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Media Consumption: Hulk's Paul Jenkins

This week’s Media Consumption, a weekly column which seeks to find out what our favorite game developers have been listening to, watching, reading, and playing, speaks to...
This week’s Media Consumption, a weekly column which seeks to find out what our favorite game developers have been listening to, watching, reading, and playing, speaks to Paul Jenkins, the comics writer and video game script author most recently responsible for the plot for Radical/VU Games' new The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. Jenkins’ main body of work is in the fields of both comic books and video games, with a career dating all the way back to editorial duties on Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, back when it was just a comic book and not a multi-million dollar marketing sensation. Other credits, among countless projects, include a very successful run on Spectacular Spider-Man and the writing duties for The Inhumans, for which he won the coveted Will Eisner Award for Best New Series in 1999. Video games published using his scripts include Pandemonium, Twisted Metal: Black, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2, and the aforementioned Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. Jenkins is currently working with Starbreeze Studios on a script for their upcoming game, The Darkness. Sounds: “When I’m driving, my tastes are a little bit different than when I’m working,” he said, stating that lyrics are much too distracting for a writer. Recent favorites while working have included mixes by English trance/dance DJs Sasha and John Digweed. “As far as when I’m driving…well, hold on,” he says to us over the phone, as he reaches into his car. “Let’s see, I’ve got some Coldplay – not the new one, the last one – God Lives Underwater…oh wow, the Steve Miller Band’s Greatest Hits,” he says, laughing. “It’s a bit eclectic. My personal taste really is old British punk, like The Ruts and The Mekons.” Moving Pictures: “I don’t often get a lot of enjoyment out of watching TV or reading a lot of books because I’m too busy doing it myself,” he said, “and there just isn’t enough time in the day.” As far as film goes, Jenkins – who had a five-year run on the Hellblazer comics – enjoyed its movie counterpart, Constantine. “They got it right, good on them,” he said. Other recent film viewings include War of the Worlds (“Why bother?”), Batman Begins (“genius”), The Wedding Crashers (“funny”) and Star Wars: Episode III (“a piece of sh*t.”). Jenkins also watches English football when he can get it, and follows Colts and Red Sox games religiously. Books: “I have this strange sort of situation, I write comics, but I don’t really read them,” he says, though he makes exceptions for works authored by his friends in the field, such as David Mack (Kabuki) and Brian Michael Bendis (Powers). “As far as actual books I’ve read,” he said, “Fields of Memory is this absolutely beautiful photograph/short written text book about the first World War. It has these descriptions of tragic events, and then a photograph of the areas they took place, and it’s the saddest, saddest stuff to read.” Games: “Naturally, I’ve just been farting around with the Hulk game,” he said. “My favorite thing is to grab an innocent bystander and just run around and listen to them scream.” Jenkins describes himself primarily as a “stealth gamer.” “If you ask me,” he says, “that’s the ultimate choice of anything I want to do. I find nothing more relaxing than waiting for a half an hour for a guy to walk into my sights and blasting him in the face with a sniper rifle.” Specifics include the Splinter Cell series and Namco’s upcoming Sniper Elite, which Jenkins played extensively at E3. “I’m intrigued by the way games are made,” he continued, “I believe they’re a virgin artform. Fatal Frame is my favorite game of all time, I think. When you make a game you talk about ‘emotional engineering.’ So you may say, ‘I want to make someone embarrassed here,’ or annoyed or happy or whatever. I think Fatal Frame, really, is mission accomplished. It’s like they asked themselves, ‘Can I make someone neverous here?’ And then the animation of opening the door is just a little to slow. And you’re, like: ‘Oh man, I’ve got my camera ready here, where is this damned thing?’ And you turn and suddenly you see this pair of dangling legs, and the ghost is hanging above you! And then it’s gone instantly.” Also in his Xbox right now is Forza Motorsport (“I like racing”) and in his PlayStation 2, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (“too bloody long”). [Frank Cifaldi is a Las Vegas-based freelance author whose credits include work for Nintendo Official Magazine UK, Wired, and his own Lost Levels website.]

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