the Mouth of Madness:
By Jason "loonyboi" Bergman
What's up this week in loonygames? Ask our editor.
t's been a wild ride, boys and girls...but it's finally here. Chances are this is the first time you've heard of this page, but we've been around for quite a while, quietly working away.
The story behind loonygames starts about a year ago (probably a bit more than that) around the time my buddy Phoebus started working on HexenWorld (which celebrated its first anniversary this month...congrats!). Speaking with Phoebus as he worked on the site, I got a bit jealous. I've run some sites before (the QuakeLab: Multimedia, Keep Out!, and some other small pages) but most of my high-profile work has been done for others. Here Phoeb was doing something entirely on his own...and hey, I envied him (who wouldn't?).
So I started brainstorming ideas for a site of my own. Unlike Phoebus, I have never been able to commit myself to covering a single game...chalk it up to my tiny attention span or whatever, but I just haven't been able to do it. And I already knew that attempting another news site was a pointless idea...which didn't leave much as far as the stereotypical game sites are concerned. So I decided to come up with something new.
I came up with this kooky idea of doing a site that wasn't a news page, wasn't a hosting service, and definitely wasn't confined to any single game...weekly magazine devoted to games. But I wanted to take it further...I love gaming sites as much as the next guy, but let's face it...they're starting to look identical. This site would have to be different...have to be truly unique. What I pictured is almost exactly what is here today. Almost every single image on this page is hand drawn (the icons you see at each page are by Dan Zalkus, a good friend of mine, and one hell of an illustrator) and the site owes more to Slate design-wise than PlanetQuake.
So I pitched the site to some people to get some feedback...and you know what? It was shot down. For good reason, I might add. I mean come on! The resources i'd need to run a site like this are insane...i'd need tons of writers, contacts in the industry that I just didn't have...and there's no way I'd have been able to keep it up very long.
A year has passed. I've got the resources, i've got the writers, and i've got a year's worth of contacts at my disposal.
So here we are.
When I decided to start working on this for real (a few months back) I called up everyone I knew and asked them to help. And you know what? They all did. The columnists, artists, and writers for loonygames include some of my closest and dearest friends (not to mention my sister!). As I started to get more confident that I could actually pull off this thing, I asked some people who I had met at various places for help...some of them I knew pretty well, others were just handshakes in a crowded room. But much to my suprise, every time I explained our concept to someone, they got just as excited about this as I did.
Before I knew it, I had a full staff. A staff that included some of the biggest names in gaming, and enough hardcore interviews and editorials to get me through those first awkward months. I just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone. If it weren't for the support of these guys, this site before you would still be just a few notes hastily scribbled on a Palm Pilot somewhere around 14th Street.
But hey! It's not...it's an honest-to-goodness real thing. So without further ado, let's talk about the details, huh?
This column you're reading now is my little soapbox. Don't expect too much from me in the way of rants...i'll leave that up to our writers. Primarily, this is where you'll read what's on tap for this issue of loonygames.
There's that word..."issue". In case you haven't noticed, loonygames isn't run like a traditional gaming site. We're a magazine. Every Monday, we'll have a new cover story, along with this here column. Throughout the week all the columns will be updated, resulting in a complete issue on friday.
Make sense? Good. Let's talk details then.
This week in loonygames, we've got a real treat...an interview with Chris Taylor (the man behind Total Annihilation) conducted by none other than George Broussard (the man behind Duke Nukem). It turns out that these two are huge fans of each other's work, so it only seemed natural for me to ask them to do this. I think it came out pretty dang well...hope you agree.
Tomorrow marks the publishing debut of Paul Steed's new column, "Thinking Outside the Box". Paul Steed, for those unfamiliar with his work, is a 3D modeller at id Software and one hell of a ranter. You may recall his notorious .plan files from a while back. Well, he's back, and boy does he have a lot to say. I won't spoil anything for you...but i'll tell you this much...it's pretty dang entertaining to read. He'll be alternating between rants (odd-numbered issues) and tutorials (even numbered) so all you 3D jockeys out there get ready.
Also on tap for Tuesday, is Josh Vasquez's "Pixel Obscura". Josh is a cinema studies student, and he'll be turning that critical eye towards the cinematic aspects of videogames. Coincidentally, his first installment is on the intro to Quake II, which was made by none other than Paul Steed. Did he like it? You'll just have to come back tomorrow to check it out. :)
If that wasn't enough for you, Wednesday will see the premiere of Chris Hargrove's "Code on the Cob", a programming tutorial column. Chris, for those unfamiliar with the name, is a programmer at 3D Realms working on Duke Nukem Forever. For this column, he'll be writing an actual, working game, documenting the complete process...from planning, to every individual line of code. When the whole thing's done, we'll have the executable here for download, so you can see if you did it right. Chris is jumping head-first into this, and I can't wait to see how this whole thing turns out myself (and i'm the editor!).
Thursday brings more loony-lovin' for ya...we've got our first Bargain Bin review (by yours truly) which focuses on those games that people can actually afford (remember those?). But more importantly, we've got our first Guest Editorial.
The Guest Editorial is a column where each week, a different industry figure writes an original rant. Our first installment is by Rich Wyckoff, a game designer at DreamWorks Interactive working on Trespasser. His rant is called "Nothing New Under the Sun", and is really a great read. Actually, he enjoyed writing it so much, that he's decided to start his own column called "Beaker's Bent". That'll begin next week, and run in even numbered issues from then on.
Friday we wind down the week with our Community Profile...this week's subject is Steve "sCary" Gibson, who's lead an interesting life over the past two years. We've got a great interview with him (conducted during the recent CPL event in Texas) so drop by on friday for that.
Also on Friday will be our first MailBag column. We're doing something a bit different with our MailBag...we'll do the expected running of letters, but we'll be isolating one lucky letter writer a week to win our kickass loonygames t-shirt* (check it out here).
The t-shirt is really an amazing thing...it was designed by Howard Cruse, an artist whose work I first became enamored with when I was all of twelve years old! It's an original image (the first actually) of our loon, and it's pure Cruse, goofy as ever (glom them feet!). And yes, we're really giving one of these away every single week. It's sort of a big thanks for reading our site. We would be wasting our time if you guys weren't coming here, and when all's said and done, it's the least we can do. The t-shirts are provided by Berda Compugrafix who make all kinds of cool stuff, from t-shirts to calendars to golf balls (!!). If you need something made up, check 'em out. They get the big ol' loony thumbs up.
So that's basically it for the first issue of loonygames...what do you think? Have we succeeded in creating an original site? Do we suck? Drop by our Feedback page and send us a line with your thoughts...you might walk away with a shirt. And come back next week for a whole new issue of loony-goodness (including our first feature article which is sure to turn a few heads).
Most importantly, have a look around. If you're reading this at the beginning of the week, then there really isn't much to see yet...come back tomorrow (and the day after) for lots of great stuff. And hey...on Friday we'll have a whole issue for you. Sound good? We certainly think so.
Until next week...stay loony!
- Jason "loonyboi" Bergman is the editor-in-chief of loonygames.
* Winners of the
"honary loon" t-shirt must live in the United States. Sorry...but
them's the breaks.