Evidently it takes the death of a fundamental aspect of my childhood to wake me from my writing stupor. Namely, this headline - Disney Shuts Down LucasArts, Cancels Star Wars 1313 And Star Wars: First Assault. You might remember that one of my first posts was about Star Wars 1313 and how awesome it looked. Well, that excitement and hope was killed yesterday afternoon when the aforementioned Kotaku article was posted. While it sounds like the LucasArts name will remain as a publishing platform (wouldn't want to waste that custom letterhead I guess), it also seems pretty clear that any in-house development is dead on the table. The last remaining hope for these titles is that another developer picks them up. The Kotaku article doesn't give it much of a chance, and personally, I don't think there aren't many (if any) development companies that could or would pick up where LuscasArts left off. That's the aspect of the article that I find most depressing. Sure, LucasArts brought us X-Wing. Tie Fighter, Dark Forces, and Rebel Assault, but those games aren't being scoured from the Earth as a result of this re-purpose. Those titles still exist and can still be played, mainly thanks to ROMS/Emulators and virtualization programs. What is really gone is a developer who actually placed importance on PC game development, which is equivalent to a gaming industry endangered species. Stopping that development cold is like shooting the last White Rhino on the planet. Sure there are other endangered species hanging around, but this one is now gone forever. Thanks, Disney.

Quite possibly better than Christmas.

PAX Prime is easily in my top 3 things I look forward to most during the year. It's absolutely amazing, and it's amazing for a lot of reasons. First, is the convention itself and what it's about. Unlike the very few comic conventions I've been to, PAX is a much more interactive convention. That's not too surprising seeing as how it's a video game convention, but it's a notable distinction to make. At comic book conventions, I'm usually looking at art that's available, buying everything in sight because I can't help myself, and meeting people. With PAX, you get to play the games that on display there, and it ranges from PC and console games to CCG and tabletop gaming. You can buy stuff and go to pannels and meet people at PAX too, but it's the ability to not only see the new things coming out but to actually put your hands on them and play them. Maybe this is just an advantageous aspect of games in general, but even so, in my mind it's a big part of what I'll probably refer to often as the PAX experience. But getting back to the subject of the convention and what it contains, it's everything I like and nothing I don't. Another aspect of PAX that I love are the people I go to it with. My group of childhood friends has dispersed rather profoundly to many different corners of the nation and globe, but we all manage to get together for this event. That alone is something impossible to place value on; and each year we go, it's like adding another chapter to a long chronicle of our collective history. For me, the group adds an extra dimension to my PAX experience through group traditions. Certain things change, but some things never go away, and it turns PAX into something that couldn't be recreated any other time of the year. Also, PAX has costumes, and I love costumes. Last year was the first year I wore a costume to PAX, and I'll never go without one again. This year, I'm bringing two. I love putting costumes together, and this gives me an outlet to make all the awesome costumes that just won't be appreciated the same way they would (or more likely wouldn't) in a lot of other places. Plus, being in a costume makes you feel a lot less obtrusive when asking other people in costume for pictures. There are a lot of other reasons PAX is great, and I think those reasons are a little bit different for everyone. Each person's PAX experience is a little different depending on these reasons. Some may go just to wait in line to play that game that's coming out, others may not wait in a single line all weekend. I plan on doing what I do every year, which usually amounts to three days of little to no sleep, the only time during the year where I eat at Taco del Mar, one lunch at PF Chang's, drinking nothing except Bawls and alcohol (usually not mixed together), waiting in lines to play games, avoiding lines to get free stuff, and just walking around amazed at how much awesome they can fit into one event. By the end I usually feel like a depleted husk of a person, but I immediately look forward to next year. I can't wait.

Coming to a Seattle near you.

Emerald City Comic Con was the first comic convention that I went to. I've always wanted to - and continue to want to - go to San Diego Comic Con, but I've never been able to negotiate the trip. Still, I went to ECCC last year and completely fell in love with it. Though a lot different from the gaming conventions I more often frequent, it was awesome and I'm so excited for this year's. Especially now. There was a news post on the ECCC website yesterday that announced it's latest celebrity guest, and it just so happened to be Billy Dee Williams. Yes, Lando Calrissian is coming to Seattle. Probably. I mean, these lists tend to change quite a bit as we closer to the actual event date (March 1st to 3rd). For example, last year Katee Sackhoff was replaced by Christopher Judge on the list of celebrity guests. So these things happen, but they still turn out to be awesome.
his commercials are awesome

"I don't claim you can have a better time with Colt 45 than without it, but why take chances?"
- Billy Dee Williams

I think Billy Dee is a little bit different thought. For some, it might be his sound advice when it comes to beverage selection, but for me, it's because he's Star Wars. It's strange to say that Star Wars has shaped me and my life, because it's a little scary to think about how a commercial product can have that kind of effect, but it's true to an extent. Star Wars was my first real childhood interest, and it just never went away. I grew up pretending to be Han Solo, and later Boba Fett because let's face it, he's awesome. I met my first friends in elementary school because we liked Star Wars. Through those friends I got into computer games. Through computer games I met some new friends who introduced me to console gaming and LAN parties, and guess what, they all liked Star Wars. I've probably had more Star Wars centered discussions and debates than with any other topic. These were my closest friends throughout elementary school, high school, and college and they continue to be some of my closest friends today. My interests, my academic and work career, and many of my life experiences have been affected by Star Wars. It's certainly not the only thing that made me who I am today, but it's interesting to think about the impacts of something that released before I was born.
Cast reunion photo

Chewie looks pretty much the same.

And I know I'm not the only one like this, and I'm sure there are others where Star Wars has had an even more direct and meaningful effect on their life. Star Wars has a gravity and ubiquity that very few (if any) franchises have or can even hope to achieve. It's not only a staple, but it has continued to thrive and evolve in both sub cultures and the main stream. You can see it at nearly any nerd-related convention or event, and it is never considered out of place. That's a lot of power for something created solely as a source of entertainment. Still, in my mind it is becoming an old world power; you have to at least be in your 30's to have been alive when A New Hope came out. The news release from ECCC got me thinking about this with a simple fact it led me to, Billy Dee Williams is 75 now. This took a little while for my brain to reconcile. There's nothing like a little basic math and seeing your childhood heroes age to give you a clear picture of reality. That being said, I know there will be a time when even the oldest never saw any of the original trilogy in theaters (and eventually, the prequel trilogy too), but I wonder if there will ever be a time when Star Wars isn't relevant. I hope not, things just wouldn't be same without it.
Despite that my first two posts related to something other than trying to put this site together both revolve around a game trailer, I don't like watching trailers. For me, they tend to reveal too much and take away from the story and experience that the final product provides, whether that product is a game, movie, or whatever. My usual responses when confronted with these things will be to try to hastily close the corresponding tab or browser window while shutting my eyes or running out of the room while covering my ears and yelling, "La la la la la..." I recommend keeping your eyes at least partially open when employing that last tactic. Despite my isolationist tendencies, the mention of a trailer for a new Star Wars game brought me running back to civilization, and now I am excited. Unfortunately, when caused by a game that doesn't even have a release date attached to it, these moments of excitement are soon tainted by a subtle, gnawing fear. It's an unconscious reaction caused by painful experience. Those of you who have been gaming for a while know the kinds of things I'm talking about. Even so, it's hard for me to contain my enthusiasm, especially since the E3 demos were all done on PCs. I've seen the term "PC exclusive" tossed around a few forums, but I haven't seen anything that officially substantiates that claim. The practice wouldn't make a whole lot of sense for a franchise as big as Star Wars anyway; why skip out on the console markets? I'm guessing they'll develop for the other platforms, but the demoed platform gives me - a proud PC games - hope; hope that the game will actually be released for PC, and maybe (just maybe), development for the PC will be given priority. I realize that last part is a bit of a long shot, but it is a hope after all.
I finished the title graphics for The Photo Shop and my Sci-Fi & Fantasy post page last night. The Photo Shop one isn't terribly artistic (then again, most of my stuff ins't anyway), but I did think it was clever. My initial idea was to do a single picture of a project that was sort of a gradient of completion; finalized at the far left and transitioning to blank canvas as the far right. I liked that idea a lot, but I had two problems, the largest of which was not having the requisite skill to actually pull it off. Then I thought about doing a kind of three-panel timeline of a Photoshop project that essentially illustrated the same idea - blank, partially complete, complete. On that item I ran into another problem, which was actually the second problem I had with my first idea, and that was that I just don't have any interesting Photoshop projects that would look good broken down that way. So after a couple failed attempts at that, I decided to just go with a blank canvas background, which brings us full circle. The Sci-Fi graphic was hard to make simply because there were too many things I wanted to put on it. Like my Gaming header, I wanted it to show the aspects of the topic that were the most relevant to me, and in that regard, I think it work out. However, there were some items left out, the most important of which would be Farscape. While I don't dislike Star Trek, it was never an important element in my life and thus will rarely surface here. Farscape on the other hand made a much more pronounced effect on my list of interests, and I am a little sad it didn't make the cut. I didn't even manage to cover Ben Browder or Claudia Black on the crossover with Stargate SG-1, but a capture of O'Neill and Teal'c golfing through the Stargate was a little hard to pass up (that's from "Window of Opportunity" in case you're interested). I also noticed the predominance of sci-fi over fantasy, with Lord of the Rings being the sole representative of the genre on the graphic. Still, there were only five spots, and that's how things stacked up.