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Tim Schafer

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I attended an exclusive presentation and Q&A with Tim Schafer at the Double Fine studio. I listened to Tim candidly discuss the Adventure Kickstarter project and the special ingredient to its success, the pitch. Here are some critical take aways...

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Yesterday, the chug of a guitar echoed around RPS as a mech made a drop into enemy territory. Today, more mechs and from the same universe, but these ones are a great deal quieter because they exist in the frozen screenshots of Mechwarrior Tactics. Perhaps as you look at the hex-based battles you’ll be inclined to play raucous music from your personal collection. That is your choice and although I’d suggest something of a more baroque nature to accompany tactical cognition, do not feel compelled to follow my lead. Click to make ‘em mech-sized. Or at least a bit bigger.

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Click here to read Watch Tim Schafer's Screw-Ups, Bloopers, and Outtakes

Last month, Tim Schafer took to the internet with a very funny video for a Kickestarter funded game. The video pitch was a smash, and Schafer raised over US$2 million—well over the planned $400,000. More »

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 From Pac-Man to Mass Effect

Book description from Welcome Books:

In the forty years since the first Magnavox Odyssey pixel winked on in 1972, the home video game industry has undergone a mind-blowing evolution. Fueled by unprecedented advances in technology, boundless imaginations, and an insatiable addiction to fantastic new worlds of play, the video game has gone supernova, rocketing two generations of fans into an ever-expanding universe where art, culture, reality, and emotion collide.


As a testament to the cultural impact of the game industrys mega morph, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, with curator and author Chris Melissinos, conceived the forthcoming exhibition, The Art of Video Games,which will run from March 16 to September 30, 2012.* New York publisher Welcome Books will release the companion book this March.

Melissinos presents video games as not just mere play, but richly textured emotional and social experiences that have crossed the boundary into culture and art.

Along with a team of game developers, designers, and journalists, Melissinos chose a pool of 240 games across five different eras to represent the diversity of the game world. Criteria included visual effects, creative use of technologies, and how world events and popular culture manifested in the games. The museum then invited the public to go online to help choose the games. More than 3.7 million votes (from 175 countries) later, the eighty winners featured in The Art of Video Games exhibition and book were selected.


From the Space Invaders of the seventies to sophisticated contemporary epics BioShock and Uncharted 2, Melissinos examines each of the winning games, providing a behind-the-scenes look at their development and innovation, and commentary on the relevance of each in the history of video games.



Over 100 composite images, created by Patrick O'Rourke, and drawn directly from the games themselves, illustrate the evolution of video games as an artistic medium, both technologically and creatively.

Additionally, The Art of Video Games includes fascinating interviews with influential artists and designers—from pioneers such as Nolan Bushnell to contemporary innovators including Warren Spector, Tim Schafer and Robin Hunicke.

The foreword was written by Elizabeth Broun, director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Mike Mika, noted game preservationist and prolific developer, contributed the introduction the introduction. *After Washington D.C., the exhibition travels to several cities across the United States, including Boca Raton (Museum of Art), Seattle (EMP Museum), Yonkers, NY (Hudson River Museum) and Flint, MI (Flint Institute of Arts). For the latest confirmed dates and venues, please visit The Art of Video Games exhibition page at http://americanart.si.edu/taovg

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Double Fine's stunning progress has been so well covered this week that simply writing an article about it already seems clichéd. Nonetheless I feel compelled to do so!

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It's going to be half a million by the time I post this.

Tim Schafer says he wants to make an old-school graphic adventure. He also says it’s impossible to get publisher funding for such a project. So he turns to the audience, and asks if they want to pay to fund such a thing directly. Via Kickstarter he sets the target at $400,000, probably feeling a little bit guilty about how high a number he’s put down, but also aware that it’s a very small budget for a game these days. That’s at 2am GMT. But 10.15am, barely eight hours later, the goal is reached, and the number still climbing. People found $400,000 they wanted to spend on a game – and in this case, just the idea of a game – purely because of who is making it. And that asks some big questions of the current position of the majority of publishers.

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IGN’s Top 100 Game Developers

IGN’s Top 100 Game Developers: Kick-Off [2 min]
IGN’s Top 100 Game Developers: Humble Beginnings [4 min]
IGN’s Top 100 Game Developers: Industry Advice – How to Get Started [4 min]
IGN’s Top 100 Game Developers: Dave Perry – Breaking Into the Industry [2 min]
IGN’s Top 100 Game Developers: Games or Art? [4 min]
IGN’s Top 100 Game Developers: Evolution of Gaming [4 min]
IGN’s Top 100 Game Developers: Legends of Gaming [8 min]
IGN’s Top 100 Game Developers: And the #1 Game Creator is… [2 min]

CLIFF BLESZINSKI (Unreal Series, Gears Of War Series)

Cliff Bleszinski: The Road Ahead [53 min] (GDC Conference Talk)
Cliff Bleszinski (Wikipedia)
Cliff Bleszinski (MobyGames)

HIDEO KOJIMA (Metal Gear Solid)

Hideo Kojima – Part 1 [10 min] (G4 Icons)
Hideo Kojima – Part 2 [10 min] (G4 Icons)
Hideo Kojima – Part 3 [1 min] (G4 Icons)
Hideo Kojima (Wikipedia)
Hideo Kojima (MobyGames)

PETER MOLYNEUX (Fable)

Peter Molyneux – Part 1 [10 min] (G4 Icons)
Peter Molyneux – Part 2 [11 min] (G4 Icons)
Peter Molyneux [9 min] (GameSpot Video Game History Month)
Peter Molyneux (Wikipedia)
Peter Molyneux (MobyGames)

RANDY PITCHFORD (Gearbox Software)

Randy Pitchford [6 min] (GameSpot Video Game History Month)
Randy Pitchford (Wikipedia)
Randy Pitchford (MobyGames)

Shigeru Miyamoto (Mario, Zelda)

Miyamoto [21 min] (G4 Icons)
Shigeru Miyamoto [3 min] (GameSpot Video Game History Month)
Shigeru Miyamoto (Wikipedia)
Shigeru Miyamoto (MobyGames)

SHINJI MIKAMI (Resident Evil)

Shinji Mikami [7 min] (GameSpot Video Game History Month)
Shinji Mikami (Wikipedia)
Shinji Mikami (MobyGames)

NOBUO UEMATSU (Final Fantasy Soundtrack)

Nobuo Uematsu [21 min] (G4 Icons)
Nobou Uematsu (Wikipedia)
Nobuo Uematsu (MobyGames)

NOLAN BUSHNELL (Atari)

Nolan Bushnell [25 min] (G4 Icons)
Nolan Bushnell [5 min] (GameSpot Video Game History Month)
Nolan Bushnell (Wikipedia)
Nolan Bushnell (MobyGames)

TIM SCHAFER (Grim Fandango, Psychonauts)

Tim Schafer [22 min] (GameSpot Video Game History Month)
Tim Schafer: Sultan of Psychic [8 min] (Machinima – All Your History)
Tim Schafer (Wikipedia)
Tim Schafer (MobyGames)

TRIP HAWKINS (Electronic Arts)

Trip Hawkins [18 min] (GameSpot Video Game History Month)
Trip Hawkins (Wikipedia)
Trip Hawkins (MobyGames)

WILL WRIGHT (Sim City, Sims)

Will Wright [6 min] (GameSpot Video Game History Month)
Will Wright (Wikipedia)
Will Wright (MobyGames)

YUJI NAKA (Sonic)

Yuji Naka [22 min] (G4 Icons)
Yuji Naka (Wikipedia)
Yuji Naka (MobyGames)

YU SUZUKI (Shen Mue)

Yu Suzuki [22 min] (G4 Icons)
Yu Suzuki (Wikipedia)
Yu Suzuki (MobyGames)

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This week, Double Fine launched Double Fine Happy Action Theater, a Kinect-based game and the first in its second set of small projects -- a shift into little games the studio made after 2009's Brütal Legend. In this interview he reflects on those, and talks Kinect tech, too.

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