Sunday, Sep 23, 2018
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Tom Walton

The video game market is ripe for new ideas

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Tom Walton.

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If you are the parent or grandparent of an adolescent, you know all about the fascination these kids have for video games. For millions of them it’s an obsession.

And it’s not just children. A recent wire story noted that a lot of adults are hooked on them too. The games usually involve a variation of a familiar and violent theme and have names like “Galactic Battle Warriors” or “Total Destruction of the Suburbs.”

I made that last one up, but if it actually existed, I’m sure it would be quite popular at Toledo City Hall.

Read the previous column from Tom Walton

Because of that narrow focus, the video game industry is a fertile market for new thinking and new games. I have some thoughts.

Here are a few possibilities the game-makers might want to consider:

The Real Housewives of Ottawa Hills. This is a natural since many women in Ottawa Hills already have a boyfriend. His name is Louis Vuitton.

An adaptation of the popular television series, the game would take place in an upscale shopping mall in a galaxy far, far away. The object of the game would be to outlast your fellow shoppers by acquiring points — and Jimmy Choo shoes — as you work your way through a labyrinth of corridors lined with stores selling grossly overpriced scarves and clutches.

When other shoppers get in your way, zap them with your concealed-carry ray gun. Stay on the lookout for the game’s ultimate hidden prize, a Hermes Birkin handbag the size of Vermont which retails somewhere north of $12,000.

The winner is the last shopper standing.

Water Wars. This is a game for five players. As you might assume, this battle takes squirt guns to a whole new level. In Water Wars you decide at the outset what community you’d like to be. Your choices: Sylvania, Oregon, Maumee, Perrysburg, and Toledo.

Keep in mind that if you choose Toledo, you must play the game with one hand tied behind your back. The game comes equipped with Velcro restraints at no extra charge.

Another caveat: if you play as Toledo, be aware that all the other players are coming after you. They will unite in their determination to take you down because you are evil and you have what they want.

Be observant and mindful of your surroundings, because at any point players are in danger of running afoul of the Scourge to the East, a vast lake that is often coated in slime. Touch the slime and you lose points. Venture into a no-go zone called The Menace, also known in polite company as Facility Three, and you are eliminated from the game.

Trump the Donkey. This is a game that will probably appeal more to Republicans than Democrats, despite an unfortunate name that makes its intentions unclear. The idea here is to navigate your way through a vast swamp that is slowly draining in a boat that is slowly leaking.

First player to pin an indictment on Crooked Hillary wins the game. But if your boat sinks first, you’re out.

In keeping with the theme of so many of today’s video games, be forewarned that along the way you will be confronted by aliens. These aliens will try to get in your boat. Do not let them. They have no business in your boat unless you have projects at home that you would rather not do yourself.

You also will encounter a number of angry individuals who have been dismissed from their leader’s inner circle and sent into exile. They are powerless and present no threat, but there are many of them, so steer carefully.

Pothole Jungle. This a game that requires you to ramp up your courage on the mean streets of Toledo in your Jeep Wrangler. Your journey will take you down streets which haven’t seen a new coat of asphalt in 40 years. You will have to work your way around individuals called “patchers.” Their job is to pour a hot mix of tar and Elmer’s Glue into a hole in the street and declare the problem solved.

But be careful. If they claim 10 solutions before you manage to travel from West Toledo to East Toledo, you lose the game. Another potential hazard is a mechanical one. Even a Wrangler, stoutly built by proud Toledoans, has its limits. Lose your vehicle’s suspension at any point and the patchers win.

At certain key intersections where the wait for a green light is long, the game will try to persuade you to call City Hall on your cell phone and complain about all the potholes. This is simply a distraction. Resist the urge. Making the call will do no good.

You will need to stay focused. Every pothole you hit costs you points. So, hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. This is a game for serious players only.

My confidence is high that each of these video games would be a big hit and sell well.

I’m working on one more called Wade the K, in which the object will be to Ninja your way through one minefield after another and blast letters of the alphabet as they suddenly appear. First player to collect all the letters in the mayor of Toledo’s last name — and display them in the correct order — wins the game.

Concentration will be essential — the “Z” is there twice. One issue I’m trying to fix: the game takes too long to play.

Tho­mas Wal­ton is the re­tired ed­i­tor and vice pres­i­dent of The Blade. His col­umn ap­pears ev­ery other Sun­day. His ra­dio com­men­tary, “Life As We Know It,” can be heard ev­ery Mon­day at 5:44 p.m. dur­ing “All Th­ings Con­sid­ered” on WGTE FM 91 Contact him at: twalton@theblade.com.

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