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It's a bird! A plane! A... software engineer?

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Being a game programmer leads to some awkward questions in life. Like, "So what do you do for a living?" or anything involving rotted fish. I've seriously started dreading the obligatory little section of the social dance where the other person asks how I afford my used car and all my beat up off-brand clothes from Wal-Mart.

With a certain crowd, I can throw around weighty terms like "software engineer" and garner some respect. If the crowd is not wearing pocket protectors, however, this is more likely to earn a faceful of knuckles and perhaps some derogatory comments about the species of my mother. I have also discovered that the phrase "computer programmer" conjures up images (in roughly 99.96% of the human population) of a brainless guy who pokes blinky colored buttons all day - basically Homer Simpson on the set of Star Trek.

There are some people (who are currently still in high school or perhaps younger) who are deeply impressed when I dim the lights, engage my best dramatic baritone, and announce gravely that I make video games. Usually, though, the lights come back up to reveal a lot of incredulous stares, and often someone asks what the hell I'm doing with the light switch.

The older generations, in particular, are unimpressed with this career choice. Video games are a sacriledge, a waste of time, a corruption of our youth and society akin to alcoholic beverages and lingerie. I have actually been told three separate times that I'm going to hell for corrupting children's souls (although that might have had more to do with handing out those "Become a Minion of the Undead" fliers than my job).

As such, it has become brilliantly clear to me that there is only one solution: I must find an icon, a representative, a person of great stature and noble character - a symbol to span the ages, to touch deep the core of souls both young and old, to inspire awe and courage in the hearts of young men and giddy swooning in the hearts of young women, to save the country - nay, the world - nay, ALL OF EXISTENCE!

I speak, of course, of the only thing that can possibly do all these things: game development needs a superhero mascot.

You know the drill: a quiet, gentle soul of virtue but no remarkable qualities by day, Clark Kent style but less of a brainless pussy. Whenever someone's cat is stuck in a tree, or evil corrupted uncle tries to enslave humanity, or some kid in Nicaragua gets bored, OUR HERO disappears into the vacant cube across the aisle, pulls his Lycra(TM) jumpsuit out of his briefcase, and puts it on over his drab casual attire. Somehow, he manages to avoid looking like a fool - quite possibly by looking like a drug-laced flameout failure from a third rate fashion school.

Clad in his awe-inspiring garb, he questions his sexual orientation just briefly before bursting through a window and zooming off into the sky. He arrives at the scene of disaster (tree/doomsday lair/Nicaragua) and engages in the usual superhero antics: high tech gadgets, laser vision, eating nuclear warheads, telekenesis - you know, all that impossible stuff that we scoff at to look good in front of our smart friends, but still secretly wish we could do, deep down.

Once justice has been dispensed (with the obligatory iron fist, natch), OUR HERO leaves the scene to OUR HERO'S JANITORIAL STAFF, who promptly and efficiently clean up the leftover action bubbles filled with such pithy wisdom as "BIFF" and such profound insight as "KAPOW."

OUR HERO then returns with stupefying speed to his Regular Day Job, where he encounters THE ROMANTIC LOVE INTEREST WHO IS REALLY HOT AND SHOWS MORE CLEAVAGE THAN ANY WOMAN ALIVE. The two have a heart-rending encounter, where OUR HERO'S QUIET BUT NOT A BRAINLESS PUSSY ALTER EGO confesses that he can't continue seeing THE HOT ROMANTIC LOVE INTEREST BABE. He makes up some excuse about HER REALLY BRATTY KIDS FROM THAT ONE MARRIAGE SHE DOESN'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT and she gets kind of pissed because you weren't supposed to bring that up, you asshole, and he says he's sorry and for some reason some idiot Hollywood scriptwriter thinks that it's actually possible to make up that fast, so they kiss a lot.

On the verge of revealing HIS TRUE SUPERHERO IDENTITY, the ALTER EGO struggles to BE A MAN and chokes back the shocking secret. Here, the scriptwriter starts using a lot of really vague lines to make us wonder if THE LOVE INTEREST WOMAN actually knows, but is keeping quiet to avoid endangering herself, because we all know that PSYCHO MINDLESS MADMEN will probably try to kill her if they find out she's sleeping with ALTER EGO/SUPERHERO GUY. At this point the cliches and stereotypes become so thick we can actually predict the lines with our eyes closed and our mouths crammed full of cheap, greasy theatre popcorn.

So anyways, ALTER EGO GUY gets around to calling off the ROMANCE with the ROMANTIC LOVE INTEREST GIRL, and we all feel deep sympathy... or perhaps just indigestion from all the greasy theatre popcorn. And while we sniffle a bit to convince our dates that we have emotions, deep down we just want to hurry up and see more things explode. Kick some ass already, man!

Then, sure enough, EVIL LUNATIC MADMAN has been spying on the couple using a STUPIDLY IMPLAUSIBLE DEVICE. He then executes a FAR TOO CONVOLUTED AND ERROR-PRONE PLAN OF UTMOST RETARDATION to kidnap the LOVE INTEREST CHICK and whisk her away to THE DOOMSDAY LAIR.

Naturally, ALTER EGO GUY finds out about this only after it is too late. In a James-Kirk-esque howl of rage, he shakes his fist in the air, and curses the foul name of "EVILLUNATICMADMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHNNN!!!"

Then, approximately three seconds later, he remembers he's not, in fact, a brainless pussy, and instantly becomes OUR HERO, THE SUPERHERO OF STUPENDOUS SUPEROSITY AND STUFF. He suddenly is wearing his uniform made of TRADEMARKED SYNTHETIC MATERIAL which CAUSES BYSTANDERS TO QUESTION HIS SEXUAL ORIENTATION. This gaping plot hole is neatly glossed over with nifty editing tricks, and the use of loud, adrenaline-pumping music causes us to forget all about it until we read the reviews online the next day and go "oh yeah, that was totally retarded! Man, that director sucked. I hate that superhero movie. I wonder if Bob wants to see it again next Friday...."

Once OUR HERO has transformed, he travels to THE DOOMSDAY LAIR. The EVIL MADMAN VILLAIN PERSON will make a token resistance, of course, but stereotypically fails to prevent THE HERO from reaching THE LAIR. After OUR HERO's arrival, there is a climactic battle in which the very life of THE LOVE INTEREST WOMAN is quite likely at stake.

Finally, at the pinnacle of the action, the LOVE INTEREST BABE is clearly only milliseconds from instant and hideous death. Over the course of the next twenty five minutes, OUR HERO battles the clock; periodically he glances at his watch and discovers that the theory of relativity has gone out and gotten really drunk, and is currently totally fucking around with the flow of time.

Eventually, OUR HERO conquers THE VILLAIN GUY, WHO IS SUCH A JERK and goes and rescues the HOT LOVE INTEREST WOMAN. They share a MOMENT OF PROFOUND JOY AND PERHAPS A BRIEF DISPLAY OF AFFECTION. Then, the VILLAIN GUY does the little thing where he comes back from the "dead" even though he was just mortally wounded and not dead yet, because OUR HERO is actually a nice merciful guy and didn't actually cut off his head all the way, you know, just in case he recants his evil ways and goes on to found a shelter for wayward kittens.

But no, EVIL VILLAIN GUY doesn't repent - he's evil to the core. So OUR HERO commits the FINAL ACT OF ATROCITY WHICH IS ACTUALLY JUSTICE BEING SERVED and kills the VILLAIN DUDE for once and for all.

As the audience cheers and generally makes fools of themselves, the denouement begins. (For the uneducated, denouement is French for "the part where everyone remembers they just drank 32 ounces of their favorite soft drink and has to pee really bad, but doesn't want to walk out on the last two minutes of the movie and look like a schmuck. The guys also are secretly hoping for one last good shot of ROMANTIC LOVE INTEREST WOMAN's cleavage." Look it up if you don't believe me.)

Then there's the corny allusion to the possibility of a SEQUEL in the last ten seconds, and the credits roll.

Now, go back through all that and make it vaguely related to making games, or whatever. That's so totally what we need.
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There's a Mr. Boll on the phone for you, something about a script. Or a boxing match. Or possibly both.

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The leading human male character in the live action version of 101 Dalmations was a game developer. If you want to be taken seriously I suggest getting a lot of dogs.

Of course, your movie script works fine too.

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My first impression led me to believe that the story is an allegory about the Wii versus the 360/PS3 - an attempt to try something new and expand gaming to a larger audience, while keeping costs down for both the hardware and software developers - versus the spiralling cost of game development and the industry's fixation on better graphics, with Miyamoto being the hero.

But on second thought, Nintendo probably isn't going this route:

Though i'm still fairly certain that

Is referring to Sony's strategy with the PS3, and

Is refering to Ballmer.

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Guest Anonymous Poster


This posting truly lives up to the blog's Latin catchphrase.

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