I spent nine years toiling in the sponge mines of Nickelodeon. A bunch of that time went to making online games, in the hopes of entertaining the youth of America just enough to keep them from stealing your hood ornaments. Yesterday, during my regularly scheduled Tuesday hopelessness, I perused some of Nick’s sites to see if any of those games still existed and happily discovered that my favorite has found new life on Nick@Nite.com: Pizza Quest ’77.
I produced Pizza Quest in 2007ish to promote The N’s reruns of a sitcom that for licensing reasons we weren’t allowed to mention in the game, but I can give you the hints that THAT SHOW took place in the SEVENTIES and was called That ’70s Show. Pizza Quest is a puzzle game in which you, hanging out in your parents’ basement in 1977, desperately need to find money to pay for the pizza you just ordered. This involves, among other things, hypnotizing an iguana. I designed the game, but when I replayed it yesterday it still took me three tries to beat it.
But my true fondness for Pizza Quest ’77 lies tucked away at the end of the second level. I decided to make a key element of the game a fake commercial for the pizza shop, while intensely ignoring the fact that the budget included no money for anything of the sort and had all been spent twice over anyway. I minced around in my willful delusion until a few days before deadline, when I came to and realized that I had no choice but to create the commercial by myself, from scratch.
Which I did, with a camera, Creative Commons license photos, Flash, and a jingle performed my pal Dr. Mark Driver based on a tune I sung into his voicemail. The final product nicely captures a low-budget, local commercial form the ’70s and occupies a special place in my heart. So today I freed it from the game and uploaded it to YouTube. Here it is: