<p>You can’t choose your family, but at least you can now choose your villains.</p>
As a narrative medium, however interactive, the video game still forces us to to identify with the hero on the screen. Sure, we’re often given the ability to choose our character or visually customize our own avatar, but the customization variables are often limiting and we still wind up forced to wedge ourselves into some one-size-fits-all box. To overcome this problem, the editorial and artistic team behind Amusement magazine, the French glossy published by our Creator Abdel Bounane, has come up with an innovative concept to help us all fulfill our secret video game fantasies.
Amuse Me is a service that allows its customers to fashion their ideal gaming experience—picking its narrative mode, its characters, its graphic environments and other parameters. Finally, we can live out our childhood dream of being seated in Rockstar or Konami's conference room and dictating orders to a bunch of compliant developers and graphic designers.
Only a few weeks old and still in the development stage, Amuse Me offers three different “levels of intervention”: the basic one, called “Customize,” allows you to customize six existing games, the “Reboot” option gives you access to a team of ten designers and more sophisticated customization options, and the deluxe one, called the "Art Game," lets you build your own idealized gaming world from scratch, with the help of some of the world’s best video game artists, including fellow Creator Mark Essen. Regardless of the customization tier you choose, each results in a tailor-made game—a personalized piece of digital luxury.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Bounane said that "participating in the creation of one's video games is a natural step for the genre. It has reached a level of maturity and refinement light years away from the very first platform games."
Some examples of the titles already in development include a "fight game between the client's mother and [former greek Prime Minister] George Papandreou" as well as a game where a cheating husband plays the hero and whose wife’s face appears on every ‘bonus’ he wins. Though the truly bespoke games can cost as much as €50,000, this effort is an important step in developing a market for video games and new media as collectible contemporary art genres.
As Christmas approaches, it might be the right time to dust off your ultimate fantasy avatar and start designing your villains.