For this week’s Media Consumption, a column that looks at the media and art diets of our favourite industry personalities, we spoke to Cameron Davis, Lead Designer on The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning
with Australian based developer Krome Studios.
The game was released in October to positive reviews, which Davis notes the team have been “been keeping a close eye on”, though he notes that the most important feedback comes from “the Spyro
fan base, both new and old”.
“All the feedback and comments were warmly welcomed, except for the negative ones which we threw in the trash,” he laughs. “I'm kidding...or am I? The team celebrated the game launching by having lots of drinks and playing our Xbox 360s we all got as a present from the boss. Nice!”
Davis is also quick to express his excitement for the next project from the studio, which he describes as “something fun and next-gen and really happy and full of bright colours that I can't talk about yet”.
“2007 is going to be a great year for Krome and I guarantee that you will be really surprised by what we're working on,” he enthuses. “I can't wait for you all to see it!”
We spoke to Davis about the tasty morsels that make up his media diet right now.
: "I'm listening to more podcasts than music these days, to be honest. There's only so many times you can listen to the same 100 songs, even if they are by the best band the world has ever seen - a Sydney outfit called The Clouds, just for reference - and I just can't be bothered finding about this "new" music that the kids these days go on about.
What really excites me about podcasts is the immediacy of it – people are out there recording something in an hour and having it spread around the world in the space of a day. It's people talking about games honestly without the PR spin. Most of them are crap, but there's some gems to be found:
Player One Podcast
is definitely one of the slickest gaming podcasts out there, run by two ex-EGM writers. It features interviews, intelligent conversation and great anecdotes about working in the business.
; I think half the reason I like this is because some of my friends work on the show and it's always funny to think they now get paid to be opinionated loudmouths. Usually they do it for free. Be warned: You'll need to clear your afternoon schedule when you're listening because they're pushing the 2 hour mark these days. Aggravated Gamers
is like the 1up Yours show but by people who don't get paid to play video games that they get for free. It's amazing how much that changes the tone.
New Adventures of GAFcast
is mostly centred around the Japanese side of gaming, but there's a general international vibe. One of the stars is a mad Zzap! 64 fan, so that makes it great in my book. Weekly Geek Show
is low-budget, but full of weird and wonderful things from all corners of geekdom. It spends a bit too much time on World Of Warcraft
, but it’s nice to listen to a podcast that isn't just about games."
: "The last movie I saw and enjoyed also happens to be one of my all time favourites: Clerks 2
. Sure, it's funny, but it's also got a lot of heart, and you just help but adore Rosario Dawson dancing on the rooftop. I can relate to this movie on more levels than I'd care to admit to - and it's not because I like donkey shows. That's purely a coincidence, and besides, we prefer the term interspecies erotica.
- to be honest I love and loathe this movie at the same time. It's the movie that transformed me from a normal, bike-riding, backyard-fishing, school-attending kid into a hardcore video game junkie. Thank God I managed to eke out a career in it because to be honest I don't think I really have any skills besides telling people what should be in video games. And it's all Tron
Despite the fact it has Minnie Driver in it, Good Will Hunting
is still in my "all time favourites" list. Maybe I can relate to Will Hunting's plight. Maybe I can understand what it's like to want to just pack it all in and lead the simple life. Or maybe I just like watching Ben Affleck. Ahem."
: "By far the author I love the most is Hunter S. Thompson. I admire the way he threw himself into the story and became the protagonist, instead of being a "proper" journalist. We need more people like him in the games journalism racket. No, Thompson-wanna-be's who live in their parent's basement and talk about how they pushed the magazine rack over in their local GameStop don't count. God, can you just imagine a Fear And Loathing
… game? That would be brilliant. Attention holders of the Hunter S. Thompson estate: call me.
The most recent book I've read is Stardust
, by Neil Gaiman. I've been a longtime fan of his, and I just checked how old my Sandman
books are. Good God, I'm old. Anyway, it's a rather charming fairy tale adventure with witches and unicorns and talking trees...and an endearing star that fell from the sky, who isn't that pleased with her situation. All the time while I was reading it I kept thinking that if there was going to be a movie of this they should have Claire Danes as the star and then I found out afterwards there IS going to be a movie of it and Claire Danes is in it! Synchronicity, eh? Can't wait.
It's a sad but true fact that most of my daily reading material is the neogaf.com message board. It's one of the biggest gaming message boards around and is populated by three kinds of people: industry folk trying their best at viral marketing, students trying to become industry folk, and insane fanboys who hate everything industry folk do but talk incessantly about their sales figures. It's compulsive reading I have to admit and I even snuck a few board member names into Spyro
's enemy name list."
: "Growing up as a C64 user it's no surprise that two of my all time great games came out on that classic 8-bit machine. I think the overall theme of my favourite games list are titles that really opened my eyes to the potential of what you can do in a video game; i.e., anything you want.
: For anyone under the age of 25, this was Grand Theft Auto
in space, and the original sandbox game. Being able to chart your own path through an entire universe with nothing but a ship, some credits and a cargo bay full of narcotics was a huge shakeup for both the industry and my brain back in 1984. I'm still playing it to this day on the GBA. Dear Mr. David Braben: Please stop making "Wallace And Gromit make a Rollercoaster" games and get Elite 4
finished at some point this millenium. Thanks.
: Sensible Software's C64 classic should go down as one of the best video games ever made, period. It's a game where you collect paint drops and shoot enemies and use a control system that's best described as controlling a pea in a bowl of soup. It's psychedelic, totally original and tuned to perfection. This would be perfect for the Wii. Attention Wizball
rights owners: call me."
: "I love and loathe Sid Meier's game with an equal amount of passion, really. I haven't allowed myself to play it since I started work at Krome because I know if I get into it again that would pretty much be the end of my career. I'm waiting until I get rich from making a Wizball
remake on the Wii before I crack it open again, but I can't fault the game's scope and execution.
As for what I've been playing lately, Bookworm Adventures
is PopCap's latest word scramble game and has to be given extra credit for successfully mixing a short attention span game mechanic with a long-range quest. Adding RPG and strategy elements must have seemed like a crazy idea but I'll be damned if it isn't so satisfying to knock out a Hydra in one blow with a 9 letter word.
- the Game Boy Color version. It's really easy to pick up for 10 minutes and have an enjoyable hole or two. The difficulty level is almost perfect - you really have to work at winning the tournaments. I really like how you can just have a casual bash around the course or play serious and it'll give you just the right amount of challenge either way.
Oh and I've also been playing a game called "Watching everyone else buy a Wii and having to wait until next year to get one myself". Damn it!"