I was a board game designer...back in 3rd grade. I don't think I told you that. I never told any of my gaming friends, because many of them are real game designers and I did it for a school project. However, I loved it enough to keep trying until they kicked my stupid-struggling-with-math ass out of the Gifted and Talented program. It was better to "let's make it easier on her" than "work harder with her," so my days of being a gifted student ended in the seventh grade. To this day I think it was all the fault of one math teacher. One person, putting the doubt there, treating me like I was hopeless, and I lost access to all the cool things. Or maybe she was right.
This is probably indicative of why I got kicked to the curb, but when I was put into Gifted and Talented, I didn't understand what it was or why. I always did exactly what the teacher said as I'd been taught, so starting in 3rd grade, once a week, I went to the tiny classroom at the end of the A hall to play.
The classroom was about the size of a broom closet. That's probably what it was before they turned it into a place for the five smart kids to hang out. I guess that's another bad sign. Really, only five of us? Anyway, they stocked this room with all of the cool toys and actually let us play with them. Most of the time I remember school being about "Don't touch that." GT kids could touch and pretty much do whatever we wanted with the stuff in that room during the time we were there. It was somewhat structured in the 3rd grade. We were given actual assignments and one of them was to create a board game.
I'm not proud of this:
Again, another indicator of why they kicked me out, I totally based my board game on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
(Pause for LOLs.)
But...but...it was the coolest show!!!! They lived on this magical planet and there were giant green tigers and castles ruled by magic women who turned into falcons and...and...the Queen was a former astronaut and the Captain of the Royal Guard was a GIRL! (Honestly, this would never play now.) Marlena and Teela and the Sorceress, they didn't wear pink. They fought in all the battles. And Skeletor was really cool and scary for a 3rd grader!!! (His sorcerer's staff looked like this goat skull I found at work and may or may not have brought home to put hats on.) Except I was too old to like that stuff and a girl besides. I didn't talk about it at all in the regular classroom for fear of the exceptional amount of teasing I'd get, but no one seemed to care in here. So I made a fantasy board game out of Masters of the Universe. And although I don't recall a single rule and the construction paper board is forever lost to time, it went over pretty damn well.
I kept trying to make games as long as they kept me in GT. As I got older, it was less structured and we were told to go play with any of the stuff in the room. At least, I thought I was playing. I was probably supposed to be applying myself, but again, I didn't know what I was doing there, so I decided I'd keep making board games. I never got another one to work. I guess that's what happens when you're the only play tester. And destined to be Bad at Math. Because it's all about math, right? Or is it? I have no idea. I got kicked out before anyone told me whether I had a future as a creative person or if I was better off taking a job picking up after smart people. I guess getting kicked out sort of answered that question.
I've been thinking about that time a lot, lately, because I want to try it again followed by crushing math teacher doubt. Where does it go off the rails for some of us? Why do some kids believe they can do anything and some believe they can do only what others allow them to do and some don't understand what Gifted and Talented is? I haven't tried to make a game since.
There you go. That's my big confession for the night. Carry on. :)
1. I think I really like .3 mechanical pencils.
2. We're going to let Cole back in the Managers office because he bought a Millennium Falcon model.
3. Today is my friend's birthday, so its automatically special.
1. Tomorrow I will draw Pointy again.