Sunday, February 27, 2011

First timer, first design memory

I was thinking this morning about my first game design memory. Kids make you think about these things. You think things like, how on earth did I get here from there, and you look at your child realizing one day she'll be taking a similarly unlikely journey to get wherever she is going, and that there is some heavy shit you will want to have a full glass of whiskey to even consider contemplating.

But I digress. The first game design memory I was maybe 7 or 8. Had a bunch of Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars, this is the late 70s now, so try to imagine a lot of firebirds and corvettes and actual metal construction here. If you chucked one of these at your friend, your friend's mom would be taking him to the ER. They were seriously fucking weighty, like small bricks with tiny cheap wheels.

One day I was playing with my cars- I had probably 30 or 40. I remember I was bored with them by now. I just couldn't think of much to do with them beyond collect them and even back then I wasn't the collecting type I guess.

Boredom made me mad. I start slamming two of my favorite cars together. One flips over. The other one flips the other car and stays upright.

Light bulb.

I start what must be some sort of OCD destruction derby. I ram every car I have into every other car.

The rules are simple. A car on its roof loses. A car that stays upright and on its wheels, wins. If both cars are on their roofs or both upright at the end of a collision, it's a draw.

It's immediately pretty awesome. I remember I kept notes on who won and who lost and that was the second big thing I realized. That the shape of the cars was dictating if they won or lost more often that not. I noticed that the Mongoose funny car which had a really sloped front end was by far the biggest winner because he always got under the noses of the other cars. I noticed that the square nosed cars often could knock over a rounded nosed car because they took the impact better. I noticed some cars had better balance, inexplicably, than other cars, like the grey jaguar I used to have, and that flimsy cars were naturally unpredictable physically compared to more well made cars. 

I wish I had my notes from back then. It's nice to see where you come from.

What's your first design memory?