For this week’s Media Consumption, a column that looks at the media and art diets of our favourite industry personalities, we spoke to American McGee, president of The Mauretania Import Export Company
and designer of the recent Bad Day L.A.
McGee rose to prominence as a level designer and programmer for id Software before moving to Electronic Arts as a consultant, where he also developed American McGee’s Alice
. Following that, he founded The Mauretania Import Export Company, and developed American McGee presents Scrapland
Recently, he has been living in China, which he describes as “an amazing place to be these days”, and notes that “the rate of growth in culture, media, and business is phenomenal - like no other place in the world.”
“First I came here for Bad Day LA development,” says McGee. “But I stayed for the hospitality. Actually, we have two ventures in Shanghai now - an art outsourcing company called Vykarian
and a semi-secret game development studio that we're in the process of building. An official announcement will be made soon.”
We contacted McGee via email to check out the contents of his media diet.
"My iTunes library contains around 40Gb of music in 76 genres ranging from Alternative and Blues to Techno and World. My playlists are arranged into groups like "odd", "monkey", "jetting", "floating", "wee", and "thump".
I think I might be a music junkie, but then I sorta assume that everyone in the world has this passion for music. For me, music serves as a constant, dynamic soundtrack, echoing my mood and place in the world. But it also works as an emotional and mental stabilizer.
The one thing that's excited me most in music lately has been Pandora
coupled with Airfoil
. Pandora came out of the Music Genome Project, and is a system that automatically builds radio stations for you based on your musical preferences. It's like having a personal DJ who knows exactly what you want to hear. Combine that with Airfoil, which allows you to hijack and send audio signals from apps to your AirPort express, and you've got a pretty neat music setup."
"Lawrence of Arabia, Blade Runner
, Carpenter's The Thing, The Shining, Wings of Desire, The Incredibles, American Beauty, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Babe, Crash
. A likely list of Top 10...but then who knows? Those are just a few that came to mind. Every one of these movies really moves me emotionally. When I'm watching them, I want to be a part of the world they create."
I just bought a stack of classic Hitchcock movies on VCD for US$2 each. The other night I watched Rope
and was really pulled in. It amazes me how a 60 year old film can still evoke more emotion than the most high-tech video game."
"Next to my bed right now in terms of printed matter: The World is Flat, A New Earth, Inner Drives
, various language books (Thai, Chinese), and a bunch of books on sailing.
I read a lot about globalization and business, books that deal with "manifesting" your destiny, books on writing and creating, and books on language relevant to this side of the world. I'm reading sailing books because in 10 years I plan spend my days living aboard a sailboat in the South Pacific."
"The original Command & Conquer
in multiplayer CTF, DOOM
deathmatch, and PS1 Ridge Racer
probably hold the most positive memories for me. I liked all of these games for their pure simplicity.
Lately, I've been really into Half-Life 2
and Half-Life 2: Episode 1
. I love how the Valve guys can build an entire game around something like the gravity gun. I'm really
looking forward to Portal