I never wanted to be any of the following:
-A Greek god
-A vigilante cowboy
-A Crusades knight damned to Hell
-A space miner who can’t catch a break from space zombies
-A gun-crazed widower with a chip on his shoulder
OK, so I lied on that last one.
The above list is simply vague descriptions of Kratos, John Marsden, Isaac Clarke, Max Payne, Dante and, well, Batman; characters from some of my favorite interactive digital adventures.
And while I’d never want to actually be most of the individuals on that list, they’re pretty fun to control via video game console.
Fun to play as; not be. When the going gets tough, you can save, try again or flip the switch to “off.”
Not so in real life. Not so in my career.
That got me thinking. Where are the journalist video games?
Stay with me on this.
I blame the website Mashable for putting the idea in my head. Mashable reporters are in the final stretch of covering the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, an annual event showcasing thousands of new products from thousands of electronics companies.
In this Mashable story, reporters showcased five technology items journalists would find useful, a Journalist’s Utility Belt if you will. It included items like an iPhone tracking system, remote control flying vehicles with onboard video cameras and a Bluetooth camera remote.
These gadgets got me thinking about games like Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, games with open world format where you’re tasked with a variety of missions, where skill sets, equipment and abilities are developed along the way; where the adversity toward your very existence is, most days, considerable.
Of course it sounds just like journalism. Duh.
I’m kind of serious about this; serious enough to have run the idea by a few co-workers. The two I ran it by even gave me feedback and started pitching their own ideas.
Here are some of the missions to make it on the list:
-You have to interview a top political official and try to keep them from getting up and leaving because of too many hard questions. But you also can’t toss them too many softballs and risk ruining your watchdog credibility.
-You have to cut through all the red tape necessary to access public documents before deadline.
-You need to deal with numerous computer freezes and crashes if only to get video of a warehouse fire uploaded to your newspaper’s website before midnight.
And along the way, you get cooler toys. Instead of the pistols traded in for automatics or developed magical abilities, you start out with a notepad and pen. Then you work your way up. Tape recorder. Digital recorder. Impeccable photographic memory boosts. Video equipment.
A word processing program that actually works.
Coffee out of styrofoam cups and Five Hour Energies would boost your health.
Beast Mode would be activated during pessimistic rants.
And how do you die? Not when you get fired. GAME OVER only flashes when you decide to take a public relations job.
On second thought, I’d never play this. Too close to home.