The story of a man, a dream, a clipboard, and a popular gaming convention…
There comes a time in every person’s life when they must fight for something that society both wants and needs. Some fight to promote awareness of social issues, the environment, gun control, and even the economy. I chose to fight for something that matters most, something overlooked by all, but not by me and hopefully not by you: Alf.
If you look at the current calendar, it’s evident that it is no longer the past. However, pop culture can’t seem to stop picking at properties from previous eras like a carrion bird to a corpse. Everything is getting rebooted, remade, remastered or spiritually successorrrred. And if all our nostalgic properties are getting this treatment, why not Melmac’s greatest party animal? I took it upon myself to promote awareness of Alf, most notably his unusual adventure game on the Sega Master System in 1989.
I needed a plan. On the eve of PAX East, the gaming/tabletop/nerd culture convention that converges on the city of Boston every spring, I leaped into action and whipped up a few pages of petition sheets, along with a FAQ as to why you should sign and some concept art (seen below) of what the new game would look like. With enough signatures, I could submit the petition to Sega — whom I assume still holds the rights — and get this thing made.
Still a more believable piece of concept art than Mighty No. 9.
Time was not on my side. I had a one-day pass for PAX East, but it was on the most crowded of days, Saturday. My initial plan was to get signatures from developers and members of the media, but that would be like deciding a President of the United States not by the popular vote and rather through the electoral vote — just plain stupid. I decided to flip the script and make the petition for everyone to sign. So, armed with my clipboard, my duffle bag to carry my needless swag, and a couple markers, I made my way to the Boston Convention and Expo Center to bring forth the Alf: Remastered revolution.
After a couple security checks, I found myself at the front entrance, brandishing my clipboard for some signatures. I saw a lone straggler who seemed eager enough to check out a panel, or play some video games on the floor, or simply reunite with his friends. Eager as I was for this anonymous soul to be the first signature to bring back Alf, he casually said “no thanks” and walked away. I felt a little crushed and defeated, but if I had given up then, all would have been lost. I refined my approach so as not to come off like a creepy census taker, and this is where the madness began.
Getting people to sign a petition for a remastered Alf video game seemed harder than I thought, given the fact that today’s youths, adolescents, teenagers, college students, and people who spend a lot of time not near a television just never heard of Alf. I pity those bastards. However, I learned that it’s not always about selling the product, it’s about selling yourself. I began approaching developers and convention-goers with my bold purpose of revitalizing Alf, and the signatures started coming in!
Soda Drinker Pro’s Will Brierly is totally on board!
Some of my favorite moments from PAX East came from getting people to sign this petition. I spoke to one couple while they were waiting in line to play an upcoming game, and when I flashed my clipboard to the crowd, they walked forward with an eagerness to sign. The woman openly talked about her mother having a refrigerator magnet with Alf on it. I then brought up that I also owned the same Alf magnet, and as luck would have it, I had a photo of it from a Facebook thread. As I showed her the magnet photo, she jumped up and screamed with joy that someone else in the world has the same Alf magnet as her mother, and called me her “magnet friend.” It’s moments like that, that give me a sense of accomplishment.
I agree with you, magnet. No problem indeed.
But it wasn’t all rainbows and roses; I had a number of rejections from a few developers (whose companies will remain unmentioned) and attendees alike. I figured I needed to get the support of one person who could make all of this seem worthwhile, and then I found that person. It was Adam Boyes, the VP of Publisher & Developer Relations at PlayStation. You might remember him from the masterstroke video of how to trade a PS4 game, or standing on stage at E3 for the announcement of the announcement of the crowdfunding of Shenmue 3. He was checking out the Iron Galaxy booth when I walked up to him and made my Alf: Remastered pitch. I brought up Shenmue 3’s whirlwind success and how it can be mirrored with a new Alf game. It impressed him so much that he was eager to sign the petition.
Adam Boyes knows the world needs Alf, and Adam Boyes knows what people want.
The convention floor was starting to close up, and I was tired. My voice was groggy, and all I wanted to do was to eat something edible. I decided to put away my clipboard and call it a day, but it dawned on me that I didn’t get as many signatures as I wanted.
But I did not take this as a defeat, far from it. If anything, it was a small victory, that a heavy majority of the people I spoke with wanted Alf: Remastered. They wanted Alf to make a comeback; they wanted Alf back in their lives. But I couldn’t possibly send my petition to Sega, as they would just chuck it into the shredder along with mailed-in Sonic fan fiction and Altered Beast cosplay photos. So I plan on keeping the petition as a souvenir of PAX East, as a reminder that if you believe in something strongly enough, no matter how stupid it can possibly be, you can convince others to support your cause.
Also Adam, if you need a guy at PlayStation to pitch games, I’m your man.
Article by contributor Aaron Chados.