Eight Random Gary Facts – Game?

 Posted by on December 9, 2007 at 10:12 am  personal, viral, Web 2.0  1 Response »
Dec 092007

I have been tagged by Bettina (double tagged in fact inworld SL and out in web 2.0 – thanks Bett!) So I am compelled on fear of being ‘something/shamed’ to post eight random factoids about me. Well that is easy – he ponders. Wonders doing the sums how many blog posts will there be as 8*8*8 (8 factorial?) and so on spreads like a pyramid scheme, factoid virus around the web. Anyway lets get it out of the way…thinks…not that easy…ok will start at the bottom first with the next 8 victims!

These are the 8 tagged to do likewise below:
Tony Walsh
Peter Giles
Imogen Heap
Jackie Turnure
Dan Taylor
Keren Flavell
Frank Boyd
Laurel Papworth

1- Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2 – People who are tagged need to write a post on their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules.
3 – At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4 – Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Now to my random things…

1 Have been a vegetarian since age of 12.
So thats like 10 years ago 😉 Well I eat fish so one of those fish eating slightly hypocritical veges…

2 Am a multi-instrumentalist.
Yay! This gives me the opportunity to show off, or it shows others what a show off I am ?!. So here is a list of my instruments I can play well (eg: impro and/or read and/or pro-record with) – Harps (3 at the moment!), saxophones, clarinet, guitars (elec through to classical), voice/singing, piano/keyboards, flute, cello, bass, various (loads of) world instruments including komuz, tar, saz, digeridoo, and all that music tech stuff. As a performer – tons of stuff including supporting many of the famous manchester bands in the 80s, through to taking leads in operas and as Music Producer tutor (such as at the BRIT School) starting folk like Imogen Heap off! Back to multi-instrumentalist this image shows how sad this can get – here is one wall of my house 😉

Gary Instruments 1

3 I ran away from home at 5am when I was 3 years old! Yes it was in all the papers, discovered later in the evening wandering around a busy shopping centre in Gloucester UK (where I was born – awww), more than 6 miles from the house!

4 Fav spaces, I Love desert/canyon-type environs – especially California, New Mex, Utah and Arizona. So Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Monument Valley, Canyonlands, Bryce, Taos surrounds etc etc: Still fav area on the planet is Yosemite – but often found wandering these areas when I am in them, at sunrise and sunset, wondering why I am wandering 😉

5 Collect old analog photographic stuff – but it will all have to go soon ;-( So large format cameras (yes 7*5 inches and above) through to micro spy cams etc:. Still have a great medium format enlarger and all the poison’ess chemicals – but sadly digital has now fully taken over…well not sadly, it is sooo much more dynamic and fun!

6 Long distance cyclist – used to be silly distances, and still am when I can. Regularly used to do 120-150 miles in one go! Often did cycle camping tours which turned into 700-800 mile trips, Across Uzbekistan, Bilbao to Barcelona, Prague to Budapest, New York to DC and back, San Fran to Diego via Lone Pine! Venice to Zurich, Firenze to Rome and of various long loops including Marrakech/Atlas mountains and Swiss/Italian alps – phew tired just thinking about it again!

7 Set silly goals then try to achieve them. Such as roller-blading in the Registan in Samarkand or recording the Morroccon Oboe, in costume up in the Atlas mountains!

8 Fav project I conceived and produced still has to be the BBC Musical Nomad, still live. 40 days across the ‘stans (Uzbek, Krygyz, Kazakh) – meeting musicians, shaman and great people then sending daily video, audio, images and great stories live onto the web, world service radio and doing a TV/radio capture (just 4 of us) – still have memory of setting up a satellite one dark evening on a mountainside in Kazakstan, with a generator whiring in the distance, horsemen coming in an out of the trees, to upload our daily experience and then logging onto the BBC site and hearing the national anthem in memory of Princess Diana killed a few moments earlier…

Oct 052005

Pacific Stump ©Gary Hayes 2005Films of games in my mind don’t cut the mustard. So why are they still making them? It comes as no surprise that Halo (a game which was part-epithany for me) is being made into a large scale feature film. Also not surprising that Mr. Lord of the Rings Peter Jackson is going to take charge as reported by Reuters yesterday.

Jackson and his wife, Fran Walsh, will serve as the executive producers for “Halo,” which is targeted for worldwide release in mid-2007 by Universal Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox film studios.
“Halo” will be shot in Wellington, New Zealand, and will use Jackson’s production and post-production facilities there.
“I’m a huge fan of the game and look forward to helping it come alive on the cinema screen,” Jackson said in a statement.

Big name producers aside I get the sense that this game remake of films or film remake of games shows a part lack of maturity and risk in the industry – understandable given the poor box office performance at the moment. A more mature industry would of course be confident to develop games and films in parallel, knowing that the two can be marketed well and have a life in the market (the matrix and a couple of others had a go at this – but not the norm). Even more important for the future are hybrids of the two – a film that is part game and a game that is part film. A real problem here for me is that ‘canned’ games (ones fixed on disks without online component) and ‘canned’ films (all of them!) are not that well…compelling anymore for the new audiences. The uptake in online gaming is massive, because it is dynamic and has surprise and human characteristic. I think it is really flogging a dead horse, cynical marketing and lacks innovation – the films that have been made from games are not exactly up there in my top 100, sorry 1000!

“By the time of its release, “Halo” will join other video-game inspired films such as “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” “Resident Evil,” and “Doom.” But the industry’s Hollywood inroads have not been without bumps.”

This is more about brand exploitation than story of course and everyone knows it. I can’t imagine a screenplay getting past first post if it was pitched as “super-robot guy helps human soldiers kill aliens on strange planets” 😉 Suppose the real issue for me is that we all throw our personal constructs and emotions onto games when we play them – it becomes a unique experience, almost an event in our minds. I still remember a few long nights trying to get Lara through the canal level, yes I am not that good! But I now strongly associate Tomb Raider with Venice! Bizarre, that neural, cross-association thing again – my experience. Making a film of that event is more particularly a single (script writers route, or alternate story) journey through a non-linear game (well mostly non-linear – see previous post/article about serendipity “The Certainty of Chance“). It is like, well making a film that we can ‘relate’ to, familiarity but which is overtly articificial. I avoid talking about the differences between free-form game and narrative in this post as that is covered by a million voices outside but will refer you to this article by Gonzalo Frasca – which is a very accessible read. Part of the ludology vs narratology debate.

Back to this post. I wonder if this current trend by Hollywood is almost the last wag of the tail of ‘studio empire’ lion – the road from being the number one entertainment, to recycling b-movies to making a film about anything that has pulled the audience away from the box office, (video games). Will film itself move into its own genre – perhaps in 10-20 years when we refer to a film it will have it’s own connotation, something about people…perhaps and we can hope it will bring audiences back because cinema will be one of the few remaining mediums actually reflecting humanity. Still like games, in life we should still play with new forms in this cross-over period – some will rise, many will fail, I suggest most films of games or in fact any shared ‘personalized’ event might be one them.

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2005