A Story Character With A Backgroud As A Games Nerd

13 Jul

Originally, this was part of my post about Susan Mallery’s Sweet Trouble. Then I got a bit carried away there and thought it better to post it separately (it’s now even longer than it was originally). Admittedly, this is a very minor part of the story but it seems just wrong for several reasons.


I don’t work in the industry.
I’m no games nerd despite calling my blog “Books and Games.” Maybe at one point in my past I was close, but that is a few years back. Last week was the first time in two months that I picked up a game and played.

Despite that, I think I know a thing or two about games that Matt, the games nerd in Sweet Trouble, doesn’t.

[Rant coming up]

Matt’s explanation of how he got wealthy:

“When I was fifteen, I got really frustrated by this computer game I was playing. I broke into their system, accessed the code and rewrote it. Then I took the new version to them. They licensed it from me. Our money situation got better then.” (43)


The big whopper is that Matt would have gotten his ass sued off instead of getting paid for what he did. There’s no way past that. You could look at the court battle over the brand name “Civilization” to get some idea (strategy games series; wikipedia link).

But leaving that aside, I can’t see how Matt could earn that much money (he talks about millions).

  • Computer games don’t last all that long. For players, the next big, must-play game is always just around the corner. You’re happy if you earn money on your game for one or maybe two years, but you don’t earn money on your game for the number of years Matt is talking about (except maybe you’re Blizzard). Even more, a game that would run on your PC a few years back might very well run not at all on your shiny new one.
  • Matt’s not even thirty at the present time of the story. Assuming the present time of the story is 2008 means he was fifteen sometime between 1993-1995. By then, computer games were complex and the times of a one-man-show were over (at least for games that could get you millions just for the license). It’s very likely that he would screw up with something hacking it on his own.
  • Also, it would need to be a really successful and well-established game.


  • When Matt and Jesse first meet, it’s the early 2000s. Everquest was published (1999), Diablo 2 was published (2000), Diablo 2 – LOD was published (2001), heck, World of Warcraft was on the horizon (2004). Then there are the shooter games like Counter-Strike (1999 Mod, 2000 retail) or strategy games like Civilization III (2001). Most of these games are games you can play online and a computer nerd would at least know about them. He would be talking about leveling up his character, about meeting his clan members, about needing to be online for a raid, about his ultra-cool new weapon that seriously kicks ass, about how he was finally able to beat a special boss after having failed again and again,… Matt doesn’t talk about any of that.
  • Dismantling a computer and putting it back together again and again doesn’t give you the skills you need to program a (complex) computer game.
  • The way Matt’s looks are described places him, IMO, in the 1960s or maybe 1970s, maybe a clichéd engineering or physics student at college. But no computer nerd/geek sometime after 2000.
  • The way he is now, he seems to be modeled after a über-successful corporate businessman. I can’t see how he got from computer nerd to that, making his computer game background even more unbelievable.

[Sorry. Rant over.]

Again, this is a minor element of the story and it didn’t impact my view of the novel – though I would have thought it cool if Matt had talked about his character’s new ass-kicking weapon. But yeah, it looks like there’s still a bit of a gamer lurking inside of me after all.

I’ll post my book comment tomorrow.


5 Responses to “A Story Character With A Backgroud As A Games Nerd”

  1. nath Monday, July 13, 2009 at 4:33 pm #

    Hey Taja 😀 No, it actually was a very interesting rant, because not being a computer nerd, I would never have picked up on that…

    Seriously, great rant. Not that it affected me, but at least, it put me straight… otherwise, did you enjoy?

  2. Taja Tuesday, July 14, 2009 at 9:49 am #

    Nath – thanks. I had fun writing it. 🙂

    Well, my rant wasn’t intended to affect people, maybe to put them straight about games a bit, so all is as it should be actually. I don’t see how people who don’t play games could pick up on all that. The same way I won’t pick up on small wrong details with a hero/heroine who has your job. 🙂 Though what Matt did is plain old stealing.

    As for my enjoyment – review is up today. 😀

  3. Christine Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm #

    LOLOLOL!!! You crack me up! I’m not sure if you intended to be funny, but you made me giggle none the less. 😉

  4. Taja Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at 6:23 pm #

    Christine – LOL! You’re welcome. It was mostly written tongue-in-cheek though all is true. And important! 😉


  1. Susan Mallery – “Sweet Trouble” « Books and Games - Tuesday, July 14, 2009

    […] getting paid for what he did. There’s no way past that. But there’s more. (You can read it here if you’re interested. I got a bit carried away there and so posted it separately. Though I […]

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