Unheroic Union

17-Jan-08 5:58 PM by
Filed under Celebrities, Television; Comments Off on Unheroic Union

The writers' strike has left many Hollywood denizens with plenty of time on their hands. So, like the rest of us slackers, they're playing video games — except when they do it, it's newsworthy.

Jesse Alexander, co-executive producer of Heroes, was recently on Major Nelson's Xbox Live podcast. From time indices 1:51:06 to 2:32:15 of this 53-megabyte file, Mr. Alexander talks about his past writing video game scripts for Activision; why writers are king in television, but not movies; why the upcoming Heroes game won't suck like the Alias game did; and the similarities and differences between, and the convergence of the television and gaming media.

Personally, I'm not sure just how similar the two media are. They've been talking about "episodic gaming" for awhile, but we've not seen anything approaching 22 installments of one-hour weekly morsels. Though a single game might last longer than that, its cinematic experiences have been achieved only via pre-scripted, non-interactive sequences that take the player out of the game. It doesn't seem anymore effective going the other way, either: the interactive features offered by next-gen DVD formats are garnering little enthusiasm from consumers. It seems cinephiles want cinema and gamers want games. Astonishing!

Convergence overlooks the unique strengths of each genre. I enjoy television and games for different reasons and would hate to find them lost in a hybrid exhibiting the strengths of neither.

The red wire! Cut the red one!

22-Feb-07 8:22 AM by
Filed under Potpourri; 6 comments.

I'm an audio/video snob; among my minimum standards are that movies be widescreen and in at least 5.1 surround sound. I insist on having the theatrical experience the directors intended for me.

But I'm also a tightwad who doesn't believe effective presentation should be the exclusive domain of monstrous cables. I'm satisfied with my six-year-old CRT television's one set of component inputs and no HDMI, 480i, or other fancy features that are supposedly making or breaking the next generation of home game consoles.

So I recently tried to squeeze more out of my aging-yet-satisfactory system. I'd historically reserved the component inputs for my DVD player: movies are my television's #1 application, and I hesitated to experience signal degradation via a switchbox. But with the Nintendo Wii packaged with mere A/V cables, making an additional purchase necessary, I decided to make a quantum leap.