Atari headquarters, 1983. A group of bored game designers sit around a table.
All right, guys, I know it's been a slow day, but let's finish on a high note, okay? We just need to come up with something that kids will find fun. We were all kids once. What did you guys think was fun when you were kids? How about you, Jonathan?
I had a paper route for a while. That was pretty good.
Okay, good. What sort of stuff did you do?
I delivered papers. That was important.
Sure. What else?
Well, I delivered the papers while riding a bike.
Okay! Bike riding! Now we're getting somewhere!
I don't know. The whole biking around thing wasn't really that fun. I remember having to spend a lot mental energy just avoiding obstacles. Lots of fire hydrants and lawnmowers and bees. Also a lot of breakdancers for some reason.
Hmm. Maybe we should focus on the act of delivering the papers. You had to throw the papers at the houses, right?
And throwing stuff's pretty fun, right?
It was okay, but my boss had this kind of weird thing going where he'd pay you more money if you vandalized the houses of people who didn't have subscriptions to our paper.
That doesn't sound right.
I know. Even at the time it felt wrong, but I was just a kid, so I figured, hey, what do I know? But yeah, the guilt of breaking all those windows, day after day, week after week, it really kept me up at night.
Jesus. And you thought your paper route was fun?
Well, I guess it wasn't fun, exactly. I didn't hate it. Most days, anyway.
Maybe we're looking at this thing from the wrong angle. Kids get paper routes to get paid, right? So maybe when the kid finishes the level, he, uh, writes us a letter saying he finished the paper route, and then we cut him a cheque. Maybe, like, fifty bucks per level?
I don't know. We shouldn't have to literally pay kids to play our game. Maybe this whole thing is just a dead end.
Well, hold on. What if we just took the boring paper delivery and the annoying obstacle avoidance and the mild vandalism, and made that a game? Sure, it probably won't be any good, but kids are pretty dumb right?
Oh yeah. I've got a couple at home. Complete morons.
Well, okay. But what are we going to name the thing?
We could, uh, we could call it
The meeting drags on for another six hours. A few weeks later, The Bicycling Boy Child and His Astonishing Adventures in Obstacle Avoidance and Paper-Based Publication Tossing Featuring the Bicycling Boy Child's Trusty Bicycle in the Role of the Bicycling Boy Child's Trusty Bicycle goes into development.