Unexpectations: E3 2011 Day 0

No, I was still unprepared. After a night of whiskey, beer and meeting people with great cheer, I decided to stay in neighboring Highland Park with my sister. I already planned to stay there for the days of the expo but under these certain circumstances, I had to make some exceptions. So for the day -1 and 0 posts, I won’t have any photos or videos since I was quite unprepared and maybe hungover.

Day 0:

Nonetheless, I headed over to the convention center as early as I could muster for some scouting. I ended up sitting in a chair by the press registration for at least an hour and a half, somewhat falling asleep. I had my reasons but I did end up getting out of there.

I realized it was almost time for the EA press conference and it not being that far away (and also getting my parking money’s worth), I decided to take my chances. Six or seven blocks later, I had arrived at the historic Orpheium Theatre with a sprawling line overflowing the sidewalks.

Well here are the press elite. Being a games journalist lurker supreme, my mind just starts name dropping all the people I see. I ran into 1UP’s Jeremy Parish on the way there. I was silently giddy while trailing behind Jeff Gerstmann, Vinny Caravella, Drew Scanlon and Patrick Klepek. I spent my time over there hanging out with Sterling McGarvey and Andrew Pfster, since I had met them previously at Insomniac Games’ Community Day about two months ago. I was happy they had remembered me so I didn’t feel too uncomfortable being in a place where I really did not belong.

After long periods of waiting and trying my hardest to look like I belong, I had the chance to get into the conference.

“Hey there. Can I get your name?”

“Hey how’s it going? My name is Kenny Redublo.”

“…..ummm. I don’t see your name on the list. Did you get an invite?”

“Hmmm. That’s weird. I did get an invite but I guess I’m not on the list. I talked to one of your staff members earlier and he said I would be fine.”

“Well, I’ll see what we can do. Just wait on the side. Sorry.”

Yes, I lied. I’m no one in this industry, but that just gives me more opportunity to exploit that fact. If I’m no one, I can be anyone.

Well, this time was not a success. I hung out with some other press members that were cool enough to let me just tag along.

And tag along I did. After EA was a bust, Ubisoft was just down the street. We had heard it was a first come, first served conference so our chances seemed much more hopeful.

Conferences are pretty damn hopeless. Especially for me.

We waited in the “without conformation” line until we got inside of the Los Angeles Theatre.

“What’s your name?”

“Kenny Redublo.”

*reads ID*

*reads list*

“I don’t see your name on the list.”

“Oh that’s weird. Well I’m with him.”

*point towards one of the guys I’ve been hanging out with*

“Well do you have a business card?”

“Aw actually I left them back at the hotel.”

“You don’t have a business card.”

(She knew it was all malarky)

(She had to)

“Sorry. :(”

Denied again. I was playing a losing game to begin with but it was still worth a try. At least the other guys I was with didn’t get in either. We had a defeated pizza lunch at the place next door before we said our goodbyes.

And so, I left. I smelled like beer from the night before due to Hamza Aziz spilling on me from the pre-E3 party and needed a shower. So I went home.

AND DESIGNED SOME EFFIN BUSINESS CARDS.

Design by Kenny Redublo

This took five hours of drawing, scanning and procrastinating.

I wrangled my (borrowed) cameras, my (borrowed) microphones, clothes, bike, vest, bowtie. This time I was ready. First day of the expo was tomorrow. It was time for business (cards).

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Unexpectations: E3 2011 Day -1

My original plan for E3 this year has been a bit modified. I was going to go as press for the Student Voice, but through unexplained circumstances other than laziness, I forgot to turn in my press credentials. I was out this year and I was fine with that. I actually wasn’t. As the expo inched closer, I started to go into business mode. Every E3 contest I saw, I entered. I tried. Oh, did I try.

My sleepless nights were riddled with ideas for entries. Videos of conversations, casual eating, the chugging of gallons of milk. Anything and everything came to mind when it came down to the wire. What I learned most from this new found inspiration is that I can be motivated. Motivated to write, to film, to talk. And it has paid off.

Day -1:

With this burning motivation, I found myself getting into the communities of Giant Bomb and Destructoid. I managed to set up a SoCal Giant Bombers E3 meet up and got some response, but that response was overwhelmingly great! I always strayed away from message boards and forums since I never thought I was being heard. When my ideas and interests are shared, there is no other gratifying feeling than that. With hopes of the E3 meet up actually pulling through, I was getting the comfortable feeling of not lurking alone.

As for the E3 contests I joined, my efforts with the 1UP.com contest were fruitless, but the Destructoid contest gave me a mention. It was no E3 pass but I was glad my sleep-deprived ideas were appreciated. Feedback was the real prize I won and it is gratifying.

Well, in my grogginess of wake after a night of more E3 planning, I gathered word of the Destructoid pre-E3 party. I always wanted to go to an E3 party but I was never of age or work had to conflict. It was Sunday. Nothing to do. Nothing planned. Until now. Drinking is always more fun when you’ve got something to talk about and with the shared interest of video games, there is drunk fun to be had. The party also gave me the chance to inquire about another E3 desperation attempt. Destructoid had an open call to LA locals who own nice suits to become Mr. Destructoid, their mascot whose swagger scours the expo floor. When I saw that open call, I was game. I like wearing nice clothes and I think I can strut it out, especially wearing a robot head.

Seven Grand was the venue and whiskey were the drinks. It was my kind of place. Dim, lots of wood paneling, on a second floor of a classic downtown LA building. It was classy. But video games. The first thing on my mind wasn’t just to schmooze with game journalist elites. I like to meet people. Naturally. So, over drinks, pool and smoking lounges, I got to meet people. Fun people. People who actually introduced me to the heads of Destructoid and founder Yaniero Gonzalez was kind enough to be Mr. Destructoid. As much as I wanted to talk shop, we were at a bar, for a party! Business can wait and wait it did, for the night went on with more genuine conversation (well, as genuine as it can get with alcohol) about what we all love, video games. And California burritos.

My only regret is that I didn’t make business cards in time for the party. I would get a business card then as they waited for a similar exchange, all I could give was an excuse. “I forgot?” “I’m just a fan.” “I don’t work for the industry.” Each excuse I gave made me feel like such a kid. Very professional, Kenny.

Well, after meeting assorted game journalists like Leigh Alexander, Phillip Kollar and most of Destructoid, I’m motivated. Eyes up, business cards ready. Bring it.

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welcome welcome

After some copy and pasting, I’ve collected a collection of previously published writings for professional purposes. Yes. All the posts previous to this one are most of my writings from the Student Voice. All the links are provided in the posts and hope you enjoy reading!

Kenny

p.s. This site is still a work-in-progress. I hope to get some help getting it looking fancy, design-wise.

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“Monsters” review: Sci-fi done cheaply beautiful

A beautifully shot, yet flatly acted romp through the Infected Zone.

Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing

Whitney Able in "Monsters"

When disaster strikes, panic ensues. As the situation turns dire, logic seems impossible and grief sets in. What happens when we move on?

Where the typical monster movie ends, that’s where “Monsters” begins.

Set a year after NASA discovers a possibility of alien life on Europa, a moon of Jupiter, a probe sent to collect spores from the planet crash lands in the Mexican ocean. Soon after, new life forms are discovered and half of Mexico is deemed the Infected Zone.

Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy), an American photojournalist, is sent on a special assignment to escort his boss’s daughter Sam Wynden (Whitney Able) back from Mexico into the US.

After failed attempts to easily and safely return home, Kaulder and Sam must take their chances through the Infected Zone.

At its core, “Monsters” is essentially a road movie. The exotic scenery, the varying modes of transportation, the consistent yet so far away destination are all elements of the typical road movie, but aliens are thrown into the mix. This dangerous factor does not seem to create any sense of dread upon the journey though. Maybe due to the acceptance of the creatures or just pure ambiguity, nothing seems to phase the main characters in their unfortunate ordeal.

Trying to capitalize on their real-life relationship, Able and McNairy’s on-screen chemistry comes off as strangely dull. With flat line deliveries and boring conversations, the use of improv was wasted from these two actors.

Though not masterfully acted, “Monsters” has its scenery to rely upon.

Vast landscapes and thick jungles littered with the ravages of the creatures convey the film’s strong points. The delicate cinematography shows where this first time director’s (Gareth Edwards) roots and strengths lie. Edwards lets each shot tell its own story, but that, in turn, takes away from the actors. Paired with a subtle ambient score, “Monsters” is more a visual and aural treat than a narrative driven film.

As a cheap complete indie package, “Monsters” excels in aspects like CG, even surpassing some blockbuster films, cinematography and score to hide its minuscule budget, but its plot holes and flat performances keep this film from being the breakout sci-fi hit it has the potential of being.

Originally published on Oct. 28, 2010 @ StudentVoiceOnline.com

Original post: http://www.studentvoiceonline.com/arts-entertainment/monsters-review-sci-fi-done-cheaply-beautiful-1.2386106

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Machete review: Mexploitation at its sharpest

Machete is bringing back the exploitation films of yore into this crisp and clean age.

Property of Rodriguez International Pictures

Cutting down corruption, one limb at a time.

As the film grain hits the screen in this high-definition era, there already is a feeling of being duped.

Machete is bringing back the exploitation films of yore into this crisp and clean age. With an absence of logic and bloody blade, Machete is a disgustingly ferocious satire on America’s immigration issues and the sensibility of taking themselves too seriously.

Machete follows the exploits and “Death Wish”-esque revenge trail of titular character Machete (66-year-old Danny Trejo), a legendary straight cut ex-Federale literally cut loose by Mexican drug lord Torrez (the ever substantial Steven Segal). Machete’s incorruptible ways sends him from his loyal life with his wife and child to the deepest depths of sorrow with Torrez killing his family and marking Machete an enemy of Mexico and an immigrant worker in the United States.

As a day laborer, Machete meets Luz (the subtly angry Michelle Rodriguez), taco shop owner and image of the Mexican revolution against Senator John McLaughlin (the very faux-Texan Robert De Niro) and his campaign for harsh immigration laws.

As Machete gets deeper involved in corrupt American politics due to businessman Michael Booth (Psycho 3’s… um Lost’s Jeff Fahey), he becomes ever entwined with Immigration Officer Sartana Rivera (the post-baby Jessica Alba) and her struggles with what is right and what is wrong. From just a simple revenge plot to a full-blown revolution, Machete delivers on its explosions, plot-wise and action-wise.

Director Robert Rodriguez continues the Mexploitation genre he started. All the elements are in place. Drug lords, immigration, corruption, revenge and the search for redemption.

Though not as serious as his films in the Mexico trilogy (El Mariachi, Desperado and Once Upon A Time In Mexico), Rodriguez ups the fun factor by making the absurd commonplace.

There is no need to question why Machete can fly through the air on a motorcycle firing a mounted mini-gun or how a man’s intestines can support his weight through a window. It just is. Rodriguez has made what he wants to have always seen in a movie and he isn’t alone.

With these absurd ideas come and an even more absurd and surprising cast. Seeing Steven Segal as a Mexican drug lord speaks volumes by itself, but adding in Don Johnson, Robert De Niro, Cheech Marin, Tom Savini and Lindsay Lohan essentially playing herself flushes logic down every Hollywood agents’ throats.

Performances from Alba and Rodriguez are as bad as predicted but considering what this film is, everything is forgiven and actually very welcomed, contributing more to that exploitation film feel and its welcomed flaws. Machete is a very redeemable oxymoron.

Though Machete has many of its flaws on its sleeve, present and proud, this self-aware attitude makes up for any of those shortcomings then gives Hollywood logic another shot to the head.

Originally published on Sept. 13, 2010 @ StudentVoiceOnline.com

Original post: http://www.studentvoiceonline.com/arts-entertainment/machete-review-mexploitation-at-its-sharpest-1.2328852

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War freezes over in Killzone 3

The war against the Helghast heats up in the tundra in the next installment of the PlayStation exclusive shooter series, Killzone 3.

Photo by Kenny RedubloThe trials of the Interplanetary Strategic Alliance against the Helghast continue with increased brutality, having players assume the role of Killzone 2 protagonist Sergeant Tomas “Sev” Sevchenko armed with new tools, weapons and moves to take down the fascist-like oppressors.

Prominently displayed at the Sony PlayStation booth, E3 attendees were given the chance to demo the game in either 2D or 3D, a first for the series and following Sony’s push for 3D gaming. The demo was split in three parts: infiltration, jet-pack and WASP, showcasing the new features of the game. The first section focused on the on-foot combat of the game, where Sev infiltrated a Helghast base with Master Sergeant Rico Velasquez as his trusty brothers in arms. This section introduced the new melee system that features up close and personal knife kills and neck snaps, adding to the brutality of the war and desperation in the new arctic environment.

The second section featured the Helghast jet-pack. Able to jump to new areas and different flanking tactics, the jet-pack provide the biggest change to the series so far. Enemies and players can fight in new high flying ways.

The third section feature the new weapon the WASP, a multi-firing rocket launcher. Players are faced against a Helghan tank with which players only means of victory is the WASP. Many players at the demo had difficulty figuring out where the WASP was on the map and were trying to defeat the tank in different ways with no success until a rep told them where to go. The game is still the pre-alpha development stages so the developers have time to provide a better way to guide players to the right objectives.

For being very early in development, Killzone 3 is shaping up to be a worthy and prettier successor to an already visually and mechanically solid title. Other than supporting 3D gaming, Killzone 3 will also support Sony’s motion controller, the PlayStation Move, increasing immersion in the war against the Helghan. Killzone 3 is aimed to release in Feb. 2011.

Originally published on June 19, 2010 @ StudentVoiceOnline.com

Original post: http://www.studentvoiceonline.com/e3-2010/war-freezes-over-in-killzone-3-1.2275722

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In the belly of the beast: PixelJunk Shooter 2 Impressions

Going with the flow, PixelJunk Shooter’s dynamic fluids and scientist rescuing antics return to the PlayStation Network with new creative game play mechanics like light and corrosive acids.

Photo by Kenny RedubloContinuing right after the first game, players find themselves rescuing more scientists from peril in even more perilous landscapes while discovering the strange inner workings of an alien planet and its inhabitants.

The E3 demo showed off two levels that introduced new mechanics unseen in the PixelJunk library. In the level “Inner Space,” the dynamic of stomach acid is introduced, where if any is splashed onto the ship, the outer hull will corrode until it is rinsed off with water.

The acid gives the game a more urgent feel and makes the players focus on the careful exploration and control of the ship.

In the level “Lights Out,” the light and dark mechanic is introduced, where players must tread carefully and quickly through the dark environments or the alien equivalent to the boogieman will destroy the ship. Though sometimes frustrating after many retries, this mechanic also adds to the sens of urgency, but also displays the harsh and dangerous enemies of the game.

Though the game play is essentially the same as the first title, these new mechanics keep the series interesting and challenging while maintaining their signature visual style of high definition vector graphics and lively color palettes. More details on the release date will be revealed later in the year.

Originally published on June 19, 2010 @ StudentVoiceOnline.com

Original post: http://www.studentvoiceonline.com/e3-2010/shooting-in-the-belly-of-the-beast-pixeljunk-shooter-2-e3-impressions-1.2275736

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