The Book Is The Container

John Scalzi on publishing, circa 2005 (via a post today in Chris Roberson’s blog):

“Listen to me now: Writers are not in the publishing industry. The publishing industry exists to handle the output of writers and distribute it in an effective and hopefully profitable way; however it does not necessarily follow that writer’s only option is the publishing industry, especially not now. Congruent to this: Books aren’t the only option. I write books, but you know what? I’m not a book writer, any more than a musician is an LP musician or an MP3 musician. The book is the container. It’s not destiny.”

Quite clever, that Mr. Scalzi.

Posted here for my own reminder.

DJ Hero

Ars Technica has an article up about why DJ Hero has flopped. (122K copies sold, across 4 platforms)

It’s an OK article — but painful to read in its cluelessness. Cluelessness which, in fact, demonstrates the biggest point that it misses in discussing why the game has failed to appeal to the largely white upper-middle-class console gaming audience. That point: Cultural disconnect.

The closest they get to pointing out the obvious is where they say “You don’t know any of these songs” — pointing out that the games “credibility may hurt it — including artists like Afrika Bambaataa may excite hip-hop fans, but that’s not a name that’s going to energize every gamer who sees it on the back of the box in a game store.” Which is a bit like saying that including Wayne Rooney on a FIFA cover means nothing to people who aren’t soccer fans — the correct response to which (after Duh, I mean) is to point out that non-fans are not the target audience.

…and here we have the problem. The target audience for DJ Hero — fans of turntablism and hip-hop — are not largely present in the core audience for console games, mostly for socioeconomic reasons.

I mean, hell — the entire development of turntables and samples as instruments, the entire creation of DJ culture and hip-hop as a fucking GENRE was spurred by poverty and using what you had at hand to make music. Using old records on turntables because you had them, because going out and buying musical instruments was *expensive*.

Ars Technica (and the makers of the game, for that matter), appear to either forgotten that, or never knew it in the first place. Now, watching AT stumble over itself trying to understand why the game didn’t fly off the shelves is more than just painful in its avoidance of the obvious…

It’s embarrassing.

Addams Family: Musical Cast

Vanity Fair photo of the cast of the new Addams Family musical, which is opening in Chicago for a test run possibly leading to Broadway. The cast features Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia and Nathan Lane as Gomez!