|Monday Morning Developer
Posted Monday, May 17, 2004 by Mr. GBob
Is there any man more wise than the sports fan who on Monday morning reads the sports page, shaking his head sadly at the ignorant coaches who lost the game for their team. Of course they shouldn’t have gone for a play action fake on the third down! The fools. The terrible fools. If only they had the wisdom of the Monday Morning Quarterback to lead them to victory.
Sports are not the only vital area of American life that could use that peculiar brand of insight. The PC game industry is in a terrible state. If only some lazy hack on the internet could come along and make things right. The Corporation has taken this to heart, my friends. From the mighty armchair of all knowing wisdom, let us look upon the damn fool game developers and tell them how the industry should really be run.
The Wisdom of E3
From the dawn of the industry, many a game company has pondered ways to promote themselves and make product known. MMD loves to see companies think outside the box. We like it even more when the box is trampled beneath the feet of common sense. The greatest promotion by far must go the United States Army.
So you’re the greatest hyper power western civilization has ever known. Naturally you want to use your power to make video games. Who wouldn’t? Imagine if Napoleon had found a way to license his army? But how, you might ask, should you raise awareness of your game? Here are two choices. Let’s see if you have what it takes to win the hearts and minds of your nation.
A) Take the high road and bypass traditional methods of self promotion. Your product is not some crass time waster. It’s a powerful recruiting and education tool to find the kind of quality soldier this country needs in a time of crisis. Make sure that the product is promoted with the kind of dignity that reflects well upon the nation.
B) At E3, use our taxpayer money to dispatch a military helicopter to E3. Once you’re there, have troops descend off zip lines, guns drawn, and storm a convention center. Extra points for not telling everyone about it ahead of time, thus tying up 911 lines as panicked convention goers believe that a terrorist incident has taken place. Because, you know, it’s not like terrorists would ever actually attack a convention center or anything.
If you answered B you have what it takes to promote video games.
Brazilian Terrorists Banned from UO
The MMD remembers with fondness the good old days when you couldn’t open a web browser without a UO scandal breaking. Once upon a time we had a world of shadows and deceit where GMs sold castles, and wicked OSI employees used conscripted child labor to staff nefarious volunteer programs. With the demise of Origin, where will the outrage come from? Have no fear. According to a post of Stratics, thousands of accounts were banned for the use of illegal gametime codes. It seems that brokers were selling pre-paid gametime cards at a heavily reduced cost. Don't worry folks, Markee Dragon was here to save the day, cracking the vile schemes of those who would try to make a profit off the innocent gamers. After all, they were cutting into his own business of making a profit off innocent players.
Where did the gametime codes come from? Some say that they were purchased using stolen credit cards. Other claim that there was a conspiracy inside EA, where a disgruntled employee had access to the database and sold cracked gametime codes.
MMD finds it difficult to believe that any employee of Electronic Arts could be disgruntled. Instead, we prefer the following explanation from a poster on Stratics;
“A well known group in Brazil has supposedly hijacked several million dollars worth of Gametime Codes (Not Just Ultima Online) and are using the money to further their cause. They've hooked up with brokers (Who Will Remain Nameless), but I was informed that some people on the internet are making over $100,000 a year selling these codes. Really makes you wonder what the people who are selling the codes originally are making huh? I was told an investigation has been going on into this for nearly 8 months and that a lot of people are being watched and will be brought up on crimes relating to the Patriot Act since they are funding a well known Terrorist Group. We'll see though. It could be balony and it could be reality. My information was retrieved from a source inside the FBI.”
The posters on Stratics are, of course, the best source of leaks from the Federal Government, so MMD is positive that this is on the level. We only wish that the army had been alerted to this threat of EA-funded terrorism sooner so that the army would have had somebody to shoot at while they were at E3.
MMD At The Movies
There is more to life than just video games. There are also movies. Having watched the movie Troy, we now desire that Wolfgang Peterson make a movie about the American Civil War. We can see it now. The bumbling tyrant Lincoln desires to invade the south and steal it’s cotton. Victory depends the conflicted ninja, General Grant (played by Val Kilmer.) The ninja despises his king and is sick of war, but after the noble samurai of the South, General Lee kills Grant’s cousin, Grant has no choice but to destroy Atlanta. The week-long civil war ends with the North victorious, and Lincoln killed in his sleep by his lover, John Wilkes Booth. We smell blockbuster.
The Wisdom of E3 pt. 2
Why do people go to E3? Unlike the Game Developers conference, E3 is too noisy and chaotic to get any real work done. A company could spend over a million dollars for the event, once the cost of booth space, swag and hookers are added up. And for what? So that you can make an announcement that will be drowned out in the din of a hundred other companies putting out a press release? So that other companies can look over your game only to use it against you later?
If you were to ask the big companies why they were there, the closest you could get to an answer is “because everyone else is doing it”. It’s a dick waving contest, and every company wants to whip it out.
No matter. The drinks are free and a bunch of MMDs can put on a journalism badge and drink for free.
For the gaming community at large, E3 represents a time of the year when fanbois and girls can drool over game movies and screenshots. MMD was particularly interested in Richard Garriott's long awaited project, Tabula Rasa. TR hopes to be a departure from other MMOGs. The goal is to create a “theme park” experience, where players can quickly move from one adventure to the next. The open ended nature of the game environment allows for a great deal of creativity on the part of Ncsoft, and the team working on the game has a wealth of experience to draw upon. MMD was enthused to see a trailer for the game on the web this weekend. After viewing it, Mrs. MMD was not impressed. “It’s kind of...well...you know...what the hell is it about, again?”
Her point is well taken. Other games have a simple premise to entice gamers. “It’s Star Wars with other people” or “It’s a fantasy game. With swords and wizards”. One reason for this is that games are, fundamentally, escapist fantasies where the player is taken to worlds he has always imagined. Concepts that are too abstract are difficult for a player to immerse themselves, and therefore become a hard sell. While many of us have daydreamed of putting on a cape and beating up villains, or flying a spaceship against a fearsome enemy, nobody has daydreamed about the world of TR. By no means are we saying this is a bad thing. We, as gamers, could use more inventive worlds and fantastic concepts. What makes us curious, however, is how to sell and market this game.
Perhaps instead of spider like monsters you could find a more familiar villain…such as Brazilian game code selling terrorists.
The Wisdom of E3 pt. 3
This is the best game ever. I’m very excited about it.