Ludo, Ergo Sum

Ludo, Ergo Sum
Secret Agent Candy Man

Dave Thomas | 14 Mar 2006 11:00
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Cinematic 6: The Big Finale - Trip Reveals His Secret
So what's the big secret? What's the unknown ingredient in Trip's chocolate? Oompah loompahs?

We already know that people want to reach out and touch someone in bite-sized chunks. A smile from a pretty girl or a wink from a cute guy still gets your blood going more than watching King Kong tear a T-Rex in two. The way Trip pitches, you wish you had a couple of million dollars to venture in his vision.

But it turns out there's more to it than the psych 101 theory on human loneliness and alienation. Just having the right idea or the right product at the right time isn't enough. And Trip thinks he's unlocked the alchemical recipe for transforming common business ingredients into market gold. Call it his golden egg, his golden goose or his golden whatever; if Trip is right, this one is priceless.

"Basically, I realized that there was a formula that needed to be followed, almost like a recipe, in order to assure long term business success. And it's very complicated. And I've started codifying this formula

"And after I had it up to about a dozen critical rules, I realized, wow this is actually a really valuable trade secret. So I started documenting it, but I didn't tell anybody. And I basically told the board of directors and I told the management team, 'Look this is going to turn out to be a valuable trade secret. I'm gonna talk freely about some of the things we have to do as a business, but I'm not going to give anyone a copy of the rule book, the recipe. But if I get hit by a bus, you'll just have to break into my computer, you'll find it there.'

"That little recipe now has 58 rules in it. And, like I said, it's the only time my career I've come up with something that I feel like is a relevant trade secret. So, we'll see how it turns out!

"But if Digital Chocolate becomes a success, it will have almost everything to do with that trade secret."

Sound familiar? Trip is finally developing his biggest game of all - the successful business simulation, the Madden of making money. And as he works on polishing the rules, all he needs is a good story to wrap around the rulebook - a secret stored on his computer, we can only imagine, down deep the in vault, next to the phone booth sitting on the banks of a swirling river of pure chocolate.

David Thomas is the founder of the International Game Journalists Association. He also provides commentary and criticism at buzzcut.com.

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