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Casper Star-Tribune from Casper, Wyoming • 18

Casper, Wyoming
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C2 Casper Star-Tribune Sunday, October 12, 1997" Sarah Samuel I i. j. 1 i frr- 3 1. 1 ft hij tin TIM I i I 1 -ryw Dear Friends, Ray was being such a bad sport at the soft- ball games that he was ruining the game for everyone. After talking with my teammates A about Ray, we decided to talk to Ray, and ask him 'What Ray was mad be cause we were losing, but he didn't realize that his attitude was part of the problem.

He was very quiet yesterday at the game, so maybe we got to him. We'll see. TTFNCTaTa For Nowl) Samuel Ethics Next problem: When Samuel visits Walter's rW9 house he always gets a really good look at i --JM-jii i.u I fSi ii KMvmMaa Walter's Dad's guns In the gun cabinet. One time. Walter got the key from his Dad's bed room and opened the gun cabinet.

While Walter and Samuel were playing with the pistols and rifles Walter's Dad came In. Boy, did Walter get In trouble! Do you have rules In your home for gun safety? Coleen O'Neill, Sarah Ethics. PO Box 245. FCW FROM jm it 1 1: I Mm he's at bat, throw your 111 1 A V. 1 "-L equipment down after1 the game.

See how likes it. Get your teammates to do it, too. Your friend, Kuris. Buck, Age 9, Elementary, PS. But don't get in the habit of being a poor sport.

Dear Samuel, i n. 7 I think you should go tell Raymond that if to "Jr he doesn't play nice I why play at all. 1 After all, it's A 'crash' course In video game marketing Advertising a new video game on TV will get it seen by tens of millions of kids. But it's not the only way to get publicity. Sony did everything they could last fall to create super-high interest in its new PlayStation game Crash Bandicoot.

Here are some of their over-the-top publicity efforts: A nationwide video-game contest Two months before Crash came out thousands of kids competed against each other in local Crash tournaments at Funcoland stores. Winners moved up to regional playoffs, then a national championship with a $25,000 college scholarship grand prize! A free music CD given away for ordering Crash the month before the game came out Free Crash test booths at places like the National Inline Skating Championship and the San Diego Comic-Book Convention soon after the game was released. A blitz of TV ads to announce the game's debut and again during the holiday season. (Total cost $6 million.) Ads in gaming magazines as well as in magazines popular with teens, including Rolling Stone. Spin, and Sports Illustrated.

Sony wouldn't tell Zillions exactly how many millions it spent advertising Crash. But Crash reportedly sold more than a million copies in its first six months alone. Was it the game? Or was it the advertising? Lots of the hype and excitement about new games can be due more to the advertising than the game itself. So before plunking down your t40. $60.

or more, be sure to check out the game for yourself. (If you cant try a friend's, rent it) Keep your eyes open this holiday season for videogame ads and publicity stunts and hold on to your wallets! start all over again." "Even with the best planning," he continued, "there's a fair amount of trial and error in making video games. If something isn't working, we have to throw it away." Spider would end up taking a year and a half to complete! Have plans to hype your game before it comes out? Move up to Level 6: Get publicity! To start building excitement for Spider, BMG hosted a press conference in big cities a month before the game was finished. BMG hoped newspapers and magazines would review the game before it was even in stores. Spider was also featured as one of 12 games on a CD sampler that came with each PlayStation sold during the 1996 holiday season.

The idea was simple: If kids liked playing this one level of Spider, they'd be more likely to buy the finished game. Why do video-game companies spend so much time and money to get publicity before their games come out? "It's like the movies," said Gordon. "Would you go to one you never heard of? Probably not." In fact, when it comes to video games, the biggest "game" is getting kids to buy them. Have at least a million or two for advertising? Head to Level 7: Advertise! Americans spend two billion dollars a year on video games, mostly during the holiday season. Most companies release new games in the fall, which gives them plenty of time to advertise before the holidays.

But Spider wasn't finished until December 1996. So BMG missed cashing in on that year's gift-buying frenzy. Then it purposely held off until February 1997 to release the game. The reason: "Fewer new games would be around competing for attention," explained a BMG spokesperson. Soon after the release, video-game magazines and Internet gaming sites were crawling with Spider ads.

BMG put big cardboard displays in stores, and paid extra to put Spider in eye-catching spots in Comp USA stores. And BMG's Music Club mailed a special Spider offer to those club members they thought might buy the game. There's not much to do except go to Level 8: Wait and see BMG couldn't afford to advertise Spider on TV and didn't sell as many copies as it hoped. "A half-million copies is a hit," said Gordon. "We're in the 200,000 range, which is OK." One other reason Spider didn't sell more copies is that it wasn't sold in big chain discount stores like Target and Kmart "On the bright side," Gordon added, "Sega is talking to us about a version for the Saturn, which is supposed to be available for Christmas." But for the Saturn version of Spider to win big, Sega will need to put up big money for a big advertising campaign.

So, let the game of making and selling a video game begin again! 1997, Consumers I'iikhi. Inc. By tfc Editors of Zillions Magazine Dozens of new video games come out every year, but only a few are big sellers. Original characters, awesome effects, and great play value can help. But the difference that can make a game a big hit or a not-so-popular miss is often money.

The video-game company that spends the most, especially on advertising, usually makes the most sales and that's the name of the game. It's no wonder new video games are so expensive: They cost millions to make and millions more to promote. Play along as Zillions tracks how the game Spider was hatched and the big bucks that went into it! Want to make a video game? Go to Level 1: Get an idea "Spiders!" cried Seth Mendelsohn, creative director of Boss Game Studios, one day at lunch. He wasn't pointing to eight-legged bugs in his soup. He was tossing around ideas for a new action-adventure video game with Colin Gordon, who's in charge of game development for Boss.

Spiders, Mendelsohn reasoned, would appeal to boys ages 8 to 12 their main audience. "And spiders hadn't been done before," he explained. That was back in January 1995. Your game idea is great? Go to Level 2: Create the story and a plot Over the next few weeks, with the help of a writer and an artist, Mendelsohn created the story. The player would take the role of a scientist-turned-cyberspider, outfitted with high-tech weapons.

The mission: Fight a swarm of deadly enemies and escape from six dangerous environments without getting squished. Have a hefty bankroll? Go to Level 3: Make a demo Having a great idea and a story means nothing if you don't have the money to make the game and millions more to sell it Boss didn't have those millions. But they did have 1250,000 to make a two-minute videotape sample of what Spider would look like. They hoped this "demo" would convince a big-name video-game company to pay the costs of making and selling the game. A demo helps you stand out from "the thousands of would-be video-game developers out there," explained Mendelsohn.

"The competition is stiff. A slick-looking sample got us noticed and showed we're professional." Have a reputation for making successful video games? Go to Level 4: Find a publisher In the spring of 1995, Boss showed the Spider demo to a few big video-fame companies. BMG Interactive decided to pay Boss to make Spider for the Sony PlayStation. They would also pay to sell the game. In return, BMG would get 75 cents of every dollar people spent to buy the finished game.

Boss would get 25 cents. just for fun. Just do the same to him when he's up to bat. So long, and PLAY BALL! Your Lucas Johnston, Grade Crest Hill Elementary, Dear Samuel, I know how you feel. I in softball too.

They all me 'shortstuff." Anyway you, shouldn't quit if you have -playing. If all of your team- -7 mates have fun you won't even hear Ray. He will sound like a mouse. Sincerely, Ginieva-Gonzalez, Age 10, Oregon Trail Elementary, Casper Dear Samuel, I think you should keep playing softball. I also think Ray should stop being a sport.

I used to play We had some kids like Ray but we kept playing. One we took first. We didn't care, though. Sincerely, Pat Age 9, Westwood. Elementary, Dear Samuel, Samuel you know what I'd do? I would talk to him and say this.

'Don't ruin the game tor us. Be a good sport." That's all. Say it to him. Thanks. Sam Strieker, Age Laura Irwin Elementary; Basin Dear Sam, I think you should tell Ray" to stop teasing his own Or tell him 'If you would en- courage our team instead of calling them names we actually win.

Yours truly, Troutman, Age 9, Elementary Have a dozen creative people and money to pay them? Go to Level 5: Make the game To make the latest 32- and 64-bit games, you need the fastest, most powerful computers, the latest software, a dozen or more game designers, artists, and computer programmers (each making more than $50,000 a year) and plenty of time. By May 1995, the Spider team was buzzing. Five designers and six graphic artists started "building" 3-D characters and environments. They worked on $40,000 computers (the kind used for creating movie special effects and designing airplanes). Four computer programmers worked to get Spider to run on the Sony PlayStation.

After each of the game's 30 levels was completed, a computer musician added music and sound effects. YouVe hit the dreaded SXAG! Go to the Hidden Level: Fix your mistakes In an early version of the game, the cy-bercritter could shoot a web. "Then we realized that would make Spider too easy at higher levels." Gordon explained. "We actually had to trash the first 10 levels about six months of work and Dear Samuel and Sarah, Our Circle group solved Samuel's problem by brainstorming and thinking out the problem. Samuel could do the same with his team.

We developed the idea that the team could have a party with Ray and kindly ask Ray to please stop being a poor sport because it made them all depressed, and they wanted to stay on the team with him. If Ray does not listen, we think the coach could talk to Ray's parents and tell them how Samuel and the team feel. Sincerely, Mrs. C's Circle Group, Woods Learning Center, Casper Dear Samuel, I think that you and your team should just ignore Raymond. I think he is just trying to have the spotlight to himself.

Your friend, Preston Richardson, Grade 4, Crest Hill Elementary, Casper Dear Samael, I truthfully think that you should tell Raymond to get his act together or go to another team. Sincerely, Kevin Rohrer, Age 10, Oregon Trail Elementary, Casper Dear Samael, I think that you need to ignore him. I talk to my Grandma when my friends and I have trouble. Why don't you talk to your Grandma? Your friend, Jessica Wyatt, Age 10, Byron Elementary Dear Samuel, I would ignore him. I would stay on the team.

Encourage him to keep his anger inside himself, and not to take it out on other people. Tell him to be nice to other people and to you. Your friend, Ray Grisham, Age 9, Laura Irwin Elementary, Basin Dear Samael, Do the same to Ray Call him a loser, yell at him when CExonTjnQnrjgg Docket nncsssxt Joke of the Week Knock knock. UTio's there? Thea. Thea Who? Thea later.

Alligator! nmfr Lynn Lrmay. At 9. Laura tnrj Ekmntary in Bum 3D ttttQCB CDflCIB1111 For irformaooTL qi-strris and comments about this page, call FWxra Haynes at (307) 2660615; email hayne ated trib com; fax (307) 2V0568. 4.

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