Saturday, November 21, 2009

Special When Lit pinball documentary coming soon

Just came across an update on a geekumentary I started following some time ago. Special When Lit: A Pinball Documentary just got a writeup in the Australian site
Special When Lit is the definitive story of the rise and fall of pinball as told by the fans, collectors, designers and champion players from across the globe. Shot all over the world, though predominantly in America, by London-based Australian filmmakers Brett O'Sullivan, Clayton Jacobsen and Emily Rickard, and edited in the UK with the final sound mix completed in Australia, the film truly is an international production with worldwide appeal.
TILT: The Battle to Save Pinball set the bar pretty high, but I'm happy to see another contender, and look forward to watching this movie. That's the nice thing about documentaries; there can be 2, 3, 4 of them on the exact same topic, and all covering sufficiently different angles and with different approaches such that they don't exclude one another. That's why I don't mind when I hear rumblings that other people are working on designer board game documentaries, and in fact, welcome it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

11 days to go for a very worthy cause

I don't think I've ever pushed a cause online. This cause deserves some pushing:

When he's not saving Geocities and computer history itself, he's making documentaries. And when he's not making documentaries, he's making videos for MC Frontalot. If we, the people, "hire" him, he will make us stuff that will be good to have.

To put it another way, before I'd ask you to fund MY project, I would ask you to contribute to Jason's work. Without his mentoring, advice, and generosity, I wouldn't even be DOING my movie.

And, I'd really like to watch Get Lamp, his second documentary about Infocom text adventures. His time is much better spent working on that then some silly day job.

Oh, and...if you don't help, @sockington will probably starve to death.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Seattle Times board games article

It's raining, it's boring — what to do? Let the games begin

A co-owner of Blue Highways Games shop in Seattle talks about the unplugged world of board games, just in time for soggy weather to chase us all indoors.

As a schoolboy, Scott Cooper would sit with his buddies at recess, back to the wall, arranging marbles in patterns meant to entice passers-by. Like a carnival hawker, he'd invite kids to knock his marbles out of bounds. If they missed, he took their marble. If they didn't miss, they got his. "At an early age, I learned how to do cost-benefit analyses," Cooper says....

Just pointing this out as another small sign of encouragement that the media is paying more attention to the designer gaming hobby.

Friday, November 6, 2009

It's the Weekend...

As it turns out, that's exactly what it means. I'll be firing up the cameras again for another round of interviews this weekend!

Now, things really are winding down, I swear, but there are still some specific questions that need answering by specific people. So film, I must.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Great UK article about Essen and board games

Big game hunter: The search for the next Monopoly

(Now, while they had to go and use the Monopoly tie-in as usual, one thing we have to keep in mind is that as designer board game fans, it's hugely old and cliche at this point, but to a newbie, that's an important frame of reference to draw them in. Just saying. :)

This was a really good and lengthy read which captured some of the flavor of the Essen fair. This was one of my favorite parts:
By the third day of the fair, games lovers are sprawled across the floors and into the aisles, playing card games, war games, party games, puzzle games, family games; two-player games, four-player games, six-player games; games set in the Wild West, games set in the Far East, games set in the Caribbean; games set in the Industrial Revolution, games set in the Bronze Age, games set in the Middle Ages (games fans are especially fond of the Middle Ages); games about hospitals and police stations and factories; abstract games, about nothing but the game itself. There's a game that involves one player trying to build a Jenga-like structure from wooden blocks, while their opponent bashes them over the head with an inflatable club. It's called Argh!Tect.

They mentioned how all the local hotels, like the Jung, open up banquet and meeting-type areas during the convention, so that players can come back from a long day of gaming and buying new games and continue to play all night long. I experienced this, and it was one more thing that caused me to think, "This couldn't happen in America in a million years." I was hanging out unsupervised in the hotel's kitchen with Martin Wallace and his wife, Eric Martin, Anthony Gallela, and some other great people just chatting, fine German beers in hand. In the room next door, designers and gamers were playing their new games on into the night. So cool. If there were any strangers in the group, I'm sure they didn't feel like strangers for long.

The article also does a dynamite job of summing up the designer board gaming hobby itself, both the designer's side, and the collector/player's side. BOTH sides are wonderful worlds, and there's a lot of cross-over, not surprisingly, as game enthusiasts hatch ideas for games they haven't seen yet, and go on to be designers themselves. This industry is one of the few where, at least currently, such a dream can be realized.