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Media Consumption: Relentless Software's Jeff Gamon

Media Consumption: Relentless Software's Jeff Gamon

April 3, 2007 | By Alistair Wallis

For this week’s Media Consumption, a column that looks at the media and art diets of our favorite industry personalities, we spoke to Jeff Gamon, executive producer at Brighton, UK-based studio Relentless Software.

Gamon joined the company in August 2006, after leaving Electronic Arts, where he had worked for nine years as the executive producer of the Theme franchise and a number of early Harry Potter titles, as well as working with Digital Illusions on the online components of Battlefield 2: Modern Combat.

Relentless are best known for their popular Sony Computer Entertainment Europe published Buzz series for PlayStation 2, including The Music Quiz, The Big Quiz and, following Gamon’s employment , The Sports Quiz.

The latest title in the series, Buzz! The Mega Quiz, is set for release in the UK on the 17th of this month.

We spoke to Gamon recently, and asked about the choc-chips in his media cookie of late.

Sounds: "Truth is, I don’t want to have to try too hard to enjoy music. Music to me is rarely something I dedicate time to listen to exclusively; more often its background, either at home or during my commute.

I’ve always bought in the mainstream. Maybe I used to think that my tastes were unconventional but a decade or so later you realise that there were just as many people with ‘unconventional’ tastes as those with conventional. Why else would ‘alternative’ now be such a prodigious genre in the iTunes music store!

Lately, I look for bands that don’t take themselves too seriously, or at least give that impression. Bands that maybe are irreverently evocative of music I once took too seriously while still clearly inspired by it. The Frattelies, Goldfrapp, Dirty Pretty Things, Scissor Sisters and recently Mika."

Moving Pictures: "Opportunities to go to the movies to see anything other than U [Universal] rated films have been few and far between since I became a father five years ago. That said I’ve been more than happy to sit through most of the animated kids films over the last year. That’s not to say they’re all good, in fact most weren’t but with kids they’re hilarious and in itself that’s entertaining. I would draw the line at going to see Charlotte’s Web though.

Of the crop of the year’s kid movies, I enjoyed Flushed Away despite the diabolical London accents. I imagine some Dreamworks exec insisted that the only London accents that sell are those from Mary Poppins. Still, despite being CG it did retain a lot of the Aardman charm and did manage to deliver laughs for both kids and adults."

Words: "I tend to read a lot of non-fiction which now I reflect on it is quite a recent change of taste. Previously you might have found me with a fairly mainstream novel, Iain M. Banks, DBC Pierre, Jim Lynch. I’d have no particular favourite author but like fiction with a slightly skewed perspective.

Right now, I’ve a few books on the go which probably says that none have me particularly enthralled. However, I was delayed while travelling recently and picked up Stardust by John Gribbin; which was awe-inspiring not just for the science but for the context the book put it in. Similarly his history of science - which I bought off the back of Stardust - while not awe-inspiring remains a real eye opener."

Games: "Favourite games in no particular order: Mario Kart, Banjo Kazooie, Doom, Ico, Ocarina of Time, Golden Eye, Bomberman, Robotron, Resident Evil 4, Turrican and others best left in the past where they remain great and fond memories. Sure, most have stood the test of time mechanically and some are available today in various incarnations but when they were current they were amongst the best in every sense including art, audio and technology. I am still partial to a bit of a blast on Robotron on my 360 though.

Lately, my DS is seeing a lot of use and at the risk of contradicting myself, it’s multiplayer games of Bomberman and Mario Kart we’re playing.

At home, I’ve bought a Wii and while I have played Zelda to completion, I do question whether the Wii is going to have legs as a gaming platform. Right now Nintendo have got great positioning and nice simple products to back it up, but games like ‘play’ and ‘sports’ are the kind that are dusted off for specific situations, not really to play regularly like say, a Zelda.

Nintendo do have huge franchises still to come this year, which -- combined with innovations leveraging the remote -- may be enough, but if more traditional video games ultimately do take the lion’s share of the Wii catalogue, then inevitably they’ll be measured against what the PS3 and 360 can deliver. That said, I’ll be as keen as the next person to get Super Mario Galaxy."

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