Writing Sample: Pitch and Presentation for Crooks

Crooks Box Mockup

Crooks is a game of intrigue, scandal, betrayal, and espionage – or, more simply, politics. It’s 2030 and Sam Goldberg, a former CIA agent, is enjoying serving his country more peacefully as a senator. That gets a lot harder when a fellow politician alerts him to dirty deeds being done by members of the opposing party. With only six months until the next election, Sam doesn’t have enough time to expose them through legal channels. Future tech, old-fashioned cunning, and modern political maneuverings combine as Sam tries to uncover the truth without triggering the next Watergate – or compromising his own morals. The more he uncovers, the more he’ll start to realize that nothing is what it seems in Washington…

Read About It…

Crooks Design Document

Crooks Pitch Presentation Slides

Project Details

What was I told to make?

The assignment was to create a concept for a game, write up a design document, and present our idea to the class as if we were asking for funding from a major publisher. The major caveat was that the game couldn’t contain weapons of any kind – and once you use something as a weapon, it counts as a weapon. (Introduction to Game Design, final project.)

When did I make it?

The fall semester of my freshman year (2008).

How long did it take to make?

About three weeks.

What parts did I make?

All of it – this was a solo project.


This is one of my favorite examples of how limitations can force you to be creative and come up with something cool. When told I wasn’t allowed to use weapons in my game, I wanted to find a way to still give the player a rush. Since a rush often comes from that feeling of “I’m gonna die!”, I needed to find a suitably dire fate which didn’t actually involve death. Party politics seemed like the perfect high-stakes environment in which to place a stealth and trickery game, and Crooks was born.

In case you were wondering: yes, that’s a heavily-filtered Vladimir Putin on the box mockup. It was surprisingly difficult to find a photo of an imposing white man in a suit, but this one fit the bill perfectly. An informal survey of about 15 friends yielded only one person who recognized him after the modifications. Besides, I did give him an American flag lapel pin, so that makes it okay.