Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 25 January 2014
Thank you, Amazing Robot
Tucked away in one corner of Abbey Green here in Bath, is a little shop which sells - incongruously - retro toys. I was outside the Crystal Palace having a fag, when my eyes fell on the 'Amazing Robot' box.
I was instantaneously thrown back into my childhood of the 1950s, because I had the identical toy given to me one Christmas, including the graphics on the box. I had not thought of it for all these years, and probably would never have again had I not seen it.
The game is about as simple as the one in my last post (which I would dearly love for you to keep running by sending in as many contributions as you like). There is - as far as I remember - a board with a plastic, circular dish in the centre which is fitted with hidden magnets, and you place the green plastic robot in it. The robot is fixed in a position with its arm outstretched and has a pointer on the end of it.
I think you ask it a question and it spins around until it stops at the answer written somewhere on the board - like a very basic oracle. That's it.
It maybe a very simple idea, but the production costs must have been quite high in the days before injection-moulded plastic was made for peanuts in China.
Then it reminded me of the only other game that I have invented in my life (apart from the cunt one), and this game was devised between me and another friend one night, over a few inevitable beers. That was about 15 years ago, and each time I meet the old friend, we both say that we really must get it into production ready for the following Christmas, and each year we fail to do so.
The most expensive part of the production process would be the printing of the box cover, because we intend to have a whole 1950s family pictured on it, all sitting around and looking as enraptured as the kids on the Magic Robot box. This is how you play the game:
The board is a simple thing which unfolds into two, and somewhere near the centre is a wooden plate. Somewhere else on the board, there is a pile of cards with the titles of various bits of music printed on them, and each player is issued with a small, wooden mallet, or - to keep the costs down - just a little wooden block.
The first player picks up a card and reads the title of the music, then he or she taps out the rhythm on the wooden plate, using the wooden block. The rest of the players have to guess the title from the rhythm alone. Example:
The points are scored according to the difficulty of the titles, and some titles could be confused with others, as in Holst's 'Mars' from his 'Planet Suite' and Ravel's 'Bolero' - almost identical the whole way through.
Some titles would become obsolete after one go by the same family, such as the piece by Stockhausen, which consists of one chord played for precisely one second, but it could still be used to catch out any guests the family have around at Christmas - especially the elderly, uneducated aunts.
The game could be updated every year with the latest pop and rap, etc, and would become even more difficult to guess because of the modern trend for 'sampling' that the world's youth go in for these days.
For instance, I could start tapping out 'Goldigger' by Kanye West, and just wait for someone to shout out the name of the singer he had ripped-off to make his tune, then claim the point as my own, rather like he claims the music as his own. The possibilities are endless, and sales could go through the roof.
We have yet to look into the possibility of calling the game 'The Sound of Music' without being sued for breach of copyright, but I think that the rights to this title must have expired by now, surely?
I must get in touch with my friend and get the first sets into production. Oh, and don't even think about it - this post constitutes a claim on my intellectual property rights.