Naughty Dog’s Second Game in 4K

Ski Crazed, 1986 Apple II – 4K CRT Footage with MiSTER FPGA | Chasing the Stick by Me on YouTube

As I figure out writing Chasing the Stick as a real life book, I have begun slowly gathering my own footage and photos of the games in as high of a quality as I can. This is why I bought and built a MiSTer FPGA console!

So a couple weeks ago, I tested recording my CRT in 4K while playing the second game published by Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin – Ski Crazed for the Apple II. I don’t know quite what to do with the footage, so rather than sit on it, I decided to upload it to YouTube and learn from some mistakes I made.

One setting I need to lock down is the ISO. I had it set to automatic, which led to the blowouts between screen transitions. Also, the audio may not be synced up properly. That’s because I was capturing the audio digitally through the MiSTer’s HDMI port, but I was not capturing the analog sound. So there wasn’t a clean way to sync the two. My apologies.

I’m not confident in the framerate selection either. My Canon EOS 90D captures 4K30. The game runs at 60fps. So do I sacrifice the frames for resolution or give up the 4K dream in favor of a more accurate framerate? I am not sure yet; after uploading and thinking about it, I am sort of leaning toward the frame rate option. We shall see!

Chasing the Stick: The Book – Here I Go Again

I am working on the definitive history of Naughty Dog. I’m writing it as a book that will be published for the company’s 40th anniversary in 2024.

I don’t think this really will surprise anyone who knows me or has followed my work, especially last year’s Chasing the Stick: The History of Naughty Dog during the PS4 Era. This is totally the type of project I would take on.

There was a moment last year, on the release day of The Last of Us Part II, when a personal copy of Chasing the Stick showed up in print. I had bought it for myself as a treat for a job well done. It ironically showed up on the day of the game’s release, despite me luckily snagging a copy a couple days early. When I opened the book, I had this feeling when I saw my name printed on the cover. I imagine it is similar to directors seeing their films at the theater or a musician hearing their song on the radio. I’ve felt my own versions of this when seeing reviews published at sites, seeing videos I made promoted, and seeing podcasts I create out in the wild. Printing the book for myself wasn’t enough for me though.

Normally, I work on projects in relative secrecy, and planned to do so with this book. But I’ve been really thinking lately how I can do things differently and better. I think one step toward that will be more open about the process. Maybe this can help point people and resources my way. I’ve been doing lots or research lately and just made a significant investment in the pursuit of playing Naughty Dog’s computer games from the 1980s (more on that in a couple weeks, I’d guess). Finding and talking to people from Naughty Dog’s earliest days is hard enough on my own, maybe being more public about my book will help in the slightest way.

There have been plenty of stories and articles about Naughty Dog’s history, especially stories revolving around Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter. The most notable is IGN’s Rising to Greatness by Colin Moriarty. Written nearly a decade ago in 2013, Colin had incredible access to Naughty Dog’s founders and team. My goal with Chasing the Stick was to fill in the years after Rising to Greatness: Now I want to do better than Colin. No disrespect toward his wonderful work at all.

Out of the 38,000+ words, roughly 7,400 (~19%) focus on the span of 10 years that Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin made games for PCs, the Genesis, and the 3DO. I think there is a lot more than can be explored during that time period, game development on those platforms, how those games actually preformed (critically, technically, and commercially). It feels like the clock is running out for those games and platforms as well. It’s “easier” to research PlayStation and beyond, those games are far more recent (if 1996 counts as recent) and way more popular. More people want to learn about Crash, Jak, and Drake, and that totally makes sense. I want to explore it all.

That’s my plan and mission for the next three years. This project will grow over time, but the end goal will remain a published book. I have other ideas for how to disseminate information/research I collect over the next few years, but a book is what awaits it all at the finish line.

So there it is, out of the shadows. If you have any Naughty Dog information (i.e. old magazines, articles, demos, clips, interviews, etc.) please send them my way on Twitter @MaxRoberts143 or at my email address max@maxfrequency.net. If you have worked at or currently work at Naughty Dog, I would love to talk with you about anything and everything. This goes for those early PC/Genesis/3DO days as well. It all will help me write the definitive history about one of the video game industries best developers.

Cutting the Hair: The History of Neil Druckmann’s Hair during the PS4 Era

A silver-foxed lining of staying at home in 2020 is that folks around the world are growing out their hair in pursuit of the “man bun.” While the idea of having a man bun is a fantasy for some, one man in the video game industry has been in leveling up his hair stat for over seven years: Neil Druckmann.

Continue reading “Cutting the Hair: The History of Neil Druckmann’s Hair during the PS4 Era”

Part VI: Conclusion

Welcome to Part VI of Chasing the Stick: The History of Naughty Dog during the PS4 Era.

I decided to break-up the six parts of my history into individual episodes as well, for more choice for you, the listener.This episode talks about the future of Naughty Dog with the PlayStation 5 and what could lie ahead. I hope you enjoy.

Continue reading “Part VI: Conclusion”

Part V: The Last of Us Part II

Welcome to Part V of Chasing the Stick: The History of Naughty Dog during the PS4 Era.

I decided to break-up the six parts of my history into individual episodes as well, for more choice for you, the listener. This episode focuses on the tumultuous and generation-long development cycle of The Last of Us Part II. I hope you enjoy.

Continue reading “Part V: The Last of Us Part II”