Weekly Game Pitch #4
By Guest Columnist, Scott Rush
I don't know why I bother! The meeting last week was going fine, Bob had his coffee and I made sure there were extra pens for him to doodle with, but somehow everything veered off course like an unmanned jet and with about the same result for my proposals.
What happened was, we were all sitting round the conference room table, Bob was doodling away while the new marketing guy tried to explain what was happening in the gaming market and what sorts of titles would be competitive in the future and we were all sort of lulled into a gentle stupor like sitting beside a fire on a rainy day, thinking our own thoughts, tuning out the idiotic misperceptions and feeble "insights" and wondering what we'd have for lunch. Well, the marketing guy pulled one of the oldest, nastiest tricks you can in one of these meetings: mid drone, he stops and says "Bob, what do you think?"
The room went dead quiet, everybody looking down at their pads and sneaking sideways peeks at Bob. You would think Bob's head was going to end up on a stake in the parking lot (it's happened before), but Bob's been around and he came up big in the clinch.
"Ted, thanks for asking. First, let me say I think you've identified some important issues and opportunities, and I'm eager to help move our agenda forward. I'm just not sure it's appropriate to form an opinion before I've heard more. What do you think Scott?"
But the marketing guy wasn't done.
"Uh, Bob? Cut the crap, okay? The question was whether a concept like Puddin' Bears fits in with the direction we've been discussing?"
"Direction, Ted? I don't think there's been any agreement on direction."
"Jeez, it's a simple question, Bob! Puddin' Bears, yes or no?"
"Uh, well, if I had to decide right now, I'd say, uh, lemme see, I'd say no. The market may not support more games featuring big-eyed weird looking cartoon creatures right now, or it may, but since we, um, don't know that, I'd favor staying the course, y'know, we've all agreed on here."
"Sorry to hear it, Bob. I think this is a strong concept that fits the strategy under consideration, but without your support, I'm afraid there's just not much point in going forward with it. I only hope you'll have an equally strong concept that you can give full support to by next week's meeting."
"Not a problem," Bob said, and gave me a guilty smirk that only made me want to club him more.
I was ready to quit, or at least complain loudly. I couldn't believe Bob would sell me out that way, at least in front of witnesses! After the meeting, Bob took me aside and said he was trying to protect me, because he knew Ted was just pretending to like the concept so he could shoot it down once we'd spent a few million in development, and that there are rumors Ted is about to be fired anyway. "No hard feelings, right? I'll be expecting some new concepts by this afternoon, okay?" Then he strode off whistling, and I saw him later having lunch with that pretty blonde in Distribution. I really hate Bob sometimes, especially at lunchtime.
So, these are the ideas I gave Bob for the meeting, and I hope he likes them. I'm not sure I do.
Xtreme Lawn Sports
Everything is "extreme" these days, and what's more extreme than spelling extreme without the first "e"? Kids dig it, it just seems to say "action", or as the kids would spell it, Axion! So, add to that one of the fastest growing, most neglected sports genres, and you've got a blockbuster waiting to happen! Rocket Lawn Darts, SupaBaadminton, Crunchin' Croquet, Flowin' Frisbee, Hand Grenade Hacky Sack, and Heavy Horse Shoes are just some of the modes available. And how's this for a tag: "Your Grass is Ass!"? At least it's better than the one from last year's Borderline Kayaking: "The Rulez Are Different Being Translated Of Japanese!".
This puzzler is modeled on the structure in some companies (but not ours), where the dumber your mistakes are, the faster you get promoted. The physics are reversed so gravity works backwards. You have to dodge all sorts of obstacles and dangers, and even if you don't, you still get a lot of points. The winner appears to be randomly chosen, but really it all depends on whether you can talk sports with the boss. What I meant to say is it depends on sophisticated algorithms beyond most people's comprehension, which is why the untutored are always complaining about how unfair and stupid some companies, I mean games, are.
So, that's all I have to say this week. That VP from last week quit after only a month, right after a big scene where his assistant was screaming about how she wouldn't be silenced and there were laws and all that, so I never did get around to showing him my ideas, which is probably a good thing considering what people are saying made his assistant so mad. Have a good one, see you next week.