Sunday, February 19, 2006

Miracle Product Makes Writers' Lives Near-Unbearably Fun

THE ALTERNATE REALITY IN WHICH I, POPULAR THINKING SEEMS TO HAVE IT, APPARENTLY RESIDE, SATURDAY - Nintendo thrilled writers all over the world today with the release of the Stanza Nintendo Entertainment System, a console devoted to everyone's favourite recreational pursuit: the game of Writing. Anticipation has been rife for the Stanza, which promises to allow the frivolous, weekend-fun activity of writing to take up even more spare time than ever before.

Look at all those buttons!
The control pad for the revolutionary new machine.

The system is intended to wrest users away from serious, work-oriented machines like the Sony Playstation and Nintendo's own Gamecube, which have built a reputation through focusing on serious business solutions and management programs such as Dynasty Tactics and Viewtiful Joe. Nintendo promise to lure adopters toward the Stanza by offering inbuilt game engines for writers worried that their frivolous, lazy-afternoon fun may be drifting toward useful application in the real world.
Demoing the machine, Nintendo guru Shigeru Miyamoto showed prospective users how the Stanza will "keep writing where writers want it to be: in the realm of useless, timewasting fun".
Miyamoto, so devoted to the game of Writing that he famously used to fashion Writing gameboards out of masses of Post-It notes before the invention of the Stanza, explained that the machine will deliver on this promise by, for example, being bundled with an inbuilt cigarette lighter so that any money accidentally earned while playing Writing or Critiquing can be burned.
"We've talked to a lot of amateur filmmakers when developing the Stanza, and we've discovered that writers actually don't like to be paid," Miyamoto explained. "Accepted wisdom among industry wannabes is that writers are the only member of the crew who, actually, never even have to have money mentioned to them. If you were blessed with the ability to read scripts and work out the glaringly obvious flaws in them, wouldn't you want to do that all day every day without recompense? Similarly, anyone who's been told that their script may one day be used as the basis for a poorly-acted digital short that doesn't cut together properly and is only ever seen by family and friends, would gladly work on that script rather than using the time to do real work that would pay real money. I mean, what's food when you can live the dream of having a writing credit on the next Shirt or Futile Attraction?"
The machine is a first for Nintendo, who generally develop for a wide user base so as to ensure maximum sales - simple marketing logic. However, writers, explained Miyamoto, are different from regular people. This was covered in a subsection of the demo covering the Stanza's massive capabilities for the hugely-popular genre of Critiquing games, in which writers view scripts other people have asked them to look at.
"Most people who want to make a movie will say, early on, 'I'm not a writer'," Miyamoto began. "What this means is that they have no idea about nor interest in narrative craft, and are, to a healthy degree, utterly unconcerned with how real people think or act, let alone talk. They need to bring in a writer at this point, to deal with tangental issues such as Plot and Characters, so that they can get down to the business of what film's all about: putting the camera in interesting places and working out ways to edit it so it'll look as much as possible like a nu-metal video clip."
"After all," reasoned Miyamoto, "that's why most movies are so damn great, am I right?" This was followed by rapturous applause and agreement.
"If you're someone who feels that story or character are interesting, therefore," Miyamoto went on to explain, "obviously you're someone whose idea of a good weekend is to read many many scripts whose impossibly inadequate dialogue provides a thin smokescreen to disguise the author's utter lack of a reason for choosing this story to bring into the world. Obviously you're someone who would rather solve the glaring problems with the world's thousandth man-tied-up-by-faceless-criminals script than, say, eating orange chocolate chip icecream, or walking in the park with someone pretty. The Stanza provides you with the opportunity to do that."
The presentation then allowed users a hand-on demo of several of the Stanza's hottest games in the burgeoning Critiquing genre. These included So Random!, a wacky flatmate comedy in which the Rugby-obsessed lead character inexplicably finds themselves in a dress; and Simulacrem, a sci-fi thriller about a future in which computers have become more intelligent than human beings - with unexpected consequences.
Miyamoto saved the best for last: a demo of the Stanza's unique Mass Blindness Generation Tool, which actually provides concrete, physical assurance that nobody will ever see the film that results from writers' work.
"Everyone knows that the most rewarding part of writing is drinking coffee and talking about what a great script this is going to be," Miyamoto explained, provoking feverish nodding throughout the audience. "That's why the Stanza actually allows you to blind anyone who might potentially see the movie, so that the carefree business of writing can take place where it ought to: in a world where nobody will ever see anything you write."
While the machine's ability to burn the money of anyone who might offer writers unwelcome financial restitution for an activity that anyone could do if they wanted to was popular, it was the MBGT that would truly catapult writing-as-fun-thing-you-do-instead-of-real-work into the 21st Century, Nintendo promised.
"Now, people who like more than anything to spend solitary hours reading other peoples' dross and writing things that will never be seen or rewarded are in Paradise!" exclaimed Miyamoto.
The audience, which was composed of thousands of these very people (their existence being a very real fact), then dropped to their knees and made Miyamoto their chief. - GAMESPY

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