Sometimes I write comedy sketches…

I love to write but actually sitting down and forcing myself to write a bloc of time every day is seemingly impossible. Sometimes however I am able to knock out cute little anecdotes, blogs, political rants or screenplays off the cuff if I’m in a place where I have the time. The following is just one such screenplay. Some friends were discussing the awfulness of the last Metroid title to be released by Nintendo, the universally hated “Other M”. If you know anything about this game or the Metroid series in general, you will probably notice that I attempted to skewer every single thing that the game got wrong about the games that preceded it. If you know nothing about the game, you may not even enjoy the sketch, be forewarned, it’s pretty nerdy but I you choose to read it understand that the game controlled horribly, the way the main character was written practically ruined her and the plot itself contradicted the existing story canon in many ways where previous games had always managed to be very careful about that. Not to mention that the development team chosen to build the game, Team Ninja, was known for making games that in practice were the polar opposite of this series in almost every way, i.e. the Metroid titles were about a deep storyline, puzzle-solving, exploration, and lots of suspense (I have always suspected that the original game on the old Nintendo was inspired by the film, “Alien.”) but the games Team Ninja makes are hack’n’slash, action, platformers with basic assassin/revenge stories. Not there’s anything wrong with that, just not what Metroid’s about.

Perhaps someday if I thought it was funny enough, I might get a few friends together and get it filmed. I hope at least my friends who know the Metroid series and love it as I do will at least enjoy it. So without further ado here is, “The Metroid Other M Design Meeting”

*Big, fat, balding, cigar-smoking executive pacing around his desk inside an all glass office at the top of a high-rise office building is interrupted by his petite, demure secretary.*

Secretary: “Sir, the gentleman from Team Ninja is here for the design meeting on the new Metroid title for Wii.”

Nintendo Exec (NE): “What? Oh yeah, we haven’t made a Met… a Mettero… one of those games for the Wii yet, whoda thunk?”

Secretary: “Of course, Sir.”

*Team Ninja Team Leader (TNTL) sits*

NE: “Well, you give me what you got and we’ll start from there.”

TNTL: “Oh, well we don’t have much because we were waiting to see what direction you wanted to take the series in since the last three were first-person exploration games but people have been begging for another side-scrolling platformer for a long time now and retro-inspired games are in style now. So was there anything specific that you wanted for the game?

NE: “Well it’s gotta use the motion control, right? Othewise,” *snort* “I mean, then what the hell did we invent it for, am I right?” *NE starts making emphatic bowling and tennis motions with his hands and laughing*

TNTL: *smiles and chuckles nervously*  “Heh, good point, Sir. What about the nunchuck?”

NE: “The ‘what-chuck?'”

TNTL: “The analog stick extension for the Wiimote.”

NE: “We have a controller called the ‘numb-chuck?'”  *TNTL nods slowly, astonished*  “Since when?”

TNTL: *clearly baffled by what the NE is saying* “It’s been an accessory from the very beginning, Sir. It comes in the same package as the system.”

NE: *laughing* “Are you serious?!” *TNTL nods again* “Huh, how’d I miss that? Anyway, no I think just a couple of buttons’ll do it. Now, you said the last one was one of them first-person shooters that are real big right now?”

TNTL: *hesitantly* “Well, more like ‘first-person explora–“

*NE interrupts*

NE: “Those sold pretty good numbers, right?” *TNTL shrugs and nods hesitantly* “Yeah, gotta keep the first-person shooter thing but you’re saying the fans really liked the ancient ones too?”

TNTL: “I’m not sure I’d classify the early games as ‘ancient’, Sir, but they’re definitely considered retro class–“

*NE interrupts again*

NE: “Yeah, people seem to be eating up all that old shit they can download from the online internet. That’s, er, what’d you call ’em again, ‘retro-class’?”

TNTL: “‘Retro-classics?'”

NE: “‘RETRO-CLASSICS!’ I like that, good marketing word. Those new ‘retro-classic’ Mario games we’re makin’ are selling well right now… so, yeah, definitely make it ‘retro.‘” *puts odd emphasis on the word “retro”*

*TNTL writes on his blank notepad “first-person” and “retro”*

TNTL: “Ooo-kaaaaay… What about the game’s story?”

NE: “What about what?”

TNTL: “Well, sir, the last game ended that particular storyline, so do you want us to start a new plot or–“

NE: *shakes his head like he’s confused* “What’s all this nonsense about stories and plots?”

TNTL: “Well, Sir, some players want to see a compelling narrative so they have a reason to want to play the game to the ending. 99% of all videogames today have a story of some kind, Sir.”

NE: “Wait, so Mario Bros. isn’t about plumbers eating mushrooms and stomping on turtles in the sewer?”

TNTL: “No, Sir, today they’re commonly about Mario chasing Bowser to save Peach and they haven’t featured a game in the sewers since the nineteen-eight–“

NE: “Fine! What’s this game about then?”

TNTL: “Well, it’s about an intergalactic bounty hunter who with a powerful, technologically advanced suit of armor who is constantly at war with a band of criminals led by a cybernetic brain who are trying to use a deadly alien parasite to rule the galaxy. Then there’s a few subplots like how the suit of armor was built by a race of extinct aliens that also raised h–“

NE: *interrupts again and makes a “speed-up” motion with his hand* “Give me the Cliffnotes version.”

TNTL: “Um, ok, space bounty hunter in a fancy suit rescues people from space pirates led by a giant brain in a jar that want to use unkillable space jellyfish to rule the universe.”

NE: *shrugs, adopts condescending tone of voice* “Right, so some people are in danger ’cause the pirates are using the jellyfish again and the space bounty hunter gets called in again to stop them. What else do you need?”

TNTL: “Oh, well, Sir, do you want us to set the game after Super Metroid since that one comes last on the timeline?”

NE: *rolls his eyes and sighs* “Yeah sure, why not? Which one was that?”

TNTL: “The third one, Sir, on the Super Nintendo.”

NE: “Third game, perfect! That oughta be retro enough.”

TNTL: “So then something like how the plot for the last series was set between the first and second game?”

NE: “Yep, precisely, you put this one between the third and the fourth game! I don’t care, be creative!”

TNTL: “Well we don’t want to be too creative, Sir, or it might not make any sen–“

NE: “So get as creative as you want and make sure it makes sense! Sheesh! Does anybody really care that much about a videogame’s story?” *TNTL is about to respond but NE shoots him a dirty look* “Don’t answer that, I don’t care. Wait, I got it! We’ll bring a fan favorite character back from the dead! Are there any dead characters we can do that with?”

TNTL: “Uh, well yeah, there was a dead character that was never mentioned before the fourth game.”

NE: “There, that’s perfect, you make this game about how that guy died. They’re working together because, um, OH, because the fancy armor’s broken so the bounty hunter has a real bad attitude and really hates this guy but maybe secretly in love with him too ’cause that’s drama, blah blah blah, this guy sacrifices himself to save the bounty hunter and everyone learns a valuable lesson, because people love that heroic stuff, and the bounty hunter’s love isn’t secret anymore but it’s too late ’cause the guy’s dead but now there’s a little bit of romance for all those people calling the Wii a ‘kiddie system’ Then that way we can make a sequel where we bring him back.” *Nods to himself in self-satisfaction*

TNTL: *timidly responds* “They basically did that already in the fourth game, Sir.”

NE: “Well you can work with that right? Any questions the fourth game had, you answer ’em here.” *TNTL nods again. Writes “lots of questions” on his notepad* “But still make sure you drop a few new ones too so we can have room for that sequel.”

TNTL: “Got it, Sir. You said make the bounty hunter secretly in love with the dead guy.”

NE: “Yeah, that’s the kind of stuff they do on TV that gets people to keep coming back next week, you know, that ‘will they or won’t they’ crap. You want a reason for people to play to the end of the game, that’s how you do that.”

TNTL: “Yes, Sir, I understood that part, but you had to ask me before what the story was all about, so I’m wondering how you knew the bounty hunter was a woman.”

NE: “The bounty hunter’s a woman?! Oh, well whatever. I thought some gay romance might be a little edgy, maybe widen that audience a little more but if she’s a woman it still works. In fact, run with that angle instead! Since she’s a woman make that bad attitude all woman-y type stuff, give the girls something to relate to and maybe we market it that way.”

TNTL: “Oh, well, uh, ok then.” *TNTL writes “make Samus girly” on the notepad* “I guess that about covers it then, Sir. Last question, what do we call it. Did you want us to give it some kind of unique name or was there already a title prepared?”

*phone rings and NE has picks it up and begins another conversation*

NE: *Into the phone* “Hang on, this guy was just leaving.” *Continues talking at phone volume while turning back to TNTL* “Right, the title. Hell, I don’t know, do something like what the–“ *something on the phone has captured his attention, angers him and so he yells* “OTHER M– –etroid games did. Yes, I’m still here, I said gimme a second!”

TNTL: *shrugs then says quitely* “OK, got it, Sir, thank you. *writes “Other M” on the notepad and leaves*

*NE turns back to the door to see the TNTL is gone, shrugs, goes back to his phone call*