Game Writing

A C-130 cargo plane hurtles towards the earth in flames caused by a freak lightning storm, as you desperately try to get out of the way on the ensuing carnage. A private detective is taken to new heights as he ascends into the heavens on a magical chair ride from a mysterious lighthouse. While these may sound like scenes from a movie, these are scenes from two of this year’s most promising gaming titles. Tomb Raider & Bioshock Infinite. Two games that match the cinematic thrill frame by frame that any of this year’s silver screen blockbusters can offer. Have a look at their respective trailers. Mind you both trailers are made from in game footage solely. A good indicator of how technology has progressed to deliver such visual treats to gamers.

Having finished Tomb Raider and started on Bioshock, it makes me think that this is the best time to get into gaming. The level of detailing that has gone into the plot of Bioshock is amazing. What with the number of recorded messages that the game environment is peppered with, not to mention the video recordings. All of them slowly adding layers and building up the story. Gaming today is a platform for unparalleled story telling. These two games are proof enough.

As a writer gaming is a fantastic alternative if you can’t get into the movies. Think about it. Set design in gaming is as good as that of Hollywood. So you can set your story anywhere you wish. Narrative in gaming has never been stronger and ours is a generation who can associate with gaming protagonists just like our previous generation can associate with comic book heroes. Games are interactive and get viewers really involved in the experience & story, even if it is a linear one. And some games offer the user to mould the story and the protagonist as they wish, with multiple endings. Games like movies also have sequels and trilogies and games that run like modern day soap operas.

Which made me think, of all the games I’ve played and the stories they have told, which are the ones (and the characters) that come to mind. Here is my list below.

  1. Wolf 3D – Don’t remember the character name just the pixelated animation of him running free after the end of the demo.
  2. Half Life- Who can ever forget Dr. Gordon Freeman and his trusty crowbar
  3. Prince of Persia – with so many hairdos to boot and so many incarnations, the Prince is a celeb as good as any A-list celebrity
  4. Mass Effect – Commander – Shepherd – while I’m not a fan of the first Mass Effect, was hooked by the second and third ones.
  5. Thief – Garret
  6. Tomb Raider – Lara Croft
  7. Nathan Drake – though I have never played any of the Unchartered  games till date
  8. Max Payne





Crafting the CV

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and you are dolling out your CV at every agency that you have heard of (and some you haven’t). As a writer you want your CV to stand out from the crowd. To make it a personal statement like no other. The first job seeker has a tough task trying to get noticed without much relevant work experience to show. Often he or she is competing stiffly with people who have already put in a few years with an agency of some size or the others. Smashable recently showcased some really interesting CVs go have a look.

Some newcomers to Ad Land  try their hand at making their own ads, picking brands they like, creating their own briefs and ideating. Definitely a good start. However don’t go for the big brands, try creating something  for the smaller brands. As someone put it, a product that is as challenging as selling sand to the Saudis. Big brands already have fantastic campaigns working for them and your work will be benchmarked against this work. Risky business that. The social awareness stuff is always a good bet because you really need to create an ad that moves the person to contribute in some way. Get it right and you might move your interviewer to give you that elusive break.

What’s better is if you try to look at all the award competitions that are out there. No I don’t mean the Abby’s and Cannes. I am talking about those competitions that agency personnel under 30 can compete for. They come with tight briefs that are available on their websites. If you are out there trying to get your first copy job then try answering one of these briefs. If you are lucky, the person who is interviewing you knows about the competition and can use your ad as a benchmark for your creativity. There are even sites like Brand Potion.com which runs competitions.

I remember when I was sitting in copy class my old copy teacher Vijay Subramanian (who was at the time with Tribal / Mudra) narrated what his first CV was like. Apparently Vijay sent out one of those additional foot soles you get. On it he had scribbled something of the likes – I’ve got one foot in the door now how about letting the other in. An innovative approach indeed. I for one tried something quite simpler, I created an interactive power point that showcased my work along with a proper CV. Perhaps this was because I was an MBA student. Somewhat caught between two worlds. Today I am not quite sure how convincing that CV was, (I am much happier with what my CV looks like now) but I have to admit that it did get me a few calls. At then end of the day you will come up with your own way to make  a statement. It could be the approach, it could be an overall theme that runs across your CV. Whatever it probably is the one advertisement you will write, whose result you can fathom for yourself.