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Entries in watchmen (1)

Saturday
Feb142009

Sticking to Canon: The Watchmen Flash Game

If you're a fan of comics, intelligent marketing or 80s-style arcade beat-em-ups, you must check out the new Watchmen flash site, which treats visitors to a seedy, Double Dragon-style arcade cabinet situated within the story's alternate-universe-circa-1985 setting.

It's brilliant:  a marketing tie-in that extends the story's narrative in multiple ways (e.g. the game lets you play as a former generation of superheroes, filling in gaps within the film; it's marked as a product of Veidt Industries, etc.).

But in some ways, perhaps it's off.

[NOTE: Unless you're super-nerdy, you may want to leave now.]

Both Kotaku and my new Twitter friend Valentine Donegan point out that, in its opening screen, the Watchmen game claims to be produced in 1977.  Fine, no problem; this would fit within the timeline.

But if the game were produced in 1977, it would look more like this:

 

...than this:

Which it doesn't!, meaning that HOLY CRAP OMG! WHAT A BUNCH OF F- the game doesn't appear to fit into the larger Watchmen canon. Those bastards.

[Another note:  If you're still here but don't know why this matters, click this link; matters of narrative continuity in anything related to new Watchmen product are of serious concern to many of us... um, I mean, to many of other people.]

But, after thinking about it for a few minutes (I'm reminded of this comic), I've realized that the game actually does fit into the larger Watchmen universe.  Here's my rationale:

Yes, it would have been virtually impossible for a "16-bit"-quality game to have come out in the arcades in 1977 at a reasonable cost in the universe as we know it.  But it's not; we're talking about an ALTERNATE 1977, one in which a large blue man has helped the U.S. win the Vietnamese conflict, superheroes run around in the streets (well, up until that pesky Keene Act), and people like PIRATE COMICS.  Everything you know is wrong.

Likewise, this alternate universe houses the world's smartest man, Adrian Veidt.  Shit, that dude can figure out what to name a cologne by watching 16 TV screens at once -- I'm sure he can figure out a way to pack more processing power into a standard arcade cabinet.  He probably invented the SuperFX chip years ahead of its time.  And I'm sure he had developed an early version of the UForce, only to realize it sucked before releasing it commercially.  See, those TVs come in handy.

So, long story short:  in the world of Watchmen, it is feasible that Adrian Veidt's company could have produced a Final Fight-quality game 12 years before that same feat was realized in our pathetic universe.

If Watchmen were a Marvel property, I'd have myself a No-Prize right about now.

Good night.  I'm going to go back to writing slash fiction about Doris Kearns Goodwin.