Pangs for the Memories

As Jim Shelton and I were driving together yesterday we got to talking about some old computer games I had worked on and on which he’d also been involved. We got to talking about Rules of Engagement 2, and I was bemoaning how we’d made a mistake of listening to the hard-core fans of the first game and catered to their suggestions, with the result that the second game was too complex.  Jim surprised me by reminding me that we’d also done the opposite: in exploring the idea of turning the first game into something capable of being run on an NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), we’d discussed how the super-complex interface would have to be simplified and some features made automatic. As a result of that, I’d actually added some features to simplify gameplay: the auto-fire for the ship’s weapons seen in Rules 2, for instance, came right out of noodling on how to do it for the NES.

A graphic of mine from Rules of Engagement 2

What I find troubling about this is that, once again, I am forced to realize how much I fave forgotten over the years, and how the narrative I have in my gray matter of “that’s the way it was” ain’t necessarily so. It’s one thing not to recollect a conversation or a dinner or something, but to forget work you’ve done, problems you’ve solved, and even how you got there, well, that’s just disturbing.

It makes me long for the memories I’m sure I’ll never get back…whatever the heck they were.


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