May 31, 2009

Game Development And Other Excuses

When the team was crunching, the developer worked weekends and twelve-hour days. His wife was usually asleep by the time he got home, and his absences became a point of contention with her. One morning as he left for the office, she pointed out how they never saw each other anymore and that these long hours had ceased to be acceptable and were now totally ridiculous and a strain on their marriage. The designer acknowledged her points, but knowing she was unfamiliar with the game industry, explained the concept of crunch mode. Eighty-hour work weeks were necessary to meet milestones and ship dates, and besides, they were part of the culture. It's how the industry works, he said, crunching is the only way that you can make a video game. She grudgingly accepted his argument.

Two weeks later, the designer packed his bags for E3. His wife stood in the hallway, and mentioned again how uncomfortable it made her that he was going to be hanging out with 20-year-old lingerie models. She knew they would be sharing a booth all day, maybe going out for drinks afterward, and they were probably going to be all flirty. He said patiently that he got where she was coming from, and if it was up to him things would be different, but the booth babes were simply one of those game industry traditions. They'd actually tried not having the girls last year, and it didn't work. She sighed. The spectacle and the glitz are important, he said, it's the only way you can sell a game.

Three weeks later, his wife awoke at three a.m. to the screech of metal tearing through metal. Outside, she saw, their car had plowed into the side of their neighbours' SUV. The designer's wife hurried to the window, where she saw a brick of cocaine in the passenger seat and a cheerleader passed out across the back seat. The designer looked up at her with wired, bloodshot eyes. Let me explain this, he said, all this stuff is just part of the game industry. This is literally the only way you can make a video game.


Seth Burnette said...

That was both beautifully incisive and hilarious. Keep it up!

Matthew said...

It has really happens like this for some people in the industry (well, minus the cheerleader). Someone should do a study on divorce rates; I have only anecdotal evidence but they seem sky-high.

JPLC said...

Very smart. More, please!

Chris said...

I literally laughed out loud at this post, which is ironically rare given the frequency of "lol"s on the -net.

Steve gaynor said...


qrter said...

Very funny. :)

Pi said...

I have nothing to say, other than lol.

John Weiss said...

Dude! Keep writing.

Adam said...

I love this site.

Anonymous said...

What happened to this site? It used to have some of the best writing about video games around. But now I'm finding short form morality stories. Duncan, you are a great writer, please get through this phase and get back to the the intelligent journalism.


Yu Zun Kang said...

@Anonymous: You can get your incisive journalism at plenty of other places - why bully the man into doing the perfunctory grind?

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