Game Dogs - The Show about Dogs Who Make Video Games!  

Posted by: Alena Koch:) in ,

Yes, you read that right! Game Dogs is The Escapist's newest animated series about dogs on a mission to make video games or get fired trying! This web based series from Creator Russ Pitts, and Co-Executive Producer Alexander Macris, features the voice talents of Jon Etheridge, Tony Schnur and Alena Koch (that's me!) I have the cool job of voicing Bethany and Jennifer. Game Dogs had its premiere episode on Thursday, January 14, 2010.

Pitts is also the Editor-in-Chief at The Escapist, winner of the 2009 Mashable Open Web Award for Best Online Magazine and the Webby Award for Best Videogame-Related Website two years in a row. I have the pleasure of being directed by him. He is very easy to get along with and very funny. Our recording sessions are a riot. We keep saying, or I keep saying, we should tape a behind the scenes video of the recording so followers can see what it is like and all the fun we have while doing it!

I recently came up with the Social Media 7, which is comprised of, you guessed it, seven interview questions! This is hopefully the beginning of a new feature for this blog. Pitts has graciously answered them.

1- What was your initial inspiration for Game Dogs?

Pitts: We started developing Game Dogs about a year ago, and the original direction from upstairs was simply “make something.” So we had a blank slate, which was nice. I knew I wanted to do a web video series about a small group of game programmers, drawing on my experiences covering the game industry, but originally I’d planned it as a sort of mocu-drama / “Mad Men” type of show, set in the 1980s. It was also originally going to be people, not dogs. It was going to be very moody and hip, and I’m certain it would have totally bombed.

After hashing the concept out with the team here at The Escapist for a few months, we finally decided a comedy would have more punch and so we modeled the new concept after something like “Seinfeld,” but about game developers, and while not set specifically in the 1980s, we definitely wanted it to have a sort of generic 80s vibe. Art-wise, Jessica and the creative team went for a kind of Scooby-Doo type of look and feel, computer animated, but with a distinctly 80s hand-drawn feel. From a story angle I wanted to cover the period of game history when these young guys came from nowhere and became videogame gods, like the creators of Doom. The show was always going to be about Chet and Roger and their rise from relative obscurity working at a software company, to eventually becoming successful game designers, and all the odd experiences they’d have along the way.

I wrote some scripts in March and it seemed to be coming together, but we were missing the spark that a good series really needs. That one thing that make the show memorable. None of us could put our fingers on it until our CEO, Alexander Macris came running out of his office one day shouting “They’re dogs! Who make games!” I laughed until I realized he was serious. Then I laughed some more. Then I stopped laughing. It was so ridiculous and pointless, I knew it just had to work. Why make them dogs? Well, why not? So that became the mantra of the show and the genesis of what, I think, took it from a goofy, but forgettable little show concept to something that had a real life and energy. From that point on we were all focused on the concept and it came together fairly quickly.

2- In the pilot episode, the characters are playing Dungeons and Dogs. What is your favorite character class in D & D and why?

Pitts: Oh wow. I have to preface this by saying I’ve been playing D & D since the early 80s, when I got a Basic box set for Christmas one year. I haven’t played too much of the newer versions, so my experience with some of the more exotic classes is pretty limited.

That said, my favorite has always been the Druid. Druids are always underestimated, in my opinion. Everyone always groans about the tree-hugging and animal familiars, but a good Druid character will kick some righteous ass, believe me. Also, they’re hilarious to roleplay.

(See the D & D Kills episode below.)

3- Who is your favorite character to write dialogue for?

Pitts: Gary. Each character has a special meaning to me, based, as they are, off of amalgams of people (or dogs) I’ve known throughout the years (Trivia: Roger was named after my old cockapoo Roger, who passed away a couple of years ago. I had him for over 10 years and traveled all over the country with him.) But Gary isn’t really based off of anybody. He’s more of a Platonic ideal of the perfect asshole boss. I kind of go off the rails writing for him and end up with pages and pages of him yelling at people, which is fun for me to write, but would get boring to watch after a while. I usually end up cutting about half of what I write for him.

4- What's Bethany idea of a perfect date?

Pitts: That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Bethany is the kind of gal who has a lot of trouble finding “the right guy” because she’s smarter than most of the guys she meets and doesn’t take any crap from anybody. So most guys are intimidated by her, or think of her as “one of the guys,” which is deathsville for romance. I don’t think Bethany has met her “perfect date” yet. But I’m guessing it will be a memorable moment when she does.

You can find out more about my character here.

5- Does Gary wear boxers or briefs?

Pitts: Well, he’d have to wear pants to begin with for that question to be relevant, honestly. 

Okay you got us there! :)

But assuming he did wear pants, I’m guessing he’d be a boxer man.

6 - What is your favorite video game?

Pitts: Depends on what you mean. If we’re going for my favorite game to play over and over, I’d say Civilization III. I could play that game any time anywhere and for days on end. But I have a lot of different “favorite” games based on different ways they made me feel. Chibi-Robo, for example, really opened my eyes to what a joyous and imaginative medium games can be, and having spent 400 or so hours playing Fallout 3, I’d have to also say it’s a favorite for various reasons. Mostly because post-apocalyptic scenarios and dark humor fascinate me. But like any true gamer, my current “favorite” game is usually the one that just came out. Mass Effect 2, for example, is my new favorite.

7- What is the geekiest thing you have ever done?

Pitts: I have done many, many geeky things, but the geekiest is probably marrying a girl I met at a gaming convention. I also proposed to her at another gaming convention, which would be the second geekiest thing. Third would be demonstrating IDE cable rounding on live television for The Screen Savers. 

Awwwww! The answer to question 7 is adorable!

Here is the latest episode of Game Dogs.

Be sure to check The Escapist every Thursday at 12 pm for the next episode! :)