T-shirts--where are they you, arseholes?

In a word: coming. We heard from a few weeks ago that there was a problem with the printing with the last batch. So, instead of sending out a bunch of crappy prints, decided to eat the costs of that first run and find another partner to do the printing.

I just heard from Adam (Mr. AttractMode himself) last week that the new T-shirts are close to being done and all you pre-order peeps shouldn't have to wait much longer! I still don't have a specific date for you, but no, we did not just take your money and buy a bunch of iPads. I mean, that's what Jason thought we should do, but he's kind of a criminal so we try not to listen to him too much.

Our continued gratitude for all your patience while we work this out. The next batch should be like buttah and roll right off the presses and into your hot little hands.


CO-OP Live 0105 -- Just Cause 2, Tilt to Live, and iPad Launch Game Must-Haves

We could have done an entire show on iPad games given that this device has more on offering to gamers than some full-on console launches! Still, we figured that would leave too many people out in the cold and Just Cause 2 is just so deserving of accolades for the things that it does well that we had to show it off. First, though, we took the opportunity to answers some of your questions point-blank about what’s happening with Area 5 as a company—in case you missed it, read the last two blog posts for the latest news. More after the show:

Yes, we love Tilt to Live! It’s such a beautiful use of the iPhone hardware and has such a delightfully surprising sense of humor that there’s no way your iPhone should be without this game. Yes, it can be a little frustrating at first given that it takes some time to get enough achievements to unlock all the power-ups, but just stick with it. It’s meant to last only a few minutes each game. You’ll get better and you’ll be a better human for having played this game!

The usual quip about rocks and being under them would apply here, and since I my creative word-smithery has decided to abandon me at the moment I’m simply going to leave it at that when bringing up the iPad. Should you be fortunate enough to have one of these devices (I am not *shakes fist in anger at Cesar and Ryan*), there are some games that are absolutely worth the more-expensive-than-iphone-games price point and we cover all of these on this week’s show: Geometry Wars, Command and Conquer, Mirror’s Edge, Charadium, Nova HD isn’t the best FPS ever but it certainly shows that the iPad is this-genre-capable, and in a unique twist, the iPhone’s Eliss upscales perfectly on the iPhone. Steph Thirion, Eliss’s creator doesn’t even know why, but there’s one game that translates so perfectly from iPhone to iPad that if you’ve bought it once you’ll get a great experience unique to both platforms!


CO-OP Live Tomorrow!

Yes, we're actually back tomorrow for our penultimate episode! Only one more following that, May 18th, so save the date!

We're going to start out with a community segment tomorrow, so get ready right at 4pm with those tweets to @COOP_Live. From reading through the comments of the last post announcing CO-OP Live's imminent hiatus and the changes to Area 5 as a company, we figure it's best to start things out right off answering some of your questions. We know there are some rumors going around that we'd like to squash and we're sure there are inquiries out there that we haven't even thought of. There are some things we won't be able to answer, but don't let that stop you from trying. We'll give you an A for Effort, at least!

Apparently some people think Area 5 (and therefore, us) are going away permanently. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. We're still going to be doing a lot of work for various sources and for Area 5 itself, so tomorrow is your first chance to get a hint at our new direction. Also, feel free to give us suggestions on the kind of stuff you'd like to see if, say, you could hire us to go out there and cover something awesome! We like awesome.

See ya all tomorrow! In case you forgot, you can watch us here. One love.


Area 5 to Expand and Contract -- Only Two More Episodes of CO-OP

A lot of you have been asking when CO-OP is coming back. Well, I’ve got good news and bad news. I’d love to play out a life-long desire of mine and ask: “Which do you want first?” but this is a blog post and you don’t get to choose. I guess that means I’ll choose for you.

First, the good news: Area 5 is going to be rapidly evolving in the next few months. Not to be coy, but provided all goes according to plan, we’re going to have some pretty incredible announcements to make. I’d love nothing more than to divulge all our hopes and dreams, but the deals aren’t done and we don’t want to get your knickers in a twist about what’s coming and then not be able to deliver. We’re all kind of in a tizzy (you heard me: TIZZY) about our prospects for the future and my hope is that you’ll be patient with us while we make rocket go.

Now the bad news: there will only be two more episodes of CO-OP Live. April 6th and May 18th. Business reasons, busy-ness reasons, and the aforementioned changes to the company are all collectively responsible. To be clear, we were not cancelled by Revision3, Area 5 decided to stop producing the show. We still own the IP to CO-OP. It could still return. If we can find a way to make it economically feasible, we’d love nothing more than to bring it back. We’re open to all possibilities (and all offers), but there comes a time in all business ventures where you have to take a long, hard look at the pillars of your business. It’s not that CO-OP didn’t make money. Both the number of viewers and the advertiser interest was building over this last year, but it just wasn’t enough to keep up the quality that we’re committed to and that made working seven-days-a-week feasible. So what are we going to do instead? If we’re shutting down CO-OP, what else is there?

That leads me back to the good news. Part of the reason why CO-OP is going on hiatus is that we’re just going to be too busy with all we’ve got planned for the future. First, is going to become a destination instead of just a blog repository for CO-OP. No, we’re not going to become another everything-under-the-sun video games blog. I think you’ll agree that that space is pretty well covered. Part of Area 5’s new business model is going to be to diversify our offerings. We’re going to be doing more work for more people as well as creating more content that we can distribute independently on our site and through online retail. Blu-Ray? iTunes? It’s all a little up-in-the-air at the moment. Regardless, will have new content every week day for you to (hopefully) enjoy. Video is going to be a big part of that, of course, and we’re trying to figure out how to retool our site so that we can offer said video in a pleasing fashion instead of having it scroll off the page after X-number of posts.

Second, our deal with EGM remains intact! We’ve been working like mad on all the stuff that’s going into the first issue and we’re pretty confident you’re going to think it’s awesome.

There’s also a third, and even a fourth thing that are going to happen. But, as things, they fear both the light and the sun until fully gestated. At such a time they will emerge from their hardened carapaces and the world will never be the same.



Phil Fish was kind enough to ask me to participate in the Indie Gamemaker Rant at GDC 2010. I was delighted to be invited, especially considering I'm not an indie game developer. At first I planned to talk about how small development studios should document their process, and essentially, do their own press. But Phil told me that the audience would've heard that before.

I decided to speak about my feelings concerning the gaming press instead. A few weeks ago, I sat down to write some notes on the subject. Two hours later, I had written a full speech. I tried -- and failed -- to memorize it in time for the session. The entire text, almost exactly as I read it from my phone in front of the live audience, follows below:

Photo courtesy of Official GDC on Flickr.

I know many of you here are indie game creators. I am not one of you. I've been a member of the gaming press for the past ten years, first as a freelancer, then on the editorial and video teams at,, and where I co-created the 1UP Show. I'm now a part of the independent company AREA 5, where I make videos about games.

In general, the gaming press drives me nuts. So much of the writing is garbage, isn't it? When I read a piece that uses proper grammar and punctuation, it's surprising; isn't that sad? Quality, process and copy editors have been set aside in the name of immediacy and 24-hour-a-day coverage. It's no surprise. It's the same shift that's happened to media at large. It's sad.

The worst part is that I still care. Maybe I'm stupid. Maybe it's crazy to think that the most interactive and modern art form on the planet needs to be picked at and pulled apart by writers, radio and video producers, and fellow game creators with a vast knowledge of the medium. Maybe I'm crazy to think we need to pay these termites talk about their insights from a late night online gaming session or how No More Heroes relates to French New Wave cinema. Maybe I'm nuts to think we should give them open access to studios to let them dissect the game design process and write about it. Would it be insane to let them burrow through the craft, peek at its insides, focus on its intricacies and help us all see how it works? I know. I'm crazy. I want people to dig through it all so that we can learn from their findings and have a document of the triumphs, the growing pangs, and mundanity of our medium in its infancy. I won't apologize for it, though. That's what I want: an industry with space for real critics.

But since I started working as part of the gaming press ten years ago, the number of quality gaming outlets with a budget has gone down, not up. The number of writers I respect has increased, but the vast majority of them have moved from editorial teams into game development. And it makes sense: games benefit from great stories. Publishers need tastemakers to build their communities. And most importantly, these writers have families and need to be paid an honest wage to survive. But when the potential subject of these former critics' work is a single game rather than all of them, the number of checks and balances in our system decreases. Even if what they write is only subtlety influenced by the corporation calling the shots, it still is. Not only are we losing all this potentially great, moving, and insightful game criticism, we're losing the ability to keep our industry honest.

The largest of the editorial outlets will continue to survive based on the quality of their SEO, the number of users on their messageboards, and the quickness with which they can post the latest media assets from the biggest AAA games. They don't want or need to enable the best of us to act as curators of the medium while also aiding us in paying our rent. Their dot-com-boom-esque staff sizes, huge tech and production teams, and arcane, flash-driven front pages define them. What they pay for all that could be focused into quality editorial work and clean, simple, modern web design. But it's not. Because nobody wants to upheave their own operation if it already pays; and pay it does.

I'm just one disenchanted guy with five minutes to talk. I can't change the way things are. But if I could make a humble request of the gaming press -- one that would cost nothing but a little time and effort on the part of the writers to implement -- it would be this: treat games equally. AAA games. Indie games. iPhone games. There are thousands of great games out there waiting to be discussed. They're all competing against each other for the same thing: our time. Despite their budgets or the number of people involved in their creation, these games are influenced by each other, our culture and and the people who play them. They're all important to the future of the medium. And a lot of them are even fun to play.

Don't limit the scope of your coverage to games with titles you've seen in the press releases filling your inbox. Go out and find new stories yourself. You say: we cover indie games now, dude! I say: bravo. But just covering new releases on XBLA and PSN isn't enough. An indie round-up once a year won't cut it either. Don't compartmentalize your coverage. I'd like to see fewer top ten lists and blogs dedicated to the best twenty iPhone games that came out last week. I love Offworld and TinyCartridge as much as anyone else, but I don't feel those sites have that much of an opportunity to expand the minds of the vast majority of Gears of War players, for example. Their audience will always be limited next to that of the big boys; it's the larger outlets that I want to see mention God of War III, Heavy Rain, Spelunky, Colorbind, and Auditorium all in the same breath. You have the power to turn your readers, watchers, and listeners on to so much more than what's new this week on Xbox 360 if you simply talk about both the big and small games with the same level of commitment, care, and enthusiasm. The scale of your operation gives you the unique opportunity to cover more. This "all games are equal" mantra has worked for my team and I. We're constantly getting Twitter followers and commenters telling us how grateful they are about being turned on to some tiny game they would've missed simply because we included it in the conversation. Put simply: our audience comes for Halo: Reach and stays for VVVVVV.

If we can expand the number and type of games that enter the consciousness of the audience, the diversity of the games themselves will inspire more creative criticism. We can invite more people to care about what the creators we critique create if we can show them just how ambiguous the definition of the word videogame is. Hopefully then we can get back to building our side of the industry into what it should be rather than let it grow into a larger version of what it is now: a vast landscape of consumer reports and the same daily headlines copy-and-pasted across thousands of websites without ever being edited by another pair of eyes -- or a spell checker -- all while our best writers are being picked off or burnt out one at a time. Treat games equally. That would be a baby step in the right direction.


WHERE THE F*CK IS MY CO-OP?! And EGM[i] Demo Video

For those of you that didn't catch the announcement on last week's episode of CO-OP Live (and why not? Why didn't you watch? ARE YOU TRYING TO HURT MY FEELINGS?!), we're taking a break in light of OMGWTF levels of busy-ness.

Between getting together the content we need for the first episode of a show we're doing for EGM (in case you missed it, there's a preview video of the digital version of EGM up on YouTube--the video was produced by none other than those jerks at Area 5 Media), The Game Developer's Conference happening this week in our back yard and me doing a panel at next week's SXSW, there just aren't enough bodies in the office or enough ours in the week to make CO-OP Live happen. Remember, we love you and we'll be back ASAP!

As for my panel, if you're going to be at SXSW, save some time on Tuesday. Here are all the details. You all should bow-down to the awesomeness of my friend Karen Chu (now at PlayFirst) for setting up all this panel stuff. She's a force to be reckoned with.



We were relieved to find out that the shoe box sent to us earlier this week did NOT contain a decomposing cat:

Instead we opened the case to find 45 amazingly well-mastered 1UP Show DVD’s, courtesy of Dana Laratta, an incredibly dedicated 1UP Show/Broken Pixels/CO-OP viewer whom (like many of our fans) we owe an incredible debt of gratitude.

You know, working in an industry where release dates dictate our production schedule, it’s easy to forget the work we did four weeks ago let alone four years ago. These DVD’s serve as a great reminder of all the wonderful people we met, games we played, and times we had while making the 1UP Show. Suddenly, sitting in those busted cubicles, watching Jason getting body-slammed by Mielke for being an unruly intern doesn’t seem like that long ago.

Thanks Dana :)

PS. Unfortunately we don’t have the rights to sell the DVD box set, but I’m sure if you talk to Dana, you guys can work “something” out… if you make it “worth his while…” I’m talking about “SEX.”


CO-OP Live 0104 -- Heavy Rain, Just Cause 2, WarioWare D.I.Y., Sin & Punishment: Star Successor, and more!

Yes, the ApocalyPS3 has come and gone (we hope), but we couldn’t just let it go without poking a little fun. If you have a TS3 (that’s not a typo) like we do, hopefully you didn’t suffer the same fate. More after the show:

A leap forward in interactive entertainment, Heavy Rain should be on everyone’s list of paradigm-shifting moments for the medium. While some question whether or not it’s really a “game,” Ryan and I are pretty much in agreement as to why the game’s release deserves to be heralded as an important event for gamers everywhere. Unfortunately marred by some mediocre voice acting, the surrounding message to this talk is: play this. Play this game and then make everyone you know play it, gamer or not.

Cesar and I got some serious hands-on fun-time with Just Cause 2 and like most people came away with that Red Faction vibe. It’s open world, kitchy mayhem and while we thought the early introductions of the game in video form looked cool, we’re now really eager to get our hands on the final game and go on a path of grapple-wielding destruction.

Big game companies and publishers every so often like to throw a “media day” where they invite the gaming press, feed them lots of free stuff and in return get a bunch of glowing previews about their upcoming period of new offerings. Nintendo’s can sometimes be marred with fewer offerings, but this one suffers no such indignity. With almost every title on hand having a strong showing, this looks like it may be a very good year to own a Wii and a DS (or a DS Lite, or DSi, or DSi XL, or… sheesh, just how many of those things ARE there??). We go into WarioWare D.I.Y. (gaming industry in a box), Sin and Punishment: Star Successor (Treasure has done it again), a couple, sweet Art Style games that are hitting WiiWare and the impulsively funny Photo Dojo.


CO-OP Live 0103 -- The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, Skate 3, Puddle, and Monaco

In this live show, we experimented with all-live gameplay. First it was the delightfully delicious The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom and two awesome Independent Game Festival finalists Monaco and Puddle. Ryan was an IGF judge for the festival this year so he’s got some unique perspectives to share. Also, Cesar and Jason got to see Skate 3 and are all in a tizzy about it! More after the show:

Big thanks to our friend Sirron Norris for letting us use his gallery for the shooting of the Skate 3 preview. If you like his art, buy some of his stuff at

Also, just how Indie is too indie? We pretty much give the definitive answer this week. Enjoy the show!


CO-OP Live 0102 -- Bioshock 2, GeoSpark and X10 Previews

Events like X10 can be as frustrating as they can be awesome. First, going to see a bunch of stuff and then not being allowed to show any video of it is pretty much “worst thing ever” for a video show. Second (secondly? I good at grammar!), actaully playing something and then not getting to talk about it due to embargoes also qualifies as “worst thing ever.” But it wasn’t a total loss! We got to get some serious hands-on time with Dead Rising 2, Splinter Cell: Conviction and Game Room and those we do have video of and can talk about. Hooray! Also, we’d like to give the award for Most Development Studios on a Game, Ever to Bioshock 2. Was it worth the global effort? JayFresh and I lay it on ya. More after the show:

Also, for those of you afraid that we had expunged the edited segments entirely, we present to you are first Mobile Minute. It’s a pretty in-depth look at the iPhone game GeoSpark, a super-addictive action, line-drawing game that at a $0.99 price tag is pretty much placed squarely in the “must have” category. Jason and Cesar were the cats that get into this week over their mutual admiration for this slick little game.

We decided to change things up a bit this week and have the fan segments more involved in the show. Last week, since it was our first go, we just had it all at the end, but this week we wanted to try something different so we brought you in at the end of the Bioshock 2 review and throughout the X10 previews segment. Honestly, we’ve gotta get better at pulling in the questions and comments. A problem is that our show is still running a bit long, but really we could talk to you peeps forever. What we need is to make sure we tighten up the game discussions and that we have a cleaner way of breaking into the discussion with the stuff coming in from y’all.

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