Game Developer Barbie is here to prove that anyone has the power to create crappy match-three games, even if they only have five points of articulation.
Announced back in January, Game Developer Barbie takes long strides towards making up for the horrific "I Can Be A Computer Engineer" book that made the rounds in late 2014. In said book Barbie is a computer game designer, meaning she comes up with ideas and then gives them to Brian and Steven to do the actual programming.
As the story unfolds, Barbie infects first her and they her little sister's laptop with a virus, turning to Brian and Steven once again to recover her data. It should have been called "I Can Watch Brian and Steven Be Computer Engineers, But Not Too Closely As I Only Screw Things Up." That is not a very good message.
Game developer is Barbie's 2016 Career of the Year and it's one of the coolest yet. Previous Career of the Years have included Fashion Designer, Movie Director, Entrepreneur and Mars Explorer. Three of those are actually real jobs you can get today and now we have another.
So what does a game developer do, according to the back of a Barbie box?
Nice! That is a fairly accurate representation of the various types of people who work in game development. Which on is Barbie? The packaging purposefully keeps it vague, though judging from her tiny plastic tablet she's definitely on the casual side of things.
Probably for the best. Get in, get lucky, make a mint and buy your dream house.
Inside of the bubble surrounding Game Developer Barbie's packaged form is a cardboard backdrop filled with references to working in a game development office.
I tore it a little, but the action figures on the desk are definitely authentic. I do sense a slight Mattel bias, but that's to be expected.
Chinese food? Works for me, though the Chinese food we get in Atlanta comes in Styrofoam or covered plastic trays instead of the paper boxes. More of a can person than a mug person, but as long as there's caffeine handy it's all good.
Finally, we have these flowers. I'm taking points off for the flowers, as they are fresh and new and alive. Flowers begin to die the moment they enter a game development office, just like dreams.
Game Developer Barbie has been at this for a long time, and her laptop shows it. She's gone past the keeping it in a case stage, through just being careful and straight to the screw it, stickers phase. She's got three health hearts, robots are awesome and she believes in keeping track of the population via tattooed bar codes. She is hardcore.
And while the game she is making doesn't look all that complicated, she has real code on that computer screen. Enlarge it, and maybe you can recreate whatever coloured-ball nonsense is on the fake iPad screen below.
I had big dreams for Game Developer Barbie. I was going to make her a little desk, so she could sit with me as I work at my big desk. I would pose her with my Transformers, just hanging out. I would have her typing at my keyboard. Maybe she'd party with my LEGO peoples. So many possibilities!
People who collect or play with Barbie dolls are already shaking their heads sadly.
Standard Barbie cannot sit at a desk. She cannot hold things in her arms. She cannot bend her knees or move her wrists or turn her ankle. Her arms rotate at the shoulders. Her legs rotate at the hips. Her head twists and turns at the neck.
An ex of mine collected Barbies but only kept them in the packaging, so I had no idea they were this limited. I mean, I'm sure I knew as a child, but as an adult it's just so sad.
So what can Game Developer Barbie do?
She can stand, for one thing. Flat feet in tiny plastic Keds'll do that. Perhaps I can get her a standing desk. That way we can hide her jeggings, which are not fooling anyone. If jeggings are real game developer gear, I either want to see pictures or I really don't want to see pictures. I've not figured it out yet.
Despite her lack of articulation (or perhaps because of it), Game Developer Barbie is strong enough to support a Monster High doll, which definitely cannot stand on its own two flimsy plastic feet. She is a rock. Also she is rockin' a rather dope t-shirt under her generic green jacket.
I would totally buy a CTRL-ALT-Barbie t-shirt. I would wear it about town proudly, from the grocery store to the hairdresser, where I would get an epic two-tone dye job.
Game Developer Barbie may have let me down in the articulation department, but with the right props she can still make up for that horrible headset.
For instance, here she is presenting her game on stage at E3.
Now she's filming a developer diary, discussing the hardships involved with taking an amazing game like Riviera and transforming it into a generic match-three game.
Now she's taking a break, staring wistfully into the sky and remembering the good old days, back when she made smaller titles and tried to get them released via Steam Greenlight or on Google Play. Back when she answered to no one but herself.
On days like this, a cup of coffee just won't do.
And then it's right back to the grind. Back to the VARs and RETURNs and function calls. Back to things that I used to understand but can't quite remember how they work anymore, and if I tried to explain right now I'd just get laughed at, so I'm going to stop.
But Game Developer Barbie, she gets it. She think up the functions, type them up on a can. One day, if she's really lucky and doesn't get downsized, she might even be able to afford the headset being used as impromptu office furniture behind her.
It's not an easy life, being Game Developer Barbie, with her non-functional sound hardware and lens-less glasses, but when that match-three game ships and Fictional Game Review website gives it one star out of five, it's all worth it.