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Media Consumption: Telltale Games' Dave Grossman

Media Consumption: Telltale Games' Dave Grossman

December 5, 2006 | By Alistair Wallis

December 5, 2006 | By Alistair Wallis
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For this week’s Media Consumption, a column that looks at the media and art diets of our favourite industry personalities, we spoke to senior designer for Telltale Games, Dave Grossman.

After years working for LucasArts on titles like The Secret of Monkey Island and its sequel, Day of the Tentacle and Full Throttle, Grossman began working with Telltale on their Bone series, and, more recently, on the rejuvenated Sam & Max franchise. With the first of six planned episodes released to great fanfare mid-October to GameTap subscribers, and early November on Telltale’s site, the company have stuck to their goal of a regularly paced season of content for the title – the first machinima short went up on their site a few days back, and the second episode, Situation: Comedy is due for release in a few weeks.

“Most of what I’m doing at the moment has to do with Sam & Max: Season 1,” says Grossman. “The first episode is out already, and the rest are following more quickly than even I can fathom.”

We spoke to Grossman recently to ask about the media requirements of his diet at this point in time.

Sounds: I like a little of everything, but at the moment I seem to be particularly listening to lounge music and funk. I also really enjoy unusual covers of usual songs – I made a collection of versions of Ring of Fire, for example, which I use to test people’s patience. My current favorite band is Cocktail Angst, a dazzling lounge combo with Latin overtones and a sense of humor, who unfortunately stopped playing together last I heard.

Moving Pictures: I generally prefer thinkier films, but for some reason a lot of my standout favorites seem to be action-y titles with a sense of humor, though not too silly. For many years I counted Raiders of the Lost Ark as my official favorite – I actually watched it five times in one day while it was out in the theaters. More recently, Pirates of the Caribbean has dominated my DVD player.

My favorite underrated film is Tremors, which I consider to be one of the finest monster movies ever made, precisely because it doesn’t take itself too seriously to be entertaining. Other things that stick in my head right at the moment: Memento, Pulp Fiction, Toy Story (both of them), The Wrong Trousers, The Matrix, Fight Club. I like old Arnold Schwarzenegger movies for sheer campiness, and The Wrath of Khan for the same reason. Come to think of it, I think I just like movies in general.

The last thing I saw in a theater that I enjoyed was Little Miss Sunshine. I hadn’t planned to go, but several people who know what my sense of humor is like recommended I see it, and they were right: I thought it was really funny.

Words: Right now I’m reading P.G. Wodehouse’s Ukridge stories, and before that it was Microserfs by Douglas Coupland. Next I’m planning to tackle Don Quixote. I mostly like intelligent novels with some humor in them, and have been a fan of Wodehouse, Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, Italo Calvino...

As a younger man I also read gallons of sci-fi and horror stories, but not so much these days.

Games: I often cite Legend of Zelda for the SNES as my top pick, because it’s so scrupulously, ingeniously tightly designed. I also got very into The Incredible Machine, ToeJam and Earl, and The Sims. My play these days is corralled by a tendency towards tendonitis in my thumbs, but lately I’ve been playing a little Puzzle Pirates, Phoenix Wright on my DS, and I also enjoyed the online flash game(s) Grow from eyezmaze.

I do play a lot of board games as well, a few favorites being Puerto Rico, TransAmerica, Carcassone Hunters and Gatherers, Settlers of Catan, Vino, Power Grid, Citadels, and I could go on for a long time, but instead I’ll just take the opportunity to plug Qwirkle, an elegant new abstract game that I got to help test before it was finished.


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