imagine there's mindless distasteful duties associated with any position or undertaking, and by swallowing my pride here I come to glimpse the eyelet at the top of the weight of the world.

Listening to Jane's Addiction at work doesn't make me feel like much more of a rebel - I may be the queerest asshole in my workgroup (or I may not be) but what difference does that make? This music tends to exacerbate feelings of restlessness. By sitting firmly on my restlessness I come to hear the first shouts of the timeless revolution.

my boss
My Boss, Joel, on a bad day, smiling all the way.

i wonder if my boss is having a bad day - i arrive back from lunch to a shitstorm in my ICQ inbox, unrelated to any project I'd been assigned. but now he's laughing and carrying on so maybe I'm just projecting. am i supposed to be honest with myself, say "what's up with the shitstorm, dude?" or just do my job and dodge flying doodie until the weather passes?

It's a struggle to avoid cynicism, both to find a way to enjoy the day, to trust your peers and your "superiors" - and Ravel helps with that.

everything i'm told to work on and everything i want to work on is intermittently broken because everyone else is working on it too. most of the other areas i try to contribute to, besides PlayStation trivia, I'm finding my input poorly received. By writing through my inner pain I can feel the thousands of frustrated artists also bent over a desk manipulating corporate data through a box.

I think about being pissed, but as Coleman Hawkins is blowing right now, "It Never Entered My Mind"

maybe we've just all been here too long. between wilda and I the place sounds like a tuberculosis ward with our hacking hacking - "like flesh being ripped from a throat with a rusty fork."

it's so strange to keep this page open and write down all the petty things that float through my head at work throughout the day. how incriminating. i would take it down, but then i think about how i wish i would have written this kind of drivel down during my time at HotWired.

MP3s are virial, in the sense that it's very easy to replay them repeatedly. I've had Terence and Philip pried into my head with headphones so many times i'm beginning to wonder if "Uncle Fucker" is a viable cry of this generation.

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