If I were to develop a game, a form of purposeless, recreational entertainment, with the sole purpose of having a bit of fun at the expense of others, I would start by convincing the game’s players to download an app that turned their smart-phone into a virtual beagle. Beagles are some the best hunting dogs around. They go a-sniffing and a-howling and can scare up just about any sort of quarry, dragging you along in just about any direction. Then I would encourage the players to take their virtual beagle for a walk, so it could sniff out thousands of little, invisible digital cartoons. I would tell the players the little cartoon drawings were TERRIFYING DIGITAL MONSTERS capable of doing battle to make them feel better about themselves, but they would still be nothing more than poorly drawn cartoon characters. Each virtual beagle would then drag their owner around a virtual map overlaying the real world, as they sought out the exact locations of all the little, invisible, digital cartoon characters. Once the beagle found its quarry, the smart-phone would suck the invisible cartoon out of the air and display it for everyone to see. It would be an endless digital treasure hunt. Call it a form of instant-gratification geo-caching for the lazy.
I would then hide my invisible cartoon characters all over the world in all sorts of unexpected, humorous and dangerous locations. I would put them on private property to make sure the players broke the law and trespassed. I would put them in the middle of busy intersections, homeless camps, abandoned warehouses, mines and wells. I would put them in the middle of swamps and lakes, off the edges of cliffs, near dead bodies, in government buildings and restricted areas of airports. The players would become my own personal zombie army, blindly following their virtual beagle in search of brains… oops, I mean TERRIFYING DIGITAL MONSTERS!!! I would then send my newly created young, urban zombie army into the midst of Black Lives Matter protests as well as to the Democratic National Convention where they would be rewarded with the ultimate fighting edition of a cartoon Bernie Sanders with kung-fu grip. I would make other little cartoons available at only certain times of the day, certain days of the week, as well as seasonal special characters, making sure players who played 24/7 were well rewarded. Every city and every country would have their own special character, encouraging the players to spend money traveling all over in search of rare and TERRIFYING DIGITAL MONSTERS.
I would then give players the ability to gather in groups, say at transit centers, shopping malls and public parks, so their smart phones could take the little cartoon characters and do battle with other smart phones’ characters. It would be like taking the virtual beagle to the virtual dog park for virtual play. It would be a great twist on live action role-playing, or LARPing. We could call it Virtual LARP or V-LARP. The players would simply mill around fiddling with their phones in awkward groups while passers-by wondered what the hell they were doing. If some gutsy onlooker were bold enough to actually ask what all the weirdness was about, sum yung guy could condescendingly say, “We are V-LARPing. There is an epic battle of TERRIFYING DIGITAL MONSTERS going on as we speak. You have heard of V-LARPing, haven’t you?” and then giggle maniacally.
But the joke, the real joke, the super double-secret inside joke, would actually be on the players themselves. I would be watching them and keeping a scrapbook of all the stupid things they do and all the trouble they get into while questing for invisible cartoon characters, and laughing until my sides split open. The trip to the hospital would be oh-so-worth it! I would be sending out camera crews to monster hotspots and secretly film everything. Then I would get a good writer and film a prequel to the great American satire, Idiocracy, called Pokie Man’s Zombie Horde. If I were to develop that game.