Michael Jackson - You will be missed.

Michael Jackson was a gamer, he wanted me to come up to Neverland and talk to him about games. The first time I went up and after walking in the door, he handed me a black plastic trash bag and told me to put it on. I was like, "HUH?" He started putting his trash bag on. Then one of his staff walked in with a giant PILE of eggs. A bunch of his friends came in (wearing the requisite black trash bags) and we all went into the garden area and started a giant egg fight. I threw my first egg FULL FORCE (I have long arms), then the world went into slow motion, I thought, "Oh No!", as I saw the egg flying full speed towards his son's face, and I noticed they were filming everything for Michael's home video collection (so they'd know who did it!) What a great start to make his son cry. Luckily, it whizzed right by his ear missing him by millimeters. I then went into "Here, take this" as I performed the lamest egg throws you've ever seen. So everyone survived, and I was invited to stay.

I had a damn good time in his arcade, check out the stuff it had: CLICK HERE

There were always celebrities there, Marlon Brando was staying there for a while (this was when he was really ill and was there to escape the media), Brett Ratner (Director - Rush Hour / X-Men) was there just hanging out.

I was given complete free roam, and took advantage of it, I've played his arcade machines, been on all his rides, I even fired up his go-karts, and drove his bumper cars (while listening to Michael Jackson music turned up to 11.)

As I wandered around, I walked into his movie theater and watched him play with his kids, he was an amazing father to them. I watched him quietly from the shadows at the back, he had no idea I was there. They were watching the Three Stooges but had given up on that and instead were just having fun. Anytime anything turned serious, he'd fight it, one time his chef was cooking me something, and he walked in. He saw that the chef had turned the news on the TV, and he said to the chef, "Please turn that off, this is why people come here, to get away from all that." I guess the point is that he was always surrounded with the pressures from the real world, but was trying hard to provide an escape, not just for himself, but for everyone else too.

I hated that people would say negative stuff about him as they had never met him.

I was invited back a few times and always saw interesting things, like the road would be blocked as they were exercising an elephant, my wife came up and fed his bear. I made some dumb mistakes too, like he was totally into magic, so I showed him that leviation trick but got the angles wrong, he didn't say it was the most lame magic he'd ever seen, but you could tell he was thinking it, as then he started talking about David Blaine being a friend of his. Let's just say, I gave up on the magic.

Our discussions lead us to plan for him to release his next music album as a video game FIRST, then as an album. This would have introduced many new players to video games. He was incredibly interested in the idea, and we got quite far down that road, working on the story, mechanics etc. We were excited about the press potential, I remember saying to him, "Oprah never talks about video games", to which he replied, "Oprah is a friend of mine". This was a theme I learned, he had so many friends, and actually spent time with them all. It was really impressive.

So I feel lucky to have spent time with him, I think the music industry lost a major part of its history yesterday, I know his children will be devastated, and for people like me that spent time with him, that got to see the "real" guy, (outside of his celebrity) the world lost a really great person too.

David Perry.


OH, one other thing, I have another quick Michael Jackson story from the other side... I used to know the head of security for Wembley Stadium in the UK. He gave me one of those reflective security staff jackets to wear so I could go anywhere I wanted. So I went to see tons of famous acts (Madonna, David Bowie, Prince, everyone), and literally would stand at the side of the stage and watch the show. I did this with Michael Jackson, and it was the worst show ever! Why? Well everyone kept bloody fainting! "Mister!!! My girlfriend just fainted, help me save her, PLEASE!" I spent most of the concert carrying sweaty-crushed-passed-out women to the medical crews. I'd NEVER seen that many at any concert before. There are tons of great bands out there, but it's a whole new level when your fans can't remain conscious! He rocked.


Comments

Wonderful article! Thanks a lot for sharing. I don't know if the project is still going on but I'm a Michael Jackson fan and expert as well as a great Localization Producer, looking for a job. Don't hesitate to contact me, I'm really serious about it.

Posted by: Mehdi77 at July 11, 2009 11:45 PM

I love the panoramic view of MJ's arcade. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I feel sad I never got to meet Michael because he sounds like a lovely person. Your picture of his arcade has cheered me up because it makes me feel like I've entered a personal part of his life outside of all the media nonsense. Thank you so much for sharing this. I miss Michael, he was such a sweet man xo

Posted by: wendy at July 8, 2009 10:51 AM

That's cool, to have some kind of interaction with the pop music king.

Posted by: gasto at June 30, 2009 8:32 AM

That was a real nice read David. You seem to live quite an adventurous life for a game developer :P What was so good about your post was it showed a side of Michael that often gets forgotten about in the press.. reality just isnt up to the task of selling papers I guess. Sad world.

Posted by: Dom at June 29, 2009 3:08 PM

I absolutely believe that what you describe here is his escence. Being around him gotta be a once in a lifetime experience. A friend of mine, who met him in person, described him as a big child. Truly a genuine person that the world would be better with him. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Jose Luis Escalante at June 27, 2009 9:03 AM

Thank you for the positive memories of MJ...It has help me adjust to his passing....Mahalo David

Posted by: Victoria at June 26, 2009 3:54 PM

That was a good read Boss, too often people build up perceptions based around distance and "outside-in" perspective. Nice to see an Inside perspective for a change without the media filters.

Posted by: D. AnjelusX Slauenwhite at June 26, 2009 1:48 PM

Very nice David. I never knew you had meet him. Sounds like it was a very cool place to be.

Posted by: Mike Pacholik at June 26, 2009 1:24 PM

Wow, it's refreshing to see something nice written about him.

Posted by: jp182 at June 26, 2009 12:25 PM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Remember me?


David Perry's Game Industry Map Game Design Book