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(Welcome to the) Sad Parade

Why PopCap's 4th & Battery once involved MySpace, lawyers looking at the Cayman Islands and a fictional emo band writing sad songs. Seriously.

PopCap's indie sublabel has put out three games so far, with plenty more planned for the future.

PopCap Games' sublabel, 4th & Battery, was not originally going to be called 4th & Battery.

It was not, in fact, going to be associated with PopCap at all. Technically. When director of editorial and social media Jeff Green joined PopCap last fall, one of his first projects was working with producer Matthew Lee Johnston on making what would eventually become 4th & Battery.

"We were going to do it almost like a stealth indie house launch," explained Green. "That was the original idea we had. We were pretty much making up a new game company."

Green and Johnston had planned on distancing PopCap from the venture entirely, to the point that PopCap's lawyers looked into registering the new studio through the Cayman Islands, preventing anyone from being able to trace it back to PopCap.

The 4th & Battery rabbit hole goes deeper, much deeper, though.

The two of them actually concocted a whole background and persona for this new, semi-imaginary studio. The founders, as Green and Johnston envisioned it, were two female game designers also located in the Seattle area, where PopCap's at.

"One of them had a boyfriend who was in a band," said Green. "We actually made up that band."

The current state of sad parade's MySpace account is appropriately depressing.

The band was called sadparade. Green and Johnston went as far as to register a MySpace account (seriously!) for the self-described "emo/experimental/indie" group known as sadparade, an account that still exists online, albeit unfinished. sadparade's mood on MySpace is currently--and probably forever will be--described as "annoyed."

This underground studio and the mythology behind its faux creators was enough of a real thing for PopCap to create bumper stickers for sad parade, and for Green to sit down and write a fictional song.

Today, I'm happy to present the lyrics to this so-far unproduced sad parade track, "(Welcome to the) Sad Parade," penned by Green:

Heavy raindrops on my windowsill
I’m lookin’ out but I can’t see
My heart is heavy for you baby still
That’s why I’m lost in misery
And when I look out at this big ol’ world
I see a lot of things that bother me
Why do people have to be so mean?
And what’s up with all this poverty?

CHORUS
Welcome to the sad parade
Fall in line with the sad parade
Don’t stub your toe in the sad parade
Come play the flute in the sad parade
Yeah soldiers shoot each other all the time
When they all should just be holding hands
What will it take to make the people free
Why can’t we make them understand?
But oh yeah baby you should be here now
Instead of somewhere I don’t know
You told me that you needed room to breathe
You know I’d have opened a window!

CHORUS
Welcome to the sad parade
Yeah line right up for the sad parade
There’s free balloons at the sad parade
We need more tubas in the sad parade
So now I walk along this dusty road
Looking out at all I see
So many people with nowhere to go
I’d like to buy them all iced tea
And yeah you baby you’re so far away
You’re on your own now without me
But you’ll be back girl I do surely know
Because I have taken your housekeys

CHORUS
Welcome to the sad parade
Yeah keep on marching in the sad parade
Play Louie Louie in the sad parade
Watch out for horses in the sad parade
Please tune the trumpets in the sad parade
Don’t call me princess of the sad parade
Play Theme from Rocky in thesad parade
Who let those midgets in the sad parade
(repeat and fade out)

None of this is a joke, by the way. I asked multiple times between fits of laughter on the phone.

"This was all true, this was how we originally envisioned it as just a separate thing!" said Green.

While PopCap would have nothing to do with this kind of sort of fictional company on the surface, it was still a PopCap initiative that PopCap would have to somehow point towards.

"We were gonna have to try and use ways of drawing attention to it, but we were just going to be another indie developer," he continued. "That's when a lot of internal debate started happening, and the company was like 'why are we putting all this effort to hide this thing when there's a lot that we actually kind of want to show off?'"

There are a bunch of these bumper stickers for sadparade still floating around PopCap's offices.

The name PopCap Labs became the new point of discussion within the company, but that one was tossed over concerns having "PopCap" in the label's name would create unnecessary pressure. Games coming out of this sublabel were going to be experimental in nature, and gamers should not be expecting something on the level of Peggle or Plants vs. Zombies from it.

"We spent an insane amount of hours debating this whole thing," said Green.

sadparade may come back, though. Green hasn't ruled it out.

"We still may incorporate that band into 4th and Battery," he said. "I think we should. There's at least [that] one song that they wrote...they...wrote."

And with that, everyone on the call burst out laughing all over again.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek
PopCap's indie sublabel has put out three games so far, with plenty more planned for the future.

PopCap Games' sublabel, 4th & Battery, was not originally going to be called 4th & Battery.

It was not, in fact, going to be associated with PopCap at all. Technically. When director of editorial and social media Jeff Green joined PopCap last fall, one of his first projects was working with producer Matthew Lee Johnston on making what would eventually become 4th & Battery.

"We were going to do it almost like a stealth indie house launch," explained Green. "That was the original idea we had. We were pretty much making up a new game company."

Green and Johnston had planned on distancing PopCap from the venture entirely, to the point that PopCap's lawyers looked into registering the new studio through the Cayman Islands, preventing anyone from being able to trace it back to PopCap.

The 4th & Battery rabbit hole goes deeper, much deeper, though.

The two of them actually concocted a whole background and persona for this new, semi-imaginary studio. The founders, as Green and Johnston envisioned it, were two female game designers also located in the Seattle area, where PopCap's at.

"One of them had a boyfriend who was in a band," said Green. "We actually made up that band."

The current state of sad parade's MySpace account is appropriately depressing.

The band was called sadparade. Green and Johnston went as far as to register a MySpace account (seriously!) for the self-described "emo/experimental/indie" group known as sadparade, an account that still exists online, albeit unfinished. sadparade's mood on MySpace is currently--and probably forever will be--described as "annoyed."

This underground studio and the mythology behind its faux creators was enough of a real thing for PopCap to create bumper stickers for sad parade, and for Green to sit down and write a fictional song.

Today, I'm happy to present the lyrics to this so-far unproduced sad parade track, "(Welcome to the) Sad Parade," penned by Green:

Heavy raindrops on my windowsill
I’m lookin’ out but I can’t see
My heart is heavy for you baby still
That’s why I’m lost in misery
And when I look out at this big ol’ world
I see a lot of things that bother me
Why do people have to be so mean?
And what’s up with all this poverty?

CHORUS
Welcome to the sad parade
Fall in line with the sad parade
Don’t stub your toe in the sad parade
Come play the flute in the sad parade
Yeah soldiers shoot each other all the time
When they all should just be holding hands
What will it take to make the people free
Why can’t we make them understand?
But oh yeah baby you should be here now
Instead of somewhere I don’t know
You told me that you needed room to breathe
You know I’d have opened a window!

CHORUS
Welcome to the sad parade
Yeah line right up for the sad parade
There’s free balloons at the sad parade
We need more tubas in the sad parade
So now I walk along this dusty road
Looking out at all I see
So many people with nowhere to go
I’d like to buy them all iced tea
And yeah you baby you’re so far away
You’re on your own now without me
But you’ll be back girl I do surely know
Because I have taken your housekeys

CHORUS
Welcome to the sad parade
Yeah keep on marching in the sad parade
Play Louie Louie in the sad parade
Watch out for horses in the sad parade
Please tune the trumpets in the sad parade
Don’t call me princess of the sad parade
Play Theme from Rocky in thesad parade
Who let those midgets in the sad parade
(repeat and fade out)

None of this is a joke, by the way. I asked multiple times between fits of laughter on the phone.

"This was all true, this was how we originally envisioned it as just a separate thing!" said Green.

While PopCap would have nothing to do with this kind of sort of fictional company on the surface, it was still a PopCap initiative that PopCap would have to somehow point towards.

"We were gonna have to try and use ways of drawing attention to it, but we were just going to be another indie developer," he continued. "That's when a lot of internal debate started happening, and the company was like 'why are we putting all this effort to hide this thing when there's a lot that we actually kind of want to show off?'"

There are a bunch of these bumper stickers for sadparade still floating around PopCap's offices.

The name PopCap Labs became the new point of discussion within the company, but that one was tossed over concerns having "PopCap" in the label's name would create unnecessary pressure. Games coming out of this sublabel were going to be experimental in nature, and gamers should not be expecting something on the level of Peggle or Plants vs. Zombies from it.

"We spent an insane amount of hours debating this whole thing," said Green.

sadparade may come back, though. Green hasn't ruled it out.

"We still may incorporate that band into 4th and Battery," he said. "I think we should. There's at least [that] one song that they wrote...they...wrote."

And with that, everyone on the call burst out laughing all over again.

Posted by Asmo917

This is odd.

Posted by ABritishNerd
@Asmo917 said:

This is odd.

Yes it is.
Posted by Phished0ne

Fucking Jeff Green is awesome! 
 
First, Cudgel of Xanthor and now sadparade.  

Posted by Krakn3Dfx

Jeff Green 2012!

Posted by ckeats

This is the best thing I've ever heard. I love you Jeff Green.

Posted by DefaultProphet

Wow....what?

Posted by mnzy

I guess somebody has to make Emo Jeff Green now.

Posted by Rolyatkcinmai

I can't believe someone pays Jeff Green to work.

Edited by JakeLogan

"Play Louie Louie in the sad parade"
'Play Theme from Rocky in the sad parade"
"Who let those midgets in the sad parade"
 
LAWL 
 
I especially liked "Play Theme from ___".  Gonna have to start using that. 
 
PLAY THEME FROM PLANTS vs. ZOMBIES!
Posted by Asmo917

@fpsmadpaul said:

@Asmo917 said:

This is odd.

Yes it is.

I've read this three times. I understand all the words. They make coherent sentences when strung together, and paragraphs when those sentences are combined. But I still feel like the only acceptable response is What. The. Fuck?

And yes, it's awesome, too. It makes slightly more sense once I stopped thinking "Zynga" when the article said "PopCap."

Posted by Silver-Streak

Man, Jeff Green is great. He needs to come back to visit the Bombcast.

Posted by JakeLogan

@ Asmo917 It makes slightly more sense once I stopped thinking "Zynga" when the article said "PopCap."



I wouldn't put it past Zynga to do something like this on the complete opposite end of the continuum.
Posted by jennoa

I really am liking these features on Pop cap, and the window behind the scene it provides. Keep it up Patrick!

Posted by TheMailToad

Jeff Green for President 2012

Posted by Zolfe

I can see EA saying "what are these shenanigans? Stop it. " and Jeff being sad

Posted by WiqidBritt

nice to see that Jeff Green has been working hard at his new job...

Posted by Electric_Zen

And what's up with all this poverty?

Indeed.

Posted by Shuborno
Posted by Hangnail

"Who let those midgets in the sad parade?"

Hrrm...

Posted by Pet_Assassin

I want a sadparade bumpersticker. Where can I get one, or all of them?

Posted by Tan

This is absolutely amazing .

Posted by LiquidSaiyan3

@Zolfe said:

I can see EA saying "what are these shenanigans? Stop it. " and Jeff being sad

And then joining the sad parade?

Posted by Akia

+1 for more articles like this. Keep interviewing studios about their past decisions. They seem to be okay talking about it.

Posted by Jimbo

EA paid a billion dollars for this nonsense?

Posted by CharAznable

It's a good thing that Jeff Green is using his genius for the power of good and not evil.

(Insert joke about EA here)

Please bring Jeff back for the Bombcast, he was a great guest!

Posted by SaturdayNightSpecials

All of this is outstanding.

Posted by Gamer_152

This is by far one of the weirdest things I've ever heard of happening in the games industry. This is amazingly bizarre, I kinda like it.

Moderator
Posted by Chet_Rippo

wow....what?

Posted by Little_Socrates

The only weird thing about this to me is that it somehow merited a second article almost exclusively about sadparade. I'll be interested when 4th really does ship a sadparade game, though.

Posted by Antarok

This made my day! Jeff Green is god!

Posted by spilledmilkfactory

This is the most surreal thing I've seen in a long time

Posted by Mijati

This is so incredibly awesome... I think anyway, I'm not sure.

Posted by Pr1m8

if this had gone ahead wouldn't it be just horrible sleazy shit? 
 
big companies inventing indie cred so they can lie to the consumer 
 
yay thats funny not awful
 
like those terrifying companies you see every now and again hiring for people to creatie and manage hundreds comment personalities so they can swing the debate in favor of your product (it certainly explanes some of the bat shit stuff you read on larger gaming blogs) sorry bit of a tangent 
 
down with this sort of thing

Posted by Tebbit
Because I have taken your housekeys

Brilliant.

Posted by Crono

Probably my favorite story of the year so far lol

Posted by Juicebox

i was so happy to see SAD PARADE on a bumper sticker and was looking to attend, But it was already over :(

Posted by ch3burashka

Someone put that song to music. Preferably a single acoustic guitar, slightly out of tune.

Posted by DonutFever

I don't...

Edited by RagingLion

I lost it at   "We need more tubas in the sad parade".   
 
Amazingly surreal.  The Bombcast has always speculated over the number of meetings and discussion that might sometimes go into certain naming conventions or whatever being chosen for a game/studio and this just proves how involved a little thing can get.
 
I'd like to ask as well:  anyone want to give this song a tune and recording?
 
Edit: Thank you for digging up this little gem Patrick.

Posted by lockwoodx

Jeff Green is the Batman

Posted by Flappy

I'm unable to stop smiling....

Posted by Vitor

"I see a lot of things that bother me

Why do people have to be so mean?

And what’s up with all this poverty?"

Actually had me in stitches. Great work Jeff, you've found your new calling in life!

Posted by confideration

Jeff Green belongs back in media IMO. Make him an offer Whiskey.

Posted by Brendan

The best thing that could ever happen would be for sadparade to become a smash hit, and finance all of 4th and Battery's projects for years with no risk.

Posted by Rowr

This is what happens when you don't have a real job.

Posted by JeffGreen
@Pr1m8
"big companies inventing indie cred so they can lie to the consumer 
 yay thats funny not awful"
 
Well, yeah, that's why we decided not to do it. Actually, it was worse than you describe, cuz not only were we being "fake indie", but we were making the fictional developers WOMEN.  Which is really doubly offensive and manipulative. :)   But, originally....we thought this stuff up because we thought it was funny to us.  But once we stepped back and took a look at what we were  actually doing, we realized it was all wrong, and that gamers would take it the wrong way.  :)  So give us credit for realizing we were being douchy marketing aholes before actually pulling the trigger!   Sometimes bad ideas just have to be developed before you realize they suck.
 
cheers,
Jeff
Posted by TheDudeOfGaming
@fpsmadpaul said:
@Asmo917 said:

This is odd.

Yes it is.
Funny, that's exactly what i was thinking.
Posted by Vyper

We need to get sadparade nominated for some award show

Posted by Madz
@JeffGreen: I would like to state that sadparade is the best band ever and that I liked it before it went mainstream.
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