“Everyone on the team is always so sad when The Post-Production begins. I mean, it’s always nice to read the 10/10 reviews, cash those bonuses and enjoy some well-earned holiday, don’t get me wrong. But we’ve all had such a fun time making the AAA computer game – particularly towards the end – that it’s always disheartening when The Production comes to a head.” – the real McCoy, an actual famous computer game maker.
You have now finished making your first computer game. Congratulations! I knew you could do it. You’re a winner, remember? Hold on, can you smell that? Mmm, it sure smells good! That’s the sweet smell of success wafting through the muck and the mire of modern society, past the plebs and pions up through your castle windows.
You can now officially call yourself a Computer Game Maker. The Martinis, blowjobs and upper echelons of society are poised and waiting just around the corner, but for now there’s one last thing to busy ourselves with: The Post-Production. This is the quickest part of the process but the most important. Much of your time will be spent telling people how great your game is by going on something called Tweeter and talking to college dropouts, journalists and illiterates.
And so, with that thought firmly in mind, we arrive at the final section of The Neophyte’s Illustrated Guide to Making the Computer Games. I hope you’ve found my advice useful. I always enjoy helping someone as handsome and talented as you. This is the last hurdle before a life of fame and fortune my good computer game maker! Don’t forget about me when you’re marrying a 17 year old virgin model on your own private island in the Mediterranean!
QA and Testing
QA, or Quality ASS-urance, is boring and a waste of time. Don’t pay someone to do what you and your friends can do on your lunch break or of a Friday evening. QA and testing (same thing) is expensive and as long as you put an official embargo on review release dates you’ll garner a healthy sum of money from unsuspecting pre-orderers and general dolts. Remember: Modern Warfare 3 made Infinity Vision 16 trillion in Yankee loot in just three days. Not even Stars Wars: Attack of the Clones x Avatar 3D x Sex in the City made that much.
Other tips on QA and testing:
i. Don’t release a beta
What’s the point? You’re just giving people a sizeable chunk of your game for free. They might not like it or they’ll get bored and then they won’t buy your game.
ii. Utilise your fanbase as a free and expansive QA team
Ask them to give you feedback in the forums (and then tell advertisers how many hits you’re getting so that they can buy more ad space). If you can be bothered, you can always patch game breaking bugs a year or two down the line. No rush, you’ve got their money now. And you’re spending it on cocktails, cocaine and private jets. Oh yeah.
Once development of your AAA game has concluded you’re going to need to market the thing if you’ve any hope of attaining those millions of Yankee dollars and lesbian siren sisters. If you’ve foolishly made an I-Phone game then don’t worry, Apple will advertise your game for free in its Top 25 list (this is the only benefit of making games for the I-Phone). For everyone else, here’s a quick guide on how to expose your computer game to the Products and Consumerist Serfs:
i. Write a press release
Send out press releases to the big gaming websites: IGN, Gamepost, Bukkake. They’ll then copy and paste it onto their websites for immediate hits and exposure!
ii. Make a trailer
Create enigmatic trailers that conceal what your game is really about. Make sure not to include actual game footage but include those BWARH! sound effects from the film Inception by Christian Bale. They’re really cool. Everyone knows that if you’re using the BWARH! sound your game is hot stuff. If you can’t find the sound on Goggle, just go BWARH! into your laptop while recording in Audacity. BWARH!
Here’s a visual guide.
iii. Dealing with the press
When speaking with the press use key phrases like “cinematic experience” and “story-driven experience”. Don’t worry about what they mean or whether they’re relevant to your game. Just know that they’re an aphrodisiac for gamers. The gamer will flock to your game! For example, if your game is a collection of puzzle minigames for the SEGA Game Gear, describe it as an “epic, cinematic, story-driven action-puzzler”.
[Most] game journalists will write literally anything without doing any research. The less work they have to do the better. The difference between conjecture and news in games journalism is nearly non-existant and this can be a great boon for you. Avoid journalists with morals and self-respect. In order to gain free publicity, give birth to whimsical rumours about how your game might have this or that or could go on sale in February or will possibly harness 78.92% of the XBox’s raw computing power.
Bribe journalists with money and refuse to send them review copies unless they promise to give your game 10/10. That’ll be sure to boost the Metacritic rating. If critics do give you grief take to a forum and call them liars. You can also do this on Twitter. Beware though, Twits can be seen by fellow Trenders.
If it all gets out of hand, claim the whining journalist parasites pirated your game from The Pirate Cove. Say they haven’t played the latest version and took a bribe from your worst enemy. Tar their good name by Photo-Shopping a picture of their hack team laughing at some homeless people. Send editors empty emails with the subject line: “I’m sorry Mr. xxx, it’s about your wife and young children”. Tony Soprano went a long way instilling fear into the hearts of his enemies. You can too.
iv. Describing your game
If you’re mocking up a description of the game, use words like “epic” to highlight how different your game is to all the other computer games. Tell us how many guns you’ve got and how many swears are in the script. Let gamers know how many hours it takes to finish (be sure to adhere to the rule of ‘(actual time x 11) + 14’ and highlight how awesome and unique your multi player is.
v. Play up the cut scenes!
Remember to play up how many hours of cut scenes your game has. It doesn’t matter if it’s a game about Nazi guinea pigs slaughtering sombrero sporting salmon on Saturn’s seventh ring written by someone who got an E in GCSE English Lit! If it’s fat with endless hours of cut scenes the gamer will love it! Remember: more is better.
vi. Poke fun at the competition
Nothing says you’re comfortable with your product like a good old fashioned playground point and laugh session. Don’t talk about your game, instead mock the competition. This is especially useful if the competition has a corpulent fanbase and you do not.
Announce when you’re going to make the announcement announcing when you’re going to announce the release date for your game.
viii. Then delay it
ix. Go to E3
E3 is a computer games orgy where all the computer game makers go and hang out with chicks in bikinis and other slutty outfits. Girls love computer game makers! E3 is a great way for you to earn some exposure for your game whilst also networking with these lovely ladies.
Fun fact: did you know that the girls of E3 aren’t actually paid to be there? Rather, they are the many mistresses of all the game makers like Miyamoto and Peter Molinew. They just let them out of their saucy sex pits to help promote their latest AAA computer games. Sex sells, remember, and the benefits of being a computer game maker are truly endless!
x. Review your own game!
There are no rules stating you can’t review your own game. You could start your own blog but you’ll have to rack up a fanbase pretty quick and every illiterate monkey and his retarded cousin has a blog or is a “freelance games journalist” these days. The best option is to use Metacritic. Remember you’re moonlighting as a customer so don’t use your real name when you sign up! Use something inconspicuous like “GenuineComputerGamesFan” or “Games_Lover_69”. Then review your game. Be sure to give it 10/10 and say that it’s like some other games that are way more popular than yours!
Pro tip: It’s best to review your game before it is available to buy; that way people can read your amazing review and then pre-order the game immediately!
xii. Tailor your box art for different regions!
This is one of the most important factors influencing computer game players when they’re considering whether or not to buy a game. For Japan, create box art that honestly depicts your game. For Europe and North America, follow this failsafe guide:
- No smiling characters, only scowls permitted. Imagine you’ve just been arse-fingered by a midget in a bear costume; capture your feelings and then project them onto your character.
- No colours other than the following: grey, black, orange, red, crimson, ruby, cherry, damask, carmine and maroon. NO PINK OR OTHER QUEER COLOURS.
- At least one thing has to be exploding in the background
- THERE HAS TO BE AT LEAST ONE OVERSIZED GUN ON DISPLAY. THIS IS NOT PHALLIC IMAGERY. IT IS AWESOME IMAGERY.
- Make your character’s eyes glow. Doesn’t matter if they don’t in the actual game.Here is the boxart for Viva Pinata (pictured right). If only developer Microsoft Game Studios had headed my advice and gone with the image on the left, Viva Pinata would have been a huge success.
There’s only so much you alone can do. If you truly want your computer game to be number one in the Christmas charts you’re going to have to reach out to an actual advertising company. Now, while you’ll have to pay these money-grabbing androids to aid you, don’t let them seize control of the project. Go in knowing precisely what you want and know precisely what you want by following these failsafe guidelines:
The TV Spot
You have three choices when it comes to the TV spot.
i. The Utopia or The Nuclear Family
Do not make the amateur mistake of believing you are selling the consumer a product. The consumer is the product. You are selling them something that will exponentially improve their life. You are selling them a lifestyle choice. Say it out loud. Now say it again. Goddamnit, believe it!
This is, of course, absolute twaddle. The only thing the consumer will receive as a result of playing your game is heightened cholesterol and an innocuous brain tumour. But don’t mention this.
When Nintendo marketed the Wii, it wasn’t just peddling an already passe, woefully overpriced hunk of bunk. Gamers knew that Wii Tennis was a load of dog scrotum and so they avoided the Wii just like they avoided the Gamecube.
Fun fact: computer gamers were most displeased when Nintendo released the Gamecube. Games like The Wind Waker, Eternal Darkness, Viewtiful Joe, Luigi’s Mansion, Super Monkey Ball, Paper Mario, Rogue Squadron, Mario Kart: Double Dash, Resident Evil, Metroid Prime, Pikmin, Super Monkey Ball 2, Pikmin 2, Resident Evil 4, Ikaruga, Resident Evil Zero, Metroid Prime: Echoes and all the non-exclusives just weren’t enough to outweigh the disappointment that was Super Mario Sunshine. So computer gamers abandoned Nintendo. Sad and alone, Nintendo spent many a night in a drug-fuelled stupor. But Nintendo was strong and eventually it began the hunt for new, better friends. When it found some, the computer gamers were in uproar. “How dare you turn your back on us Nintendo!”, they howled. “How dare you not invite us to the party! How dare you cater to a new audience after we threw feces at your bedroom window and poured bleach into the roots of your Bonsai Tree!” Nintendo didn’t mind though, because Nintendo was the most popular person in all the world. Now it goes to all the parties, gets all the free cocaine it wants and sleeps with all the prettiest girls.
Anyway, Nintendo began hawking the nuclear family and a whole lot of families wanted in on that.
“Buy a Wii”, Nintendo yelled, “and your family can be as great as this one! Look how happy they all are! Look how white their teeth are! GOD I WISH I WAS LIKE THEM. Look at the holidays this family go on! Don’t they look better than YOUR holidays!? Observe the richness of their lives! Is your life this rich? NO! Observe how stress-free their existence is. Look how alive these old people are; they’re not dying anytime soon! Look how happy these kids are! They’re not going to run away from home and join a BNP party for tweens! ALL THIS THANKS TO THEIR NINTENDO WII! THIS IS HOW AMAZING YOUR LIFE COULD BE IF YOU JUST BOUGHT A NINTENDO WII TODAY!!!!”
This is the message you must convey. The serfs have been programmed to respond quickly to this.
Pro tip: Pay your actors by the smile.
ii. The Celebrity Endorsement
Hire whoever wasn’t cool twenty years ago to hawk your game. Someone like Ant or Dec. Alternatively pay the presenters on a really crappy breakfast TV show to look like they know what they’re doing with your game or porn stars if you’re going for the raunchy. If you’re strapped for cash, write something like “XXX is better than 69ing” and pay a Z-list celebrity to let you attribute the comment to them. Remember: you’re not selling a product, you’re selling an image. If people see someone they respect or think is way-hip playing your computer game, they’ll want to be just like them and to be just like them they’ll need your computer game!
iii. The Actual Game Footage
Don’t do this. If you’re going to show anything, hire a CGI studio to make a 30 second animation that looks infinitely better than your actual game. That way, when the game comes out, everyone will be like: “woah, it didn’t look like this on TV.”
Billboards are 100% lame but that hasn’t stopped Sony in the past. The Game & Watch maker caused bedlam with its ad campaign several years back for the white Playstation Portable. The ad showed a sexy white looking thoroughly repulsed at the mere sight of a black and threatening her with violence. The message was clear: whites are better than blacks and who remembers the good old days of slavery!
In the following hubbub there were some who outright accused Sony of being mindless racists. Others accepted that Sony probably weren’t intentionally being racist, but instead were just mindbogglingly thick. This is more than likely the case and Sony have yet to be sued into the deepest recesses of a black hole so there’s something to be learned here.
Being massive bigots earned Sony – and its racially superior PSP – a whole heap of publicity. And, as a really really clever person once said, there is no such thing as bad publicity! So when it comes to creating your billboard, think of something particularly inflammatory. Racism is good but don’t forget some of the other popular isms; sexism, dwarfism, cannibalism and ageism could all work equally to your advantage.
To finish, here’s an ad I mocked up in advance ready for when Sony releases a white Playstation Veta in the UK.
Now that most people have the internet, it’s definitely worth investing in some quality internet ads. Look to some of the most popular games website like IGN, Bukkake and Europegamer and ask if they’ll host your adverts. If you’re paying more than a Yankee shilling, they almost certainly will!
Pro tip: Plaster websites with adverts; down the side, at the top, along the bottom, in between news posts, disguised as news post, covering parts of the website so the viewer can’t access them without first clicking on your link. Have loud noises play automatically when the user opens the website. Make these loud noises the BWARHS! we spoke about earlier. Play movies in pop up screens (better still, embed movies in really secret places so that the viewer has to trawl through all his tabs and windows to find your noisy advert!) Put adverts for your game at the start of all other videos on the website – relevant or not – and make these unskippable even if the viewer has seen your ad a thousand billion times before!
All of these things will unfailingly convince the website viewer to buy your game.
Next: The Post-Production Ctd.