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Where Found: PC Gamer, Vol.7 Number 11, November 2000

Pages: 240

 

Unearthed recently in PC Gamer (circa. 2000), this feature is notable for a number of reasons apart from Ken Levine's haircut. I can't think of many other times I've read something with this many "game gods" in one place. And the issue it appeared in was 240 pages long!

 

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Time Capsule: The Next Game Gods

 

pc gamer new game gods

 

The Internet excels at being one great big searchable database. Tap into Google with "cats playing tennis" and you'll get hundreds of pages with that phrase. Do the

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same for ""what ken levine looked like in 2000" and you get zero results. For that you'll have to turn to the November 2000 issue of PC Gamer, which is splashed with the phrase "The Next Game Gods." A little pretentious but it still catches a person's eye.

Before we even get to the text, take a look at Ken Levine circa 2000. The look on his face in most of these pictures

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tells me that at that very moment he's looking into the future and regretting ever getting his hair cut and styled like this:

 

ken levine irrational games

 

With this particular style he did a fantastic job dating himself the same way he would have if he'd been wearing a lime tuxedo with a flared collar.

But it's not just about the photos, this particular Time Capsule is filled with text.

The participants of this "next Game Gods" roundtable include American McGee, Stevie Case, Alex Garden, Brad McQuaid, Cliff Bleszinski, Ed Del Castillo, Ken Levine, and Robin Walker. The feature was in response to a feature that PC Gamer did a year before titled "Game Gods" which included the likes of John Carmack, Sid Meier, and Will Wright. It's mostly a transcript of the designers blabbing with each other and there's a decided lack of hostility, even if Levine looks like he wishes he was living under water or in a hot air balloon so he wouldn't have to be there.

 

new game gods pc gamer

 

The structure of the article makes the whole thing read like a list of quotable one-offs and divorced of context and viewed through the lens of everything that has happened in the last decade and a bit, some of it comes off as completely ridiculous.

cliffy bBleszinski on "PC vs. Console":

 

I find it very disturbing going from the PC to the console and to have to be Sony's bitch; to have to have Sony approve the things that we do. It's upsetting for me to submit it for their approval.

 

Hey, things have changed over the last 11 years! Instead of being Sony's exclusive bitch, he's also Microsoft's bitch. And I'm sure that unease and angst he felt back in 2000 (at the age of 25) was been massaged away with all that console money.

Fun fact not mentioned in his Wikipedia entry: "What Has Inspired Him" Bleszinski reports, "My beautiful wife Darcy, who has stood by me throughout my entire career." I had no idea he'd been married before.

Under "The Pitfalls of Fame" Levine opines that "[the] more public a person becomes, the more there's a sheen of phoniness that goes over you."

I don't know about that. He seemed pretty genuine when he showed up on stage at E3 2011 even if some of the pictures are kind of misleading:

 

ken levine

Levine is not discussing his vision for DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball 3. (Picture source: Wikipedia.)

 

And when he keynoted PAX Prime and talked about how attracted he was to the Scarlet Witch... I'm not sure if that's a sheen of phoniness so much as a sheen of complete sweaty nerdiness.

On the same page this quote appears, there's a sidebar with Gabe Newell (an Elder Game God) that includes the question, "What are you working on now?" A gap of a
gabe newell valve software decade and the answer still rings true for 2011.

"Oh, this and that. We're all very busy."

 

A rumor I'm starting right now notes that he has this phrase carved into the top of his desk so even during a weak moment -- a moment he might reveal the ending to the Half-Life saga, it was all a dream in a snow globe on an island guarded by Laura Palmer -- he can refer to it without missing a beat.

The feature runs from page 68 to 100, including ads. A feature like this would never be posted online, unless it was a developer-focused site like Gamasutra. It's too wordy. Too many words spoil it, right? A lot of effort would be put into transcribing the whole thing, hours getting it looking good online, and 27 people would read it from beginning to end, while everyone else would simply get on the gaming forums and bitch about what American McGee said about his name being included on the box for the original Alice and ignore everything else.

There were two questions I was left with after re-reading the article.

Where are these gods now? Who makes up the current pantheon of game gods?

The falls outside the scope of this particular Time Capsule, but it's a question I'll revisit in the coming weeks.

Until then, buy a print mag and hold on to it. You never know what gems it might contain.

- Aaron Simmer

(August 29, 2011)

 

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