So I had this office over the garage that was big enough for two desks. Charles would often be in the office with me playing the game at his Dad’s desk while I worked on a writing assignment.
I was a freelance copywriter back then. I guess he was around 11 or 12.
Charles used to play this game called Roller Coaster Tycoon. And he never played it how it was supposed to be played. In fact there were a lot of games with “Charles rules” that never got played how they were intended.
Roller Coaster Tycoon is a computer game where you put together a theme park. They want you to understand theme parks as a business and pay attention to things like maintenance, customer satisfaction and profit margins.
To Charles, it was a game and games meant fun. Period
He’d play the damn thing however he wanted to and not worry about all the boring crap like business.
Charles made theme parks that were way out of whack. While the program would issue warnings like, “more maintenance is required on the roller coasters,” Charles would simply ignore it.
So on this day, he builds his theme park and declares all sodas free!
You could hear the delighted cheers of the park goers on the game who were thrilled at this new perk. Greedy consumers, overjoyed at this new perk, got multiple refills. They are Americans after all. More is better.
Little did they know they were being set up by an evil park owner that created an ingenious maze of sidewalks going first by the free soda stands and then by the bathrooms.
Not for convenience sake.
The bathrooms all had staggering fees to get in. Five dollars. Given the fact that so much soda was being given away, patrons naturally had to use the facilities and they were dancing the pee pee dance and complaining loudly at the injustice.
Lines at rest rooms got really long and complaining got louder
The voiceover would warn Charles that unhappy patrons were not good for business.
Charles decided he would take care of that Charles style.
So he opertated the big crane used for roller coaster building to pick up the biggest complainers and plop them in the lake. Chaos would ensue which would delight Charles and have me in stitches. The game had no answer for this. Because in beta testing they had not asked someone like Charles to give it a go.
The computer game’s confusion was even funnier.
He always created theme parks that were out of the ordinary, off the chart crazy places much like the Hotel California. It was hard to concentrate on my task at hand when I was being thoroughly entertained by his creative approach to theme park building.
That was Charles. Always outside the box.