Westwood College: Tightening Up the Graphics on Level 3 since 1953

1953? That’s impressive. I didn’t know you could tighten up the graphics on punch cards. Why beat this horse corpse when the internet has delivered such a resplendent flogging already? Joystiq just posted an article from Game Career Guide that prompted me to remember how shitty those commercials were.

An anlysis encompassing both the Gen1 (or O.G) Westwood commerical and the Gen2 (with the spinning robot model on the projector).

  • Even if you were developing a game for the PSOne, your don’t program it with the controller. I can’t explain how many different ways that this is just wrong
  • Your boss isn’t a moderately hot chick who needs you to finish programming this game because she needs you to program another one. Again, too many levels of wrong to elaborate on. You don’… you can’t….ugh. It’s pointless.
  • You don’t view the game you are “coding” on a wall sized projector screen.
  • You dont “add the sound effect we used in the last level” with an 8 channel instrument mixing board with some XLR cables plugged into it. They might as well have been “injecting” the sound effects with a turkey baster.
  • And lastly, sing it with me, “There’s no such thing as tightening up the graphics on level 3!” Thats like saying “we just need to reverse entropy, then we’ll be done.”

I don’t mean to rag on the students of Westwood. On the contrary, I feel for them. It seems like they are spending 10’s of thousands of dollars to get set up for disappointment. Real gaming studios don’t take these colleges-in-a-box that seriously. You have a much better shot of landing a game job by learning 3DS Max at home over the summer. Studios are interested in demonstrable skills. Develop some then use them to get a job at the bottom of the ladder (tester). Then work your way up (to pizza-go-getter).

Westwood college’s view of the gaming industry is a lot like seeing the internet through the eyes of Johnny Mnemonic or Hackers. The internet is not “surfed” via interactive 3d cyberscape, nor are games designed in a matter of days with duel-shock controllers in hand. I’m just waiting for a school to offer a degree in being a rock star.

“I can’t believe we got these jobs being rock stars”

“Yeah, my mom said I’d never get anywhere with my guitar and devil-may-care attitude.”

“Oh snapz, it’s the boss”

“Are you guys done recording that hit record? I need you to record another one tomorrow.”

“We’re almost done and we need to tighten up the awsomeness on track 3.”


In case anyone was wondering who “Final Boss” was; that’s Jeramy. He was/is the Director on a few games that I did voice over work for (oh, also Josh and Eli sort of helped create them, sort of… and Mikey sort of entirely wrote them, and kind of exactly killed my character about 1/3 of the way through the first game…). Jeremy is A boss, of sorts, but I don’t think he is actually Josh and Eli’s boss in any fashion. As Mark and Mikey pointed out, Jeramy is not only A boss, but he is, in fact, The Final Boss. Jeramy FTW!

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  1. Maybe once, when I was young and soft, did I dream of the glamorous life of making video games. Then I realized I was horrible at math and coding is a provenly un-learnable language for me. Now that I see that’s not all glam and rockstars with computers instead of guitars, I feel a little better about it.

    Props for including old-school Nintento periphs. I remember actually beating that Power Pad with my fists rather than actually running on it. Damned thing kept slipping out from under me!

  2. Hey – I've been digging the comic. Keep up the good work.

    But I'm afraid your IMDB STARmeter is down 9% since last week. This is simply unacceptable, and I'm not sure I can associate with you now…

  3. This may be my favorite one yet. Jeramy is actually the director on our current game so he is sorta everyone’s boss, actually.

    I’m looking forward to that school offering a degree program as a rockstar as well. I hear they don’t have to put in as many 16 hour days =p

  4. @AJ

    The two-fisted power pad punch is a time honored tradition.

    @ Mark IV

    Jeremy is EVERYONE’s boss? I need to get him that mug. Seriously. Doing it. Are we doing lunch today? Seems like its been Thurs instead of Wed for the last few weeks.

  5. oh man, we did the comics thing yesterday. Eli didn’t tell you? What a bitch.

    I think the wife and the boy may be coming to have lunch with me today. Otherwise I’m down for whatever.

  6. a) Jeramy is a director. Not producer.

    b) He _is_ eli’s boss, in every way _and_ fashion.

    c) I can’t believe Jeramy made it into this comic before I did. Wow.

  7. @Mikey

    a) noted

    b) my bad

    c) It fit for the story. I can’t believe you killed Garnett halfway through the first game



  8. C) The fans of Brothers in Arms love those characters because I killed the ever-loving shit out of them.

    Also, you’re still working aren’t you? Flashbacks create paychecks, Joel.

  9. Y’know, those ads can suck my ass. They never show video game QA like it really is: a crazy, snake-pit of stinky boys and a couple batshit loony chix0rs basically duking it out Darwin style.

    Damn, those were some of the best years of y life. *sniffles*

  10. @Murray
    Sorry I missed your comment. Star Power? I bet my profile has been viewed 6 times. 5 by me. Im surprised I have 9% to lose.

    Mix the zombie storyline with a little forbidden battlefield lovestory and you’ve got a winner.


    “No job and no prospects?! Here’s an incredibly expensive alternative!”

    “Batshit loony chix0rs” thats the exact phrase Ive been looking for.

  11. I also have a deep need to arrive in Eli’s office with a steaming mug emblazoned with “Final Boss” in real life.

    Unfortunately level 3 in BiA Hells Highway has awesome graphics so there’s no real need for me to ask them to be tightened.

  12. @Dean

    I know a guy that works at Ubi in France. he’s here in dallas working with Eli on a game. I’ll have to ask if he works for someone like Jade (fake name) or some sort of long-cigarette-smoking mime in a striped shirt with a pencil thin mustache.

  13. “Even if you were developing a game for the PSOne, your don’t program it with the controller. I can’t explain how many different ways that this is just wrong”

    It’s quite clear in the commercial that when using the controller’s, they aren’t coding/designing the game, but putting one of the “levels” through a test run by playing it. I thought that bit was clear from the sound effects in the background.

    Otherwise, great post.

  14. Actually, there is a “rock college” that offers a degree in “Rock Star” started in Minneapolis back in the 90’s called “Music Tech”. They have similar ads on tv and slimy recruiters that will sign you up with some heavy student loans to learn how to play guitar and be a rock star.

    Like all good scams, these days, Music Tech goes by another name to sound even more reputable.


  15. @Anon
    True, but in the2nd Westwood commercial they are programming the game (a rotating robot model actually) with a controller. Applying simple logic to these ads will get you nowhere. Glad you liked the comic!

    I kid, I kid. Texture artists are great…. FOR ME TO POOP ON!

    Im so glad I didnt know that when I was 16. Otherwise you wouldnt be reading this comic and I would be a homeless Rock College graduate.

    @Dr. G.
    Jeramy blows on his Jello to cool it off before ingesting. If thats not punk rock, I dont know what is.

  16. I’m actually a student there. God I wish it was all about unicorns and puppy dogs. They give you the latest software, and half the teachers make you download the free version of Visual Studio 2005. Then, they stick you in like 4 classes at a time, and in 9 week terms with a mere week between terms.

    *picks up phone* Hello? Life? Where’d you go? Come back! I have cookies! …. No… they’re not chocolate chip… Hello? ……. Life?

    Reminds me perfectly of my current job (programmer) 😛 tons of work, and little to no time to do it in. Oh, and tighten up the graphics on level 3.

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