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June 26, 2005

Have Clank, Will Travel

My daughter loves to draw.
Anything & everything.
All the time.
She just loves to draw.

So I asked if she might like to draw some of her favorite video game characters for GameFam. Here's her initial reply, in 2 parts...

1. Clank

On the last day of E3 last month, I was supposed to meet a friend from Kellogg. She works for SCEA in finance, and she was on duty in the Ratchet area of the Sony booth.

I had promised to show her the Clank drawing, so I had a copy of it in my bag. When I arrived, however, my friend was nowhere to be found. So I passed a little time getting thoroughly trounced in Ratchet Deadlocked multiplayer.

After collecting a cool Ratchet t-shirt to compensate for my abject, yet enjoyable humiliation, I looked for my Kellogg friend again. Denied. But I got a helluva consolation prize, none other than Ted Price, founder, large cheese & head honcho of Insomniac Games, creators of Ratchet & Clank.

Ted Price

Since I already had Clank riding shotgun, I figured Ted might get a kick out of it. Before I could even get my bag closed, Ted saw the Clank drawing, halted his conversation, and came over to check out my daughter's work.

I spoke to Ted and Ryan Schneider (Insomniac's Marketing & Communications Director) for a while, including my plan to launch GameFam after E3. A good time was had by all. Then I gave them the drawing to take with them, since it was a copy (my daughter used the orignial for a collage, and would not have been happy if I gave that away).

When I followed up with Ryan recently, he told me that the drawing was hanging in Insomniac's kitchen (as you can see in the photo (below) he was nice enough to send). How cool is that?

I told my daughter the news, she beamed with pride, and I got a little ferklempt. She thought it was very cool that the people who created Clank liked her drawing enough to put it on display. How's that for a serendipitious E3 warm-fuzzy?

2. Gish

No cute story here. We've played the free demo of GameTunnel's Indie (Independent) Game of 2004 together a buncha times, and my daughter thought it would be cool to draw him (uh... it?). So she did. That's it. That's all I got for ya. Really. Alas, I didn't get to meet the good folks at Chronic Logic. Maybe next year.


Stay tuned for more exclusive drawings.

I'll review both games (the Ratchet & Clank series and Gish) in the coming weeks.


When I went to Insomniac's website to get a photo of their kitchen, I nosed around for a while, and came away thinking that it looked like a pretty damn cool place to work. As it turned out, the Great Place To Work Institute agreed, making Insomniac the "first video game company named to the "50 Best Small & Medium Sized Companies to Work for in America" list," ranking it #3 on the small companies list.

* end Insomniac infomercial * ;o)

Seriously, though, at a time when quality of life issues (or at the very least, some well-publicized claims thereof) are plaguing** the video game industry, it's pretty interesting that the first company to be recognized for exactly the opposite is an independent developer. Given my imperfect knowledge on this topic, I'm not making a judgement here. I just thought that it makes for an interesting jumping off point for a discussion on work-life balance in the industry. I realize that there are different issues for programmers & artists as opposed to marketing/strategy folks like myself, but either way, as driven as I am to succeed in my career (very much so), you can probably guess by now that work-life balance is a very important issue for me.

** "plaguing" may be too strong a word, but it sure fit well in the sentence. :o)


  • Nice to see a new blog dedicated to the family gamer. I've never played the Ratchet and Clank series, but my family loves Insomniac's other creation, Spyro.

    Maybe you should create an entry about your favorite family-friendly games of this generation of consoles. I know Lego Star Wars is easily my son's favorite game, though my daughter is much more drawn to games like Pizza Frenzy on the PC.

    By Blogger WizarDru, at 6:12 AM  

  • My kids also love Lego Star Wars (hey, a good game from Eidos!), as well as Madagascar, which is on the same PlayStation Magazine demo disc. We also played Pizza Frenzy together. Gotta love those RealArcade 60 minute trials!

    By Blogger Dan, at 1:05 AM  

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