['Bell, Game, and Candle' is a regular GameSetWatch column by writer Alex Litel, discussing stuff that happens in the game business. This time - a conversation probes advertising, relationships, and the non-gamer's perception of games and gamers.]

A few days ago, I was ambulating about a metropolitan hotel after hearing word of an advertising summit (my curiosity especially peaked following a Mad Men binge) and noticed an eight-foot-tall hovering, cerulean being clamoring claims that he is “an advertising legend” to the concierge. This occurrence terrified yet intrigued me; I felt I had to talk this person.

Upon closer examination, I noticed a proximate nametag that said “Cory Van Starsdale” and “Massive Inc,” the in-game advertising subsidiary of Microsoft. I thought to myself, “Hey, I have found the topic for the next ‘Bell, Game, and Candle,’ which means I do not have to actually play a game.” Still slightly quaking, I approached Cory and asked if he would agree to an interview. I thankfully received a rather enthusiastic “yes.” What follows is a transcription of our discourse.

Hello there. Would you like to start by introducing yourself?

My name is Cory Van Starsdale, and I am an immaculate world-renowned world champion visionary of vision.

Would you care to qualify that statement?

I am a world-renowned world champion visionary of vision. I invented and won all the Olympics; set the records in all of them. To this day, my records have not been broken.

When was this exactly?

The 1999 Newark Fall Olympics.

No such event occurred.

While, I was terribly drunk—but I believe it started with an N or some letter or number.

I am pretty sure you get disqualified for alcohol use.

No, it was before any of those rules were implemented. It was one hell of a cosmopolitan shindig. Just for example, during track and field, we athletes were snorting lines that went on for meters and meters. Even beyond the athletics, I shook up the Marketing and Nomenclatural Olympics. I am really, really, really blessed, Alex.

The Nomenclatural Olympics?

Yeah, the only training that you really have is when you are in the womb, and one has to put the pressure on their parents to come up with an awesome name. I think I should that names altered through the legal system are disqualified. Would you like me to explain the Marketing Olympics, which I have revolutionized?

Please do.

First, it was sometime in November 2002, and I was driving across the Brooklyn Bridge banging some tunes from Justin Timberlake’s award-winning multi-platinum 2002 solo debut Justified when I was bobbing my head to “Rock Your Body.” This was a fantastic, classic song that just mesmerized me when I noticed the refrain of “I wanna rock your body/Please stay/Dance with me” could totally be transformed into “Centrum Silver’s gonna rock body/A to Zinc/Centrum Silver.” I called up Justin Timberlake’s management, and they instantaneously agreed to this amazing idea. Then I just shouted out, “Cory Van Starsdale, you are an absolute genius!” Then someone behind me shouted back, “Cory Van Starsdale, you just won the Marketing Olympics!”

I never saw or heard this.

Domestically, Wyeth is not really interested in the cougar demo for some bizarre reason, so we are saving him stateside for about twenty years. But the campaign ran overseas and it was an astounding success. It was a win-win situation, sales of both the Centrum brand and Justified increased tenfold in Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Then in 2006, I broke the Marketing Olympics world records—all of them. I was just brainstorming really creatively while strutting down the street, and I just came up with Jimmy Kimmel Live: the Hot Wheels Quest for Zardoz. Like instantly, I just came up with it. I just had to shout out, “Cory Van Starsdale, you are an absolute genius!” Then some guy walking adjacent to me shouted, “Cory Van Starsdale, you just won the Marketing Olympics and broke all of the records ever!” I was flattered, flabbergasted even.

Now, how is it being the CEO of Massive?

That is rather assumptious to speak of my occupation instead of myself.

I don’t think assumptious is a real word.

It most certainly is. I never speak in improper language; I am formal to the utmost degree. And yes, I am the Chief Executive Officer of Massive Incorporated, which is subsidiary of Microsoft focused exclusively on game aurification. You can think of Massive as essentially being the gaming equivalent of script doctors.

But unlike script doctors, Massive’s work is exclusively after the release.

As I have just said, Massive Incorporated is the gaming equivalent of script doctors because we both improve on the quality of products—we are a game aurification firm. For example, we made Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2 into an absolutely tremendous work when we added the sequence where you make extremely passionate, libidinous love to Norman Mailer on a blazing rooftop.

I must have missed that. What would such a sequence been an advertisement for?

The aurification was paid for and co-created by the Midas chain of automotive repair shops.

I am afraid I do not see the connection.

How could you not? It is extremely salient, Alex. Let me put this is the barest, most minimal of terms: Norman Mailer is wearing a Midas jacket, and the player gets rid of the fire by using a muffler.

How would that come across to the average player? I don’t see how anyone would see it.

All of the work that Massive does is taken from the lives of other people. My creative process is to actually transcend the Terraplane and look at life with eyes of your target demographic. I saw the perspective of a twenty-three-year-old St. Louis man stuck at the auto repair shop reading on Gawkthamist about these twenty pages of sex letters that Norman Mailer on his iPhone.

How do you know that the man plays games?

My guidance from the Terraplane is incapable of errancy. My vocational adventures are always, always, always informed and absolutely advantageous. In the end, I can say with confidence we outdid BioShock.

Speaking of BioShock, what did you think of that game?

Personally, I found BioShock to be extremely objectionable. I mean, these kids that played the game are going to have the idea that injecting needles into your arms will give one special powers ingrained because the protagonist Jack, who is a two-year-old that is physically in his twenties or thirties and whose mom was a prostitute. This problem would have been easily solved had the creators chose a more socially responsible route of having the player get powers from Vitamin Water or Gatorade or Powerade or Kool-Aid or Sobe.

Why and how would kids be playing BioShock when it carries a M-rating and probably would go over their heads?

Just like how the pornography industry denies that teens somehow manage to get a hold of their products, the game industry denies this. It as if they expect me to find an abundance of folks in the San Fernando Valley that say, “I don’t make porn, I make cinema that just happens to have gratuitous sex.” Unlike the United Kingdom, the area is not predominantly British. Or that children will just avoid Leaving Las Vegas: The Animated Series if it was sandwiched between Spider-Man and My Little Pony on the Saturday morning CBS lineup. Let us just ignore I just said that. Also, I read Atlas Shrugged and everything else from Ayn Rand when I was I the first grade. I read it hundreds and hundreds of times during my elementary school career.

Really, wouldn’t that be an anomaly?

Not at all, I actually started an Objectivists Club when I was in the third grade; we had around fifteen members. My best friend at that time, Rick, had a shrine devoted to Rand in his room right next to hundreds of posters and pictures and general paraphernalia of Kenny Loggins and Daryl Hall. But what might be an anomaly is the fact that I have actually been funneling Q3 bonuses to the Nader campaign. Their immediate tribulations will be offset by the forced entry of responsibility into all industry.

Isn’t that illegal? And those certainly are two diametrical ideologies, when did this epiphany that led the shift of belief?

Campaign finance laws do not extend to extraterrestrials. I don’t think they are opposing at all, and I think there is a complete opportunity for common ground. You could perhaps dub it an “ethical post-economy.”

Wouldn’t that entail an abandonment of a monetary system?

On my home planet, all financial transactions occurred psychically—it really is an ideal system. From my empirical experience, humans are unfortunately unable to communicate in such a manner. If I had the ability, I would love to elevate Earth communication to immaculacy. So, this common ground will still remain indebted to tangible money but, like, be amalgamation of self-interest in altruist—something you could perhaphs dub “post-interest.”

Speaking of aspirations, do you have any sort of “dream project”?

What does “aspirations” mean? I have never heard that word before. Is it, like, Klingon or Australian or something?

”Aspirations” is the plural of “aspiration,” which is essentially like a desire or an ambition that you want to achieve.

Oh, I know what that word means. Actually, I have not just one but two dream projects. First, I would like to bring together Soulja Boy and Ricky Gervais together for a FIFA 2010 advertisement to be filmed on Sealand, with the ulterior motive of mending relationships and reclaiming the territory for Britain—and I could write article that I could later sell the movie rights for. And second, I would like to make a game based on John Updike’s fantastic, fantastic novel The Witches of Eastwick with a soundtrack of Jake Holmes covers by Ani DiFranco. I know that it does not strike as remotely malleable, but I assure you that it definitely is. It was our favorite book, and I read it every week to remind myself of her. We even got matching John Updike tattoos.

I’m sorry to hear about your loss.

Oh, oh no no no no, no one died but she did break up with me. She gave this false excuse that she was unable to grasp my interdimensional wandering, and it left her feeling cold and distant, but I know that our intrinsic energies were meant to be fused together. It is a false excuse because of the aforementioned connection of our intrinsic energies and I actually taught her how to transverse without leaving anything out. So, she totally grasped everything. She dumped me for some tool in real estate, and they have assimilated into Jack Johnson’s barefoot entourage. I mean, this guy has completely indoctrinated her and she is completely utilizing the skills I taught her.

How long ago was this break-up?

Two years, five months, thirteen days, twenty-two hours, six minutes, and nineteen seconds ago.

You must have been going steady for quite a while for a relationship to impact you like this.

Yeah, four weeks.

You have at least tried to hop back on the dating scene, right?

Yeah, but I do not feel the transcendence of the dimensional realm as I did with Jess. I mean, when I am at bars, speed dating events, parties, what have you, it feels like I am actually there.

You realize what you are saying does not make the slightest bit of sense, right?

No, it makes perfect sense.

Thank you for giving up a few minutes of your time to talk.

Wait, wait, wait, wait. I just have to say something. Jess, baby darling, I just want you to come back. Those millions of times we spent together were galaxies beyond the subsisting energy plane of luminescence.

Who are you talking to?

The camera you are recording this interview with.

There is no camera. I am only recording this interview auditorially.

Oh, in that case, could you slice the reeks of desperation from this interview? Such a thing would be massively appreciated.

Sure. Again, thanks for your time.

As I was exiting the hotel, a Wesleyan undergrad (the rather posh attire and general intoxication were a giveaway) approached me and explained, “Our obsequious inclination to commercialize quandaries is to detriment of New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Minneapolis, Colorado, and elsewhere.” I have not the remotest clue what he actually meant with his words, but they sounded half-profound.

[Alex Litel can be reached at [email protected] and occasionally found at alexlitel.blogspot.com. This column may include some, many or an entirity of statements and facts which are not, in fact, factual.]