The Game Pitch part 1

March 15, 2010

Way back in 1990 I was a pitch man for a small, read two, group of developers.  I had just finished my time as a Army cadet and I was sure the training I was given would make a great video game.  I pitched my idea to Accolade and to Electronic Arts.

When I spoke to Electronic Arts, specifically Rich Hilleman, he had no idea who I was... until I mentioned that my pitch came ina black envelop. His reaction was exactly what I wanted: "Oh yeah, I have it right here".  And then he said no...

I had done the first step correctly, I had given my presentation something to make it stand out.  I had failed at the second part, making my game concept attractive.  I should point out that a year later EA published a title almost exactly my concept, but that's another story.

So Part I of our talk is about the presentation itself.  Part II will be about the meat of the presentation. It must be said that every company and person is a little different, so if you follow exactly what I say, it is still very possible to be rejected.

First, let's remember that you're trying to communicate a visual experience through the limitations of text.  The example I like to use its Baseball.  If I say that my game is played on a baseball field, you know, or more than likely know, what I'm talking about,  You can close your eyes and see the field.  But if I say my game is played on a Cruxlioid field, no one has any idea what that is... and truthfully, neither do I.

So paint me a picture with your text, set the scene.  Are there 9 men, are there 9 armadillos? What is my view point, and then add on what happens.  Don't tell me what happens, and then tell me what it looks like.  I need to close my eyes, and see your game... and the action that unfolds.  Do whatever you can to paint that picture on my eyelids, even use pictures from other games.

The next step is to tell me why I would keep playing your game.  What makes it more compelling than playing with my dog, watching TV, or playing some other game. I want to know your hook.  That special combination of elements that I have not seen or played before.

If I look back on the sea of submissions, one thing that stands out in the pool of rejections... the design didn't go far enough.

Part II in a couple of months...