[Have been enjoying my Gamasutra colleague Chris Remo's Idle Thumbs leisure-time podcast of late, and especially the game-related songs he's been doing for it, so I thought it might be nice for him to showcase a couple of the highlights here. So here we go!]

For today's installment of this new series highlighting songs from the Idle Thumbs podcast, I'm choosing my most ambitious Thumbs-related recording to date, "The Ballad of John Riccitiello," from Idle Thumbs 10: The Ballad of John Riccitiello.

This piece was inspired by the disheartening news that, after what has been, for me, Electronic Arts' best year in recent memory with respect to gamer-oriented releases and developer recognition by way of the excellent EA Partners program, the company saw declining sales and stock prices over the holiday.

Along the way, I imagined EA CEO John Riccitiello lamenting the sequence of events, with Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick attempting to lure him back to the old publishing ways.

I received a good deal of lyric writing assistance on this one from Jake Rodkin, one of my podcast co-hosts.

The song and podcast can both be downloaded directly from the official site. The lyrics are as follows:

The Ballad Of John Riccitiello (MP3)

"(Riccitiello)
Over the last six fiscal quarters
I tried to do my best as EA's CEO

I told my team we've got to go
for more original IP
This many yearly sequels
are not for me

And the press, the online forums
did rejoice at our new games
We attracted fewer flames

We've had...
Crysis, Dead Space, Mirror's Edge
Rock Band
, that's a fun one
Spore, and Valve's whole catalogue
don't mention Hellgate: London

We signed up id, and Epic Games
Even Grasshopper's involved!
With all these great game studios
someday our past sins will be absolved

But wait, what's this I see?
Is that the latest NPD?
What's happened to our stock?
It's falling like a rock!

(Kotick)
Ha ha ha!

(Riccitiello)
Hello? Who's there?
...Bobby Kotick?

(Kotick)
Yes, it is I, the CEO of Blizzard Activision
I pump out yearly series with superhuman precision
Don't you see the error of your ways?
You thought new IP was what the gamers want to play

No, no, that's wrong!
They just want more
of the same four brands to be explored
That is the way, you see,
to profitability

(Riccitiello)
That doesn't seem right
I thought with our standing we could be a light
for creativity and innovation
while staying practical with Madden sequelization
bringing yearly cash

It seemed so good!
Developers, investors, the media, and gamers:
a business model we all can get behind

But after all this money spent, and time
Look at us now

(Kotick)
Ha ha ha!
Oh, come now

John, you know quite well
how profit can be turned

(Riccitiello)
I do?

(Kotick)
Look into your past
at methods you have spurned

(Riccitiello)
You don't mean--

(Kotick)
You've been to close
You've got attached
To the game you are to kind

(Riccitiello)
I don't mind!

(Kotick)
To really get your money's worth
to take the longer view
There's one thing that always works
and that's to add a "2"

(Riccitiello)
A "2"?

(Kotick)
2, 3, 4...

(Riccitiello)
Hey, wait a minute! You're right!
I've had it all wrong!
These new games aren't one-offs
They're...they're...

(Kotick)
Say it!

(Riccitiello)
Franchises!

(Kotick)
Go on...

(Riccitiello)
Yeah, franchises!
I can see it now!

There's Dead Space 2, and Rock Band 3
and Crysis PSP
Hellgate: London Card Quest
How 'bout Dead Space 3?

(Kotick)
Dead Space 3?

(Riccitiello)
I've outsourced 2 to Singapore!

(Kotick)
That's the spirit!

(Riccitiello)
I'm gettin' it!
Mirror's Edge we'll do a little bit differently
We'll marry strong business with strong IP

(Kotick)
What does that even mean, John?

(Riccitiello)
I don't know, but it sounds fantastic!

(Kotick)
Glad to have you back, my friend!

(Riccitiello)
Yeah!
Hey, what's this? "Brutal Legend"?

(Kotick)
But--but I cancelled--

(Riccitiello)
This looks great!

(Kotick)
No! You can't do that!

(Riccitiello)
See ya, Bobby!

(The Wizard)
And so, John Riccitiello charted a fiscal course for Electronic Arts, free of the influence of Activision.
But not even Pachter knows what the future holds.
So sayeth The Wizard."

And here's the growing tally of amusing alternate URLs for Idle Thumbs, some of which have been kindly donated by listeners based on jokes from the show:

GOTY.cx (Our Game of the Year awards, now complete)
videogamesvideogamesvideogames.com
VigiVigiVigi.com
strategychocolate.biz
Explode-Mode.com
eightbitcock.com
8bitalarmcock.com
IdleBallad.com (based on this very song!)
goodseg.com
wonderboner.info
benchguys.net
riprollickingride.com
toeblix.com
And, the champ:
listofdomainnamespointingtoidlethumbsdotnet.info