Friday, August 19, 2016

Me and the Ass Olympics

In 1998, I was looking for my second job in the gaming industry. I interviewed at GameFX, a small studio started by former Looking Glass members. I actually got a formal job offer from them, and utterly indecisive, I simply ghosted them on it. It was probably the single dumbest, embarrassing, most unprofessional thing I've ever done (possibly followed by publicly admitting it here?).

Anyway, among the things that came up at that interview was that I sat down with one of the designers (can't remember the name) and found that they were mostly done with development on the game Sinistar Unleashed (a 3D reboot of an earlier, popular arcade game in 2D with digital voice features). One thing he said to me: "That's great that you're interested in the design aspect, because we're having problems with Sinistar Unleashed. We just can't figure out how to make it fun. If you have any ideas we'd love to hear them." Which was, you know, kind of a bad signal in an interview regarding a game I haven't played and was already nearing the end of its development.

So here I am this summer almost two decades later, clearing out some of my hoarded clutter, and I come across an issue of PC Accelerator magazine from May 2000. That was kind of a "Maxim-y" magazine for gaming, written throughout with a snarky "bro" tone. As I flip through it I find a piece called "The Ass Olympics" about recent games that had sucked to an unusual degree. Among them: Sinistar Unleashed, which was ranked fourth in the event of "Boredom", with a score of 8.0 out of 10 by their standards.

So here's a late salute to that now-forgotten designer for his perpicacity.