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The story of how I, a retired 45+ year resident of Tokyo, Japan from Johnstown PA, got into game development with Unity 3D, and why my slogan is: "35+ years of coding and only one game to show for it."

Theron Huffman, Blogger

December 11, 2014

4 Min Read

The Birth of The Octagon Theory (Part 1 of who knows how many parts) 

First of all let me get something straight. I have a very long story but I'll try and keep it short, sweet, and to the point because most of my time from now on will go to finishing up the coding of my game. Some of my time will go to promoting it here, on Twitter, and on other Web 2.0 venues. And a little of my time will go to writing these posts, so I'm not going to be too concerned with the spelling, punctuation, and grammar. If my story get across to you, it's good enough for me, and I hope it's good enough for you too. 

So here goes... 

TOKYO 1982 

I was really sick of working in the exploitive eikaiwa industry (Eikaiwa is Japanese for teaching English conversation). I could see it was a dead end job. I was desperately looking for a way out. At this time personal computers were just showing up in electronics stores and articles about the personal computing hobby were in a lot of trendy Japanese magazines. Apple had released the Apple I in 1977 and by 1982 a few had been imported to these shores. 

One day while checking out new audio equipment (the listening kind, not the podcasting kind) in the local electronics store I saw a couple of very excited and animated kids between 10 and 13 years old standing in front of one of the new contraptions that were just starting to take shelf space away from the audio equipment. These contraptions were "Pasocons" (Japanese contraction for personal computers).Wondering what these kids were up to I walked over and peeked over their shoulders. One kid was holding a magazine open to a page of jibberish and another kid was wildly peking away at the pasocon keyboard. I looked at the monochrome monitor that was attached to the pasocon and saw the same kind of jibberish on the screen. I recognized some words like 'loop', 'for', and 'do' mixed with what looked like convoluted math. 

After confusedly looking at the screen for a while I realized that one kid was typing in the computer program that was listed in the magazine that the other kid was holding. (I now know that that listing was a Basic program for a simple game). Now the listing in the magazine looked long and I wasn't about to hang around until the kids were finished, so I walked away. But I didn't yet realize what an impact that event would have on my life. 

I left that store with a kind of future shock. And at thirty three years of age I had the feeling that those young kids knew a heck of a lot more than I did about something that was going to be very important. I felt like Rip Van Winkle and was worried that if I didn't soon learn about personal computers that I'd be the old man who couldn't use one and would depend on younger people to use them for me. 

Around this time I had also read an article, can't remember where though, that the 3rd best jobs would go to people who weren't afraid of computers, the 2nd best jobs would go to people who could use computers, and the best jobs would go to those who could control computers. 

Knowing what kind of job I wanted I set out to learn how to control computers. 

I tried applying for a mail order personal computer repairman course that I had seen advertised in the back of some magazine. Having previously spent eight years in the US Air Force, the GI Bill benefits would pay for the course so I wasn't worried about finances even though my meager eikaiwa salary alone wouldn't have allowed me to to pay for the course. 

I was getting excited about trying to learn a new trade, something that would allow me to break out of the eikaiwa rut (which was almost impossible to do in those days) but the school offering the course would not deal with me because I was living in Japan. 

But now I was determined. I'd find another way to learn about computers even though I was in English- information-scarce Japan, had little time and almost no extra money to spend on learning a new skill.

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