Olivia Wood is a video game writer, narrative designer, and editor, specializing in interactive narrative. She works for Failbetter Games in London, UK. Her credits include Sunless Skies (writer, narrative designer and editor), Sunless Sea: Zubmariner (writer, narrative designer and editor), Sunless Sea (writer and editor), Fallen London (writer, narrative designer and editor), Where the Water Tastes Like Wine (contributing writer), The Mystery of Kalkomey Isle (design consultant and editor), Cheaper than Therapy (writer, designer and developer), and Lethophobia (writer and designer). She first worked in the video game industry at the age of 18 as a quality assurance technician for games including Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and Timesplitters 2. Her work in writing and editing (narrative) in the video game industry was recognised by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2017. She strives to share her knowledge of video game writing, narrative design and interactive narrative through giving talks and interviews and also via narrative consultancy and writing services.
This interview features conversation about her favorite adventure games, narrative, and writing.
Jeffery Klaehn: What about adventure games most interests you, as a writer and also as a player?
Olivia Wood: There's been a history of puzzles in adventure games feeling at odds with the narrative. I actually don't love calling them 'puzzles' in this context. Puzzles to me are more about something with its own set of internal constraints and rules that gets progressively complicated and iterated upon. I prefer to think of what are traditionally called 'puzzles' in adventure games as 'problems.' Read the rest
As a game design hobbyist, Mark Yohalem has worked both on his own projects and as an offsite senior or lead writer for BioWare, inXile Entertainment, TimeGate Studios, S2 Games, Nikitova Games, and Affinix Software. As co-founder of Wormwood Studios with two friends (artist Victor Pflug and programmer James Spanos) in 2010, he developed Primordia, a classical point-and-click adventure game that has sold about a quarter million copies and was, for years, the highest-rated adventure game on Steam. The same trio is currently working on Strangeland, another adventure game. Mark is also developing Fallen Gods, a role-playing game inspired by the Icelandic sagas and folklore, the board game Barbarian Prince, and game books like Lone Wolf. By profession, Mark is an attorney. In 2018, he was recognized in the Daily Journal as one of the top 40 lawyers under the age of 40 in California.
This interview features conversation about the aesthetics of point-and-click adventure games, classic and modern adventure games, game writing and design, and ways in which stories connect with both learning and play.
Jeffery Klaehn: [Imagine] you’re addressing an audience comprised primarily of non-gamers, and your talk is entitled, “The aesthetics of classic point-and-click adventure games.” You begin …
Mark Yohalem: The wonder of the classics is that they don’t just let us hear the voice of the past, they also allow us to listen with the ears of the past. We commune not only with those who created the art but also those who consumed it -- not just Beethoven but Beethoven’s audience. Read the rest
Since the 60s Genesis P-Orridge has been one of the masterminds behind artist collective COUM Transmissions and seminal music acts Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV. Beyond that, P-Orridge has had an astonishing career in the visual arts, founding an artist collective called Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth, as well as helming the infamous pandrogeny project in, which P-Orridge and deceased partner Lady Jaye went through ongoing plastic surgery sessions to resemble each other in an attempt to, as New York's Rubin Museum's catalogue once put it, "break down the limitations of biological sex and express their unconditional love for each other." As of 2017, Genesis has been having an ongoing battle with cancer. Here's our interview with Genesis, conducted earlier this year.
Do you think something happens to our consciousness when we die?
We think about that a lot. But we've also spent much of my life as an existentialist. We had the, is it good or misfortune to have read La Nausée by John Paul Sartre when we were about 12. And needless to say, it totally altered the way I saw all the information I'd been given by the Church of England and the status quo. And it made me basically an existentialist. There's just "we're here, we die, there's nothing," you know? But then we also had these psychic experiences and saw certain things that made me still not 100% sure of that either.
We used to say we were a romantic existentialist because we've always had this strong belief in Big Love. Read the rest
Creative technologist Nicole He modified OpenAI's GPT-2 language model to generate questions for happy mutant pop star Billie Eilish and also write Eilish-esque lyrics. Vogue Magazine published Eilish's answers to the AI's wonderfully odd questions like: "Who consumed so much of your power in one go?" and "Have you ever seen the ending?" Read the rest
On Legs McNeil's Please Kill Me, Michael Shelly interviews the legendary bass player, Carol Kaye. Unless you're a hardcore music nerd, you may not know who Carol Kaye is. You need to fix that.
Carol Kaye is the bassist on thousands of 20th century recordings, from The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds to Nancy Sinatra's These Boots are Made for Walkin', to Glen Campbell's Wichita Lineman. Oh, and she also played on the Mothers of Invention's Freak Out! and the Batman theme song. The list goes on and on and on.
Get this woman into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, stat!
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PKM: When producers, like Brian Wilson with “Good Vibrations,” would do a single song in parts over many sessions was that frustrating or fun for you?
Carol Kaye: You know Brian was a nice young kid. We worked for a lot of those young guys back then and Brian had something special about him, and he grew with every date. You saw his talent getting better and better and better. He’d only do one song for a three-hour date and that does get boring after a while, but he would come in and he’d give you this handwritten, kind of funny sheet music with stems on the wrong side of the notes and sharps and flats everywhere. He would sit down at the piano and play the song, to kind of give us a feel for it, and then he’d go in the booth and take charge from there.
Hubert Horan (previously) is a transport industry analyst who has written more than 20 essays for Naked Capitalism as well as two peer-reviewed scholarly articles explaining why Uber is a "bezzle" -- that is, a scam that can't possibly ever make money, no matter how much it preys on drivers, ignores passenger safety, and destroys safe, regulated taxi businesses. Harry "Mr Burns" Shearer interviewed Horan (MP3) on the latest episode of his radio show, Le Show. It's a fantastic interview that quickly gets to the meat of Horan's critique of Uber, and then digs into both the ridiculous defenses that Uber and its defenders mount of its possible sustainability, and the social circumstances that allowed Uber to bezzle $21b from its investors in just a few years, while still attracting more investors. (Image: Tarcil, CC BY-SA, modified) (via Naked Capitalism)
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Chanel Miller wrote a book called Know My Name, about her life before and after being sexually assaulted by Brock Turner, the sex criminal who was portrayed by the trial judge as a victim. She was interviewed on The Daily Show to promote her book.
Image: The Daily Show Read the rest
This job candidate has watched too many (or perhaps too few) English-dubbed martial arts films from the 1970s.
"You need to be more formal and at least practice before you take the interview."
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Tokyo is a sound-saturated city: bustling traffic, train station announcements, people everywhere, the barrage of loud adverts, drunk salarymen singing in the Ginza streets at night, and even the loud caws of the Tokyo’s infamous large crows. Then there’s the seemingly ubiquitous background music in shopping centers, department stores, offices, and super markets. Read the rest
From an episode of The Max Headroom show that first aired in 1986, Max Headroom interviews, um, "Rootbeer Hauer."
Previously: "Rutger Hauer, Blade Runner's Roy Batty, RIP" Read the rest
I've never been able to get into Doctor Who, but I loves me some David Tennant. His performances in Broadchurch (Not that crappy American Gracepoint remake nonsense, mind you), Jessica Jones and, most recently, Good Omens, have been absolutely amazing. There's something about him that draws the eye and makes you believe in what he's selling on-screen. He doesn't oversell his characters and its rare to see him steal authority from those working a scene with him. His craft's earned him a huge amount of celebrity in recent years--a fact that he hasn't always been comfortable with.
In this candid interview, Tennant talks about his having to come to terms with being 'public property,' and how celebrity can change one's life for both better and worse.
Image via Wikipedia Read the rest
"Where do you think Blondie will be ten years from now?"
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When Bernie Sanders was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, he had a cable access show called Bernie Speaks. In this 1988 episode, Sanders spoke to a couple of affable goth kids about capitalism, fashion, politics, anarchy, and society. Read the rest
Isaac Chotiner interviews Bret Easton Ellis, author of American Psycho and an evidently half-hearted believer in the idea that America has overreacted to Donald Trump's elevation to the presidency.
[Chotiner] There are a lot of things to get angry about: children being separated from their parents, Trump saying nice things about marchers in Charlottesville. What is it that bothers you about this?
[Ellis] You do know that plenty of people don’t think that? You do understand that?
Don’t think what?
Don’t think all these things you are saying about Charlottesville. What does he have, a ninety-three-per-cent approval rating, or, let’s say, a hundred per cent, from his base? Let’s say it is, over all, way up, from thirty-eight per cent to fifty per cent, or even higher. And let’s say Latinos are now fifty-per-cent approval for Trump.
That’s not true, but O.K.
The tendency for Chotiner's interview subjects to unravel under his fair but persistent questioning (Giuliani, Buruma, take your pick) is genuinely amazing. Chotiner is journalism's Chigurh on the stairs. His targets surely sense that their rules have led them to a murderer, but the same rules impose upon them a strange duty to go back to their rooms with him, to talk and die. Read the rest
The inimitable Robert Smith on the red carpet following The Cure's induction last week into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Here's their performance:
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In 1978, Mr. Rogers hosted a television show for adults called "Old Friends...New Friends" in which he interviewed interesting musicians, artists, athletes, teachers, and others "about their search for meaning in life." A clip of the show appeared in last year's documentary about Fred Rogers, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?." Above is that complete episode, titled "Inner Rhythms" and featuring classical pianist Lorin Hollander. There are 19 other episodes profiling the likes of composer Hoagy Carmichael, barrio teacher Nancy Acosta, comedian Milton Berle, and psychoanalyst Helen Ross.
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The New York Public Library's Riverside branch invites you to check out a necktie, briefcase, or handbag suited for a "job interview, wedding, audition, graduation, prom, or other formal event." It's part of their NYPL Grow Up initiative. From the NYPL:
Adults and teens who have low fines (less than $15) or no fines on their library cards can borrow items for a one-time, three-week lending period.
We also have information sheets on job interview tips, free career resources and suggested books, and websites and organizations that can help with professional fashion advice and attire.
(via Open Culture) Read the rest