Monday, February 28, 2005

You Got the Touch!

I've been reading all sorts of opinions on the state of game journalism, and I have even written a bunch of stuff on it. I even wrote something very profound and awesome on the topic of game journalists being too easy on developers the other day, but my computer crashed and I lost it. Oh well.

I was thinking today while sitting on the crapper that it's true: Reviewers are too easy on developers and publishers. Not in the old "You don't use enough negative Simpsons references" way, but in the "Your focus is too narrow and pointed in the wrong direction" way. Game reviewers concentrate on everything BUT the important bits: Did the game change your life? Did you learn anything? Did you want to call your mom when you were done? The answer to most of these questions for most games is, "No."

So I think, someone must do something. Some game magazine must get out there, put its neck out, and do something different. Then I remembered how, in my past experience, it was nearly impossible to do that. We tried to do it with Gamestar, but they made us put boobies in it. Incite tried it, but they got bogged down with Gene Simmons talking about how awesome Twisted Metal is. Obviously, since those magazines failed, no one wants to read responsible, intelligent game journalism.

So who can make the change? Who can be a Superman in this new era of Superfriends?

I'm looking at you, Game Informer.

Yes, I know. No one sees you as a real magazine. The other mags hate you because you have such a huge circulation, and marketers see you only as a basketfull of eyeballs looking at their ads. It sucks being the official mag of a popular game store and being force-sold to people who come in that store. No one respects you until you bring out that Big Number: 1.5 million circ. It's probably more by now; who knows?

But you are the hope. You are the future. You are in the unique position to actually do something about the state of things. And why you, you may ask?

1) Because you're widely read. If GamePoo Xtreme decided to buck up and do reviews that really talk about what's underneath the games, no one would care. If they ran a cover that read, "New Lara Croft Game To Be Developed By Bungie," no one would see it. But you, you can do it. You can make a mass change, and tons of people will see it. Yeah, they might be disoriented or upset, but that brings us to the other factor:

2) You have a captive audience. Your audience is stuck, man! As long as Gamestop keeps giving their employees incentives to whore out your mag, you'll have a huge audience no matter what you do! If you have a 15% renewal rate (which is what I heard a few months ago), you have nothing to lose! If you're going to pass transitorily through the hands of over a million people, you might as well do it with something worthwhile.

You hold the keys to the future! You can write intelligent reviews that are more than just, "The controls are adequate, but nothing to write home about." You can say, "Metal Gear Solid 5 attempts to tug the heartstrings, but its tugging proves false as poor characterization turns the people you meet into stereotypes and archetypes that we've all seen a million times." You can say, "Driver 6's overreliance on technology betrays its insecurities when it comes to actually affecting the viewer." You can say, "Fable 2 gives players a sense of deep ownership of their own actions that expands what can be done in video games." A good piece of art is great, but it's not exceptional until someone tells the masses why it is so.

Looking at Game Informer and its huge readership and captive audience makes me think that THAT is the place to get this stuff done. Get intelligent with the reviews! Don't let game writers get away with poor stories by saying, "Yeah, it's crap, but what do you expect from a shooter?" Don't let RPGs get by with boring combat or poor design. Examine the game, learn what it's like to make a game, and know what makes one game system work and another fail. What makes a fighting game crappy? Don't just say, "poor controls." Say, "The timing is off, and one might think that in a game that emphasizes bloodthirsty action, the main character might be able to interrupt enemies' attacks with more brutal ones of her own."

Put that in your magazine, and let the captive audience lap it up (or ignore it at will; they still get the magazine, so advertisers won't give up on you). Your example could change the business, and all the other magazines will look at you and say, "Not only did they con out over a million circ, but they ALSO have intelligent articles that actually educate me on what games really are!" You'd help the business grow, you'd help keep developers and publishers more honest, and you'd get to say that you did it--you are this generation's Edge.

Game Informer could be the future, folks. Shudder.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

PC Games: Adventures in Self-Publishing -- Freedom Force vs. the 3rd Reich

PC Games: Adventures in Self-Publishing -- Freedom Force vs. the 3rd Reich

Argh. I had this whole diatribe on how awesome it would be if more developers self published, but then I lost it because this posting window sucks. Anyway, because I don't feel like typing it all again, here are the highlights:

  • Irrational is self-publishing Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich. They have a deal with Vivendi to put the game on shelves, but the marketing, packaging, sales, etc. are all Irrational.

  • This is a good thing because publishers have different interested from those of the developers and the gamers: Whereas developers want to make an enjoyable game that people will enjoy playing, publishers want to sell a game that will sell to as many people as possible, regardless of its quality. To sum up: Developers = good, wholesome, Wilford-Brimley-in-Cocoon; Publishers = Grand Moff Tarkin.

  • The game industry needs an independent sub-market like the film industry has. Whenever Hollywood gets lax, they fear that a Kevin Smith or a Napoleon Dynamite will pop up. When the game industry gets lax, it turtles and puts out more banal me-too crap. If EA was afraid that some guy and his friends in Nebraska might make a game that's cooler than theirs, they might be less flippant about dealing out crap to their "loyal" fans.

  • There was something about EA being evil, so there. I worked there, I know: EA = evil. See above re: Grand Moff Tarkin.

  • I enjoy watching the television show Monk.

  • I think that was about all I had.

Man. If you could have read the article I was planning to post, you would have been all impressed by my intelligence and wisdom. Now you have to content yourself with just imagining how wise and intelligent I must be. Which really isn't that much, so don't hurt yourself.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Pre-emptive Anal Web Fanboy Review of Constantine (by BlazerFan017)

Okay man, I haven't even seen the new Constantine movie. I've only seen the trailers and stuff. I have to say, as a long-time reader of the Hellblazer comics, I am disappointed.

First off, dude. What is up. Neo is Constantine? what is up with that?! They could have picked any Englishman in the universe to play Constantine, but they went with Keanu, probably because Keanu was wandering around muttering to himself about "squiddies" and "machines," and someone saw him, asked him to say "demons" instead, and just filmed him. I mean, c'mon. Constantine has blond hair, and Keanu has brown hair. WTF?!

Plus, Constantine's typical scummy acquaintances have been replaced with Rachel Weisz?!! Dude, she was pretty hot in the last part of The Mummy and stuff, but her knees are way too sharp. I would have rather put like, Kate Winslet or something in there. Rachel Weisz is WAY below my standards.

And then Constantine is like, fighting evil and stuff? Hey, Hollywood, this is comic is written by an ENGLISHMAN lol. There's no evil fighting in English comics. Just a bunch of snide conversation with moments of real insight surrounded by just standing around being cool and figuring out new ways to hold a cigarette. Sometimes someone complains about American beer, and then there's a part where someone complains about Ren Faires (sorry LustyWench_073!).

And Keanu! He is sooooo crap. Did you remember that part in Matrix where he was like, "I need more guns," and then some guns came out, and he was like, "Whoa." And then Trinity had this expression like she didn't care and was like, "Whatever, I see this every day." And then did you see the part where Keanu had to make out with Monica Bellucci, and she was like, "In order to get what you want, you have to make out with me," and Keanu was like, "Let me think about it," and Trinity goes, "Hey bitch, not with my man," and then Trinity walked up and made out with Monica Bellucci and they were all over the floor and stuff, and then they looked at me and went, "Hey BlazerFan017, can you help us out with having sex?" and I was like "Okay!"

Anyway, Keanu sucks. I think they should have used someone more edgy and underground like Gary Busey. Or Jeremy Irons or something. Or like, Dennis Leary. It doesn't matter though, because I would have hated whoever they picked.

Oh man, I hope they do that part in issue #47 when Constantine does that thing where he's in the trenchcoat. That was so awesome. But I bet they won't. They just want to take out all the cool stuff, replace it with crap, and like, kick all us loyal fans in the balls. Hey Hollywood, we are the ones who pay your salaries at $13 a pop. You better watch yourselves! There better be no mistakes or I will see them on one of my 6 viewings, and I will discuss them with the people camping out with me for tickets, and post them on the Internets (hee hee) for all to see, and then no one will ever go to a movie again ever j/k lol.

If I made this movie, Constantine would be English and he would come to America and complain about American beer and how he can't smoke in bars (but he will smoke anyway and kick anyone's ass who told him to stop). Then he would show up at my upcoming fanfic convention and there would be a demon and Constantine would kill it by telling it about how cliche it was and shaming it into oblivion. Then he would do something cool, and we would all go out for beers (real ones). Then some hot girls would come by and me and Constantine would go do them. Like, Monica Bellucci's unfamous twin sisters lol roofles.

Anyway, I hate Constantine because Hollywood wants to destroy my childhood and pee all over the modern world's fine literature, which includes Hellblazer and Buffy.

--BlazerFan017 out! ~'~,~<@ <=======|}===+ <(^*^)>

Friday, February 11, 2005

John Smedley Shakes the 8-Ball

Sony Online's President John Smedley on the future of MMOs

Damn good post. Smed, we love ya, man.

More on this topic later. I'm going home at 6pm tonight.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

On Being a Retard

Interesting observation I've made. There are two possible states for occupational performance: Awesome Employee and Complete Retard.

The mistakes I mentioned in a previous post were bad enough and visible enough to spark an inquiry into my previous work practices, which apparently came up with a number of different problems people had with me (few of which ever came up to me to give me a chance to improve). I now have a performance plan to adhere to, and if I do not, I get canned.

It was interesting to see the things that people thought I was doing poorly. They included response time on assignments that typically boil down to people running in, dropping something on me, and expecting me to finish that assignment right away, regardless of whatever else I'm doing. The assignments I was not finishing also included ones I didn't know I was supposed to be doing and ones no one told me were mine to do. I'm being vague here, and not in a "will remain nameless, but the initials are..." kinda way.

That's all good. Because, screw it. I will do this performance review, in the middle of crunch, half-sick, exhausted, and pissed for the lack of life outside of work. It will be my opportunity to say, "Yes, I do have that many assignments given one day and due the next, and yes, I am receiving jobs from all these different directions." I can say, "Haha, I beat you by doing exactly what you wanted me to!" I'll really shove it to the Man, I tellya.

The performance review isn't really what's bothering me. It's the aforementioned Awesome<=>Retard spectrum (or lack of spectrum) that gets to me.

Case in point. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I was awesome. One of the bestest editors evar. I edited the writers in such a way that the writing improved, the writers felt respected and like they had a say in the edits, and that the project as a whole benefitted from my input as to how to improve the dialog and fix tiny logic holes. I had a glowing review in September that had a few tiny marks on things that were chalked up to not having a chance to be properly trained (since I was pretty much dropped on the project a month or two before crunch started).

Now, a couple of visible (and admittedly pretty major) mistakes later, I'm a complete tool. Every time something comes up that I need to respond to, one of my many supervisors emails me and checks that I responded to it. "Did you send this to the guy with the what-not?" why yes, yes I did. I sent it yesterday to that guy's co-worker. Had I known that that guy had taken over today, I would have sent it to him. By the way, I also sent it to that guy three hours ago. "Are you going to make sure these guys see this?" Yes. As a matter of fact, I got the thing a minute ago, and haven't had a chance to forward it on. I am, believe it or not, working on something else from time to time, in the moments when my thumb isn't exploring my rear end.

I understand that a lack of trust is the issue, and that it is my fault the trust was violated. However, big mistakes have been made all around on this project (as they are on every project), and some of them make mine (in my opinion) seem pretty minor. For example, a miscommunication between departments led to the complete removal of a pretty major character, and the resulting rewrites. Other mistakes possibly led to an extension of crunch time for the entire team, holdover of personnel who had been assigned to other projects, and so on.

My mistakes were pretty big and visible, and they represented a failure to perform my duties to their highest quality, and so yeah, I should be punished. In a lot of ways, this company has been gracious with their willingness to give me a second chance. I did, after all, screw up. And apparently, according to this performance review form, I've been screwing up for a month or more now.

And the company "understands" that I've been stressed on crunch, and that I'm not handling it very well. And maybe this isn't the line of work for me, because I can't seem to sacrifice my health, my free time, and my relationships for the work. Maybe that's true. But over the past few days, since this inquiry happened, I've gone from "Good employee and awesome editor who needs some training" to "complete screw up who needs Mommy and Daddy to hold his hand at all times." Despite the fact that I've since held successful meetings with the top-level folks in the company (and meeting-making is one of those skills I need but have never been trained in here). Despite the fact that a CEO of the company replied reassuringly to my apology after one of the mistakes. Despite the fact that this week I have juggled detailed email conversations with important people from four organizations while combing our website for inaccuracies, writing articles for upcoming press coverage, answering questions from our localization partners, keeping my buglist on zero bugs, and, y'know, trying to find mistakes to fix in the text that's actually in the game.

It's okay. I have plenty of time to do this stuff, because an email clarifying that we are all required to work Saturdays put me back to 63-hour weeks until further notice. Awesome.

In other news, spring is coming. It can't come soon enough for me.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

HOUSE OF AWESOME!!!!!! has arrived!!!!!!

Check out this post. Scroll down to the bottom, read the comments. I'll wait.


Dude, I got spammed! Sweet!

Wow. I cannot contain how awesome that is, on so many levels. Let's take a look!

OFF TOPIC! Fun things to do....

Off topic! Nice of you to tell me! I'd never know that based on the fact that this post is attached to my weepy and sentimental Will Eisner death post!

On the other hand, Will Eisner was all about "fun things to do," so I'm not sure how off topic all this is.

Please Delete this post if this is not ok!

Not ok? NOT OK?! This is awesome! It saves me the effort of looking up URLs of BDSM and Inpirational Poster sites! Now I can get mt pr0n and p0stz0rz from the same place!

Inspirational Posters

At first, I thought this didn't fit with the other links, but now I am forced to imagine that these posters are less traditionally inspiring (like a pretty waterfall and rainbow with the word "Efficiency" printed under it) and more naughty (Like someone's face with a sack of marbles draped on it and the word "Teabag.").

Adult Sexo Novelties

That may be the funniest three words ever written. If it were four words, however, it'd have to compete with "Take my wife... please!"

Sex & Swingers Personals

House of Awesome!!!!!! would like to present a new service for those of you who obsessively visit my Will Eisner death post: Sex and Swinger Personals! Now when you're remembering one of the greatest comic book creators of all time, you can also get your hook up on. Just remember to wash up!

Free Online Poker

Online Poker isn't free. It cawsts folks lahk you an' me.

Poker cawsts a buck-oh-fahve.

BDSM & Alternative Personals

This iced the cake for me. Apparently, some computer marketer somewhere decided that House of Awesome!!!!!! attracts readers that gamble for free in between bondage-laden swinging sessions with their adult sexo toys under the watchful eyes of a poster that shows a moonlit glade and the word "Change."

Aside from the fact that it sucks, this is the best day ever.

Monday, February 07, 2005


I want to note that this post is entirely my own feelings on the matter of crunch time. I'm sure they'll upset someone, but then, to be honest, this is my place for expression. Bear with me, the regular stupid or entertaining stuff will be back later.

I thought I had crunched before. Toward the end of an issue at my old pub, we would all work extra hard to get the issue done. It's human nature to leave things to the very last minute, and in the case of my old job, those who got done early ended up doing the work of those who worked more slowly. Which was a great way to convince someone not to work harder or faster. As long as one's name was next to the appropriate number of articles on the monthly issue tracker, it's all good.

Now, at my old job, I was pretty disgruntled, and I almost always left work at 5:30 (so I could go sit in an hour's worth of traffic). When I got my new and current job, I was consistently staying until around 6:30 or 7, not because those were the prescribed hours, but because that's when I felt the desire to go home. That was a full day, from 9am to 6-7pm (9 to 10 hours, for those of us who are math whizzes). In one of those days, I could edit over 12,000 words if I really cranked, and the edits would be thoughtful and countered with suggestions as to how to make the text better.

Crunch time started for real as early as early September 2004 (and possibly late August). Not everyone was on crunch, and the art team had been on crunch since July. Some people on the design team already worked insane hours on their own, because they cared about the project and had some work to do.

Me, I've always tried to be a "Get your work done and then go home" kinda guy. Mandating a 56-hour work week (and for a few weeks in October, a 72-hour week) seemed a bit counterproductive when the team already worked as hard as they needed to at the time.

Now, granted, even at its most hardcore, my company is far better about crunch time than many others. This isn't me saying, "Waahhh, I had to work a lot!" but rather me saying, "Here is what crunch time is like, in my experience."

The first three weeks of real crunch time are the worst. You get the notice with the new hours, and you think, "Wow. That seems like a lot." You don't think about how important weekends are until you miss out on a few. People who love their job start going crazy, lashing out or just getting really, really quiet (my personal favorite). You miss weekends long before you miss weeknights, and after about three weeks, the fatigue is setting in but you're not quite adapted to it all. Tempers flare, people get offended, and the more mild-mannered folks close in on the curmudgeonly ones in the Race to the Heart Attack. Meanwhile, my girlfriend (pre-fiance') and I nearly break up. My company grants me a day off to spend some time with her (and a day off spent with her is rare, since our schedules rarely intersect as it is).

Try getting anything (non-work related) done when you go to work before anything opens, get home after anything closes, and work through weekends. The car languishes, the house goes without cleaning, there's no need to buy groceries, and there'll be none of that "leisure," thank you very much.

After that, things smoothed out a bit. We got our weekends back in December (most of us), but some people still came in to get stuff done. I remember when I started thinking of Fridays as almost like vacation, because we got to go home at 6pm (officially). Saturdays and Sundays became flurries of activity as one would try to get all appointments and chores and errands done on those days while also trying to remember one's spouse's name and maybe squeeze in some free time.

After about month 4, though, things start to get rough again. Personally, even though I haven't worked as many Saturdays as others since an email went around saying that Saturdays were on a "need-to-work" basis, I found myself coveting my evenings more. I started going out to meet my fiance' for dinner, and I began to lose my gruntle over the fact that I couldn't choose to go to a decent sit-down restaurant because I had to get back to work that night. We ate a lot of fast food (and still do) and enjoyed about an hour of staring at each other because we're both too tired to talk about anything, and there's nothing to talk about anyway but work.

You start to realize that you can call in sick one day and still do over 40 hours that week. And you do call in sick, because physically, you're exhausted, and colds and stuff just blow you over like a house of cards in a stiff breeze. Before crunch, I called in sick maybe once or twice a year. Since crunch started, I think I've called in sick 5 times in 6 months. Personally, I think I have reached a symbiotic relationship with my own cold virus, which provides me with an entertaining "stoned" voice, while I provide it with shelter and Quizno's sandwiches.

Then I notice myself making little mistakes. Back in August I bragged 12,000 words edited in one 9-hour day. I'm not sure my mind could take that now. Little distracted mistakes, errors of not knowing an answer and not asking someone who did. Visible errors that a man with a well-rested mind wouldn't make. And I'm grumpy, and I'm holding dear to my weekends, because I can't seem to live for work but there doesn't seem to be much else going on. And the one weekend in over a month my girl and I can spend together starts as a disaster (early morning spent cleaning and running garbage back and forth between my 4th floor apartment and the dumpster in the parking lot, punctuated with a flat tire and a trip to Canadian Tire). She had planned a dinner party for that night, the first Saturday we had together in so long, and it was a rite of passage for our finally-furnished apartment and our recognition of a sizeable passel of friends after moving here in May.

After that shitty morning, already exhausted and sweaty and grumpy from cleaning and automotive problems, I was in a bit of a poor mood when I went in that day. And my rough mood rubbed off on others, and I got into trouble for affecting morale.

You know things are bad when one grumpy dude can topple everyone else's morale. Personally, I think that I at least had 5-6 months' crunch time for an accomplice.

We're weeks before the game we're working on has to be done. The skins on the drums are stretched thin. I'm remembering fondly the guy who edited 12,000 words in a day. I remember bright-eyed co-workers and comraderie that didn't center around how few more weeks we have left before some normalcy returns. But this is normalcy; when I have an evening off, I never know what to do with it. When "See Girlfriend" is in your day planner with underlines for importance, things are just a little askew.

Like I say, my company is pretty good about handling crunch time (though whether or not the months-long crunch is essential is a topic for more academic industry minds than my own), and as an editor, I've had fewer weekends than the designers who are working hard to make sure the game is perfect. But knowing how I feel about crunch, I imagine it's worse for those folks. Maybe they have better mechanisms for handling it than I do. I don't know. I just don't thrive when I'm exhausted, half-sick, and missing my fiance' and my cats.

As an aside, I worked double shifts in the warehouse where I worked after my first year of college. It sucked, but my hourly wage there was multiplied by 150% for those extra hours. Not sure why that's relevant.

When I got here, I was an awesome editor, a pretty good creative person, and a rather excited human being in general. Now I'm a half-sick, exhausted shell who feels bad because the 56 hours he works per week is less than the 70 hours or more that others work.

Oh well. Two or three weeks to go, and then, I assume, sanity is mine.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Cossacks of the Old Republic

Maoist International Movement reviews Knights of the Old Republic

"As is well known for the fascist bastards, they take enjoyment in killing others, and the game rewards the player for killing common people. In fact, it is not possible to progress in the game without killing commoners, and the manufacturer plainly tells the player: those who have the courage to kill, are strong. Those who don't are weak."


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Let's Make a Game!!!!!!

Hey guys! Let's make a game!

First off, what sort of game will it be? Let's look at the market.

Things to rule out:
1) Deep, intelligent RPGs: Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines failed miserably, despite its intelligent dialog and fairly deep character development system. So did Temple of Elemental Evil. In fact, we almost guarantee sales by not making our game a Troika game.

2) Any kind of real challenge: No one likes a hard game these days, because you can't beat a hard game in the time before you have to take your rented game back to Blockbuster.

3) Innovation: Sure, some experimentation is good here and there, but don't go all crazy. No one wants to be the next Molyneux.

4) Gamecube: I mean, c'mon. Like, three people own this system, and they're all using it to play Pokemon on their TV.

Using our heavily researched market data, I have decided that our game shall be an action game with "RPG elements." That means that you essentially run around breaking stuff, but you get some points that you can assign here and there that don't really affect the game too much. After all, we don't want anyone to bork their character. Also, you get to make some decisions when you're talking to people. Like this:

NPC: Hey, I have a quest for you. My thingy was taken by some guy, and I want you to get it back.

PC OPTION 1: Okay, sure! I'll get it back! Nice!
PC OPTION 2:I hate your face! I'll get it back, though!

Our game will have tons of action. You will run around with machine guns and swords and grenades and energy swords and chainsaws and sniper rifles and rocket launchers and katanas. During the game you'll assign points to one or more of those weapons, thus making your character nearly imperceptibly better at them. You'll also collect trenchcoats and plate mail and lawnmowers for armor, and pizza boxes. Every enemy you kill will give up experience points, because we all know that the best way to learn about life and improve onesself is to kill lots and lots of goblins and stuff.

Our story will be epic. You are a young man named Hannibal Caine, born under a prophecy that you will be the one who either saves the world, destroys it, or just sorta sits around and doesn't affect the world in any overt way. At first you interact with your family and friends, randomly killing stuff that comes to attack you, when out of nowhere, your town is invaded and destroyed, and all you held dear is irradicated. YOU must take up arms (be they swords or nunchucks or sword-chucks) and get vengence for those dead people you hardly met in the beginning of the game.

Our market research found that players like all genres of games, and so our game will take place in an ancient past filled with dragons, cops, motorcycles, robots, zombies, King Vitaman cereal, more zombies, and Starbucks. Our research also found that gamers can't stand to do just one type of thing all the time, even if we COULD get that one thing to be super awesome and compelling, and so we need to toss in some minigames and side missions to "mix things up." In our game, the hero will have to help rebuild towns and cities after he wantonly destroys them, and he will do this by engaging in a Tetris-like minigame with falling bricks. Also, every now and then, we will remove all the cool weapons from our hero and make him sneak around in poorly developed stealth missions that suffer from an obvious lack of development attention.

The action will be intense, but since no one likes a hard game, we'll create difficulty settings:

Easy: Enemies die within ten seconds of entering the screen, whether the player hits them or not.
Medium: Enemies take three swings at the player, miss each time, and then run around flailing ineffectually until the player kills them himself.
Sorta Hard: Enemies do some damage to the player, but they then feel bad about it and set themselves on fire.
Hard: Enemies fight the player as normal, but they die off before they kill the player.
Master: Enemies dress up like good guys and talk in falsetto voices until they have the player fooled, and then they attack and die as in "Hard" above.
Hardcore: Enemies spawn right on top of the player, shove a bazooka up his ass, and pull the trigger, all before the player even loads the game the first time.

The last one is there to please hardcore gamers and game testers, who are convinced that a game isn't fun until one is on the verge of a heart attack from anger.

Oh, and there must be a twist: The bad guy you have to fight in the end... is you! Not only that, but there is another super-extra bad guy after that, and he is also you! And it turns out that you, the player, aren't even the player! But then you also turn out to be you!

And you get to sleep with chicks. Any chick you meet, you can sleep with her, but the screen cuts to black and just says, "SEX" in big letters. Because, you know, the children.

But still: HOT.

Cool, we're almost done. We just need a name. I wanted something like, "Katana Man," but our publisher wants something with "Dark" in it, or "Forces." So I propose:

Shadow Forces: Dark Master Evil Shadows of Darkness - the Abyss of the Undershadow's Dark Penumbra

Oh, lest I almost forget:


Because no one wants to buy the original in the series. Sequels sell, man. We'll release SF:DMESoD-tSotUDP Gold in a year and include the original in the package. We'll contract some poor fool to make it in Game Maker. Also, the original can double as the crappy GBA version, too.

Well, there you have it. We made a game, and it rocks. It's already sold 28 million copies, and not only that, but also porn stars want to sleep with all of us.

Good work, everyone. See you for the sequel.