I've been in Seattle the past few days for Penny-Arcade Expo (PAX) and, as usual, the "Pitch Your Game" panel carries a special degree of import for me. The premise of the panel is that audience members are given 15-45 seconds to pitch an idea for a video game and have it judged (harshly) by the panel. Those making it past this elevator pitch are admitted to the second round where they go into greater detail on their idea. Finally prizes are given to the best three ideas. It is important to note that the metric for determining the best game idea is a combination of hilarity and entertainment quality, having nothing to do with marketability or genuine quality. Hilarity, of course, ensues.
"Pitch Your Game" is not just one of my favorite parts of PAX; it is a favorite for much of the Fort-Awesome crowd. Having come to PAX a number of times, we've come to regard planning ridiculous game pitches as a time honored, evening, hotel room tradition. This year, in pitch planning we came up with a number of hilarious ideas, as well as a flood of horrible and/or unspeakable ideas. Additionally, we came to the realization that any crappy pitch can be made more amusing by appending "with JRPG elements; also, it's a rhythm game" (ex. Angry Badger is like Sonic: The Hedgehog but you can't run fast and the main characters a drunk; also it has JRPG elements and it's rhythm game) (the real hilarity comes after numerous repetitions).
Eventually, we narrowed ourselves down to a reasonable number of pitches: Mexican Gear Solid: Tactical Stealth Immigration, Underground Railroad Tycoon, and FEMA Presents Al Roker's Hurricane Alley 2011. Eventually, these pitches all went splendidly in the panel and made it to the second round. After calling Friday a night, heading to bed and falling asleep, Riad and I apparently kept pitching ideas (this is much like other instances of my sleep talking that I have been informed of). Amongst the ramblings of my sleep, Bigtime, who was awake at the time, overheard me say, "so you're in the desert, but you're bones, and it grows." This phrase so intrigued me that I decided that it must be my pitch.
My pitch went a little something like this:
Me: "I'm not entirely clear on some details since a lot of this was related to me by a friend who heard me rambling in my sleep. However to the best of my figuring, the prophets of old came to me in my dreams and bid me pitch a game, in exactly these words: So you're in the desert, but you're bones and it grows."
Entire room: [perplexed silence for a few moments]
Panelist: You should stop sleeping.
Me: There's more.
Panelist: Is that a threat?
Panelist: No. Just no.
The end result, for me, was not the second round but to have confounded the panel and the entire room into stunned silence was absolutely priceless.