Jeff Green (CGW): Part V
Conducted by Omni
what are the biggest changes for you personally and Computer Gaming
World in the last year?
For me personally, the biggest change is finally fulfilling my dream of becoming a woman. Okay, not really. The full “change” hasn’t happened yet. A few more hormone shots and I’m there. (Okay, I just wrote all that so that when my old high school friends Google my name, that’s what they’ll see.) For CGW, well, we have seen a *lot* of turnover on the staff—I am now the only one left from the time I first started. Which probably means it’s time for me to find a new mouthwash.
get the questions about E3 2004 out of the way.
What was the best freebie you got at this year’s show?
it great when I wait 4 months to answer your questions? Then, like,
everything is totally irrelevant! Yay! Actually, you know, no one really
gives away freebies anymore, except for the occasional t-shirt, hat, or
backpack. I long for the days of yore, when they used to give each and
every one of us a free naked girl.
someone in your position – someone in the loop in terms of games –
wouldn’t be surprised by many games shown at E3, but were there any
games that did surprise you?
being in the PC gaming ghetto, I don’t often get to see the console
titles ahead of time. One game that I loved there was Jade Empire, but
it wasn’t really a surprise since Bioware is making it and I’ve
loved every game they’ve ever done. So I guess I didn’t answer your
question, did I? I suck.
Okay, here’s a couple I knew about but was surprised by how good they
looked: Activision’s new Vampire the Masquerade game and THQ’s
to a press release from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA)
stated there were 65,000+ “industry professionals” in attendance at
E3. What is the ESA’s definition of an industry professional?
Who is included in this group?
lord, you got me. “Industry professionals?”
I didn’t know there were such things in this business. Whoever
they are, I don’t want to know them. I want to keep hanging out with
the dorito-eating, dope-smoking, lazy-ass slackers that make up the real
creative forces of this industry.
most indicators point to Doom 3 and Half-Life 2 being released this
year, what are the chances we’ll see both?
another advantage of taking 4 months to respond to you! Well, I guess we
can fairly safely say that Doom 3 will ship now, huh?
As far as Half-Life 2 goes, the indicators seem to be pointing
towards a release this year. I sure hope so. I haven’t always had the
greatest luck trying to get information out of Valve, but that doesn’t
dim my enthusiasm for this game at all.
you get a chance to check out the Phantom console in action?
Presuming it ships, will it pose any competition to pure PC
First of all, “presuming it ships” is of course the real question
here. I’ll believe it when I see it. Second, I just don’t get it. I
don’t get why anyone would bother. Which maybe makes me old and
stupid, but, hey, we all knew that about me anyway. We all have PCs on
our desks now, for all sorts of reasons. They’re not going away for a
long time. As long as we can play PC games on them—why add another
frickin’ gadget to the house?
was the absolute low light of this year’s show?
same thing it always is for me: Seeing gigantic lines of the
above-mentioned “industry professionals” waiting to get their
pictures taken with booth babes. “Hey, look, a really hot girl who
hates her job and thinks I smell is standing next to me because she’s
getting paid to! Aren’t I cool!?”
can’t remember where I read it, but somewhere there was speculation
that E3 might not exist in a couple of years due to its general
irrelevance as being too loud and “showy”.
Will E3 continue in its current form?
Yeah, I’ve been hearing rumors, too. Frankly, E3 is mostly a pain in everyone’s ass—everyone in the biz knows it and says to each other, and has for years. The game companies hate it
because they have to gear
their whole year, their whole marketing push around the show, even
though some of their games or hardware might not nearly be ready
presentation, and the press hates it because it is largely a waste of
our time. We’ve seen all these games already, and it’s way too loud
and superficial to glean any real information anyway. The only good
part, like any convention in any industry, is just being able to get out
of town, go to parties, and get drunk. That’s a pretty good part,
actually, so I hope they don’t kill it.
it was E3’s 10th Anniversary a “History of Video Games”
was set up in Kentia Hall. Did
you have a chance to check it out?
I actually witnessed one guy hyperventilating (presumably with
excitement) standing in front of an old Atari.
might have been hyperventilating because that’s what us old guys who
remember those Ataris do. In fact, that might have been me. Was the guy
overweight, sleepless, and kind of stupid looking?
If so, then, yeah, it was me.
now that the E3 questions are out of the way… do you lose any sleep
worrying about spelling errors that might have slipped into the latest
issue of the magazine?
spelling errors are going to slip through every now and then, despite a
crack team of editors and a full-time copy desk. What I worry about more
is inaccurate information, or missed information. We have a small staff
with a lot to do in a little amount of time every month, and once it’s
in print, it’s there forever.
It truly was a case of really bad timing – your two-page
preview included in the April CGW hitting newsstands just as the game
was canceled. Has this had
any affect on what previews CGW includes?
really, no. That timing did truly suck, indeed. But we are working so
far ahead of schedule (for example, we just finished our December issue,
here in September) that things like this are simply unavoidable. We have
to go on the assumption that the games we are looking at are actually
going to be made and not cancelled.
we ever see those 300+ page CGWs again?
I miss those days. Some of those issues around 1996-1998 were actually
over 400 pages. The thing is, it’s all about the ads. The more ads
that our salespeople sell, the more edit pages we get to include. The
ads pay for the edit. But these days, our primary advertisers, the game
companies, are spending less money on advertising in the gaming
magazines (which is why they are ALL smaller, not just CGW), and more on
TV and “mainstream” magazines, like Entertainment Weekly.
there were one, would you buy a 12” Gordon Freeman action figure?
really just not an action figure kind of guy. And if I was, as much as I
love Half-Life, no, I don’t think I’d buy one. However, I would buy
a Liv Tyler action figure. Or a Jessica Alba action figure. Or a Lindsay
Lohan action figure. Am I making myself clear?
Half-Life 2 possibly live up to expectations, which seem exceedingly
high at this point?
annoying thing about Valve is that they will probably at least live up
to expectations, if not surpass them.
I say annoying because, like Rockstar, they are one of those
companies that you’d kind of like to see taken down a couple pegs,
just because they come across as so damn arrogant. But then you play
their games and understand *why* they are arrogant—because they are
play a lot of PC games and I’ve never broken a mouse but I open a PC
gaming magazine and find it to be a common occurrence for full-time
reviewers. Are there anger
management issues in the gaming magazine business the general public
doesn’t know about?
yes. Yes indeed.
See, if you had to play every crappy game that we have to play,
and play them fast, and then write about them, you’d be breaking your
mice and keyboards too. The best stories we have here, though, are about
our former technical editor, Dave Salvator, they guy in charge of all
the hardware, who had such a short fuse in any multiplayer game we
played (which always made him the most fun to target) that he routinely
broke his controllers.
with Playstation 2s and PCs can play Final Fantasy XI Online together. As technology progresses, will this cross-platform
compatibility become the norm?
would think so, yeah, and I hope so. It actually seems pretty
inevitable, don’t you think? It’s cool to me how much Xbox Live has
caught on. Just a few years ago this seemed like impossibility.
And while I suppose it would behoove me, as the editor of a PC
gaming magazine, to just crow about the superiority of the PC, the fact
is that as a gamer, the more options we have, the better. Maybe one day
the whole console/PC gaming line will be completely irrelevant. Maybe
one day we will all hold hands
a way, Leisure Suit Larry is making a return (and it looks like it will
actually be released). Depending
on how it sells, could we see new editions of Space Quest, Kings Quest
or even Police Quest? Or
are old school PC adventure fans just hoping against hope that any of
the “classic” adventure series from Sierra or LucasArts will be
resurrected? (Or in the case of LucasArts, actually be released?)
Suit Larry looks so awful and embarrassing that hopefully it will kill
once and for all the notion of reviving these old franchises. Look,
I’m the oldest coot in the business, but even I do not want to just
keep reliving the past over and over. We should just let these things
die, and live on in our memory. At some point, the creative geniuses at
LucasArts and Sierra actually created great new titles like Day
of the Tentacle and Gabriel Knight and Grim Fandango. So how about if
this generation of game developers comes up with its own new classics,
rather than living off the glory of other people’s creations?
there be much of an outcry if there’s never another Tomb Raider game?
think there will be more of an outcry if there IS another Tomb Raider
game. It’s kind of like the Star Wars movies, or ER on
television—you just want it to go away at this point and stop
you think Bioware will be gobbled up by Microsoft to make Xbox-specific
this happened already? Jade Empire was probably my favorite game at E3
this year, an Xbox-specific role playing game from Bioware. But, no,
actually I know that they have a PC RPG in the works, and no matter what
or where they end up, the bottom line with Bioware is that they are
awesome developers and we should just be grateful that they’re making
games at all.
anyone but the most tech-savvy of gamer really give a rat’s ass about
got me. I know that I don’t give a rat’s ass about pixel shaders. I
couldn’t even really tell you what they are. Do they shade pixels?
There’s nothing more boring or irrelevant to me when a developer is
demo’ing their game and they start crowing endlessly about all the
technical details like that. To me, the more they go on and on about
pixel shaders, or whatever, the less they have to say about the actual
game part—the part that actually matters to us.
got to know. Describe the
chair you sit in when playing games (at work or home).
are you expecting here? A hand-crafted diamond-studded luxury armchair
with built-in porta-potty? My chair at home is a piece of crap old
wooden thing with a broken roller, so it’s always kind of tilting to
one side, so I have to hold my foot down so that I don’t tip over and
break my neck. My chair here at CGW is one of those standard-issue black
office chairs that I have marked as my own with coffee and Dorito
stains. Yes, it’s one glamorous life I lead!
it a little weird living in a state where Arnold Schwarznegger is
about a LOT weird? I’m not going to get into politics here, but
let’s just say that Schwarzenegger did not carry the vote in my
beloved town of Berkeley.
the motorcycle treating you? (Or vice versa.)
love the motorcycle. It’s one of the only things that keeps me sane on
a daily basis. I actually got in an accident last October---some clown
talking on his cell phone hit me on the Bay Bridge—but the net result
of that was that I was able to get a bigger and better bike with the
insurance money. So here’s a shout-out to that dumbass for hitting me.
games are on your hard drive? And
are you playing them?
know what’s still on my hard drive? Baldur’s Gate II. Sometime
before I die I must finish that. That’s just about the only old game
on there, because my hard drive is a relatively small 30 gig drive, so I
have to constantly swap out games. Other games on there right now are
the World of WarCraft beta (playing it a lot), the EverQuest 2 beta
(playing it but need more RAM), Dawn of War (just started it), Kohan 2
(can’t wait), Grim Fandango (replaying it now because I was dying for
a good adventure game), The Sims 2 (addicted to it), Doom 3 (ummm, yeah,
we gave this 5 stars…hmmmmm), and Battlefield 1942 (my default online
fragfest game….). And just to be heretical, I will also admit to be
playing the following games on the consoles: Burnout 3, Pikmin 2,
Katamari Damacy, and Sly 2. Katamari is my game of the year so far, on
tend to live a nomadic life – kind of like the A-Team (at least
that’s the popular perception). What
will you do if you ever step down as the EIC of CGW?
will roam the Earth, dispensing wisdom and helping those in need
wherever I go. Or maybe I’ll just sell double-decaf soy lattes at
Starbucks. I think I could really get into that. Like, check this out:
“Would you like an extra shot with that? How about a little whipped
cream, sir? Something to eat today?” See, I could totally do that job.
there anything in the last four years that we haven’t asked you?
(And what would the answer be?)
Only one thing comes to mind. The question would be: “If you could be anyone in history, who would you be?” And the answer would be: Cher’s hair stylist.
(October 1, 2004)
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