China Game Boom

A new Interfax China report presented by Research and Markets reveals that China’s online games market has “entered a boom period.” The report, China Online and Mobile Gaming Industry, 2008 – 2010, states that sales from online game operators totaled RMB 10.57 billion ($1.55 billion) in 2007, and that figure is expected to reach RMB 12.67 billion ($1.86 billion) in 2008 and RMB 18.21 billion ($2.67 billion) in 2010.

American in China

Spicy Horse Logo

The Spicy Horse Logo

Brian Ashcroft from Kotaku has presented a really great interview with me and a few others from Spicy Horse. It details the history of my move to China, the formation of Spicy Horse, and our vision of the future of games in China. From the article,

It was 2007, and China was buzzing — with optimism and energy. “Chinese contemporary society is like a whirlwind,” says McGee’s business partner and art director, Ken Wong. “It seems to have changed in 10 years as much as America has in the past 40.” McGee and Wong, started boutique studio dubbed “Spicy Horse” or “Ma La Ma” in Chinese. Initially, they worked out of their homes on an island off the Hong Kong coast. “We moved into some really low-rent warehouse space in Shanghai upon our initial landing in the mainland,” says McGee. “From there we moved a few more times, ever growing the company, taking on more people, and evolving the culture.”

Be sure to check out the full article.

Many thanks to Brian for crafting such a cool article. And thanks to Kotaku readers for supporting interesting interviews like this 🙂

Grimm Comics from IDW

School Book

Grimm Book

Cool news out of California: Grimm is coming to comics! From the article on MSNBC, “SAN DIEGO, CA – Celebrated game designer American McGee’s Grimm, an episodic videogame that debuted on GameTap, offers gamers the chance to create darkness across traditionally lighter fairy tales. And now Grimm, the game’s macabre dwarf who wreaks havoc on these fairy-tale tableaus, will be unleashed in a new comic book series coming from IDW Publishing in April 2009.”

The comics are being written by Dwight MacPherson and illustrated by Grant Bond. The work I’ve seen from the guys so far is really impressive, so I’m expecting (as you should) these comics to be a lot of fun.

The MSNBC article goes on to describe the theme of the comics, which, “will find Grimm invading — and forever changing — the worlds of romance comics, westerns, teenage high-school comics, and anthropomorphic comics. In each issue, Bond’s art style will reflect the archetypal art form of these traditional universes before Grimm’s dark influence fully takes over the comic.”

You can read more about the comics on the IDW Website.

Grimm Episode 16 – Christmas Carol

2008 Christmas Card

Ugly Christmas Baby

It’s that wonderful time of year again – time for another episode of Grimm! And something else… oh yeah, CHRISTMAS! And wouldn’t you know it, Grimm has a special treat for you! Is it a lump of coal? A stick? Nah! He’s cooked up a special presentation of “A Christmas Carol”. Not only does this episode deliver some critical commentary on the commercial “celebration” we call Christmas (joyful alliteration!), but it wraps up this “season of 8” – bringing us to 16 episodes in total! How’s that for weekly episodic content?!

But as usual you don’t have to take my word for any of this. Take a read at what David Craddock over on BigDownload has to say:

“In fairness, when Grimm Season Two was good, it was great. Episodes such as The Master Thief, The Pied Piper and Iron John are some of the most enjoyable casual gaming romps I’ve experienced — quite a feat, considering the plethora of free flash-based games available within the Internet’s many tubes. The conclusion of Season Two, A Christmas Carol, isn’t one of the series’ best offerings, but its excellent art direction, as well as its depressingly truthful analysis of the true meaning of Christmas circa 2008, does make it quite entertaining.”

So there you go. When it was good, it was great. And when it was just released, it was FREE. On top of all that, it was predictable, easily accessible, and unlike anything else out there. Pretty good first year of Grimm if you ask me. More fun stuff in store for next year.

In the meantime, check out Grimm, Episode 16, “A Christmas Carol”.

Now with all that Grimm stuff out of the way – I just wanted to take a moment to say, “Thank you!”. To all the people at GameTap who made Grimm happen. From Ricardo who gave it the green light to Roger who watched over its production. From Trent and Wendy who publicized it and marketed it. Of course MANY huge thanks to the dedicated team at Spicy Horse. Without their creative vision, process-driven production, and technical brilliance, Grimm would be nothing more than a little grumpy dwarf twinkle in my eye.

Last but not least, thank YOU! The Grimm audience. You guys have been great – providing feedback, praise, and criticism in all the right places. You made Grimm a truly interactive development process. Your comments were read, they mattered, and they impacted the product we were building in a real (and real-time) way. It’s been great to have you along.

Here’s wishing everyone a happy, safe, and healthy Holiday!

Red Rocket Take-Off

This week saw the announcement of a cool new video game company in Shanghai. One that happens to be run by my good friend and part-time mentor/psychologist Jung Suh. From the announcement: “Red Rocket Games has been officially cleared for takeoff. The company was founded in late 2005 by Jung Suh and Scott Yu and today Red Rocket is finally ready to announce its launch. The developer is headquartered in Shanghai and has offices in Bellevue, WA. Red Rocket will focus on smaller casual type games for the PC, handhelds, and iPhone.” You can read the full release here.