It’s Showtime!: A Video Game Review and a Short Story

I recently purchased a game on Steam called “Showtime!” It’s pretty fun. Basically you’re the head of a movie studio and you’re in charge of hiring script writers, actors, directors, etc. and making sure all the movies and sets and stuff are within your budget. You have to manage expenses and try to stay in the green. Some movies will do well, some movies won’t, but above all, try to at least make your money back.

Basically when you start a new game you get to choose what year you want to start in (I started in 1950), how much money you start with (I started with $100,000,000), and your reputation (I started at 5% to balance out the 100 mil. start). You also get to name your studios (I called mine Complex Melon Studios, though I’m not sure why). You then get to start making movies. You can title them and add little descriptions of what the movies are about. After it gets released you get to see what the audience thinks of it as well as what the critics think of it and you get to see how much money your film made in the first month compared to how much the movie cost and you can see if you profited or not.

Like I said, it’s pretty fun, but thinking about some of the things I’ve done in the game, compared to how they would go in real life, I’ve come up with this little story…enjoy.

[So there I sat behind my desk as the head of Complex Melon Studios. I had started the company with a hundred million dollars and turned it into a multi-billion dollar company. I sat there smiling to myself. I was cocky, arrogant, but also humble as my many pictures of myself hung on my walls proved. I started looking over some ideas for future movies; perhaps more sequels were in order since the previous sequels of my several series had all done well. Just as I was thinking about it, my main writer burst into my office. Her name was Francis…something-or-other. I’m a busy man, I can’t be bothered to learn names.

She looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Sir, I have a slight complaint, if you would be so kind as to indulge me.”

I nodded and motioned for her to sit down in the chair in front of my desk and she obliged.

I smiled at her and said very sweetly, “What seems to be the problem?”

“It’s your movie summaries, sir, or should I say lack thereof?”

“I don’t understand.”

“Your movie summaries don’t make any sense. Take for example this one script you gave to me not too long ago. You titled it ‘Little Doggy Choo-Choo’ and your movie summary was simply, ‘Da fuq?'”

I chuckled to myself, “Yeah, that’s because I had no idea where that title came from.”

“Right,” she said, still perplexed. “But how am I supposed to write a screenplay when you haven’t given me anything? Is the dog’s name Choo-Choo? How little is he? What does he do? ‘Da fuq?’ is not very helpful.”

“You’re the screenwriter, you make it up.”

“Okay, but how about this one? The third movie in the ‘Deception’ series has the plot summary: ‘No one asked for it…so here you go.’ Do you actually want me to write something here?”

“Of course. I gave you a title, didn’t I?”

“Yeah, a pretty bad title. ‘Deception 3: The Deceptiest’? There’s no such word as deceptiest.”

“There is now!” I said, smiling.

“I have another complaint,” she sighed.

“Oh?” I asked, sitting up straight.

“Yes,” she said, “Whenever I give you a script, you always give it to someone else to do slight revisions. Now I don’t necessarily have a problem with that, but, for some reason the entire script winds up being credited to this other guy even though he just did slight touch-ups and I still did basically the entire script.”

“You still get paid, don’t you?”

“I guess.”

“Then why do you need the credit? Who cares if it’s credited to you or this other guy? Do you think people actually pay attention to who the screenwriter is?”

“It would be nice to win the award for best screenplay for once, that’s all. When I see that my movie won for best screenplay, and this other guy who did barely any work on it at all is accepting the trophy, it kind of angers me a little.”

“He doesn’t get paid nearly as much as you do, let him have the trophy.”

She sighed and I thought I was done, but just then another screenwriter burst through my door. She looked rather flustered and I was quite concerned, though I couldn’t remember her name at all.

“Oh, jeez, what’s the matter?” I asked.

“You’re a despicable human being!” She screamed at me.

“What? Why? What did I do?”

“You turned my movie into complete and utter filth!”

“I did no such thing…” I said. “What movie was that?”

“The movie that was supposed to be a dark thriller that had one main male actor as the lead and some supporting characters. I watched the movie just now and saw that you replaced all the characters with two female characters and made them get completely naked and do some lesbian scenes.”

“I did not,” I said, shocked at the accusation. “I simply told the ladies that I was expecting full frontal nudity in this movie and I let them decide how far to go with it. It was completely their decision to make the characters lesbians.”

“THERE WAS NO NUDITY IN MY SCRIPT!”

“Well clearly the audience’s reaction is telling you that there should have been. They loved the movie and, surprisingly, so did the critics.”

“I’m never letting you handle another one of my movies again!”

“I made you filthy rich – the both of you – and this is how I’m repaid? Constant bickering and complaints? Get out of my office.” I stood up and pointed to the door. The one woman left, but before Francis left I said to her, “One more thing, the next movie is called ‘Horses and Shit’ and my movie summary is: ‘There are horses in this movie.’ Now get out.”

She left and I think I saw a tear roll down her cheek. I would have felt bad, but then I remembered that she gets paid almost a million dollars per script. I put my legs up on my desk, leaned back and waited for the money to roll in.]

Now if that story doesn’t make you the least bit interested in this game, I don’t know what will. If you like simulation games or strategy games or games like “Game Dev Tycoon”, you’ll probably get a good kick out of this game. That’s all I can say.

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