Barbie (Remixed) Goes to E3
The showroom floor ran off in front and to the sides of them in sea of booths and displays. It was a carpeted, labyrinthine shrine of geekdom, abuzz with workers, vendors, and the chaos of 15 hours from doors open.
“Skipper, this place is huge!” Barbie said, “I’m not even sure we belong here.”
“Of course we belong,” Skipper said, “Or at least, you do. You won Best New Codeslinger at Codageddon 2015, Barbie, and you deserve the E3 prize showcase for Robot Laser Puppies.”
“That’s just a working title. Maybe I should have taken the cash equivalent?” Barbie asked.
“First, I’ll always think of it as Robot Laser Puppies, no matter what some publisher markets the game as. And sure, that was a lot of money, but this game is tight and fun. For all that it’s cute it’s also hyper-realistic now. I’m really glad you let me work to add in the heat and ablation effects from laser burn through, as well as the diffusion effects from smoke build-up at the impact points.”
Barbie just nodded as she wrapped her arm around Skipper, pulled her in for a hug, and took in the sights in silence for a few more seconds before saying, “I’m not the one that belongs here; we are, the whole team. Come on, let’s go help Brian and Stephen setup our booth.”
“Hand me that Allen wrench,” Barbie asked, pointing at the table top beside Stephen. A few seconds later she slid out from under the edge of the display setup, “Alright, that should do it. Can you hit the lights Skipper?”
Skipper made a grand gesture, flicked the switch, and the sign lit up with the puppy alternating between a big grin and his attack look – serious, with lasers shooting from his eyes.
“Oh, that’s perfect,” Brian said, walking up carrying a large box that seemed awkward if not heavy.
“Is that them!?!” Barbie asked.
“Yup! Hot off the UPS truck.” Brian sat the box down and started tearing into it with gleeful abandon.
Inside the large box were dozens of smaller boxes, Brian quickly popped one of those open, and they all stood back with a gasp of surprise.
“Those are amazing!” Stephen said.
“Yeah,” Brian replied, “they really knocked it out of the park.” He held up a bobble head of a robot puppy with red LED eyes, flicked it on, and set it on the table as everyone watched.
“Greatest. Promo. Ever.” Barbie said. “Thank you so much for designing these, Brian!” She gave him a high-five.
“Go team!” Stephen added.
“Thanks for treating me to lunch, Skipper,” Barbie said as they walked back through the show floor.
“It was my pleasure; I still owe you for bringing me onto the team.”
As they approached, a man just shy of middle-aged with slicked back hair and a shiny suit was handing a business card to Stephen. They had just come into earshot when Barbie heard, “Jeff. Jeff Wizcombe, but you can call me Wiz. I’m Chief Marketing Director for Indie Development at AE Games.”
Barbie leaned in and whispered to Skipper, “You think he might be interested in our game? AE Games is huge.”
“Let’s find out,” Skipper whispered in return.
Wiz said, “We’re looking to bring in some Indie games, and frankly, you’re on to something with those puppies. Chicks will eat that stuff up. You got to play to the heart and wallet some too. We can include micro-transactions for doggie blankets, polka-dotted puppy sweaters, you name it, and more money for us is more money for you, am I right boys? What’d you say your name is again? Stan? Bobby.”
Stephen was looking really uncomfortable, “Umm, I’m Stephen, and this is Brian.” Seeing the girls approach, he seemed a bit relieved, pointed and added, “That’s Barbie and Skipper. Barbie is our...”
“Booth Babes!” Wiz said, “Yowza man, you guys hooked it up. Tell you what though, we have to get ‘em some Puppy Power merch, am I right? That’s what we’ll call it, ‘Puppy Power’. You get these girls up on the table in a Puppy Power mini with a little dog collar of their own…”
“Excuse me!” Barbie said, cutting him off, “I am Barbie Roberts. I am the lead designer and coder for this game, and this is my sister Skipper. She handled the physics engine. We’re not anyone’s ‘booth babes’. Who are you again?”
“Oh ahh…understandable mistake right? I’m Jeff Wizcombe, umm, Wiz. Yeah, I’m with AE Games,” he handed across a card, but Barbie just eyed it without reaching for it.
“We won’t be signing with AE Games,” she said emphatically.
Jeff held the card out for another moment before his shoulders dropped in resignation and he slinked away.
“I’m sorry about that,” a new voice chimed in from behind Barbie. She turned to see a guy, maybe in his 30’s eyeing the display. “Ted Blake, Just Good Games,” he handed over a business card, and Barbie took it from him and slipped it into her pocket.
“That guy was a jerk,” Skipper said.
“I’ve known him for years, and he’s always been a jerk,” Ted replied, “I’m just sorry to say how often his ‘I’m one of the guys’ routine works around here.”
“Is Just Good Games looking at indie developers?” Barbie asked, curious.
“We are to an extent, and I will be entirely honest with you. Only a year out of Gamergate, we’re looking to pick up a few games from primarily female dev teams, but not just because of the female dev teams. The games have to be good, and they have to bring something new to market.”
“And do you think you might be interested in Robot Laser Puppies?” Skipper asked.
“That’s just a working title,” Barbie interjected.
“Maybe, but I doubt it; the design doesn’t play to our market,” everyone looked dejected, but he continued on, “However, we would be interested in licensing your game engine and your physics engine. The code and the modeling are top notch.”
He pulled out another card and scribbled a number on the back before handing it over, “Give a call to Karen over at Game Wranglers. I know she’s interested in some indie games that may play in this market,” he gestured at the Robot Laser Puppy display with a nod.
“Thanks, we will,” Barbie said.
“When you call, tell her that Ted sent you and that he’s interested in a package deal for the engines. That should more than get you in the door,” he pointed off in the direction “Wiz” had skulked off towards, “And once again, I’m sorry about that guy.”
“His loss!” Barbie said.
“So,” Ted asked, “even though I’m not interested in the game itself, think I can get one of those awesome bobble heads?”
“You bet!” Barbie said, tossing him one, “and we hope to see you again after we talk to Karen.”
“Me too! And good luck with Robot Laser Puppy,” he said.
“That’s just a working title,” Stephen, Brian, and Skipper called in unison. Barbie blushed.