How to know your audience, and sell them a game they could well do without

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Battletoads (TBD)

It mightn’t exactly be best practice to analyse a product before it comes out, but that doesn’t stop the legions of fans out there writing things off, way before they ever come to pass. We all knew the Ricky Gervais episode of The Simpsons would be a disaster, for example. But we couldn’t know that before we watched it, right? Actually, we could, because it really isn’t that hard to read your audience and give them something they want – and not something you think they want. And this is where I, if I happened to run some godawful consultancy firm, would propose millions of job redundancies worldwide.

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It doesn’t matter if I fire blanks, I’ll still miss

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Doom (1993)

Up until now, I’ve always felt somewhat unqualified to talk about shooter games. Yes, I was able to write about Perfect Dark, but that was moreso because the protagonist is a lady. And I know quite a bit about ladies, having tipped my fedora towards many in my time. I’ve also gotten up to some other pretty manly pursuits, like flying planes and bombing it around in go-karts and doing arts and crafts. What I had never done before, however, was fire a gun.

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Meeting Go Live with the fastest thing alive

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Sonic 3 & Knuckles (1994)

Now that I’ve nestled my career within the vast cargo pants of Information Technology, I find myself tasked with leading projects and deployments and integrations various. But I’m not a project manager, in the same way that when asked, Amsterdam’s finest say they’re not prostitutes – they’re “sex workers”. It’s all about avoiding a potentially dirty title.

Here’s how it all goes down. Somewhere, sometime, a salesperson has beaten a potential client’s door down and persisted at it long enough to finally push the client’s decision-makers into a heartbreaking decision to buy the software. “OK, we’ll take your product,” they whimper, knowing that they had no choice – their fate would be either death by CEO or death by a thousand sales emails.

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Do you think James Bond ever had to walk to Gate 999?

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James Bond 007: Nightfire (2002)

I was once told that a big advantage of working in the corporate retail environment is that “you get to meet new and interesting people every day”. I’m sorry, but to me, that is hell on earth. It was bad enough speaking to them over the phone. I couldn’t imagine having hateful negotiations with suppliers and wholesalers in my office, while they pretend to enjoy being in my company, alls so I can cut 2 cent off the price of a box of tablespoons so my department would save a hundred quid extra that month.

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“And it’s lights out, and they’re at a standstill since 2019…”

F1 2019 Proper

F1 2019 (2019)

You’d have thought I left this one a little too late, but as it turns out, the 2019 F1 season is the last selection of top-class racing we’re gonna see for quite some time. Mind you, I wouldn’t have been all that gutted about it, if the second half of the 2019 season had mirrored the first half. Five Mercedes one-twos, an unprecedented run. And I’m telling you, it was getting as tiresome as the bad old days of 19 other lads turning up on the weekend to follow Michael Schumacher around – the only times I’d ever turn a Grand Prix off.

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“Now Lara, take aim, and fire this vaccination arrow through the heart of coronavirus…”

tomb raider

Tomb Raider (2013)

Well, quite a start to the decade we’ve had, eh? Hindsight on 2020 isn’t going to be very fun. Right from the start of the year there was trouble. Sure, some of it was a holdover from 2019, but I’m waiting for some positive news for 2020 here and I just ain’t getting any. First, the Australian forest fires really started to reach, well, I better not say boiling point. But even the poor old koalas, not normally given to movement if they can avoid it, started to run for cover perhaps as a form of lazy protest.

Then there was more silly buggers between the United States and Iran, with the Land of the Free killing a top Iranian general by drone. To add a nice bit of further unrest to your already depressing January, a commercial plane was shot down in Iran the week after, but nobody seems to want to talk about that anymore.

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Who knew a game where you can’t eat metal dogs and paper could be so fun?

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Westwood’s Monopoly (1995)

It looks like board games are making a comeback in a big way. I say comeback because anyone would have thought that video games would put paid to them. After all, why ponce around with dice and scorecards and cheap bits of plastic when you can fly fighter jets and destroy cities and play tennis with Mario instead? But now board games are being busted out at house parties and drinking sessions up and down the country, and suddenly it’s games of Mousetrap and Frustration that are dominating the social scene, rather than games of FIFA and, I don’t know, Rocket League.

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Need to rob, oppress and dismember children? I’m your man

Theme_Park_World

Theme Park World (1999)

Ever the go-getter, my interest was piqued by a recent newspaper ad I came across looking to hire a manager for a theme park. The place was its own island, the Lost Kingdom, and it was dinosaur themed. Of course, I immediately had terrible thoughts of Jurassic Park, in particular the bit where Newman from Seinfeld gets torn up by peacock dinosaurs, having just had his face melted off. I’m a bit of a Newman really, but I thought I’d apply.

Why not? I had nowt to lose, and in any case I was still waiting to hear back on second interviews for several lion taming roles – I had to do something with my degree after all. And wouldn’t you know it, the Theme Park national manager Mr. Terrywogan got back to me almost straight away with a call to interview. Continue reading “Need to rob, oppress and dismember children? I’m your man”