In the meantime, I'm just a guy who writes about videogame theory and how the medium can achieve better cinematic emulation (while keeping its own indentity). Though, if that's too boring, you can always find something delightfully fluffy in the following:
So in the run up to Christmas and the end of David Tennantís dominative reign over the BBC schedules, it seems everybody is going to be a bit teary-eyed when The Tenth Doctor finally has to regenerate into another unknown actor; one who will face public indifference despite nobody ever seeing him act in anything beforehand (for the record, Matt Smith will be great). The BBC have been going all out with Doctor Who recently; while there was another special one-off, the Time Lord also popped up the inane Sarah Jane Adventures and in the process they managed to make a (cheap) CGI cartoon called Dreamland. Even though it was quite clearly aimed at a younger audience, as a 27 year old man, I still watched it as if it was a sci-fi masterpiece.
Iím surprised Iím not a virgin sometimes.
As a cartoon representation The Doctor ran around Area 51, complete with deus ex machina in hand to stop aliens invading Roswell in the 50ís, it struck me that the BBC really missed a huge window of opportunity for merchandising. The one thought I had rattling around my head was:
Why hasnít there been a proper Doctor Who game recently?
In Dreamland and the earlier cartoon The Infinite Quest, the stories had The Doctor and his companions chasing after some McGuffin (a plot device term coined by Alfred Hitchcock), solving little puzzles and escaping creatures at every turn. They just felt like a videogame at times, reminiscent of Broken Sword and the rest of the Ďpoint and clickí generation. With David Tennant being really popular and commercially successful as The Doctor, I couldnít understand why nobody at the BBC thought they could easily make a game based around his exploits.
Letís face it, the best we ever got out of the BBC was Top Trumps: Doctor Who. It was probably the biggest mis-step Iíve ever seen anyone take with a decent license. I mean, itís not even Doctor Who, itís a Top Trumps games! I get the feeling that the BBC really donít know what to do with videogames in general and are equally reluctant when it comes to loaning out a profitable cash-cow.
If Iím being honest, with Tennant leaving the show, theyíve missed their chance to ever find out if it was possible. The Tenth Doctor was a success in terms of characterisation and popularity. He was an archetype that was accessible to all and a very malleable heroic figure that could fit in with any kind of interactive media, as proven by the flash game/short film Attack of the Graske Ė found here in the Strategy Games section. Honestly, could anybody really make a game if it was Colin Bakerís unpopular Sixth Doctor as the main character?
In the game Attack of the Graske, you had The Doctor guiding you around and helping to stop some alien ruining Christmas. Itís basically The Grinch but with a disgusting dwarf monster being a dick instead. Bizarre meta-drama aside, it was passable attempt at mixing interactive adventure and film. I mean, if the BBC were willing to pay for this, why not charge for licensing a similar adventure game? Strangely enough, theyíve done it before with games like Dalek Attack and Destiny of The Doctors. Then again, just watch this from Destiny:
I honestly have no idea whatís going on here. Neither does The Master judging by the way heís looking at his agent off screen. Maybe someone should give the UK developers Climax a call; they did wonders with the latest Silent Hill, right? Or would they ask for too much money now?
I always liked the idea of a Doctor Who game that lifted the multiple perspective/timeline of Eternal Darkness and have it populated with past incarnations of the Doctors. Something like, The Tenth Doctor (the character youíd play the most) has to track down some McGuffin and in flashbacks to previous Doctors, he would piece together a large story arc that leads up to the present day and becomes the answer to his current predicament. You could throw in all the old enemies in to one big melting pot, in a race to find (insert techno-babble device here). A similar story has been done in the show before, so it wouldnít be too much of stretch to repeat the premise.
Then again, would anyone who wasnít a geeky nerd, really want to listen to Sylvester McCoyís Seventh Doctor prattle on about being Ďmore than just a Time Lordí or would kids really think The First Doctor was actually cool with his old age and his swinging 60ís companions? I probably wouldnít myself, but it has a lot of potential if they managed to overcome some alienating generation gaps. In my eyes, I can just easily imagine The Tenth Doctor in colour, time travelling back to grainy black and white with the first two Doctors. Yes, itís an idea that would shamelessly rip off Shadows of Memories, but that game was great!
Hell, throw in a cool car chase and some kung-fu button mashing with The Third Doctor and youíre already halfway to great sounding game...Or a really bad one depending on your attitude to the show.
I guess the real problem lies in making a puzzle game where the main character is a 950-plus year old Time Lord who has an IQ bigger than the inside of a TARDIS. You would either have to make the puzzles too easy or just use the Sonic Screwdriver on everything (now thereís a Wiimote idea). Itís not really much of a challenging design and youíd have to be restricted to playing a fairly defined character anyway. In the old Star Trek games like Judgement Rites, acting out of character as Kirk just netted you a bad score. You could still play the game however you wanted, but you had to suffer some half-arsed ending for your troubles. Of course, you could always play a new companion sent through time by The Doctor to help his former selves.
Either way, itís all just a dream since The BBC missed their chance at the only opportunity they had in Tennant (and the nostalgic love for Tom Baker). Not that they mind, since theyíre raking it in with annuals and toys anyway. I guess Iíll have to shelve this with the idea about The Adventures of Pete and Pete SCUMM-style adventure game.
Well, enjoy Doctor Who: The End of Time and Merry Christmas/Happy New Year to anybody who doesnít care about Doctor Who (people with real lives and Americans). Now letís all get drunk and play ping pong...or better still watch clips of The Seventh Doctor doing stuff vaguely related to the lyrics of Head On by one of my all time favourite bands, Pixies...