Monday, January 01, 2007

Butterfly Effect

The other day I got an email from someone who had played my Chilly Willy game as a kid. He said that it inspired him to get into computers and now he’s an IT manager in Hong Kong.

It’s funny how a seemingly simple thing can shape your entire life. For me it was a similar experience. I grew up in Kyogle, a small country town in Australia and it was here that I fell in love with computers.

I discovered my first computer game at a show in the nearby city of Lismore. The game was a text adventure called Colossal Cave and I remember reading on screen about a dwarf in a hall. There was an axe in the room so I typed "get axe" then "throw axe". It responded with:

>You killed a little dwarf. The body vanishes in a cloud of greasy black smoke.

I was absolutely amazed that it knew what I was going to do and was instantly sucked in. From that moment on I knew that I had to make games. So I owe a lot to Will Crowther and Don Woods for inspiring me to make games of my own.

I’ve read how Star Trek inspired people to work at NASA, or how Sim City inspired some people to become architects and designers because they enjoyed the game. But it doesn’t have to be cultural phenomenon like Star Trek or Will Wright’s Sim games to have an impact.

When you're a kid even the little things can influence you. So it’s really important to remember that anything we do, no matter how inconsequential we think it is, could be the thing that helps set the future direction of someone’s life.