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Solo Joe: A Rock Climbing Video Game

Solo Joe 2 is based on an early game, Solo Joe. I started working on Solo Joe when living in Pittsburgh, PA 2003. I had only been climbing for a few years, but was enraptured by the sport. In my down time I began to teach myself to program. The obvious choice for my first project was a climbing video game. The project stalled quickly as my computer died, and my vagabond lifestyle made it unlikely that I would ever get back around to programming a game.

After a trip to Bishop, in the fall of 2005 where I discovered a game called Gunther's Big Day, I was inspired to breathe life into my still embryonic game. Gunther's Big Day was so much less than my vision, and I was sure that I could best Asana's gruff boulder. So, at the end of 2005 I dug up the old design and began to plug away. The process was slow as I still had not solved my computer issue. Still, my efforts began to yield some results.

In early 2006 I finally had something to show for all my efforts. I shared this raw, one-level catastrophe to a few friends. It was awkward and mildly entertaining, but it did not represent my vision. One of the issues with my 'learn as you go' style of programming is that I often acquire new and helpful techniques AFTER I needed them, and I found myself rebuilding just as much as creating. And then... I got a real job. Between work and trying to actually climb, Solo Joe was forgotten for a while. Then in the Fall of 2006, my brother, Nate, inspired me to breath new life into the game. So, we planed some modifications. This new vision was different from the original, so I dubbed the project Solo Joe 2.

Had I known the scope of the project back then, I might not have attempted the challenge. There were many times that I was overwhelmed by problems for which I did not know how … or even if … I could find a solution. This project has most certainly tested my resolve. Looking back, it has been a learn-as-you-go labor of love.

Over the years, I have relied heavily on my brother, Nate, for inspiration and ideas. We've shared countless hours enraptured by this fantastic muse. And even though I did the heavy lifting—writing the necessary code and such—this game is the realization of a shared vision. In fact, I originally wanted to call the game "Solo Joe: Super Solo Brothers" … perhaps the next edition.

Though the expression is different, this process has been similar to real climbing. They are both creative. In both situations, there is a problem or challenge that requires a creative effort to reach the goal. I've been working on this project for seven years now, and I finally got the tick.

Note to non-climbers:

You may want to familiarize yourself with some climbing basics before you attempt to play this game. Though probably not necessary, a general understanding of the sport may aide you in your understanding of certain sections of the manual and the game itself.

Note to climbers:s:

This is a game. It is not rock climbing. Though it is based on the sport, it is still not rock climbing. This game may portray the sport in a way that conflicts with your sense of what is right and true in the world. Get over it! This is not rock climbing. It is a game.