Reliable Source

Reliable Source: Cocket to Uranus

Marion Cox | 23 Jan 2010 14:00
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A month after its release on the Web, Stick was wildly popular with game bloggers all over the world. Critics called it "compelling" and "meaningful" even though most of the game's story had been written as part of a late-night weed-smoking session known in the studio as "bong-thirty."

A month later, Mark got an offer to work on a game for NASA. Rocket to Mars was supposed to be a resource management game set aboard a rocket bound for Mars. Students K-12 would learn how to conserve water, food and even oxygen on the long voyage. But after one bong-thirty (which technically lasted for two bong-thirties), an argument between Ben and Brandon broke out about whether spaceships were just giant phallic symbols. Ben decided to illustrate his point in the game prototype by changing the rocket's graphic to a giant penis.

The U.S.S. Cockandballs was a hit around the office. Of course, Ben was supposed castrate the penis from the final version before it was posted on NASA's website.

On National Space Day, October 22, thousands of middle schools across the nation took the day off from classes to visit NASA's website and play their new space simulator: Cocket to Uranus. Ben's animations were biologically accurate, much to horror of science teachers all over the country. The imagined looks on the kid's faces was something that still haunts Mark to this day, he told me in that cornfield.

Predictably, the F.B.I. descended on their small office in Bakersfield, CA, and the entire team was arrested. Luckily, Mark had gone to LA to hobnob with industry insiders who wanted to ask him questions about his intellectually stunning work on Stick.

The rest of the story is well-documented. Brandon was back in prison and Revolaxtion was dissolved. Ben finally got his smiling picture on the front page of the L.A. Times beneath the headline "Nation Horrified As NASA Launches Penis Into Space." Bear vehemently denied that he had been involved in making the game - he was just an accountant, after all, and was able to escape with a slap on the wrist. After his meth supply dried up, however, he reportedly went berserk at a council meeting, pulling out his chest hairs and screaming about polar bears whenever anyone approached to help him off the chamber floor.

Mark learned about the raid on the office after an interview with Brian Crescente in Los Angeles, and decided to hole up on the beaches near Santa Monica. I'm not sure how he ended up at that party after the Spike Awards, or even why he ditched me on the road to Las Vegas. Apparently, the Feds were still looking for Mark, and he's been forced to act erratically just to stay below the radar. I certainly know what that's like.

I felt sorry for Mark and gave him the three remaining wine coolers. I told him to look me up if he was ever in Springfield. We exchanged contacts and shook hands. I watched him walk down that dusty Nebraska highway and disappear into the afternoon sun, wondering if I'd ever hear from him again.

Probably not, seeing as I gave him a fake phone number.

Marion Cox doesn't know what a Cornhusker is, but wouldn't take it if was offered to him by a prostitute.


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