GREAT POT SMOKING MOMENTS IN GAMING HISTORY #1

Mon, 10/02/2006 — Sak

On December 13th, 1998, Vernon Bathers, of Kingdom City, Missouri, had a vision. A vision that was primarily induced by the consumption of twenty USD worth of psylocybin and the inhalation of just under one ounce of marijuana.

"I was, uh -- man. Ha. Y'know, just sort of -- like, I'm not advocating this shit, man. You do what you gotta do, right? I'm just saying, 'Who are you to judge me?'"

On that cold December night, Bathers (profession: "Professional bachelor, man. Professional bachelor.") sketched out the preliminary designs (to notebook paper, with a graphing pencil) to what would go on to become, in modified form, a videogame smash success eight years later. The game that Bathers poured his heart and soul into for aproximately fourteen minutes? Sitar Hero.

"It's basically a kick in the nuts when like, you're doing your thing, and another guy comes along and does his thing, and you have to wonder: man. Is his thing really my thing? I think about these things a lot."

The "thing" that "another guy" did is painfully obvious to most astute videogaming enthusiasts: Guitar Hero, produced by Red Octane. The game's objective concerns itself with hitting certain buttons in time with popular music tunes, the artists ranging from metal gloomsters Black Sabbath to late 90s wunderkinds Incubus. Bathers' game was incredibly similar to the final release of Guitar Hero.

"Basically. Uh, basically you have this sitar, man. Where my game differs from Guitar Hero is that you have a sitar, man. It's a real sitar, it's not this fake plastic shit, man. You play and it drones and shit, man. But like, you put the game in, right? It was going to be for the original Sega CD, because like, I didn't have the cash for a Playstation back then and the Playstation 2 wasn't out yet, right? But yeah, it was going to be for the Sega CD. Remember that system?"

When asked how it is possible that a Red Octane production team member could have possibly plagiarized his sketches, Bathers responded with, "There was this dude, man. That's all I'm going to say." When further pressed to show us the original 1998 sketches, Bathers claimed that the sketches were, "committed to the flame, man. Like moths to the flame. Came up with that analogy after I literally burnt the sketches, man."

Bathers is seeking over $100,000 in damages from Red Octane. "It's not like I'm seeking out money or fame," Bathers states. "Although money and fame would be pretty cool."

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