Have You Played… The Writer Will Do Something?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Hell is other people (gathered at a business meeting). Nowhere does that butchered Satre quote become more clear than in this interactive fiction by Matthew Seiji Burns and Tom Bissell. You are the lead writer at a AAA videogame company, working on the imminent ShatterGate: Future Perfect, and it is becoming clear, even before release, that the game is not up to snuff. The Writer Will Do Something [official site] is about the fear and blame that follows.

It’s a comedy, don’t worry. A mix of sharp social observation and collective embarrassment. The people gathered at the meeting either quickly turn on each other, or offer impotent solutions, or make endless unwarranted and infuriating references to How Dark Souls Did It. Imagine if Glen Garry Glen Ross were set in a single room at Activision on the eve of a half-finished blockbuster being released.

It must be horrible to go to meetings. At RPS we sometimes have a meeting within the comfortable ether of Skype and it’s great because nobody can see anyone else’s face or smell one another. As the protagonist of The Writer Will Do Something, you will have no such luxuries.


  1. wonderingmonster says:

    I can confirm that going to meetings is, in fact, horrible. Bless your mostly meeting-free existence.

  2. lglethal says:

    For a good comedy book of a “similar” theme you should check out e by Matt Beaumont.

    It’s set in an advertising agency trying to win the contract for a new Coke campaign, and the entire book is just the emails between the different people at the company. I have not laughed out loud so hard at a book in years (I got some very strange looks on the train I can tell you!).

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      john_silence says:

      A brief stint working at an advertising agency and partaking in the lunacy that was meetings, likely summoned to wrap some convoluted excuse for a story around a series of photos shot without rhyme or reason or according to an alternative brief, has allowed me to recognise the wisdom and veracity of The Writer Will Do Something. Its wit is plain for all to see.

  3. Jekadu says:

    It’s a delightful little game, this. I have gathered that it is very popular with developers, especially writers, as many veterans have had similar experiences.

    Sometimes I wonder at the wisdom of trying to get a foot into the industry.

  4. emotionengine says:

    “At RPS we sometimes have a meeting within the comfortable ether of Skype…”

    Skype, eh? I distinctly remember previous talk of an “RPS work Slack”. Are you sure you’re not being kept out of the loop, Brendan??

    *Deus Ex title music*

    Anyway, I remember playing this and being thrilled by it, in part because I could relate to a degree, and because it was incisively written and generally brilliant. I really should reinstall it (or not) and take it out for a spin.

    • Scandalon says:

      To go completely off-topic and answer something said more for humor at face value:
      Likely they use Skype for audio, and Slack for text. (And .gifs of course.) Somewhat ironic since slack now supports audio calls built in, but if they’re used to skype (or do sometimes use the video), likely they just continue as before, as old habits die hard. (Also if they need to include a “regular” phone line as well.)

      No, I don’t know why I felt compelled expound on that either.

  5. bonuswavepilot says:

    Rejoice in your meeting-free existence!

    The worst kind of meetings – the absolute worst kind of meetings are the ones where the project is desperately close to deadline, and you are kept from doing the work vital to actually getting it finished passably close to that deadline while people fret and strategise and prepare their stories to shift the blame.

  6. ZedClampet says:

    Never worked for a developer, but having gone to endless numbers of corporate meetings, I can definitely relate to this.