Thursday, September 15, 2005

Marketing's On The Phone

Read This First

Read This Next

Now This:

"Johnny, baby, sweetie, got a little change of pace to throw your way."

"But we ship both games in two months!"

"Not a prob, got absolute confidence in you. Anywho, you know that Racing game you're working on?"

"Officially-Licensed Authentic Realistic Game with Cars, Turbo Edition?"

"That's the one."

"What's the change?"

"We need you to make it into a Racing-Strategy game."

"What? Why? Better yet, how?"

"I got the numbers right in front of me that say one hundred percent of grognards bought every wargame that came out last year. One hundred percent!"

"But wargames are only a small subset of the strategy genre. And their audience is just as small. Have you been huffing paint again?"

"But one hundred percent! That's each and every one. We need those kind of numbers."

"Small ones?"

"Sales, baby! You don't see this graph I got. It's a very convincing graph."

"*Sigh* What's the other change?"

"That stupid roley-poley thing you guys are working on . . . "

"The roleplaying game."

"That's the one. Yeah, we need you to make it a Tennis game."

"But it's got character development, a narrative and inventory management."

"Right, right, and pixels and voxels and foxels and woosels, I get it, lots of fancy eye-candy claptrap. You make it sing and dance, I'll figure out how to cram it down the throats of the masses."

"That's not it, it's just the whole focus of the game . . ."

"Look, just throw it in there. We'll even let your original title come first, we'll make it a tennis game ostensibly not about tennis. Fucking postmodern, brilliant! What's the damn game called again?"

"The Dragonite Chronicleers: Bastion of the Mighty."

"Okay. Right. We can work with that, no problem, we'll just call the game Dragon-what Chronoteers . . . Bastion of the Tennis Match. Simple, solved. Tell me how to make your day."

"Let me leave out the tennis?"

"Absolutely fucking not. The latest focus group says 'More tennis games! We eat, breathe and shit tennis, rarr!' "

"Who was in this focus group?"

"Well, to be honest, it was done at a local tennis club, very informal, when I was in the sauna, really. But everyone there really wanted more tennis games. They're a very focused group. So, write me up your new design proposals . . . "

"The designs have been written for three years."

". . . and shoot me an e-mail in the morning. Should be just a few quick fixes."

"Tennis. And Strategy-Racing."

"Right, you got it, big dog. Knew I could count on you."

To: (Soulless bloodsuckers) Marketing dept.
From: (Overworked employee) Ungrateful Wretch
Re: (Ludicrous marketing ploy) Necessary Changes

Here are the write-ups. May you burn in hell.

Stock Car Commander
Take control of a team of cars during several racing seasons. Recruit and train your drivers. You struggle to generate revenue for the different tracks by 1) spectacular near-misses and sometimes crashes 2) good sponsors and photogenic drivers and 3) good final standings for your entire team. You can parlay fame earned toward more sponsors and promotional events. Money earned from sponsors can be used to expand your available cars, upgrade them, train drivers, recruit new drivers, even purchase or build your own tracks.

When the race begins each of your cars has a tab on the upper left side of the screen. Left-clicking will center the sky camera on that car. Double-left clicking will zoom in, while hitting Spacebar will let you take specific control of that car. Right-clicking will open up a menu that will allow several tiers of orders, depending on driver stats, car capabilities, driver training and track conditions. You can queue orders to different drivers and even have them change their general driving stances for certain laps. Set the aggression of your drivers based upon their individual behavior.

Mighty Tennis Chronicle
Create your character - a teenaged tennis player. You've been playing for years, mostly at the behest of your parents. Your heart just hasn't been in it.

One day at practice the courts come under attack by strange creatures. Your racket glows with an eerie light. You lob a sharp serve at one - it deflects it back - you wallop a strong backhand - and with an unholy screech the creature dissipates.

Meet other tennis players to help join your fight against the creatures -- engage them in singles or doubles matches, so try and decide the best partners for the job. Collect new rackets, special outfits that bestow speed or power or control or agility. Gather tennis balls with awesome powers. Learn strange magics that give you control over the ball or your enemy or even the court itself. Grow into a tough and powerful tennis-warrior.

Travel your hometown, now mysteriously altered by the alien presence. Rescue your friends and family and seek out those that might have knowledge of the way to stop the onslaught. Track your enemies into their lairs, fight their generals on the way to the ultimate evil behind the attacks.


Chris said...

"Have you been huffing paint again?"

Ah, how I laughed! :)

Thomas said...

I find the second design oddly compelling.

Capt_Poco said...

Both of those design ideas are totally fucking brilliant. I don't know if you meant that stuff for real or not, but I totally want to buy those games now. /begins holding breath