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Bones – It’s Game On

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Bones executive producers Hart Hanson, Stephen Nathan and story editor Dean Lopata invited me over to their offices on the Fox lot to play an old school video game they had designed for their Dec. 3
episode, “The Gamer in the Grease.” Inspired by the documentary, The King of Kong, the episode finds Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz) delving deep into the cutthroat world of competitive arcade gaming. I say “cutthroat” because the opening scene’s discovery of a gaming champion’s corpse is quite possibly the show’s most gruesome image to date. Without spoling it for you, lets just say Brennan’s disappointment that the body still contains its skin is short-lived.

The producers tell me that Fox asked them to conceive an episode that would help promote Twentieth Century Fox’s holiday release, Avatar, a film set in a virtual reality world that co-stars Bones recurring player, Joel Moore (Colin Fisher) as an on-ship technician overseeing avatar transference. “The studio wanted us to do some kind of cross-over,” explains Nathan. “So we designed a whole story that kicks off with Sweets (John Francis Daley) meeting a girl in a movie line.”

The movie the characters are going to see, not surprisingly, is
Avatar. The episode finds characters playing 80’s style arcade games. Getting the rights to established games like Pac Man and Donkey Kong, Hanson explains, “would have cost a fortune, so we had to design our own retro game that looks like it came out in the 80s.”

The game they designed, Punky Pong, is so easy that a monkey can play it. Heck, even I managed a high score by blocking a steady flow of
bananas, mangos, pineapples and raspberries from sneaking past me. And I somehow was able to keep focused on the game despite Hanson’s constant screaming in my ear, “Don’t let the banana hit you!!!”

You’ll be able to see (and play!) for yourself when the game is
posted on after the episode airs. And oh — watch out for those bananas. They cause shrinkage.

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