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Joseph Olin (AIAS President) Interview

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Written by DM on Tuesday, June 06 2006

Do you get to play any video games yourself? If so, what are some of your favorites?

Of course! It’s one of the job’s great benefits. I try to play 4-6 hours a week, but find it difficult to complete any one single game straight through because there with so many games that I would like to play. In fact, the only two games I have completed in the past year were God of War and Katmari Damacy! Currently, I’m playing Fight Night Round 3 and Kameo on the Xbox360. I also like to play Guitar Hero with my 15 year old daughter – playing the game together gives us time to catch up. My PSP has Burnout Legends (50% completed) and I just picked up a copy of BrainAge. I still like to play some things on PC… Counterstrike even though I get my butt-kicked by my son and WarCraft 3, which is one of my all-time favorites!

How did the Interactive Achievement Awards arise, and what do you have planned for next year’s event?

The Interactive Achievement Awards are one of the fundamental reasons that the Academy was created. The Awards act as a vehicle to allow the people who make games the opportunity to recognize their peers’ great work. As this year marks the 10th anniversary of the awards, we are planning to do some things at the ceremony that recognize the games and game creators of the past decade in addition to celebrating the great games of 2006!

Have you decided on a host?

We are currently in negotiations for a host and will be announcing the host within the next couple of months. I will make sure you get the announcement.

I have read that, ideally, you would like to have the awards show considered on par with the Oscars and the Grammys. Is this what you are shooting for?

Certainly! I believe that for our members, and many in the game community, the Interactive Achievement Award is looked upon as an Oscar-equivalent. We don’t have the same seventy-odd years of history that the Oscars have but given that we are a young medium, and the Academy has only existed just 10 years, we are proud of the credibility that game-makers place in the process. The Academy, through its partnership with Dick Clark Productions hopes to create a television event around the Interactive Achievement Awards that can speak to game players and fans of interactive entertainment similar to the Grammy’s or Oscars.

We spoke briefly at E3 this year about the Resident Evil 4 controversy from last year’s awards. Just for our readers, can you recap why there will not be a repeat of that same issue this year?

I think controversy might be a bit of a strong word to use regarding RE 4’s absence from last year’s awards. According to the Academy’s Rules & Procedures, games are submitted formally by member publishers, or can be recommended and “written-in” by the Peer Panels. Even though Capcom was not an AIAS member last year, RE4 and Darkwatch were evaluated by a number of the Peer Panel’s. When it came time for the Panels to choose Award Finalists, RE4 did not make the cut. (As an aside, the IGDA’s Developer’s Choice Awards only recognized RE4 in the Visual Arts category as a nominee. So from a game-maker’s perspective there were a number of other titles that were deemed more significant in accomplishment for last year).

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