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A Galaxy of Joy

I had the great pleasure of traveling out to Chicago for Star Wars Celebration 2019. This is my second celebration and I somehow had even more fun than in Orlando. There is just something heartwarming about finding one of your tribes. A group of people you have a kinship with. And these Star Wars fans are welcoming and wonderful.

I’m excited for the new branches of the galaxy far, far away. The Mandalorian seems to be right in the vein of the Star Wars novels, games, and comics I grew up on back in the mid-90s.

My soul got such a charge out of the whole five days. I met some fantastic people. Hung out all weekend with a great friend and co-pilot. And had once in a life time opportunities that will have a lasting effect on my life.

Glad to be part of this family, and veey excited to do all again in Anaheim in 2020!

”I’m home.” 

”I’m home.” 

Groomsman

I had the pleasure of seeing two of my favorite people tie the knot this weekend. Glad to be part of it!

A Fine Oration

So I’ve “married” two people now. That is a thing I have done. And it was great! And they are two wonderful, happy, amazing people. It made my job so much easier to let them exchange their beautiful vows as it trumped anything I could have said. A wonderful and amazing day.

MUHBOMM - E3 2018

So video games or more accurately video game news is a passion of mine. As a follow of news and trends in the industry for almost all of my life the Entertainment Software Association’s big trade show is a fulcrum of my year. The electronic entertainment expo, E3 is the biggest video game show in the US and for many publishers and develpera it is the most important show of the year.

Once again gaming news Christmas comes to a close. While events like GamesCom has more people and the motherboard news cycle allows announcements to happen, E3 still hold a very special place in the gaming year. Built out of the ashes of the old days of video games at the Consumer Electronics Show, E3 has always been a showcase of the biggest news out of the big players. This year has the three big press pitches from the console makers; Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. In addition publisher showings from; Electronic Arts, Bethesda, Square-Enix, Ubisoft, Devolver Digital, and a PC games event. In this update, I’m going to give my impressions from each announcement in the order they happened.

Electronic Arts (EA) For a few years now EA has been hosting its event outside the LA convention hall, EA Play. While more public facing it ends up feeling like it is somewhat an island outside of E3 proper. No more acutely is that felt then in the seemingly tone deaf press event. The focus on already announced items and/or minor upgrades to franchises was profound. Excitement around Battlefield V felt tamped down by a lack of a gameplay deep dive. FIFA, NBA, and Madden series care felt perfunctory, showing just how mature and complete those packages are. Perhaps the highlight was the spotlight on indie devs. The first indie was the surprise announcement and release of Unraveled 2 should have been a joyous moment but it left me feeling it being kicked out the door. This is mostly due to the notion of its marketing cycle being revealed, launched, and done with marketing in the space of a few minutes. Sea of Solitude was the second game shown with a refreshingly earnest pitch from one of the German developers. While impressive and pretty it reminded me too much of games like Gravity Rush that resulted in to much style and not enough substance. Star Wars brand care felt like an attempt to salvage the grease fire view of the games monetization strategy. It opened the door to one of the loudest themes of the whole show, a battlecry against loot boxes and other perceived unfair cash grabs. And the tiniest announcement of the new Star Wars game Jedi: Fallen Order was lacking any substance and felt almost genuinely off the cuff and unplanned. Those who loved the Command and Conquer series felt heartbroken as that franchise’s cache is sacrificed to create buzz for a mobile game. That news and reaction just goes to illustrate the gulf between the enthusiast video game crowd and far larger and more lucrative mobile games market. Sadly there seems little evidence that the mobile game market will be using the power of new smart phones to get closer to their condole and PC breathes. Instead the trend seems less video game and more gaming in the casino sense. Lastly EA spent a long time talking about Anthem the latest from the remaining staff at Bioware. The following gameplay demo was exciting and beautiful. Although I feel that they are try to play off to fans of pervious Bioware game that it is a narrative driven game when in the news surrounding it seems to be a narrative light online game in the vein of Destiny or The Divison. While Bioware made an honest effort with Star Wars the Old Republic, my thoughts are gameplay heavy online games are just incompatible with good story. When some jerk can comeuppance and emote dance in the middle of a dramatic moment or your friends talk of your headset while dialogue is going on it kills any sense of immersion. And on one last note the lack of demonstration of the story for a game that releases in February tracks with the rumor the game was heavily monetized like Battlefront and is in a full course correction. And the easiest way to deal with the shortfall of profit expected from a game that cannot make money from loot box and gameplay enhancement is to cut costs. Easiest way to accomplish that is to cut the development time and release soon to start making money from sales. It just seems unlikely February 2019 was the original reals date of this game and that it will be coming in very, very hot.

Microsoft Say what you will about the squarely second place Xbox One but the story has been going on a better direction for a long time. This show was similar to the last one in that it was wall to wall games. I don’t have the wherewithal to go through all of the fifty game announcements but to put it simply Microsoft had the most content rich presentation of the whole show. While their little chance of the Xbox One from catching up to the PS4, little by little the brand was knocked the rust off of its botched E3 debut. No longer is it spoken about in the tones of a multimedia all in one entertainment hub. This presentation was all about the game console. Some highlights included the charming demonstration of Ori and the Will of the Wisps. We saw the intriguing weather dynamics of Forza Horizon 4’s English setting. The wrapping cane off Ubisoft’s the Division 2. Devil May Cry 5 was a surprising and confusing reveal. The tiny tease of a future Battletoads reveal was neat but not much more then a logo trailer. But the biggest news was the world’s first look at Cyberpunk 2077. It has a gorgeous look and one with a sun soaked unique twist of the dark monotones of most cyberpunk fiction. While i care nothing for the gameplay nor story of Gears of War it seems fans are getting treated to three new games. The bizarre Funco tie-in mobile game Gears of War POP! The x-com like Gears of Wars tactics. And the next main line game Gears of Wars 5.

Bethesda After the rockiness of last year’s YouTube video in a theater presentation, most were hoping for something big and special to this year. And for the most part they delivered. Odd crowd reactions to an Andrew W.K. performance aside, Bethesda showed off a game presentation devoid of the gamesmanship of the larger publishers. They showed what they want in the way they wanted. Exciting looks at Rage 2 were welcome as that game shapes up to be a fun open world romp with tight gunplay. Nods to game support for Wolfenstein, PREY, and ESO were welcome. In the end the biggest portion was about the new Bethesda Game Studios project Fallout 76. Now I wish I could be more positive on it but the vaccum of detail around core gameplay ideas for a game coming in November would make any observer a little cynical. It will be an online shared Fallout game in the mold they have created with Fallout’s 3 and 4. But while explaining that all humans in the game are people playing the game with you they did almost nothing to explain or show that off. In the subsequent days more info came to light about the nature of a solo game (aka like Anthem it’s lip service and not really designed around supporting solo play.) But it was found that Fallout 76 was not at the show despite the marketing emphasis on it. So in the next few months to its release it has a lot of explaining to do about even the most basic elements of gameplay. Also like Anthem it claims story and the ability to play by yourself but likely that only true in the broadest sense due to the nature of these games. Time will tell. And to cap the show they let us know Starfield the next single player game from the studio and the follow up to Skyrim are both in the works.

Square-Enix Seemingly using the playbook from the Bethesda 2017 press “event,” Square-Enix presented a video of mostly know items. A deep dive into the latest Tomb Raider game was the most gameplay we would get to see. Everything else was video trailers or rehashed information. The package was tight and concise but ultimately dull. The Quiet Man being the only surprise with any intrigue around it.

Ubisoft Few companies deliver a air of authenticity the way the French based Ubisoft does. Everything they do has a vibe of honest intent. Even re-minting the annual release of the Assassin’s Creed franchise comes off as a genuine attempt to improve the series. The delightful presentations of Rabbids Kingdom Battle and Beyond Good & Evil show just how much joy this company has in its soul. They truly have a culture of making fun things that is lost in most publishers. Lastly the reveal of Star Link was a wondrous thing especially with the weaving of Star Fox into it’s DNA.

Sony I found the whole thing a beautiful presentation of ugly things. While it sounds like the on the floor view of the press conference was a miserable slog, to the home viewer the elaborate sets gave a sense of awe to what amounted to a handful of videos. The Last of Us II demonstration left with me the same emptiness as the first game. The grimness of that world is so oppressive as to leave rooting for death to take this poor soul from their wretched lives. This was maybe doubled down on with the happy, colorful, and bright story scene juxtaposed by the dark blue-gray snuff film vibe of the gameplay. Ghosts of Tsushima was a more harmonious vision of beautiful graphics and white knuckle violence. It’s a gorgeous game but with no UI items on the screen it seemed very difficult to understand the gameplay. I want the stressful bliss of Bushido Blade from this but not sure that is what they are selling. Next they ran through some highlights of other games. With the Resident Evil 2 remake being my standout. It looks fresh and amazing but I’m a little bummed out it’s over the shoulder rather then tank controls. I’m sure I’m very alone in that but still. Kingdom Hearts 3 is still pretending it is a playable, releasable game with cohesive story. Then the grand experiment that is Death Stranding came up. I love Kohima, whether it’s Metal Gear, Zone of the Enders, Solar Boy Dajango, or Snatchers; I like his work. But even I stop and ask myself is this just a fine arts peice with no substance. Since this game is likely a lifetime away from release I’ll play the wait and see game but I don’t know, it looks to out there for even me. Also the toenail scene was the most violent and gory thing in the whole show. And lastly Spider-Man. It’s likely the only first party Sony game that has ever wanted to me to get a PlayStation. Ok other then Metal Gear 4. But I adore and still every once and awhile play Spider-Man 2, because of its goal of making an open world Spider-Man simulation rather then a linear game. And this seems to have the same goals in mind. It looks terrific and I dread finding a way to play it that doesn’t cost me a few hundred dollars.

Nintendo And we wrap things up with my favorite company in the biz, the Big N. Things kicked off with the highly stylized Deamon X Mechina. Coming for legends in the genre this was a great sign of the interest the Nintendo Switch is getting for development. We had the new announcements of Super Mario Party and Warioware Gold. Both are exciting there own way. Super Mario Party shows some neat tricks between multiple switch consoles. And I adore having more Warioware. Now the lion’s share of the time was spent fleshing out Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. Lots of little details and deep dives. But on the whole a great version of a known quality. Also kudos to Nintendo and Epic Games for the “available now” moment of the show, with the release of Fortnite for the Switch.

Wrapup It’s been a wild show. Lots of ups and downs. But on the whole, it’s a good time to be a gamer.


MUHBOMM - 2018.24.162

Mac Updates His Blog on Monday, Mondays, or MUHBOMM is a weekly column highlighting one man’s view of the universe. Mac Purvis III, is a self described purveyor of amazing things and dabbles in many different mediums of expression.

2017 Pittsburgh Horror 48 Hour Film Project

We are getting close to being old pros at this. Gaff Tape & a Prayer has made eight 48 hour film projects now. And even with all our other works and contributions the 48s are still special. For us they are like holidays. A chance to dump the weight of the world for a weekend and just make something.

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This year’s Halloween edition we had a blast thinking smaller and thighter. We drafted the genre choices of ghost movie or insanity/asylum. The prompt was a s follows: Character, Joe or Jodi Macintosh (writer); Prop, a Lamp; Line, “Sometimes it’s a struggle.” From there we made an effort to be a single location and be more static in our shots.

 In end we made a pleasantly unsettling home invasion and murder. It was simple and clean. And for once we had time to polish it to a fabulous shine. Our audio work and post production VFX came out splendidly. And our audience agreed as we earned Best Sound Design during the judging.

I hope you enjoy,

“Between the Lines.”

2017 Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Project

We had another enjoyable stress festival of making a movie in 48 hours. This year the draw was action adventure or slapstick. We took those assigned genres and just mushed them together. Then spice with the required elements; Hunter or Harper Drakely, health inspector; a die or dice as a prop; and the line “Did you read my tweet?” Add that together and we end up with our take on a bad day for a super villain... THE SAFEST GAME

We had a blast making it and are pretty proud of it.  And the judges liked it too. We won four prizes for it. Best use of Character, Best use of Dialogue, Best Costuming, And Best Makeup. 

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Star Wars Celebration

So to cap off my exciting round of trips I headed back to Florida. It was time for the biggest Star Wars party in the galaxy.

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Boston and PAX East 2017

I had a great time hanging out my annual pilgrimage to Boston. This year there was a highlight of CosPlaying as McCree from Overwatch in his American costume. My buddy was dudded up as RoadHog, and we walked the floor for the better part of an hour with a whole crew. Also when not taking in PAX playing with my shiny new Nintendo Switch. Zelda Breath of the Wild and 1-2 Switch sword fighting ruled the day.

Pros: Great show every time, Breath of the Wild

Cons: COLD very cold, my costume did not survive much more than 2 hours of con time

2016 48 Hours of Horrors

Wow! Just Wow! We had blast working with a small team right up to the buzzer. We finished with three minutes to spare. Phew! Taking the elements of Vince Frank, Auto Mechaninc; A Paintbrush; and the line "That's one way to make your point;" we built something great. We had decided to dive deep and make a true horror film. And that we did.

Pulled Mad Scientist for the 3rd Time in a Row

Pulled Mad Scientist for the 3rd Time in a Row

Let's make a Movie! 

Let's make a Movie! 

We are Murdering

We are Murdering

Before the plunge into the Basement

Before the plunge into the Basement

Darkness Within

Darkness Within

Keeping our Leading Lady Warm in the Murder Basement

Keeping our Leading Lady Warm in the Murder Basement

Editing  

Editing  

Everybody Pushing the Finish

Everybody Pushing the Finish

VFX Wizard! 

VFX Wizard! 

We made it with minutes to Spare. Good thing we finished in the car... on the way there. 

We made it with minutes to Spare. Good thing we finished in the car... on the way there. 

Phew! Decompressing after delivering  

Phew! Decompressing after delivering  

Finally Watching our film together for the first time. 

Finally Watching our film together for the first time. 

What an amazing weekend! 

What an amazing weekend! 

Another 48 Hours

Another year another Gaff Tape & a Prayer adventure. We had a blast making this year's peice for the Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film project. It's called "Dark Chocolate" and was a blast. Required elements, Genre: Horror, Character: Lenny or Lonni Safron Chocolatier, Prop: Sticky Note, & Line "Maybe I just don't find you funny."

Enjoy

Dark Chocolate

Here we go again! 

Here we go again! 

Living up to our name

Living up to our name

Our Chocolateer

Our Chocolateer

Murder Basement

Murder Basement

A Dead Man

A Dead Man

What Makes Great Chocolate? 

What Makes Great Chocolate? 

A Fantastic Weekend

A Fantastic Weekend

The Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Project 2015

It was that time of year again. Time fo the 48 Hour Film Project. It's been a whirlwind since the last time we were here. A year of amazing things.

This time drew the dreaded western and musical genre. Be we took it head on. Our Character was Seth or Sara Tremaine, Our prop was a mug, and Our line was "You can't take it with you."

check out The Best Outlaws Ever.

Here we go.

Here we go.

The magic of production

The magic of production

The intensity of Post-Production

The intensity of Post-Production

Done and done

Done and done

Yes we did!

Yes we did!

48 Hour Film Project Austin

After our award winning film last year, our teammate moved down to Austin, Texas. And of course we saw this as an opportunity to get into two 48 hour film projects. Gathering an amazing talent pool together the folks calling themselves "Media Offline" built something amazing. Working over the net I was able to help do some of the writing. Our local VFX wizard actually headed south and pitched in. With three team members working on it from the original Gaff Tape & a Prayer it felt like opening another branch. But really it turned into something original and amazing.

 

Check out  ["Liability"](http://youtu.be/A61xG_Eft_A)

Filmapalooza 2015

Talk about an amazing journey. A group of my talented friends and I made a film for the 48 Hour Film Project. And you know what we won the Pittsburgh City Project. That meant we were entered to show our film in Hollywood at the international level competition Filmapalooza, with a chance to win a showing at Cannes. Half a year later I was on a plane to California. And what an amazing time. We didn't get to Cannes but the experiences and people I met with are priceless. And I could not have asked to be in Hillywood with a better group of filmmaking buddies. It will stand as a milestone in my life.  

 

a link to our film Last Man Standing

   All Offical

 

All Offical

... where the streets are paved in gold. And cats don't dance.

... where the streets are paved in gold. And cats don't dance.

Here we go

Here we go

Always shooting, even at Griffith Observatory  

Always shooting, even at Griffith Observatory  

A Magical Journey

A Magical Journey