… and it’s not you and your “squad.”
Twitter – gaming Twitter, rather – erupted today following the release of the trailer for the upcoming movie from Blue Fox Entertainment, Hero Mode, starring Mira Sorvino, Sean Astin, Chris Carpenter, Indiana Massara, along with a host of other recognizable names. Check out the video below for the full trailer and synopsis. In a nutshell, though, the movie is about teenage coding genius Troy Mayfield and his mission to save his family’s indie game studio from going bankrupt with only 30 days to do so.
To be honest, it’s one of those trailers that seem to give away the entire movie, which breaks down as so:
A struggling indie studio brings aboard a kid genius to help save the company. There are power struggles before the inevitable realization that everyone has to work together to reach their shared goal. Throw in some slapstick humor, and you have all the markings for what looks to be a fun movie… for kids.
Hero Mode doesn’t necessarily appear to be a movie for the gaming community that it builds its foundation on. It doesn’t claim to be inspired by true events. It’s not for 20-somethings hopping online with the squad every night. It’s not for game developers or publishers. It’s not for, well… likely the entirety of gaming Twitter. It’s a Nickelodeon-style film meant for kids, along the same vein as other movies like Rookie of the Year, Like Mike, or Spy Kids – both of which are films that portray adolescents in adult roles (although I’m not sure that even real-life espionage is as over-the-top and exciting as it is in Spy Kids).
One of the arguments against the movie is that it makes light of studio crunch – crunch being something that the industry at large is aware of and “actively trying” to reduce. It’s not an invalid concern, but let’s keep in mind who Hero Mode’s intended audience is. You know what’s not entertaining for kids and pre-teens? Corporate jargon and office politics. There’s absolutely an opportunity to address crunch concerns in ways that are intended to educate and make adults more aware, but Hero Mode isn’t it.
Let’s also not forget whose job it is to separate fact and fiction when it comes to teaching their children right from wrong. Parents whose kids want to get into game development (or the gaming industry in general) need to be responsible for teaching them that crunch is, in fact, not a good thing. While they’re at it, they can also remind their children that learning to code isn’t something that typically comes to people easily overnight, and that hard work and practice is actually what it takes to succeed in learning new skills.
Hero Mode isn’t an accurate depiction of real-life, nor does it appear to be considering itself as such. It’s also not even out yet, so let’s maybe take a breath before dogpiling on something too early (*cough* Sonic the Hedgehog movie *cough*). Either way, it’s not like we’re incapable of suspending disbelief for a second and pretending a pre-teen can save an indie gaming studio – or lead the Chicago Cubs to a division title – for the sake of mindless entertainment.