Monday, February 16, 2009


I haven't posted about the sweet, sweet electronic music in a while, so here it is. I've been going through my relatively older techno lately and re-discovered two gems that I thought I'd link to here (click to listen!). The first is:

Pleiadians - Maia

This is a great melodic tune, incredibly easy to dance to. I really love the highs in this song - it is a perfect example of goa / psychedelic trance that even people who don't like techno might be able to get into. I could listen to Maia all day and probably not get tired of hearing it. And, to show the breadth of what techno can sound like, I offer this one:

Osom - Over Game

Here is a fantastic and very original song some might put into the "hardcore" category of electronic music. It's very fast and has bleeps and bloops seemingly randomly placed from beginning to end. However, when you put it all together, this song's sometimes very high and sometimes very low bass themes create a soundscape of incredible proportions. Over Game is definitely not for everyone (some people probably wouldn't make it through the first minute), for those who can appreciate the more heavy side of electronica, this is one of the best compositions out there.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Again with the Braid, you say? Yes! I finished the game last week, and I have to say it was one of the best gaming experiences of my life. It twisted my mind in ways few other things have - the movie Memento would be my closest comparison, though that is a bit flawed as it's a completely different medium.

The final level is fantastic, and even that word doesn't do it justice. Never before has a video game required me to think so differently, and I can say I see the world in new and fascinating ways after playing it. I will never think about "time" in the same way again.

I read a great article at Gamers with Jobs, written by a guy who's ideas I respect probably the most at the site, and he had quite some things to say about the programmer and creator of Braid, Jonathan Blow. The comments following the article are informational, intelligent, and at times very deep - some of the best written ideas about video games that I've possibly ever read. That a game, in this case Braid, can bring on such talk of "meaning" really shows me that Blow has succeeded, regardless of what people may say about the content of the game. What does the game mean? What ideas are being presented by Braid? Does it matter what any one person believes the game means - especially the game's creator?

The man himself felt the need to chime in to say his own part as the creator of Braid in the comments of the article. I'll end with a quote from the end of his post:

"I don't particularly trust written, rational explanations as conveyors of truth or accurate meaning. That's why I make video games."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A lot has happened...

since the last time I've posted, so I'm not going to say it all.

I have an XBox 360 now, and have for a few weeks. I love it. I'm currently playing through Braid, at least for the maybe 1 hour a week I get alone with the console. The game is fantastic, like none other I've ever played. I'm pretty close to the end, only three levels to go for the main part of the house. Not sure how much comes after worlds 2-6 (and hey, where is world 1?).

Mostly I've been playing Lego Indiana Jones with my son, who LOVES it. He talks about playing it all the time. I'll admit, the game is incredibly fun. I'll probably borrow Lego Star Wars from a co-worker, so we'll have a whole new world to explore pretty soon.

Speaking of legoes, we stopped up at my parent's house (who are in Florida, and specifically Disney World as I type this) and picked up another big bunch of my old legoes. Is there another toy on this planet as great as legoes? I don't think so. A lot of the things I built years ago were still together, including an awesome car/truck vehicle I made during a summer vacation while in college. I distinctly remember building it out on the porch of my parent's house on a bright and warm summer day, drinking a Killian's Irish Red. Ahhhh..... I feel good just thinking about it. Building lego machines as an adult is marvelous - I can create awesomeness on a scale and complexity I never could have imagined as a kid. And my son gets so much pleasure out of it as well. If you have a kid, you have to have legoes too. There should be some kind of law for that.

And that's all I have to say 'bout that!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Science Imagery

National Geographic has a story on the Best Science Images of 2008. Fascinating and awesome! Is anyone else as excited about mixing science and visual arts as I am?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Jonathan Blow

My new (video game) hero is Jonathan Blow, the creator, designer, and programmer for the XBox 360 game Braid. Braid was created literally only by him and David Hellman, who did all the artwork. Unfortunately I haven't been able to play the game at all since I don't own a 360, but Jonathan is putting together a PC version that I will definitely buy the day it comes out. So far it has received literally the highest rating ever for a XBox Live Arcade game, and 10th highest ever for the console as a whole, and that says something.

What makes me so excited about this is that Jonathan is and always will be an independent game creator, doing nearly everything on his own. He does it not for the money, but for the love and the Art (yes, with a capital "A", more on that in another post I think), of video games. Video games can be a method of communicating an idea or concept rather than simply for entertainment - and this is something I've been looking for myself. Using video games to teach creates, I believe, a bright future for the medium.

Anyway, I've been reading an interview with Jonathan at, and I saw an incredible quote about video games and teaching that I wanted to save. Thus, the impetus for this blog post:

"...all games teach things and the way they teach is by guiding you toward the goal by giving you feedback about whether you are accomplishing your tasks successfully or not, and that entire guidance is a communications process."

This communications process is the essence of video games. Without effective communication between a video and a player, the player is lost and has no interest in continuing the game. I have a feeling Jonathan Blow and Braid will affect how Omnivore turns out in a deep and exciting way.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A New Year Begins

School year that is. I don't remember the last time I've been this busy - it's the craziest time of year for my job, my grad course started yesterday, and Emmet's Essentials has had more stuff going on in the last few weeks than probably ever.

My grad course this semester is Computer Graphics, and I'm incredibly excited for it. We'll be programming graphics with OpenGL and making some great looking stuff...

Man, it's hard to think right now. My brain is just fried... and I'm not seeing any rest in my future. This weekend we're heading to Burlington, Massachusetts for an Emmet's Essentials event. Tomorrow is the first day of classes at my job. Every night we're working on a big EE account for a person out in Oregon. I've got homework again for the first time in a month because of my grad class. All the equipment I've been programming for projection in the classrooms has been doing weird things and not working correctly.

Rest, relaxation, oh how I miss you...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Nintendo DS

It's happened! I've purchased my first-ever portable game system, the Nintendo DS. It is just plain great. Two screens, nice bright graphics, a stylus and touch screen, quality sound, awwwww yeah. First game: Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney. I've never played a game like this, a courtroom drama, and I'll say that I'm pulled in already. It's so exciting that I hardly know what to say!