The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

August 9, 2008

Yeah, We’re Beer Snobs.

Filed under: Random Stuff, Seattle — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 7:25 pm

Lacking much else to do today, I took a trip into downtown Seattle this afternoon, where I went to take photos over at Pacific Place and Westlake Center as part of my ongoing mall project.  Since these two shopping centers are just a couple of blocks away from each other, and each one is relatively small compared to the suburban malls that are more prevalent in the area, I intend to profile them in the same article.  While I was over there, I noticed that a restaurant across the street from Pacific Place had this banner up in front:

Apparently the absence of Budweiser is more important to highlight than the other 25 beers that they’ve got on tap in the place.  For some reason, I suspect you’d have no problem getting a Miller or Coors here though. I’ve never eaten here, but given the decidedly lukewarm reviews for the place over at Yelp, I suspect that I’m not missing much anyway.

And yes, those are banners on the poles for PAX, coming up three weeks from today.  Just got my pass for it earlier this week, and although I don’t know how much I’m going to discuss here (my job is taking me dangerously close to a conflict of interest as far as writing about video games these days,) I do plan to at least report on something when I’m there.

Good Luck Explaining to the Mayor That You Spent Your Budget on Video Games

Filed under: Games, Redmond — Brian Lutz @ 1:31 am

Over the last couple of decades, the Seattle area has become a popular spot for video game developers, and the City of Redmond is at the forefront of this trend.  In addition to being home to Nintendo of America and Microsoft, Redmond is also home to DigiPen, a small accredited university with degree programs in real-time interactive simulation (which is really just a fancy way of saying they teach people how to make video games) and a number of other smaller game studios.  Elsewhere in the Seattle Metro area, big-name game studios such as Bungie, Valve, Gas Powered Games and PopCap Games make their home here.  Just a couple of weeks from now, the fifth annual Penny Arcade Expo will be taking place in Seattle (and yes, I will be attending.)  Back in their heyday, Sierra On-Line made their home in Bellevue, and EA also had offices in Bellevue at one point.  Even though it’s no secret that the area’s economy is driven to a large degree by high tech, most people don’t realize just how much video game development  goes on in this area.  And oddly enough, it seems like even the City of Redmond wants to get into the game.

Over at the Redmond Neighborhood Blog, it was reported that the newly created Redmond Digital Arts Festival will be taking place in October, funded partially with city and county public arts funding and partially by a number of sponsors.  Although details on some items have not yet been finalized, it appears that there will be a number of workshops and presentations (including a presentation by Chris Taylor of Gas Powered Games) as well as a number of other activities.  From the looks of things, the vast majority of the content at this show is going to be highly technical, and may not be of too much interest to a general audience.  In fact, it almost seems like they’re trying to put together a (very) miniature version of the annual Game Developers Conference right here in Redmond.

While I’m sure this might be something that would be interesting to people who develop video games (as well as some people who don’t,) this strikes me as an odd thing for a city government to be getting itself involved with.  Without diving too deep into politics here, my support of funding for public art doesn’t extend much beyond the stuff that goes on the wanted posters on the post office wall, but since there are state and county mandates for public art funding around here that are unlikely to go away anytime soon, it looks like they’re going to have to spend the money on something.  Although I suspect most people out there are content to just play their video games without giving a single thought to the process that went into creating them, but it is clear that people would be interested in game development around here, so it will be interesting to see how something like this might work out.  Besides, if they weren’t doing this, they’d probably be using the money to install another hunk of unrecognizable metal in front of city hall anyway…

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