Game Over: Woodchuck Chumley of GRR News Takes On Addax Seropian of Wildload Games! FINISH HIM!
By Woodchuck Chumley
GRR News Headquarters – Today started out like any other day in this business we call broadcast news. We, the reporters who comprise GRR News, commuted to work on our regularly scheduled paths and then mingled as we do in the break room, making senseless small talk about the previous night’s Primal Time television shows as we waited for the hot coffee to finish percolating. Once it finished we poured our cups, raced to our respective offices, and pulled the blinds. I was six pages into the newspaper when then the receptionist called.
“Mr. Chumley, there’s an Addax Seropian here for you.”
One does not know panic until he has forgotten a live, televised interview. “Thank you, Sparkles. Hold him up for ten minutes, won't you? Show him the trophy wall."
The newsroom scrambled to find out what it could about this mysterious Addax Seropian, who admittedly sounded important. I, Woodchuck Chumley, pitched in by firing up one of the search engines bundled here on my computer to see what I could find. Naturally, I punched in the most obvious search string: World Leaders Visiting GRR News Today. But my search returned nothing but a two-year-old story about a barely-known narcoleptic opera singer - not the one who ate my brother. This goes to show you can't trust technology with the fundamentals of bringing animals the news. Fortunately, the interns figured it out and were keyed to discover that this guest, Addax Seropian, was bringing a video game, of all things, to the GRR News studios. No serious journalist in his or her right mind would be caught covering such a thing, but Seropian's animals claim that this game is different. This one, they promised, is important.
I raced into makeup and onto the set just as Addax strolled in with his gizmo and his game. He was younger than I'd expected, lean, serious, an antelope I could talk with, drink with. I relaxed.
This reporter looked at him and said squarely, “You have a game, I see.”
Addax smiled the smile of an animal with a secret. The heretofore-silent Addax plugged this thing into the wall socket and handed me a gizmo without a word between us. We sat in front of a large screen we usually reserve for crime-scene analysis and spotting stalkers and celebrities in crowds (where you find one you generally find the other). "This game is called Hail to the Chimp," Seropian said. "It's about the elections...." He probably said more, but I had stopped paying attention.
There, before my very own groundhog eyes, was me, Woodchuck Chumley, only thicker, shorter, and by all means a heck of a lot sillier. “What’s this!?” I exclaimed, hardly able to maintain my composure. “That looks like me there on the screen, only with fuller cheeks, rounder eyes, a shorter nose...and where's the gravitas?”
“That’s not you,” Addax said. “That’s a character we invented for the game. If it was you, we'd probably have to license your image or something. But since it's not you, no worries!” Addax explained that this political game of his mocks every aspect of the animal world elections from the campaign trail to the media covering it. It even includes fake broadcasts from a fake GRR News. Uncanny. Players control these animals, the candidates, as they cast their clams. Chaos ensues. “But look at the screen and you see Ptolemy, Hedwig, Crackers…just as plain as day,” I said. Addax interrupted, “Cut! Cut!” Cut? Was this Addax fellow trying to interrupt my broadcast? That takes one frisky nerve.
“The candidates featured in the game are not modeled after the candidates in the real animal world election,” Addax said with an authority usually reserved for fibbing politicians and moneymammals up to no good. "They just happen to share the same names, in a stunning string of coincidences." Just then I directed my eyes toward the screen and saw Toshiro topple Murgatroyd. And yes, I saw it with my own eyes and not those of that grotesque caricature of me, Woodchuck Chumley, on the screen.
Addax continued to play this game, round after round, battle after battle, like a merry-go-round that would not stop. Floyd, or a Floyd doppelganger, dashed across the screen.
“You can’t tell me that’s not Floyd,” I said to Addax with consternation.
“That’s not Floyd,” Addax said resolutely. “I mean, it is, but it's our Floyd. He's a walrus and shoremammal. He hears strange messages from afar. He’s a bit of a guru. But he doesn't wear any fancy shirts in our game, so he's not the Floyd you're thinking of.”
This reporter scratched his head. A weather turtle took to the screen to deliver a dead-pan comedy skit presented in a mock news fashion. “That’s Rusty!” I cried out.
Addax shook his head slowly, walloping the onscreen “Hedwig” with Bean’s meaty onscreen fist. “How many weatherturtles named Rusty are there in the world? Do you have any data that says it's not the most popular name for weatherturtles? I didn't think so. All characters or events portrayed in this game are purely fictional. Any similarities to real persons, living or dead, or events is purely coincidental.”
This reporter stroked his chin. "How can you say there are not similarities when they appear to be exact replicas of each of us, or at least most of us?" I asked.
"Nope. They're not. Just a coincidence," Addax maintained.
Juliet appeared in the picture on the television in front of Addax and behind me the entire curious staff of GRR stood lurking in the doorway.
“I look like that?” a shocked, real life Juliet inquired, her voice (and knees) considerably shaky.
“It’s not you,” Addax said, now seemingly exasperated. "It's just an ostrich who happens to share your name, job and mannerisms. No matter how many interviews I do about this, you media types never seem to get that part right."
Rusty, unfazed, sat down and lifted the gizmo Addax called a "joypad" from my frozen paws, since I had ceased my vain efforts to derive joy from it. I couldn’t see how the thing related to the screen and did not know I was to use my paws to control this ME on the screen. "You can't control you, Chumley," Rusty said. "You're an NPC." Right.
Rusty placed his rootbeer float on the floor and took to the gizmo right away. Must have been all that ping-pong over in the Bog.
Addax, relieved to see Rusty’s enthusiasm, handed a controller to Zeno, who was glad to chip in yet disappointed to find that he wasn’t in the game. Not even an NPC, whatever that is.
“Zeno didn’t work at GRR yet when we made this game,” Addax said. It made sense.
Gizelle bumped me from my anchor seat to join in on the fun, heartbroken, too, to not have made the final cut for the game. “You were in Dubai,” Addax reminded her.
I, Woodchuck Chumley, left the younger crew that had grown to a healthy gathering of at least 20 and headed to the comfort of my private dressing room. I poured myself a cocktail and when I could no longer take the anticipation, turned sideways to inspect my profile in the full-length mirror. That thing in the video game has thirty pounds on me if he has one. That is not a little joke.
GRR News plans to bring you 'round the clock coverage of this new political video game that has nothing to do with the actual animal world election but just the same seems to replicate it exactly. Oh yes, and we will bring you more on the real animal world election just as soon as those polecats wrap up the recount.
Is it I, Woodchuck Chumley? Or just an incredible simulation? Apparently it only costs $40 to find out.
I want this game so bad but I can't find it anywhere! It seems to have come out of nowhere! I read GRR News every day and yet I never heard of it. Haven't these animals ever heard the word "PR"?
-Lloyd, Badger, Minnesota
There was a great article about it in the Preytown Whisperer in Central Duluth, Lloyd. Maybe you just weren't looking! I had no problem finding it, loser!
-Sarah, Brown Mouse, Minnesota
I don't think the one in the game looks like the real Woodchuck Chumley, either. Chumley's cheeks are fat, but not THAT fat. They made him look all cartoony. I'd be so mad if I were him. Rusty looks about right, though.
-Tara, Beagle, New Jersey
Hi guys, do you happen to know if there's going to be a European release? We are excited about the game over here, too, you know!
-Ari, Gull, Leeds, U.K.