Monday, February 9, 2009

Outta Bizness

Finally some good news! - Graffiti cleanup agency goes out of businessJanuary 2nd, 2009
Los Padrinos Youth Services paid off its graffiti cleanup crews and went out of business Tuesday as San Bernardino city officials prepare to hire their own city workers to take on the work.
“For me, I can make it, but I worry about some of these kids,” said Padrinos Youth Leader Joseph Lujan, a recovering drug addict who has worked for the social service agency since 2001.
“When this program was running, there was hope for them. Now, some of them are asking, ‘What do I do now?’ ”
For 16 years, Los Padrinos was San Bernardino’s contractor for graffiti cleanup, hiring recovering addicts, reformed criminals and teens considered at risk of gang membership.
But City Council members approved funding Dec. 15 to hire a city cleanup crew, in part because they weren’t satisfied with Los Padrinos’ work.
Officials said they tried to help the agency stay in business with a $250,000 contract to staff city cleanup days, pick up abandoned furniture and perform similar tasks.That’s less than half the annual funding received by the agency up to now, and Executive Director Max Alonso said the proposed contract would have stuck Los Padrinos with a loss of nearly $12,000 per month.
On Tuesday, Alonso distributed the agency’s tools, trailers and vans to work crew leaders, who said they still hope to continue cleanup assignments as a reconstituted agency.
Mayoral Chief of Staff Jim Morris said he has met with Padrinos workers to offer some advice on establishing a nonprofit.
Now, it’s up to them to take the initiative, Morris said.

How did you create your own characters?

To create my own characters, I usually start with a tangible idea. For example, a character with an eye instead of the head is someone who observes, but who cannot speak or give an opinion… It’s a passive person, just like most people.Sometimes, I start with a renowned character to benefit from what it represents and then contextualize it in another situation. For instance, think of a Mickey born in Africa and not in the US. The result would a black Mickey who arrives to Europe and has to make a living by cleaning car windows.

Marc Ecko had a dream -- the dream of a fun video game. That dream soon ultimately turned into a nightmare with Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, a graffiti-based action game from Atari and developer The Collective. Subject to numerous lengthy delays, Getting Up is finally here, but it's nothing to hold your breath over. One might think a last minute three-month pushback would result in extra development polish time. But, in fact, it's quite the contrary. Frequent glitches and game engine freak-outs contribute to an overall less-than-mediocre graffiti/fighting/platforming hybrid.
Getting Up is Hard to DoDespite its end result, Getting Up had promise. With the cultish Jet Set Radio (Dreamcast/Xbox) paving its tagging path, and Ecko's worldwide popularity to back it, Getting Up had enough to, at the very least, spark interest in a graffiti-based game. And Ecko's first-hand involvement in the project was a definite plus. But it takes much more than a good track record and celebrity contribution to create a niche title.
And that is ultimately where Getting Up goes wrong. Instead of providing a unique artistic experience along the lines of Capcom's upcoming Okami, at the end of the day, Getting Up feels like a worn out action game. Focusing the majority of gameplay attention on the actual art of writing, rather than on a hackneyed up-from-the-streets story, would have been a good start. And, regrettably for Ecko, development just couldn't work the kinks out of the shoddy Getting Up game engine. Frame rate consistently dips to horrific lows, and many in-game objects and actions break frequently during gameplay.
For example, in a subway boss battle, we threw the leather belt-slinging (no, seriously) boss up against the window of a subway train, shattering the glass and indenting the frame. And when the battle ended, the train drove off without the window, and it remained suspended in mid-air! My camp counselor told me ghosts were real!
To further specify, the game is downright clunky. Fighting maneuvers and other movements are jerky, and jumps and damage results are entirely unrealistic. The game requires a decent amount of platforming with Prince of Persia style wall climbs and dangerous jumps that lead to out-of-reach spots. Although this seems like a fun concept, the restrictive camera and unresponsive controls make reaching these hits a lot less thrilling than chasing after Farah through the streets of Babylon