The Art of Video Games at the Smithsonian

This a conversation I had with my good friend Matt on the upcoming Art of Video Games exhibit at the Smithsonian in March of 2012. The exhibit will feature a large variety of games that range across different genres and platforms.

Prior to this chat, which occurred later on Steam, we were browsing the unfinished list of nominated games on Wikipedia and commenting on it. Matt was remarking how confusing a lot of the choices were, showing games that didn’t make sense in the context of what the list was trying to do. For instance, some games that really did define a genre and influence sequels and spin-offs down the road were not included, though their later adaptations were.

Read More


Learning HTML 5 and C++ for the holidays.

Joe‘Sup Erik,

So my goals for the winter break are piling up, between personal undertakings and professional jobs, it’ll definitely be hard to keep track of them all, let alone find the time to finish them between Christmas and New Year’s parties. I’ll be trying my best though.

Right now I’m picking up HTML 5 first. I know, it wasn’t part of the original plan, but in the short run it’s what I need to learn the most. I’ll toss in some C++ action along the way, and my current plan is to swap tutorials/lessons on the web every hour or two, take a break with some games, then hit the books again.

I know that I’ll have a lot less to tempt me since I haven’t gotten Star Wars, but I hope we can both accomplish something this break, no matter how small it is.

Anyway, I am just posting this after learning about Attribute Selectors in HTML 5. It is pretty neat, since you can essentially name an element anything and give it specific characteristics that can be repeated.  It’s sorta like how classes work. The way I learned it was this:

See the Code

Code Academy

This website teaches JavaScript as if it was literally walking you through it step by step. You earn “achievements” as you progress, and it’s pretty neat so far, though there are only three courses so far from the looks of it.


Ever wanted to see Zelda: A Link to the Past completed in under 1 hour, 29 minutes?

Speed Demos Archive Logo

It has been done! And at the Speed Demos Archive there are plenty of other games that you might invest an entire weekend in to complete but are efficiently reduced to the time it takes to get a pizza delivered to fuel said weekend gaming marathon (and some take the time to expel said pizza.)

I guess my long-winded point is simply that some people make these games their bitches, essentially. I am always blown away by Super Metroid speedruns, among other games that must take years of practice in order to shave off a few seconds off the last run.

Your thoughts?


DreamHost spins good tales.

Good morning! I know you’re checking this first thing in the morning now, practically, so I thought I’d post something I found interesting in my e-mail. It’s my monthly newsletter from my website hosting service: DreamHost. Now, I don’t normally read newsletters from companies, but for whatever reason I made the exception for this.

I think it’s fate.

Indulge me as you sit there for just a minute. I’d like to regale you with a tale of how my life essentially flipped itself – turned upside down, you might say.

You may not know this about me, but I was born and raised in West Philadelphia. Most of my days were spent on the playground – playing basketball just outside my school.

One day a couple of street toughs were up to nothing good – they made real trouble for the neighborhood. After they dragged me into one minor physical altercation my mother grew frightened and sent me to live with my aunt and uncle in Bel Air, California.

I whistled for a cab and as it approached I noticed its license plate – it read “FRESH” and fuzzy dice adorned its mirror. At first I thought this cab peculiar but quickly thought nothing more of it as I directed my driver to “Bel Air”.

My vehicle arrived at my aunt and uncle’s house around seven or eight in the morning. I yelled to my cab driver “Sir, bathe more often and your scent will be less offensive when next we meet!”

As I surveyed the sprawling mansion before me, I could hardly believe I’d arrived. Indeed, I was ready to sit on my throne as the Prince of Bel Air.


I know we’re a new blog and all, but-

JoeSo many spam bots on WordPress!

I got like 5 spam messages ready to be deleted this morning alone. I wouldn’t mind it, but when I first read them they sounded pretty kind, despite leading to some badly designed marketing site. They were almost sounding half-legit, until I get to stuff like THIS:

“I certainly enjoy yourself reading your site. I won’t halt posting excellent and good quality facts!”

Seriously?! They’re almost too self-aware. (…Also I was starting to feel sorta good about myself until then.)

I guess my lesson to you Erik is to not let all the cheap spambots and money and fame get to your head.


192 RPG Clichés You Should Know


The Grand List of Console RPG Clichés was a powerful list (for its time, it’s been left alone for a few years, but still powerful nonetheless) of just about everything that went on in a Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger or pretty much any other JRPG before 2002. Worth the read, especially if you’ve played those old games. If you haven’t, you’ll get the idea of what it was like pretty quick.



Pokémon LEGOS!

Came across this a little while ago but thought I’d share it anyway. Filip Johannes Felberg created a whole series of impressive Pokémon LEGO sculptures and pretty much all of them can be seen on Flickr. You should definitely check them out when you get a chance.



JoeI know I’ve posted this on facebook already, but this is going in the annals of history, dammit. I always approve of free self-education tools, especially quality ones. If you want a general understanding of a specific program, he probably covers it. Also, web development. It’s nothing but win!


Want to work in the Games Industry? Well… do I. And so do a lot of other people, actually. Which is why I figured I’d post this insightful lecture on the subject by Ubisoft creative director Jason VandenBerghe. Erik and I were present (we’re in the front row, on the left side), but I’ve already watched it again, and I suggest you do it too, since it provides some excellent motivation.

Anyway the entire presentation is around 80 minutes, so enjoy!

Establishing a Career in Video Games by Jason VandenBerghe