When Harold came up with the idea, he thought it was sure to be a hit. It was his way into the world of fame and riches. After all, all you needed was that one idea. That idea that would escalate you from the normal status of mortal to take place amongst the Gods of Olympus. And who was going to take away his ticket? His ticket to the red carpet, to the pampering from the adoring fans and the endless assaults from paparazzi.
What he should have done is try to pitch the idea to a few people before constructing the machine. But so paranoid was Harold that he would not let anyone in on the secrets of his genius, the inner workings of his mind had to remain a secret so that he could undertake the task that it had set out before him.
And so he laboured day and night on the machine. He locked himself up from the outside world, completely isolating himself so that he could focus on his work. Then one day he was finished. Perhaps he should have thought more about the target audience for his product, he should have done that at the very least, but he didn’t. Instead, he approached Highway Entertainment, the largest producer and distributor of arcade machine in Australia. Because that’s what he thought he had. Just another arcade machine.
He called them up and made an appointment to make a presentation of his work. He set up a time and hired a van to cart the machine out so he could make his presentation.
And then the day arrived where he would present his work. The story or gameplay of the arcade machine wasn’t all that original, it followed a detective story where the gamer would control the detective to unravel a murder mystery. Harold knew this. He decided to focus on the strength of the machine, which was it’s controller. The controller had no separate buttons, it was solely a joystick. Harold described that you would direct the action of the gameplay with the joystick. The joystick wouldn’t move around, it remained firm in the user’s hand. When you wanted to make the character move you would pump up and down on the joystick, Harold explained. There are also buttons up the top that you can press to produce various actions for the character in the game. Harold went on explaining the other functions of the joystick as the board members of Highway Entertainment looked on with their eyes growing wider and wider as the explanation continued.
About five more minutes of Harold’s explanation went by until one of the board members, a man, stopped him. “Listen buddy, the game’s alright. You know, the game is great.” He went on, “But the joystick. Well, it seems a bit phallic to me.”
“Excuse me, I don’t know what you mean. This new controller is the future of the gaming industry.”
“You’ve just set out that the character is controlled by pumping up and down along the joystick, and a hundred other things, that are… that are… just insane. I mean, how would we be able to market this thing to kids! Or even teenagers without it coming to bite us back on our arse.”
“I don’t understand…”
One of the other board members, a female, tried to make it as blunt as possible, “You’ve designed a machine that’s controller resembles the act of masturbation.”
Harold stood there, it all dawned in on him at once, what he had done. He looked at the controller, “Oh, I see.”
Harold just kind of stood there, with the product of his work for many years. He hadn’t been aware of what he was doing, but now it all became very clear. The board members, who had listened to his proposition, slowly made their way out of the room. Leaving Harold there to think about it…