Happy Friday. Let’s get weird!
Way back in the early days of consumer-grade laser pointers, I went to see a stupid teenage comedy movie with my older brother. Something like Austin Powers but I don’t think it was actually Austin Powers. Even then - the movie was geared right at my white male teenage sensibilities, and I still remember thinkingm “Geeze… this is bad."
Afterwards, some kid who was in the theater with us came up to my brother and thanked him. The kid said my brother’s laser pointer was the only reason he sat through the whole thing.
Fast forward to 2012, and I’m in a room of maybe 100 people at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. We’re sitting at the Experimental Gameplay Sessions, and we all have laser pointers. And we are being explicitly told to shoot them at the screen in front of us because somehow these game developers have rigged up a camera system that recognizes the lasers on the screen, then uses them to form some kind of mouse input to a game.
What this turns into is 100 people simultaneously controlling a huge game of asteroids projected on a wall to thumping techno. People are shouting out strategy to each other because if a clump of lasers veers too far off course, the whole enterprise goes down. We have to stay together!
It was really weird and really fun.
Earlier at that same conference, I heard a guy speak who essentially launched a company off the press he got from making a game with his 4-year-old daughter. It was incredibly cute.
His talk was entitled, “How to catch lightning in a bottle,” and his message was incredibly clear:
You have to set up all the conditions right, yes. And then… you have to do something shocking.
I still remember that. I still believe it. All of it.
Have a great weekend,