Welcome to the longest weekly running episodic column here at Diehard GameFAN, “Hi-Technical Knockout”Â, in which two DHGF staffers or IP alums or hangers on engage in a mini-debate on a (trivial) topic TO THE DEATH!
Today’s discussion topic was brought to us by Mark-B-Gone. Did you know that you too can suggest discussion topics to H-TKO?
Feel free to suggest a future discussion topic by emailing WBXylo@gmail.com, subject: H-TKO! .
Topic #7: Video-Game Vocations
Most protagonists in video games have interesting jobs. Lara Croft is an archeologist, Master Chief is a space marine, Ryu Hayabusa is a ninja, this sort of thing. It’s rare that we see a protagonist with a more realistic, boring job, like Mario the plumber or Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist. Pitch me a protagonist with a boring job and make their game exciting.
Our first contestant on Hi-Technical Knockout is Robert Capra. Robert Capra is half-goat and half-man. He was recently approached by MTV to host the show, “Hey, remember the 00s?” He had to turn them down due to a scheduling conflict, payment disagreement, and due to both parties being fictional.
He is coming off a victory in last week’s Villain Challenge.
Jobs? What are… oh the things-that-buy-video-games. Yes, I’m familiar with the concept. Unfortunately as a nigh immortal, slightly-mythical creature (I assure you, it’s a birth defect, not a lifestyle choice, regardless of what you may have heard) I am literally rolling in filthy lucre and have no need for one of these “jobs”Â. However, I have friends who do, so I must draw my inspiration from them.
Karl (not my real name) works pushing boxes at a major chain of superstores. Boring, but that’s pretty much been done by Sokoban and just about any action game in need of a puzzle. Erin (not my real name, but oddly enough, still a guy’s name) works as a lawyer. I’d argue that it’s a boring career, but I’m afraid some of you would have an… “Objection!”Â (get it? hahahahaha… I referen…ohgodlet’sjustmoveon). Then there’s Phil (probably not my real name) who works in a call center answering calls about stuff. Let’s go with that.
I would call it “Call Center Carnage.”Â It would be like Die Hard, but in an office building. Terrorists have taken over the building and Phil must use a combination of stealth, office supplies, his trusty fencing foil, and knowledge of metal-working to defeat the bad guys and save the office.
The first level would see Phil using a phone cord with handset attached as a stretchy grappling hook/garrote. He’d use stealth and subterfuge to make his way out of his cubical hell and on to the next floor; choking out guards and stealing office supplies to build makeshift weapons.
You’d progress from floor to fully destructible floor killing terrorists, saving co-workers (or not, I mean, who really cares about co-workers), and gathering implements to create new weapons what for the killing and such.
The weapon designing would be key. Once Phil has a hair dryer, a trash can, and some destroyed office furniture for kindling, he’d be able to create a makeshift forge and craft new weapons. Rapid fire staple guns, yardstick longbow with fountain pen arrows, and just about anything from Office Guns.
As he killed people in brutal, merciless, and pointless fashions (both consecutive and concurrent), Phil would quip endlessly. “I hope you see my… point”Â *stab in eyeball with pencil*. “I’m sorry, your wait time will be… eternity”Â *strangles with phone cord*. “Please hold while I notate this case…”Â *bashes face with keyboard* “Get out! The call is coming from… inside your ass!”Â *impales with handset*.
Overall, I think Call Center Carnage has a good basis for a franchise. Pointless violence, cheesy dialog, the ability to destroy your workplace and vent your frustrations and inability to rise out of the repetitious cycle of day-in-day out bland workaday drudgery… wait, crap. Did I just recreate Wanted?
No, because bullets can’t curve. That’s just stupid.
(Please note: This hypothetical game in no way represents any kind of real threat, terroristic or otherwise. Please tell the nice men in the van across the street that this was done solely for entertainment purposes, and that I would like my dog returned to me. Thankyou.)
Next up, we have one Guy Desmarais. Guy is the criminal kingpin of South Town, Quebec. Every year he holds a tournament wherein truckers, ninjas, lumberjacks and sexy dames punch each other for his amusement.
Oh wait. I’m confusing him with Geese Desmarais. . .
Guy. . . Guy. . . I got nothing against Guy.
I have worked in the IT department of many companies, so I know a little bit about how an office works and which jobs are tedious or downright lame. Still, that’s nothing compared to being an intern. Technically, being an intern is not even a real “job” as most interns are not being paid. Worst of all, most of them are made to do anything around the office, no matter how little it has to do with the actual craft they are trying to learn.
With that in mind, I offer you the next game to win DHGF’s “Platformer of the year” award. I call it “Alex the Intern”, because I believe that Alex hasn’t seen enough action as a name since Alex Kidd retired, and because the guy is an intern. Very logical thus far.
Now imagine a 2D platformer, where every stage is built upon a different goal or task that the intern must perform, with the backgrounds and enemies changing accordingly. For example, there can be a simple platforming level about Alex needing to go to Starbucks downtown, which would set the level in the streets. There, he would need to dodge angry taxi drivers, zombie student who walk with their iPods at full volume and thus simply charge at you without looking, and hobos trying to harass you for some change.
Another level could be more of a puzzle-type thing, like in Wario Land. Alex needs to make some photocopies, but he needs the photocopier’s code, and then a key to the room, and he must navigate around the building while dodging various people who try to give him more tasks and low level employees who are jealous of the attention he’s been getting lately and want to see him fail.
How about a level where Alex must race to the post office before it closes down, with a timer counting down at the top right of the screen? The player would need to dodge obstacles like other people trying to make it there in cars or bikes while Alex is simply running. Taking out these enemies would mean more points at the end of the level.
There are many boring tasks that can be made exciting when you turn them into a 2D platformer. Things such as fetching pants from the dry cleaner for your boss in rush hour traffic, or trying to find a decent lunch around the office when you’re only given 15 minutes to eat, or simply trying to get to work in the morning when there are thousands of people trying to push you around in a subway station… it can all be easily translated into a good platforming level with just a little bit of imagination.
Now I need a good 2D artist and a programmer. I will gladly write the game’s story and dialog. WHO’S WITH ME?
I just have to say that I would play the shit out of both of these games. Both seem like good iPhone or downloadable WiiWare/Arcade/whatever style games. Capra’s seems more epic and cohesive, whereas Guy’s is more varied and pick-up-and-play.
*200 points to both contestants.
But neither of them mentioned Zork.
*35 points deducted. (What the hell, guys?)
Capra says you don’t have to save the hostages in his game.
*25.25 points awarded to Capra. I hate saving hostages.
Capra’s game features dry, cool action hero wit!
*27 points awarded to Capra.
Wanted was dumb.
*15 points awarded to Capra. (Rule 73: Mark Millar is an A-hole.)
Guy’s game milks fun from the mundane.
*49 points awarded.
The sequel could be Tammy the Temp!
*5 Points awarded. (It sounds pornographic! Guy has a filthy Quebecois mind.)
It makes me want to play Paperboy. I hate Paperboy.
*12 points deducted.
Robert Capra’s Total Score: 232.25 points
Pulse Glazer’s Total Score: 231 points
Winner: Robert Capra in a squeaker!
Tags: get a job, hi-technical knockout, paperboy