Announcing The Closer: Game of the Year Edition

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If you’ve been following my World War K series, I should probably start with an apology. Ever since the Kansas City Royals made it to the World Series, it’s been hard to stay motivated. But that’s not the only reason I haven’t made a post every week, or why the posts have been shorter.  The truth is, I’ve been working on something else.

That something else is The Closer: Game of the Year Edition

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What The Fuck Is This?

The Closer: Game of the Year Edition is a computer game, made (almost) exclusively by me. Because I like to do dumb things with my free time. Because I spend most of my not-free time doing boring, not-dumb things like being a lawyer.

This Looks Like It Is Made In RPG Maker!

That is because it is.

But RPG Maker Games Are Terrible!

To The Moon is pretty great, right?  Well, this isn’t To The Moon. To The Moon is touching story about death and regret. This is the tale of a young relief pitcher who gives up the winning run in game 6 of the World Series and goes on an epic quest to regain his confidence before a decisive game 7.  Along the way, he encounters bar trivia contests, Japanese PC games, pop-Marxist philosophy, and existential terror. In no particular order.

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Is This A Joke?

No, this is not a joke. Well, yes, it is a joke. But I am making this game. So it’s not a joke.

Seriously?

Listen, I know that Barkley: Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden worked through a lot of the same ground I’m traversing here.  Barkley is fantastic and I won’t pretend I wasn’t inspired by it. But I’m a baseball fan, and I wanted to make a game about baseball. And when it’s done I will be giving this away for free, so stop complaining.

This Will Be Free?

There are a good number of likenesses and trademarks and art assets from MLB used in this game that, heh, I haven’t exactly negotiated.  While I am fairly comfortable in asserting that this is all parody, within the fair use exemptions that can go along with that, I’m not dumb enough to try and profit off of this. When this is done, it will be released for free with permission to upload it or whatever else you might want to do with it elsewhere.

How Can I Play It?

Unfortunately, as of now, the most updated version of RPG Maker only lets you play games on Windows PCs.  Supposedly Android middleware is coming, but I will believe it (and do a port) when I see it.

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So What Kind Of Game Is This?

While I’m using RPG Maker–mostly because I’m far more interested in writing than programming–The Closer: Game of the Year Edition is more of an adventure game. Or maybe you’d call it a visual novel.  There are battles, there are Game Overs, but for the most part it’s not about those things. It’s about the story. And the choices you make. And jokes.  Featuring:

  • Multiple party members, almost all of which have their own unique “fighting” style, including pitching, debate, and Sabermagics
  • Something resembling branching story lines
  • Music by Jenny Gibbons (Check out The Closer’s Entrance – as well as her other work – on Bandcamp)
  • Lots and lots of words, so if you’ve enjoyed World War K or any of my other writing, you should check this out.

But It’s Hard To Make A Funny Video Game!

Oh god, I know. It’s almost impossible to control precise timing in video games, which strips out a ton of the nuance in comedy.  Truly funny video games are few and far between, but that’s not going to stop me from trying because this is more for my own amusement than anything else.

These Screenshots Look Rough!

Yeah, a good amount of the pixel art is stuff is modified from the RPG Maker package or hastily made myself.  The battle screens are pasted together by, again, me.  The maps could clearly I am not particularly skilled at art. It could get better before release.  Honestly, it might not get better before release.  I am aware that I am not the best artist.

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So What Is The Story?

Game Six of the World Series.  Ninth inning.  St. Louis at New York, with New York up 3-2. One strike away from winning the World Series, the closer for New York gives up a monstrous home run (and the lead) to reigning NL MVP Carlos Rodriguez.  After the game, he realizes that his dominating slider has turned into an easily-hittable meatball.  With less than 24 hours until Game 7, he needs to learn a new pitch before the next inevitable Game 7 showdown against Rodriguez.

But How Does He Know He Will Have To Face Rodriguez In Game 7?

Buddy, it’s call dramatic license.

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So, When Is This Releasing?

I’m glad you’re asking this question because it means that you’re interested. The Closer: Game of the Year Edition will be released in 2015. Yeah, that’s not a well-defined time. That’s because I don’t know how long this is going to take.  A good portion of it is already done, and (mostly) bug-free.  Halfway?  Probably a bit more than that. Depends on how deep this rabbit hole is going to go.

You Don’t Know When It Will Be Done? Why Are You Announcing This?

Hey, watch it with the hostility.

Basically, I want to talk about this game. I want another thing to post about, and a reason to post more about video games in general. The Closer isn’t a very traditional video game, unless you consider  jokes-instead-of-gore Corpse Party a traditional video game. Developing something myself, as unconventional as it might be, gives me an excuse to make posts about video games.

You’re Not Doing A Very Good Job Of Selling This Game.

Oh, I know.  This is an RPG Maker game made by someone who is a writer, not a game designer or an artist. I’m well aware of all the caveats that have to go with a project like this.

But this is a game where Slovenian philosopher Slajov Zizek can get into a debate about feminism with an elevator operator to infiltrate Twitter headquarters.

So, c’mon, you’re curious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MLB The Show – World War K: Money Also Walks

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Start from the Beginning – Episode 1: The History of the First Base War

Previous Episode: Sign of the Moose

PrimeTime Moose and the St. Louis Cardinals were defeated, and the Kansas City Royals wouldn’t have to face them again, except perhaps in the World Series.  Taking 3 out of 4 games from the Cardinals was a huge boost to the Royals, as the Redbirds had established themselves as the best team in the NL of the first half, despite the often puzzling decisions of the manager.  But this was just the beginning of a stressful month of June.  The MLB Amateur Draft was scheduled immediately after the series against the Cardinals, and then the New York Yankees rolled into Kansas City for a four game set.  The Yankees hadn’t been a particularly formidable team to date, but they were boosted by the addition of a robot master of their own.

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Unlike Mike Mussina, who had allowed his consciousness to be used as a template for robot players because he wanted to be able to better control farm equipment, Rickey Henderson’s reasons for submitting to the experiment were a lot simpler: he still didn’t want to leave the game.  Despite being quite old when robots began playing MLB, Henderson was not ready to hang up his cleats.  The 80-something outfielder still believed he had a few more good seasons in him, even if his body disagreed in literally every way possible.

Rickey had not left baseball on his own terms.  While he played his final game in 2003, he continued to insist that he was in good enough shape to suit up for any number of teams, and could be an immediate contributor.  Despite a pedestrian final season and legs that were held together with withering sinew, he toughed it out in the independent leagues and maintained his desire to return to MLB until 2007.  The advent of robot players gave Rickey a chance to run again.

Whereas Mussina’s imprinting failed, Rickey’s was wildly successful.  The original Rickey Henderson remained in his body, while numerous copies of his consciousness were sold and uploaded into leadoff robots around MLB.  Each one was tweaked slightly, given upgrades and abilities to make it stand out.  The most successful was converted into a switch hitter for the Neo New York Yankees.  This particular iteration on Rickey Henderson, Flash Money, was chosen by K.I.R.K.G.I.B.S.O.N. to go back to 2014 to assist in the destruction of baseball.

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