I saw a coffin today. On the ground. By the deli.
You can trust me about this whole event, because if I wanted to make something up, I’d make up something that sounded believable.
The casket was on the sidewalk, next to the bus stop, around the corner from our office. It was just lying there on the ground, in front of a store that had been out of business for a while. There was a piece of cardboard taped to the store’s window. It said, “Coffin. $100.”
It had seen better days, but it looked like it had been the fancy model at one time. It was gray, with long, silver handles on the side. I didn’t want to touch it, but Joe Ching, fearless and heroic Double Fine level designer, mocker of death, grabbed the lid and flipped it open.
The red velvet interior was soiled and moldy. Big, dark stains crisscrossed the fabric, and there was this white-ish, bread-mould-looking mess here and there. Where did all those stains come from? Had someone dug this thing up from a grave to sell it? If so, what had they done with the body after they scooped it out?
“Never been used!” said a big guy in a wife beater t-shirt, as he came out of the vacant store to sell us his coffin. He seemed very jovial, and more than a little proud of his casket. “Brand new!” he said with a smile.
“What?” said Joe, acting again without fear or hesitation. “What about all those gross stains in there?”
“Oh, I think that’s from all the sex.”
As if those were not the weirdest, most disgusting words he possibly could have uttered right then. I’m still not even sure what he meant. I mean, MY GOD, what could he POSSIBLY have meant??? I have been trying not to think about it since. And think I will never understand it, because I am officially wiping this incident from my memory… starting… NOW.
What? Where am I? Hello?
You’re not going to believe this, but this is an actual Psychonauts-related news item. I know, I know—it kind of soils the reputation of the news page to have real news on it, but every once in a while, some slips through.
ITEM: Psychonauts appeared in a few magazines in July. We got a little blurb in Game Informer’s E3 round up. And we got a two-page spread in the July issue of Play magazine. If you’ve never seen Play magazine, you should check it out, because it’s new and pretty, just like Double Fine. And if you are in the UK you should get yourself a copy of Edge Magazine, where Raz has been recently sighted. There is also a rumor that Psychonauts is mentioned in this month’s Popular Science! I’ll believe that one when I see it. Maybe I’ll pick up a copy tomorrow when I’m flying into work in my flying car.
Please note: If you click on those links above, looking for the articles, you won’t find them. They appeared in the magazines. On paper. This might be a great introduction for some of you into the exciting world of PRINT MEDIA, the internet’s crinkly cousin.
Okay, thank god that’s over. Now, back to the RATS!
Double Fine’s Homeland Defense Department has deployed several mouse traps to fight Popeye and his gang. I feel kind of bad about it, because I worked so hard to create rats and mice in the first place (oh, wait, that’s a secret) and now people go around killing them. Sigh. Nevertheless, here’s a treat for you and the kids: If I do manage to kill one I’m going to sell it on eBay, and use the money to buy more traps. Do you see the genius in that? That’s what they call “Empire Building” my friend.
This is not news. It is completely stupid, I know. So please, I’m begging you, do not read it. It’s horrible enough that I had to experience it.
So, today I’m in the kitchen, making coffee, looking for coffee filters. I open up this drawer, totally not expecting to see the grossest thing in the world. But lo.
Inside I find all these little, plastic tubs that the pizza guy brought years ago—still filled with parmesan cheese, and chili flakes. (Not the gross part yet.) One of them has spilled, and so I pick it up, and see that the lid had been CHEWED OFF BY SOMETHING WITH A LITTLE, TINY MOUTH!
And not completely chewed off, either. It was like some little thing, maybe a leprechaun, went around the edge of the plastic tub with a can opener, cutting it almost all the way around, then folded back the flap, and ate the insides, JUST LIKE POPEYE EATS A CAN OF SPINACH.
But, very UN-like Popeye, he then took little dumps all over the place. There were these little, black droppings all around the drawer, mixed in with the spilled parmesan. How did the tiny leprechaun Popeye get in our coffee filter drawer, and why did he poo? Curse you, tiny pooing Popeye! Curse your black heart, because now I have to buy my coffee at Starbucks, while I wait for my poor, unsuspecting team to use up the rest of those soiled coffee filters. Can’t you see how you’re hurting them?
Okay, this week I’m going to try an experiment. I’m going to try to update the Double Fine Action News EVERY DAY. Whether I have anything newsworthy to say or not. I guess that’s not really much of a change. Except that for this whole week, I’m going to do it even if I don’t feel like it. Even if I have an earache, or if my legs hurt, or I’m all itchy, or if I have absolutely nothing to say.
Why you may ask? After all, there has been no great demand for this service. No one has said, “please, more updates!” In fact, many people have said, “uh… what’s with all the updates? Don’t you have a job? Or some real news?”
I do have a job, but nothing is more horrible than the work you HAVE to do. I have a huge pile of writing I have to do for the game, but writing for the Action News is more fun right now because I do not HAVE to do it. See? So, my theory is that if I create a situation where I HAVE to write on the web page every day this week, it will become such an obligation and a chore that I won’t enjoy it anymore. Then, the allure will be gone and I’ll stop doing it and get back to the work I have to do, which is writing dialog for the excellent game Psychonauts.
Or, wait, how about this: I’ll write dialog for the excellent game Psychonauts and put it on the web page, thereby killing two birds with one ingenious stone. Okay here we go. Freestylin’ dialog. Right off the top of my head. Warning: spoilers below. Maybe.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: “Whoa, dude. You are, like, totally reading my mind.”
RAZ: “Take that!”
PRESIDENT CLINTON: “Hey, I’m not president any more. Shouldn’t that be EX-president?”
RAZ: “I knew you were going to say that.”
EX-PRESIDENT CLINTON: “In fact, are you sure I’m even in this game? I’m going to check with my agent, but I don’t think I’m in this game Psychonauts, although it is an excellent game!”
RAZ: “Diabolique! Please enjoy the tasting of your head’s exploding!”
Brilliant! And that is just a taste—a swig, if you will—of the delicious dialog you will be enjoying when you play this very excellent game, Psychonauts.
The other point that I am making on accident is this: With the increased frequency of postings, the quality is going to go WAY down. From the very low mark it already set for itself. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the sheer volume of it all.
Tomorrow, I promise, real actual news. Like, a ton of it.
Well, you’ve all been asking for it for so long, so here it is:
The Double Fine Coffee Status Report
Today, the coffee at Double Fine is really, really bad. It tastes like cat food. Is that normal? And not the good, wet cat food that’s made of elegant and beautiful whales. This coffee tastes like the dry, crunchy cat food you give to icky cats. Betrayed again! Final score: 1.7
Just this week, I’ve received three emails asking how Roy Conrad was doing with his illness. Unfortunately, the news I have to report there is very sad. I’ve put up some details, and some pictures of the actor himself in this page about Roy.
We won another award! Check it out!
Okay, whatever. So we made it ourselves, so what? It’s been ten days since we won an award. What are we supposed to do? Sit here and stew in our shameful, awardless filth and do nothing?
Speaking of do-nothing filth, Penny Arcade has still not returned my yo-yo. I think it’s pretty obvious from this unsolicited fan art [which you can’t see anymore because the Internet ate it] that the spirit of right-thinking America is behind me, and not them, and I clearly have a national mandate do to them whatever I want. Luckily for those cartoons I am too busy today.
I have come down to the office, not for revenge, but to fix a light in the downstairs hallway. There is no one here but me, and the rat that lives in the ceiling over my desk. At least, I think he’s a rat. I hope he’s a rat. But really, he makes so much noise up there I think he might be a full-grown raccoon, or one of those miniaturized horses gone bad. Judging by his demonic scampering, I have to imagine that he’s wearing four tiny, Gene Simmons-style KISS boots, and that he’s dragging a two-foot long tail made of exposed bone, like a museum t-rex. Or that his tail was chopped off years ago, and he made a new one out of little wooden spools strung together, to help him cope with the phantom pain. Or maybe he has his long, rat hair braided with Bo Derek beads and they drag on the floor as he runs. Clackity-clack clack, CLACK! Hello from the attic! I am a filthy rat! Clack-clackity clack!
Okay, I really don’t want to fix this light, so I’m going to talk about the rat some more. Why must he run so much? Why can’t he be still and just ponder his easy life? If I were a rat, I think I would content to just lay around and think about chewing on stuff. That’s pretty much all I do now, except I manage to squeeze in a lot of TiVo-watching on top of that. But if I were a rat I wouldn’t have TiVo, so I think I would focus on the laying around. But our rat can only manage to do that for a few minutes, and then he’ll suffer an explosive burst of energy and gallop across his little crawlspace or live+work loft or whatever it is he has up there.
Actually I haven’t heard it for a hour or so. Man, I hope it’s dead. I hope it’s not just being quiet—like, TOO quiet—because it’s morphed into some sort of queen alien rat who’s hanging from the ceiling, squeezing a floorful of slime-covered eggs out of a long, translucent birthtube. Oh, wait. There it goes again. Scampering like there’s no tomorrow. Hold on. Let me get out my lute…
Scamper no longer, my little roof possum.
Your work day is done. Say, isn’t that awesome?
Be still! Be still!
Or you, I will kill.
My frisky-fun friend, my plague-bearing blossom.
P.S. Yo-yo card from Blaze “PBD” Marley-Flamestrike. Wicked E3 award by wicked animator Chris Schultz. Chris asked me to pass along this message to his fans: “Wicked!!!”
Drum roll please…
Best Original Game: PSYCHONAUTS!!!
Holy moley, we won! The incredibly foxy and popular judges of the Game Critics Awards have named Psychonauts Best Original Game of E3! What an honor! And how incredibly terrifying. If we won this in 2002, then we are going to have to be totally, incredibly amazing at E3 2003! I was just going to spend most of the year napping, and then hack together something at the last minute, but I see now that people are watching. There goes my summer! Well, this is still very exciting. I’m so excited, I’m going to go down stairs and hug the team. I usually distribute free hugs around this time of day anyway, but as a special reward, today I’m going to wear a shirt. Go team!
New, awesome awards and lists and stuff from teamxbox and UGO on the products page!
Reading that UGO list, it occurs to me that there are a lot adventure games in production. Are they making a comeback? Or have we just widened the definition of the genre? I suggest you have some people over to your house tonight to discuss this issue. Snack suggestion: Grapes.
Good news and bad news:
We were nominated for best original game at E3!
And written up nicely on Xengamers.com.
Dee Dee Ramone! *sniff*