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Posted by patrickklepek

(Yes, I know that photo is blurry. Stay with me.)

When Double Fine Productions fan Matthew Bell posted a thread talking about how Double Fine had trademarked “The Cave” to the company’s message boards and almost no one replied, he didn’t think much of it.

All Bell had done was post a news item he found on Destructoid, and move on with his life.

Among the press invited to see Ron Gilbert's The Cave was one hell of an excited fan.

That changed when an email from Double Fine community manager Chris Remo showed up months later.

In a short, direct email, Remo asked Bell if he’d like to visit Double Fine’s office, and check out its next game. Bell has never been to San Francisco. Hell, he’d never even been on a plane before.

Huh?

Bell had not applied to work at Double Fine, and had no idea why Double Fine would be contacting him, let alone offering to pay for a visit. Remo refused to disclose the reasons why he was being offered this opportunity, or what he’d actually be doing when he arrived. This lead Bell to embrace conspiracy theories.

“I’m looking at it and I’m like ‘No, that’s not real. There’s no way,’” he told me over the phone recently.

Why did Double Fine do this? Because it could, the studio told me. Because why not blow this guy's mind?

At first, he sent an email back to Remo and asked for more information. No dice, said Remo. Then, Bell examined the email address from Remo. Having bought Double Fine merchandise in the past, he was familiar with the doublefine.com domain, and concluded that would be a pretty elaborate trick to spoof that for some random guy.

He’d actually called the company at one point regarding a merchandise order for Valentine’s Day, so he phoned them up and, again, verified this was all happening. The answer was yes.

“It was a really short conversation!” he said.

That wasn’t enough, though. Remember, Double Fine is being cagey, and Bell has no idea why he’s been picked.

“I had a really hard time dropping the conspiracy theory,” he laughed. “I just couldn’t possibly believe that this was actually real.”

The next step was establishing a Twitter account. Prior to this, Bell had never used Twitter before.

In a very “aww” moment, here’s the message Bell sent to Double Fine’s own Twitter account:

With this, Bell calmed, and accepted his fate, despite that fate being chock full of mysteries.

He had a much harder time trying to explain what was happening to his work buddies. For a while, most of them assumed he was being flown out by a game show to have the chance to win a bunch of money.

“They [would] just look at me with this blank expression on their face,” he said. ‘Why is that interesting, and why do they care if they bring you down?’ Which I didn’t have an answer to at the time, either.”

Bell went over the possibilities, and while posting about The Cave in Double Fine’s forums had crossed his mind, it was pretty far down on his personal list of reasons for why this was happening.

After a few days, Bell shrugged it off, and hopped on a plane to San Francisco, where he encountered another life first: a car was waiting to pick him up. When he arrived at Double Fine’s office, the facade was finally up.

Since he had posted about The Cave in Double Fine's forums, he was here to see the first press demonstration, too.

“Being at the Double Fine office was amazing, getting to meet everybody,” he said. “They were so gracious while I was there. They really, really went out of their way to make me feel like I was welcome.”

That included spending an impromptu 45 minutes chatting with designer Tim Schafer, a moment that Bell had only intended to include taking a photo before he left the office. It was, clichés and all, a dream come true.

The amount of cute in this photo is just too much. Don't look at it for too long, or you will overload.

Bell is not the only one who’s an unapologetically huge fan of Double Fine, either. His daughter is, too. As a thank you, Bell brought with some Brutal Legend artwork his daughter had created.

“She has my genetic ability to draw things,” he said. “If I draw a stick figure, they’re not recognizable as stick figures. [...] It’s hard to convince someone that an 8-year-old child is in love with Brutal Legend, but she loved it from the moment it came out.”

Her other favorites are Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts and (surprise!) Double Fine Happy Action Theater.

If you squint real hard, you can tell it’s from Brutal Legend, too!

After leaving Double Fine, Bell ended up making a weekend out of his trip to San Francisco, and left with a sense of satisfaction after spending a day with his personal heroes. It's one thing to read about them, another to meet them.

“I don’t know anything about making video games, other than what any layman that who actually pays attention a little bit knows,” he said, “but I’m a writer, I’m trying to write a novel, and it’s inspiring me to see someone who works so hard at just making something that they love. “

As a parting shot, here's a gallery of pictures Bell shot from his trip to Double Fine. Can you spot the Brad Muir?

Staff
Posted by ElPoyoDiablo

Neat!

Posted by wumbo3000

Yay Double Fine!

Posted by rjayb89

I spot Brad Muir - the true Golden Duder Champion.

Online
Posted by MariachiMacabre

Goddammit, Double Fine. Stop being so awesome. It's too heartwarming.

Posted by Grimmy616

Muir drinking beer at 9am?!

Posted by csl316

Hey guys, can I come by so we could talk about metal?

Edited by stryker1138

I really hope he got a better photo with Tim Schafer than that.

Posted by AlexanderSheen

D'aaaaawwww. This is sooo cute.

And the little girl is adorable.

Damnit, my heart is melting.

Posted by fisher81

Wait, so they did it just because?

Posted by Maystack

This is pretty darn cool. Just another reason why Double Fine is one of the greatest companies in the industry.

Posted by GeneralZod37

@rjayb89 said:

I spot Brad Muir - the true Golden Duder Champion.

QFT

Posted by HellBrendy

Go to Double Fine.

Bring shitty camera.

Really lucky guy, and I love companies who does stuff like this.

Posted by papercut

@rjayb89 said:

I spot Brad Muir - the true Golden Duder Champion.

Posted by churrific

Lol cool.

Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff

Awesome story! Double Fine rocks.

Posted by TinyGrenade

Companies doing stuff like this for PR = bad

Companies doing stuff like this because they can = awesome

I love me some Double Fine

Posted by pyromagnestir

I still don't get why they invited him, but it's awesome that they did.

Online
Posted by Driadon

That is so soo cool. I'm wondering how much of the Kickstarter budget had to be used for this Hahaha.

Posted by onan

Aw. (Dude needs to buy a new camera, though.)

Posted by spilledmilkfactory

So hold on, I'm confused. Why, exactly, did Double Fine decide to bring this random guy over? I mean it's fucking awesome of them and everything, but I just don't get the reasoning on their part.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

How cool is that? I loved the Peanuts question, too. That would be about how I'd feel.

Moderator
Posted by zacharai

That's awesome. Way to go, Double Fine.

Edited by langdonx

HL2 pre-order hat! I wear that thing at least once a week.

Edit: So he got invited because he posted about The Cave. Was it a random drawing of forum posters? Or because he was the first person to post about The Cave? Or what? The article did not make that clear.

Posted by BankyEdwards015

Patrick is usually an awesome writer, but this one left me scratching my head a few times. It took until the end for me to realize that they invited an adult, based on the pictures near the top I thought the guy was a little kid while reading this. And I still dont understand why they did this. I guess just cuz. But Patrick sets up mystery in the first few paragraphs and never gives the answer as to why. Still a cool story though.

Posted by patrickklepek

@BankyEdwards015 said:

Patrick is usually an awesome writer, but this one left me scratching my head a few times. It took until the end for me to realize that they invited an adult, based on the pictures near the top I thought the guy was a little kid while reading this. And I still dont understand why they did this. I guess just cuz. But Patrick sets up mystery in the first few paragraphs and never gives the answer as to why. Still a cool story though.

This is a valid criticism. I've swapped some stuff out, hopefully it's clearer.

Staff
Edited by Aetheldod

@papercut said:

@rjayb89 said:

I spot Brad Muir - the true Golden Duder Champion.

And that girl really knows what is cool ... Brutal Legend rules \m/

Posted by mbr2

Is spy one Chris 'Chris Remo Action News' Remo.

Posted by mrfluke

mann the people of double fine are sooo nice

Posted by mrfluke

really like this story, this is the type of stories id call giantbomb news stories,

Posted by BankyEdwards015

@patrickklepek: Glad you took the constructive criticism, I am a big fan of yours going back to your 1up days and love reading your stories. With the fixes you added this one now reads much better.

Posted by Tan

I...I still don't get it... but okay, cool.

Edited by ThunderSlash

Wow I've never realized this before but... Is Brad Muir a vampire? 'Cus those are some crazy sharp looking fangs he's got there.

Online
Posted by SirChrisofCooke

I am disappointed by the shaky cam photos, but The Brad Muir makes up for all of that.

Posted by Axiomatic

I can't imagine a better workplace than one with Chris Remo, Tim Schafer, Anna Kipnis, Ron Gilbert and Brad Muir in it.

Wait, don't kill me Giant Bomb community, I mean a video game related workplace.

Fuck! I mean a workplace full of really funny dudes.

Shit!

Well, dammit. I just freakin' love Double Fine!

Posted by Blargonaut

This is fantastic. It just makes me love Double Fine and Tim even more...And I'm super jealous of this guy! Also, I'm really excited for The Cave.

Posted by katsu044

it was a nice story i just kinda thought it was building up into something big! but it was just double fine being nice to a fan which is alright in it's own.

Posted by Flyinnmunkee

Great story Patrick, Double Fine just keeps getting cooler and cooler!

Posted by dudeglove

In all those pictures I'm just reminded of this.

Posted by JeanLuc

I'm so jealous. Double Fine continues to be a shining example of how much heart and soul the video game industry has.

Posted by CrystaljDesign

Dude is wearing an Irrational Games hoodie what the whaaaat

Posted by Capum15

Wow, that's pretty awesome.

Posted by _Horde

Awesome! Lucky duder. :D

Posted by yoshisaur

Great story, but holy hell! Better pictures man!

Posted by Pozo

@CrystaljDesign:

That's Chris Remo and one of his friends (also on Idle Thumbs) is Steve Gaynor who used to work there as a level designer.

That's just my guess though.

Posted by Hangnail

I'm melting--I'M MELTING...from all this warmth of the heart!

Posted by crimsonlordofwar

@spilledmilkfactory said:

So hold on, I'm confused. Why, exactly, did Double Fine decide to bring this random guy over? I mean it's fucking awesome of them and everything, but I just don't get the reasoning on their part.

"Because we can"

-Double Fine-

Posted by Ravenlight

@mbr2 said:

Is spy one Chris 'Chris Remo Action News' Remo.

You mean Chris 'Why Isn't He Casting More Hilarious Pods Instead Of Doing His Job' Remo?

Posted by Smokey_Earhole
@spilledmilkfactory

So hold on, I'm confused. Why, exactly, did Double Fine decide to bring this random guy over? I mean it's fucking awesome of them and everything, but I just don't get the reasoning on their part.

I would imagine the reasoning is quite obvious? This stunt just "bought" Double Fine a ton of goodwill and invaluable PR. Just look at the majority of the comments for this story.
Posted by TimmyChaw

Muir has vampire teeth...

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