Friday, March 26, 2010

when Peach asks you, in the quiet of her mushroom castle bedroom

This is hilarious and well-written, an excerpt from the book Overqualified.

To: Nintendo
Re: Game Design

Dear Nintendo,

I am writing to apply for the position of game designer with your company. We have a chance here to help children experience games that are more true to life than any game before them. Computer graphics have improved and improved and improved, and some day soon we're going to have to ask ourselves where we can go next in our search for realism.

We need virtual pet games where you clean and feed and love your furry little friend and that car still comes out of nowhere so smoothly, a god of aerodynamics and passenger safety. Where you hear your father's quiet joke that night, when he thinks you are asleep.

We need a new Mario game, where you rescue the princess in the first ten minutes, and for the rest of the game you try and push down that sick feeling in your stomach that she's "damaged goods", a concept detailed again and again in the profoundly sex negative instruction booklet, and when Luigi makes a crack about her and Bowser, you break his nose and immediately regret it. When Peach asks you, in the quiet of her mushroom castle bedroom "do you still love me?" you pretend to be asleep. You press the A button rhythmically, to control your breath, keep it even.

We need an airport simulator, where the planes carry your whole family from A to B, job to job, and dad still drinks in the shower and your older sister still has casual sex that she confides might bring back a feeling she's certain she didn't imagine. Where the plane touches down and you all lean forward in your seats because of inertia, and again and again someone says "I hate to fly".


Joey Comeau


Anonymous said...

I think it's sad. We need games where instead of a joyful escape from reality, everything is infused with the subtle tragedy so common in writing.

Virtual pets get killed by quiet cars. You rescue the princess, but then deal with the psychological problems real people have. Peach is insecure and you ignore her rather than deal with her.

The phrase I now use to dismiss self-indulgent writers: "Another troubling masterpiece." So many of them are.


Anonymous said...

the Hallmark Greeting card letter was pretty good too.

"Idea #4

Front cover, a pretty butterfly, pinned under glass. The text reads "I'm glad you stayed." There is no inside text."

Isaac said...

Wonderful! A whimsical and entertaining premise but the writing is rich and dark.

I bought the Kindle edition this morning and am almost done reading it. Interestingly, the Nintendo letter is different from the excerpt you posted. I wonder why that is.