Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011
You asked for it, you got it: the Six-Word Memoir Game is coming to a store near you this fall. Since we launched the Six-Word Memoir project in 2006, time and again people have suggested we make a game. (My mom, I’m pretty sure, was the first person to mention it—we were a house of bodies constantly sprawled out on the living room or kitchen floor playing Boggle, Monopoly, Scrabble, and, later, my all-time favorite, Taboo.) Our game will be a simple format that will require little more than a pack of cards and a group of friends—and we hope will spur the same passionate, addictive love of the form we see on SMITH.
The game world is a weird one, one I knew nothing about a few years ago. Like the book publishing industry it has its giants (Hasbro, Milton Bradley, etc.) and a few surviving and even thriving independents, like Universal Games. As I researched the prospect of making a Six-Word Memoir game, there was clearly one company that was the perfect fit. And so it was that I found myself in the office of legendary gamemaker, Bob Moog, in his San Francisco-based headquarters. In a weird bit of kismet, we figured out that his daughter, Nina, wrote Six-Word Memoirs as part of a class she took at Dave Eggers’ writing center, 826 Valencia, and we had picked it to be included in our first book (”My ancestors were accented cow herders.”).
Games are everywhere at Universal’s office—from the hundreds that Bob and his team have launched across the world (20 Questions, Blues Clues, Worst-Case Scenario) to classic games that Bob’s collected over the years that comprise his “Museum of Games.” The place is like the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of games.
Bob founded Universal Games in 1985 when he and a buddy came up with the now-iconic game, Murder Mystery Party. Since then, he’s built a hugely successful, still independently owned company by creating games that are perfectly aligned with the elements that have made the Six-Word Memoir project work so well. His believes the best games should be simple, thought-provoking, allow for lots of interaction for players between turns so no one gets bored, and be able to be enjoyed whether you’re 8 or 80. Importantly, as he told a San Francisco Chronicle reporter a few years ago, “We don’t put games out where there’s one winner and the rest are losers. Life is about process. Unfortunately, I know so many people where the winning and losing is what it’s about.”
Stay tuned for more on the debut of the Six-Word Memoir Game.