My career was born out of a lie…
This is my first post in Medium, and what a better way to start than letting everyone know who they are reading. I’m Ramón Díaz, a dude who’s always dreamt of becoming a Pro Game Designer, and now I’m in process of being one.
But skipping the part about me, and heading to what really matters in this post, last Thursday I was sitting on my “Interactive Entertainment Theories” class and professor Jacinto Quesnel told us about the “Turkish Automaton”. This machine changed the world in 1769, it was presented by his creator Wolfgang Von Kempelen in the Paris. The function of this machine was to play chess, the first machine ever built that could challenge a human brain in a strategic game, and the hell it could do that. Eventually Von Kempelen began working on different projects and the Turkish was left aside, but the impact this machine brought to the world led many other inventors to an infinite pursuit on trying to replicate the Turkish Automaton functions.
Years went by and eventually in 1914, Leonardo Torres Quevedo presented “El Ajedrecista” in Paris’s Expo. Someone finally accomplished to replicate Von Kempelen’s achievement. After this everyone was trying to create their own chess machine, even Alan Turing had sketches of algorithms in order to make his machine (The Enigma), used in WW2 to decode Nazi communications, play chess.
So basically we can say that every inquiry that led to automation of daily stuff began with the Turkish Automaton. Imagine the community’s surprise in 1854 when Silas Mitchell (son of a previous owner of the automaton) published a book revealing all of the Turkish Automaton secrets. It was all a lie. Von Kempelen’s invetion was no other that a box with the space inside to hold a person. This person’s duty was to operate the automaton from de inside, there was nothing automatic in there. As a matter of fact, it was even possible that the automaton could lose some games since there was a person operating it, but the impact in the people that played against him was so gigantic, that they would freak out and make a mistake that the automaton could explode.
So it all started with a lie, a bad joke… or a very good one, depends on who you’re asking, but it is clear that big creations can be born from the phrase: “fake it, till you make it” as professor Jacinto uses to say. Who would have said that this type of events like the automaton changed history of what it could have been? Personally, I thank Von Kempelen for creating this incredible illusion, thanks to it now I’m sitting in front of my laptop with Chrome, Game Maker and Steam windows open, and one step closer to fulfill my dream.