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Media Consumption: Treyarch's Jamie Fristrom

This week’s Media Consumption, a regular column asking our favorite game developers what they’ve been listening to, watching, reading, and playing, talks to programmer, d...
This week’s Media Consumption, a regular column asking our favorite game developers what they’ve been listening to, watching, reading, and playing, talks to programmer, designer and author Jamie Fristrom. Jamie Fristrom is creative director at Santa Monica-based Treyarch, a developer now owned by its next-door neighbors, Activision. There, he was the lead programmer for Spider-Man and lead programmer/designer for Spider-Man 2, as well as a contributor to both Draconus and Die by the Sword. Previous to this, Fristrom worked at MindCraft on games such as the Magic Candle series, Star Legions, Walls of Rome, and Siege. Fristrom is also a regular contributor here at Gamasutra, has written a novel, and maintains a weblog (http://gamedevblog.typepad.com/). Sounds: "Somehow, around the time of the MP3 revolution, I kind of stopped listening to music,” said Fristrom. “I ripped my CD collection, listened to it on random shuffle for a while, got sick of it all, and never found new music to replace it. Must have something to do with getting old.” Fristrom does admit to listening to old favorites Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails occasionally. “But now that I'm a happy family man,” he says, “I don't really identify with Trent or Marilyn anymore.” But: “I do still have a soft spot for Blue Oyster Cult, the number one band of my childhood,” he said, adding, “More cowbell.” Movies: “I have an eight-month-old daughter, so it's hard to get out of the house to see a movie these days,” said Fristrom. “We had to figure out the whole babysitter thing just so I could see Batman Begins – which was a great movie – but I think Spider-Man 2 keeps the honors for best superhero movie ever. And I'm not saying that just because I worked on the game; I'm a believer.” Words: “I like novels about geeks,” said Fristrom. “That's who I identify with and what I respond to.” Listed favorites include Microserfs, Plowing The Dark, The Fortress of Solitude, The Ice Storm, and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. “And it just so happens I wrote a novel about geeks myself, under a pen-name,” he said. “It even won an award from Writer's Digest.” The book, called Dionysus Logged Out, has an official website. Games: “On the PC, just two nights ago, I came across a single-player Unreal Tournament 2004 mod called Hollow Moon that blew me away with its ambiance,” said Fristrom. “You have to play it to see what I mean.” Fristrom says he’s been in a “mod-playing mood” lately, also citing the unofficial Thief 2 expansion, Thief 2x. “As for console games,” he said, “Psychonauts was the best thing I've seen this year.” [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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