on Jul 19, 2012
Another episode, another new glitch that I’ve never seen in my dozen or so times through this game. Actually, two glitches, if we’re going to include the one in the last seconds of the video.
If you’re wondering who Erik Wolpaw and Chet are, they ran the gaming site Old Man Murray around the turn of the century. The site did “edgy, crazy game reviews” almost a full decade before Zero Punctuation came on the scene. I think Yahtzee even cites them as an influence. They were often very personal in their criticism, naming developers and mocking them individually in the process of lampooning the game as a whole. The site was updates weekly or monthly, but I checked it daily. Loved that site.
They were hired by Valve software and became important creative figures at the company. There was once a YouTube video during the Left 2 Dead 2 backlash where someone *cited Chet for LYING!!!OMG! about upcoming Left 4 Dead content. On one hand, I felt kind of bad for him being accused of orchestrating a massive, obvious deception. On the other hand, that’s exactly the sort of thing they did on Old Man Murray. Of course, on OMM they would have done it with some level of self-awareness, perhaps painting the whole thing as an Illuminati plot, alien conspiracy, the work of commies, or pinning the blame on an implausible third-world despot. It would have been funny to read for people on both sides of the debate. But the point is, they dished out a lot of bile in their day, and I wonder if Chet ever saw the backlash as a certain degree of comeuppance.
If you want to know more about Erik, I highly recommend Portal 2: The Final Hours, which is available on Steam for a single dollar right now. It’s a flash-powered multimedia E-book… thing. Lots of neat bits about how the company works.
* For the record, I’m sure this wasn’t an insidious pre-meditated plan to deceive people into buying the game. In fact, this is exactly the problem you’ll face if you let your creative people talk freely in public. They will talk about the plans you’ve made around the water cooler, which are then taken as incontrovertible commitments on behalf of their employer. To a certain extent, that’s fair. When statements come out of the mouth of someone at a company, you can’t expect the audience to understand the position of the speaker in the company and the average consumer can’t possibly detect the difference between deliberate hype-building and some artist just talking about stuff she hopes she gets to work on someday. This is why companies are so guarded with their announcements. Once you say something in public, you can’t change your mind or someone, somewhere is going to say you lied to them.
This is not to say I’m happy about how Left 4 Dead 2 turned out. I’d say more, but I think we’re pushing the limits of what you can do with a qualifying asterisk.