I have this recurring waking fantasy that I've completed my indie opus: A video game series in the format of an 80's epic adventure cartoon. Think, Mysterious Cities of Gold, Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea or Ulysses 31.
Think gloriously audacious opening sequence, full of expansive vistas and children doing dangerously exciting things. Think catchy title tune by anonymous vocalist that's so bad it's embarrassing, yet so good you secretly 5-star it on your iPod. Think of yourself singing it out loud only to realise you're in a crowded supermarket and then try to do that thing where you act like you don't care but lapse into an awkward tuneless hum. Think rushing home on Friday afternoon to catch the latest episode, only you're 35 now, not 10.
Nostalgia so bad it makes my eyes water.
Episodic games certainly aren't a new concept. Alan Wake used episodic chapters to create a genre film in a game, excusing its pulp horror storyline by cleverly wrapping it up in format that demanded it. Brilliant!
Team 17 took advantage of Xbox Live Arcade's short-order expectations by releasing the remakesequelthing Alien Breed series as a triplet of rapid fire, easily digestable, arcade blast-at-everything-and-scream-a-lot-emups, and I'd argue that they're more entertaining and more accessible for it.
Valve take advantage of an episodic release schedule to bring us the remaining chapters of the Half-Life series far faster and cheaper than full-release sequels. *Cough*
But I'm thinking bigger. Yes, that's right: Bigger than Valve. I'm thinking, completely disregarding the whole one-man-army thing... I'm thinking a series where you sit through the opening credits just because they're AWESOME. I'm thinking that you're talking about the latest episode with your gamer buddies, and making predictions about the next. I'm thinking that you're rushing home on Friday afternoon for the latest episode even though you're 35 now, not 10.
And I'm thinking that somehow, it's entirely economically viable and appealing to a publisher who will agree to sell it for a gold coin per episode.
That is my daydream. I'm not even remotely ashamed of such naive romanticism. It'll happen one day - I even have the story all figured, and the start of an opening sequence playing in my head, title track and all. If I ever find the kind of financial success that lets professionally immature people like me treat business ventures as giant funparks, I'll do it. And it'll be like being 10 again, watching Cities of Gold when Esteban raises the Golden Condor and thinking for a time that magic - like those crazy people who wear crystals and smell like marijuana only vaguely masked by incense say - happens.
Until then, I get an aweful lot of fun just pretending. Babababa BA BA BA! DO doodoodoo DUM DUM! DumdumdumDAAAAA! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to bed to probably dream about Voltron.