The latest crop of video games will replicate real life challenges, says Brent Myerson, CEO of Avanti Games, based in Cambridge. “For too long the rationale of video games has been to kill other human beings, and maybe the occasional robot, alien and vampire too. This does not reflect what life is really like for gamers who don’t happen to live in the shanty towns of Buenos Aires, or who have never ventured into the Pigfucker’s Arms, in Gateshead, on the last Friday night before Christmas.
“We’re creating more realistic games that will appeal to those in the gaming community without a borderline personality disorder. But we still have a lot to learn. Last year, for example, we launched a game where the aim was to help little old ladies across the road. Unfortunately, the ‘road’ in question was Copse Corner at Silverstone, on race day. It was carnage. For days all you could smell was burning rubber, parma violets and piss. We’ve been getting hate mail from Help the Aged ever since.”
The company is working on other games titles which don't just appeal to testosterone-fuelled 14-year-old boys. A problem-solving game, provisionally called U-bend, addresses the difficulties of getting a plumber - ideally a rotund member of the Italian immigrant diaspora - to come out at the weekend. For the ‘grey surfers’ there’s a new game in which players undertake a quest to find a quiet pub, without loud music, where there’s somewhere to sit down. For the mums there’s ‘Unexpected item in the bagging area’, where a frazzled woman has to drag a screaming kid around a supermarket without being blackmailed into buying him sweets.
But old habits die hard. “We’re looking at the educational market too”, said Myerson, “but all we have at the moment is a title, High School Massacre”...