During a bit of down time on the road last week I opened my notebook to play a meaningless game of whatever had come with XP Pro. Not being much in a card-playing mood I was pleased to find a pinball game called Space Cadet on my machine, which I immediately launched.
After playing the game for a while I began to feel an odd kind of deja vu, as if I’d played that table before. I discounted the possibility for a while, until I noticed, down by the left flipper, the name of the developer: Cinematronics.
Cinematronics was the second company I worked for, and my first gig as a design consultant. Among the projects I reviewed for them was Full-Tilt Pinball, which contained three pinball games, one of which was – yes – Space Cadet. (Had I known how apropos that name would become years hence, I would have suggested they change it.)
No matter how slight my contribution, it was a really good feeling to see that old game still in literal play, and for a very real moment I felt good about my job in a way I rarely do. Had I been a lesser sort (you know who you are) I would have looked up the latest sales figures for WinXP, then relentlessly promoted myself as having been the design consultant on a title that shipped x million copies. Instead, I’m simply proud to report that I responded like a gamer. I set the high score as high as I could, then I kept going back to beat it.
Speaking of which…
— Mark Barrett
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