"Over The Edge!"
Fresh out of Graduate School from the University of Kansas, I began teaching Figure Sculpture at Santa Rosa Junior College. It was time to think about the game again. The name, "Equilibre Hable", was terrible from the beginning. People were being driven crazy by the difficulty of the first model. "Psychopath" came to mind again, but its negative connotations nixed the idea. "Over The Edge!" made sense because, like psychopath, it had a double meaning.
One month to the day after marrying my fiancée, Becky, I again embarked on the toy journey. This same month I began teaching my first art class at SRJC. At this point, the game was still called "Psychopath".
Several t.v. commercial ideas came to me. Here's one, "in a New York subway a crowded train car with many different cultures and ages moving along. All but one are playing the games. This one is a woman with the snob look. She rolls her eyes as people get off the train and more get on with more games. The next scene is of her getting off at the next stop. Next scene, she opens apartment door, takes off coat, fixes drink and goes to a fancy box and opens it taking out one of the games".
For me, teaching even one class was an all-consuming task. Luckily, the Thanksgiving holidays afforded time to work on the game... and to change the name. OVER THE EDGE was friendlier, and had a similar double-meaning as PSYCHOPATH. "This game will drive you Over The Edge!" The first "pivot" design came to mind, along with a magnetic strip allowing the ball to roll "upside-down", and better ways to attach the game to the cube. Snap-fitting parts together could eliminate cementing. The refined logo image (to the right) was actually produced on a computer 14 months later for the design proposal described at the bottom of this page.
Feeling like the father of Michael J. Fox's character in Back To The Future, I felt myself boiling up with anticipation, unable to make that punch! Somehow I HAD to get the game going. Becky and I owned no television, so we listened to a lot of AM talk shows. Bruce Williams was our favorite. One commercial that persistantly played was for a company called, "Invention Submission Corporation", or ISC. "Do you have an idea, or know someone who does...". We did! But what if they are a scam? Well, why would our local and trusted KSRO Radio advertise a scam? So we took the plunge. Several phone calls and mailings later, we had a contract for them to produce a 32 page report. The cost, $500! This was a large amount of money to us. Like most people who went through this company, we were under the impression that this report was a patent application (a submission, if you will). Boy, were we wrong!
The ISC report was useless, so on the advice of our friend, Greer Upton (spouse of John Watrous), Becky and I met with Penny Bracken. She had a consulting business called "$ensible Enterprises". Penny hoped to help us get the game marketed. For a fee of $25 (one hour), Penny gave us some example royalty figures and a contact with a possible investor named Joe Pascoe. If we made a license agreement, she would take 30%.
I think Penny may have suggested creating a proposal for the game. At any rate, it was again time to redesign. The latest version would contain two discrete "mazes" intertwined, or at least disconnected from one-another. The ball would fall from one unit onto another. It was very difficult to visualize. I was afraid of making a model because I had no shop, tools, or space. But I did have a borrowed Apple Computer. So with very few sketches, I created a 3-D model. It was so time-consuming that I only completed one of the units. I thought the accuracy of the computer could directly translate to manufacturing processes. Not true. As seen in the design propsal below, I eventually drew the other unit without modelling it in 3D.
The design proposal for Over The Edge took all winter break to produce. It was 19 pages long. You can see the report; I think it is rather ugly and with no aesthetic appeal, but at the time it was the best I could do. The images were drawn in SuperPaint and placed into PageMaker. I really hated Pagemaker! Now those old file formats cannot be opened. Joe Pascoe met with us, signed a non-disclosure agreement, looked at my report, and turned us down. Other leads went nowhere (LaserCraft, Animal Town Game Co., "Heart Song"). It was very discouraging to discover how little interest there was in the idea. I felt completely helpless and inept. Below is the Design Proposal's Table of Contents and Page 1 (which I wrote for ISC one year earlier).
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Description of Game
Prototype Design Illustrations
* fold-out page
HOW IT WORKS