September 6th, 2006

Sex and the Single Gamer

Okay, okay, the World of Warcraft as anti-aphrodisiac commercial is quite funny, even if it builds on the usual - and really offensive - tropes of “Women don’t want sex,” “Men are the ones who play MMORPGs,” and “One can’t play MMORPGs and still have a reasonable life.”  (Even if many of the games seem to be designed to make that last one come true!)  It’s worth watching all the way through; the last line’s a keeper.

Since Everyone Else Will Have An Opinion ….

It sounds like the beginning of a very bad joke: what do you get when a baseball player, a comics mogul, and a fantasy author decide to start a game company? In this case, you get The Green Monster, Curt Schilling’s brand-new MMORPG enterprise.

A lot of people seem pretty skeptical about the company’s potential for success - and I was certainly one of them, until I did some research into the various backgrounds of the people involved. At first it sounded like they were victims of the “I play games, so I can make a game” fallacy. However, Schilling’s MultiMan Publishing and Salvatore’s roleplaying credits, not to mention the marketing juggernaut that is Todd McFarlane, make me think they may actually know what they’re doing. I hear they’re hiring programmers; I hope they’re also planning to hire a couple of really good and experienced designers, to help them avoid making any of the obvious mistakes. But I say more power to them for being willing to take offline game design experience into the online world!

On the other hand, I have no expectations whatsoever that they’re going to develop anything unusual or revolutionary, despite their grandiose claims. A well-designed Everquest clone? Maybe. But these guys are pretty damn gamer-mainstream, and I’ve seen nothing from any of them to suggest that they’re interested in either talking to a different audience or talking to it in a different way.