JJ Abrams’ Lost Thoughts on Creativity

JJ Abrams’ Lost Thoughts, get it? Ha ha… sorry. Anyhow, a friend recently turned me on to TED.com, a site where you can view talks from the cognoscenti from all sorts of incredible fields and backgrounds.

On TED, I recently found this entertaining and thoughtful lecture by JJ Abrams, the creative guy behind Lost, Cloverfield, Alias, and more.

Game designers should take note of his praise of the democratization of creativity. JJ Abrams works in an industry where a couple of dudes with standard desktop PCs can build all the effects necessary to make Lost or any other JJ Abrams production.

Someday, perhaps ordinary gamers will be able to do the same with a few game consoles. Now that would be a game design revolution, and it’s one that we’re already seeing hints of with some of the downloadable content for the 360 and PS3. It’s certainly in the best interests of console manufacturers, who would be happy to see game designers kicked to the curb in favor of a “reality TV” kind of vox populi revolution in game content.

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A moment of Amy Winehouse levity from Photoshop Disasters

amy-winehouse-gets-new-handPhotoshop Disasters is often good for a howl. And it fits nicely into my “geek skills” category on this blog.

With great power comes great responsibility, yadda yadda yadda. As if Amy Winehouse doesn’t have enough problems… she now has Thing growing out of her left shoulder.

(Click to visit Photoshop Disasters. They’ve got some doozies.)

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Gears of War 2 gets a new smoke grenade

Gears of War fans, rejoice. The gameplay for those previously useless smoke grenades is getting a facelift.

In the first Gears of War, the smoke grenades were as useful as they would be in a Quake 3 deathmatch. There’s really nothing tactical about GoW; it’s a pure twitch game with zero stealth. And I’m not knocking it. It does what it does, and does it pretty dang well.

Fortunately, that gameplay is getting an upgrade. The GoW 2 smoke grenades will deliver a shock blast that stuns players within the grenades’ explosive radius. Even better: the grenades will have a unique tactical function, knocking shields out of the hands of any targets in the blast area.

(Shields are another new feature, allowing players and NPCs to roam around with a fair-sized bit of portable cover, like the jackals from Halo.)

That’s the news from here. Keep those thumbs happy.

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ACL “Sound and the Jury” contest horrors

ACL’s “Sound and the Jury” contest has started, and in a pretty marginal way.

The winner gets a slot at the ACL music festival – huge prestige. It could be a launching pad to great things for the right band. A band with talent. Too bad the bands who are currently winning are spectacularly weak. I’m sorry, Sound and the Jury, but pale imitations of Jack Johnson don’t deserve any stagetime at the Austin City Limits Music Fest.

It just goes to show: being popular doesn’t automatically give you talent. True in the videogame development world, too.

I’m voting for Kissinger right now. I like ’em; check them out. There’s a link there to their MySpace page. All they have to do is get in the top 100 to advance. If you have alternative suggestions I’m open to them too.

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