This isn’t as cool as it looks. Tom rubbed off his “B.”
Atomic Games is here at PAX East. They’re not showing off Six Days in Fallujah. Instead they’re giving a sneak peak of (what I sincerely hope is) an early beta of their new XBLA project, Breach. It looks like and plays like a really ugly Bad Company without a crouch button (that I could find, anyway). Let me back up.
The only reason I walked up to this booth was because I forgot the name of Brink and thought for a second that it was called Breach. Tom Cross and I walked up to this booth for what I thought was Brink and began staring absently at a demo of not-Brink-but-Breach.
“Who is this by?”
I noticed that one of the boys playing the demo had the word “BREACH” fake-tattooed on his lower arm.
“What game are we looking at?”
A beautiful Indian woman walked up to me and Tom. I knew what was coming.
“Do you want a Breach tattoo?”
“No, thanks, I have real tattoos.”
“But they don’t say Breach, do they?”
(She had me there). “No, they don’t. But I really don’t need one, thanks.”
“They wash off.”
I realized at this point that I was being rude and that I should let her do her job. I was causing a scene. Jerry Holkins was standing a few feet away, asking what the hell this game was. I wanted very much to not be causing a scene in front of him, because he makes comics that make fun of people.
“I know, but, okay.”
I braced myself for what was about to happen. I knew that, as far as the physical sensation went, I would be enjoying myself. Once when I was in Paris I went to get my hair cut. The woman who volunteered her scissors was quite beautiful, and she smelled good, and she had auburn hair on her arms and her hands were soft. I knew it was going to be like that. But I don’t have a problem enjoying a haircut and having somebody whose job it is to wash my hair run her fingers through it with warm water and shampoo.
“Where does it have to go? Can I just put in on my wrist?”
I pulled back my sleeve, she grabbed my left hand. Her thumb pressed into the soft place in the middle of my palm, pinky to pointer bracing it from below. Her hand was warm. She asked Tom to hold her spray bottle.
“I don’t have three hands,” laughing.
That wasn’t a Shakti joke. I bet they gave her a script for this. The same script they give to the white girls. Tom took the bottle. She pressed the tattoo to my wrist.
“Your hands are warm!”
There’s no way she actually thought my hands were warm. I thought her hands were warm, which means that, to her, my hands had to be cold. The script again.
“Yeah, well, I’m wearing a sweater.” I turned to Tom, “I’m not wearing deodorant, they wouldn’t let me bring it on the airplane.” I was testing her, as if I were sitting at an ELIZA terminal or something.
“You didn’t have to tell me that,” eyes smiling.
That was her throwing an error and spitting out a default. After that, she didn’t have anything else to say to me. She took the spray bottle from Tom, gave my wrist a few sprays, and pulled the paper away to reveal the BREACH. It was crooked, because I guess I’d started shaking at some point.
“It was almost awesome,” moving onto Tom now.
While she was doing Tom, I asked her what company was making Breach. That’s when I found out it was Atomic Games. I asked if they were also showing Six Days in Fallujah this weekend, and that prompted her to go get a slightly older woman whose scripting authorized her to answer that question. It turned out the older woman was just a packet switcher whose job it was to find a man dressed like a soldier for me to talk to.
They aren’t going to be showing Six Days in Fallujah, because the game isn’t finished. They’re using the development of Breach to add new features to the Six Days project, “but the art’s all done and ready to go.”
I told him that I was really happy they were going to be releasing Six Days someday. He said that they’d gotten a lot of that lately. I told him that I was publishing a book in August about games that engage with the news, and that the Atomic/Konami fiasco featured heavily in our chapter about documentary games. And he gave me his card.
I looked at the card just now; it doesn’t even have a human’s name on it: