The lights are on
Power Member - Level 10
Lately as I play video game backlog catch up I have been
playing multiple first person shooters. The FPS genre is most commonly
associated with rapid gameplay where bullets fly and enemies are mowed down by
the dozen. Still, now and then I halt mid-sprint because a moment in the
level's environment convinced me to stop and enjoy the view. Usually, my
environmental perusal also results in my untimely death as enemies take
advantage of me standing perfectly still.
If I had the technical knowhow, the job of level or
environment designer appeals to me most in the video game industry. A
clever map or funny jokes hidden amongst the level's flotsam are among my
favorite gaming moments. After all, video games are not accidents. Games are specifically designed and created
by human beings working to make a living.
Even the best of jobs have a long day or a desire to stay abed when the
workday's alarm buzzes and the snow outside just won't stop falling. I imagine that level designers use their "Is
it Friday yet?" workdays to insert a jolt of humanity into games. While games strive for total immersion that allows
us gamers to forgot about the outside world and inhabit the fantasy. Amidst the grenades and the headshots sudden
moments that the developer "was here" are a nod to the men and women who made
Oh, the horrors that face us at the end of the world!
The Gears of War franchise is well known as the burliest of
the FPS games. Muscles that are impossible in our reality are coupled
with roaring chainsaws attached to guns and soldiers inflict death with the
most gruesome finishes in gaming. But the series' story that is told
in-between bloody massacres is actually a heartfelt tale of two brothers and
the impact of war on families. With such
a mix of emotions, developers spent their working hours ping ponging between
perfecting the animation of a chainsaw ripping the alien menace in half and
crafting a heart wrenching familial tale. In such a roller coaster of emotions, surely
the best coping skill is the above image.
Everyone loves a cute cat and our hearts go out to a missing cat poster
hung in a warzone. I like to think that
the end result was a collaboration of minds where one developer pulled at our
heart strings with war's collateral damage and the other secretly scrawled a
message that only a chainsaw wielding fiend would consider, "We Ate Him!!"
Surely this individual did not leave home that morning wearing only one shoe.
Dead bodies in an awkward pose while lying in pools of blood
is standard fare in FPS games. The
scenes prompt our curiosity at what battle occurred that resulted in such
carnage. We follow the body trail closer
to the enemy who awaits us but we are accustomed to the deathly scenes. After a while the death toll hardly resonates
except to remind us that the world is yet again on the brink of collapse. Yet, Gears of War 3 includes a small moment that
stopped me immediately. As I gazed at
this horrid scene all I could think was, "Why is one shoe missing?" My mind
reeled at what possibly happened in this shoot out that a shoe flew off?
I looked around for the missing shoe wondering if finding the shoe was a
mini-game or achievement. Nope.
Why did the developer not render a shoe?
The mystery of the bloody foot remains.
I can think of many adjectives for toilet paper but "sweet" did not come readily to mind.
I only recently began Crysis 2. I really enjoy the strategy options and how
the level designs encourage multiple approaches to the same objective.
For whatever reason, I am struggling with adapting to the control scheme that
adds on the suit management with standard FPS gameplay. So far, Crysis 2 is a very serious game with
somber characters that face the coming doom with dour expressions. The
devastated New York is brutally dangerous with enemy humans sporting high
powered guns and aliens. Regardless of
my peril at not sprinting to my next objective, I remained curious about the
environment and I stopped to explore a nearby convenience store. My search was rewarded. The shop was typically ransacked and in
general disorder. However, the "Sweet Paper" toilet paper was in
plentiful supply. Even with the end of
civilization, the survivors refused to use a toilet paper named "Sweet Paper"
and rightfully so. After all, we must
keep our dignity during the apocalypse.
I have stared long and hard at that magazine and the cover story is indeed about...a vacuum.
Call of Duty: Ghosts was eerily ignored last fall while the
gaming world was obsessed with new consoles and raised a commotion over the
bugs of Battlefield 4. However, Call of Duty: Ghosts' single player
campaign was a fun romp that balanced seriousness with the outrageous well. Sometimes, even action heroes just have to
use the bathroom and require reading material.
No judgment here. In the Call of
Duty: Ghosts single player campaign, I happened upon a cluster of
port-a-potties with extra toilet paper and magazines on nearby tree
stumps. Curious at the reading
preferences of Call of Duty: Ghosts soldiers I crouched towards a tree trunk
wondering whether to expect a literary journal or raunchy magazines. After staring long and hard I determined that
the magazine cover reads, "The Movie Juror...A Man And His Vacuum." The image is in fact, a man and his vacuum. Infinity Ward please tell us the story of a
man and his vacuum. Is it the next DLC? Just let me know that this epic tale will be
A smiling hotdog with grill marks?
Call of Duty: Ghosts never lets up. Whether rappelling
or in tank or in space, the game moves fast to the next action sequence.
During a tense run, I nearly tripped in my sudden stop in front of this
hotdog. Okay, so the level is a baseball stadium and hot dogs are a standby. But this is a hotdog has arms, legs, and is
holding a baseball. I stood riveted.
I imagined that the developer doodled the hotdog during lunch as a joke
unknowing that this snarky hotdog would define the level. Anyone else die constantly nearby the smiling
hot dog while playing Kill Confirmed on the Strikezone (the baseball field) map? Also, who, human or sentient hotdog, holds a baseball
This hot dog shop should exist in real life.
Outside of the FPS genre, I unexpectedly started Alan
Wake. Other than the known fact that I scare rather easily (axe murderers
scared me before I played this game and now even more so but I feel that this
is a healthy fear to have). Alan Wake makes the mundane terrifying.
The hot dog sign got my attention while I explored the mobile home park.
No collectibles gleamed nearby but I was compelled to approach the hot dog
shop. My curiosity was rewarded with the best menu I have ever
read. The menu insists on spelling hot dog as "hot dawg" and some stand
out menu items includes the the taco dawg and the trailer trash dawg both of which sound delicious. All
of the hot dogs cost a few dollars but in the realm of video game logic the
Belly Buster costs $15.99. Why?
Game developers are real people! Or maybe game developers are sentient hot dogs with a Twitter account.
I reached out to Remedy Entertainment on Twitter with this
burning question. Luckily, Remedy
Entertainment answered! Whew, my mind
can now rest. Also, salads are listed
under Rabbit Food. I feel assured that
the developers at Remedy Entertainment eat like gamers.
Video games are a fantastic trip out of reality that are at
the same time made by people who are just like us. Working, paying bills,
and navigating our personal relationships are the same concerns that we all share.
We also share gaming during our free time. We don't always intermingle
but sometimes we remember each other, the developer and the gamer. Maybe
on a cranky day the developer chucks off the shoe off a dead body, eats missing
kittens, or adds legs and arms to a hot dog. Later, lost deep in the
game's world, we players are jolted into a moment of appreciation for the
developers who made our games. After
all, we are all gamers who seemingly have a twisted sense of humor in-between
paying our bills. Now about that vacuum
Infinity Ward...care to elaborate?
What game developer would you want to work for?
What video game themed job do you covet?
What is your unanswered video game question?