The Very Awesome Punch-Out Commercial: "I'll sleep when I'm dead."
Man alive, I don't know how I missed this completely awesome commercial.
I was enjoying the hell out of the spot when, suddenly, one of my favorite characters from The Wire shows up and takes the whole operation to the next level. (Hint: "Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeit.")
I didn't love Punch-Out!! when I reviewed it for CG a few months back. But I've found myself on more than one occasion returning to it at odd hours, and appreciating it more.
Doug Tronsgard, CEO of Next Level here in Vancouver, was on a panel I moderated at GDC Canada a few months back. Next Level, as you may or may not know, developed Punch-Out!! for Nintendo. Doug is the one who pointed out the commercial to me when I stopped by the Next Level offices yesterday. It's weird to realize that a game that I spent so much time thinking about, and writing about, and at times even fetishizing, was developed only about three blocks away from my apartment in Vancouver.
It reminds me of the time a few years back when I realized, after becoming a fan of Guitar Hero (before Activision bought it and whored it out), that I'd been walking by the Harmonix offices for, quite literally, years. I always take the T to the Central Square stop in Cambridge, and then walk to my friend John's apartment in Union Square from there. It was akin to realizing that Santa's workshop isn't some remote place thousands of miles away that you can only get to by riding in a magic sleigh with a bearded old man, but a very real place, with very real people (not elves) who go in and out that very front door everyday, carrying their cold lunches and their worries.
There's still a kind of alchemy that surrounds game development for me. Even after seeing these spaces, and seeing the people who work in them, I still don't quite know how a game--this virtual world where awesome things happen that make me feel great and potent and mighty (at least the good games make me feel that way)--somehow, someway comes out of these places. Who knows. Maybe I actually prefer the mystery and the magic to the truth. I think I might.