MindGym

Hooked up the other day, after a dog’s age, with designmeister Jason Loader (who has just set up on his own as Yeah Love). We made MindGym together way back when – a game about creative thinking. Jason has been kind (and patient) enough over the weekend to dig out some of the old design assets from a moribund machine…

MindGym: The Changing Room

MindGym: The Changing Room

MindGym: The Pool of Ideas

MindGym: The Pool of Ideas

MindGym: The Pool of Ideas - Deep End

MindGym: The Pool of Ideas - Deep End

MindGym: The Think Tank

MindGym: The Think Tank

MindGym: The Games Room

MindGym: The Games Room

MindGym: Spy sim

MindGym: Spy sim

There are some more here

All these 3D environments were designed by Jason Loader (at a time when they typically took over 18 hours to render, so a bit on the frustrating side if you didn’t get it right first time).  MindGym was a concept I came up with at Melrose Film Productions in the wake of making a series of films about Creativity.  I nicked the title from Lenin or one of those Ruskies, who used the term with reference to chess. So Jason and I started work on it, then the pair of us hooked up with NoHo Digital to realise a bastard creation of great energy. Rob Bevan (now at XPT) did the interface design and programming, skilfully combining this kind of rich 3D with elegant 2D inspired by You Don’t Know Jack. His creative partner Tim Wright led the writing team – him, Ben Miller and me – it was a comic script with serious stuff underlying the gags. I couldn’t help chuckling recently when I heard someone refer to Rob & Tim as the Jagger & Richards of new media. Talking of which, Nigel Harris did the music and sound design – excellent audio was one of our explicit creative goals, again inspired by YDK Jack. And talking of Jack the lads, Paul Canty (now of Preloaded) and Mike Saunders (Kew Digital), who were just starting out, were also among the production team. The studio was infested with red ants (possibly flesh-eating), but it didn’t distract us from the task at hand…

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25 comments so far

  1. Jason Loader on

    Apart from the laughable crudeness of the 3D work by today’s standards – It’s the lack of anti-aliasing on the images that still grind – it was possible then, but not practical time wise.

    I was constantly hammered through this project – render pints and all that…

    • haley on

      i don’t know what that even means

  2. practicalpsychologist on

    I have commented on Jason’s facebook homepage. A genius work. I spent a significant chunk of my thirties presenting this. Wish I had a platform that would allow me to see it again.

  3. [...] Comments practicalpsychologis… on MindGymJason Loader on MindGymArkAngel on Multiplatform Swop ShopDon McMahan on Multiplatform [...]

  4. tim wright on

    am i jagger or richards?!

    t x

  5. ArkAngel on

    mick – you’re not broody enough to be keef

  6. ArkAngel on

    The link above from Hull Aphrodite (which I keep reading as Hermaphrodite for some reason) is by a Hull student getting generously philosophical about MindGym:

    “What I’m trying to say is this: the main object of MindGym was to develop different parts of the brain than ordinary puzzle games in a fun and innovative way, a feat that has not been accomplished with an equal degree of humour and originality before or since. Incidentally, it was also the first game ever to win the BAFTA for Interactive Entertainment back in 1998 (beating Douglas Adams) and deservedly so. The puzzles are amusing and challenging, and the graphics and animation is simply beautiful considering the game was made eleven years ago.”

    High praise indeed and much appreciated, HA.

  7. [...] – is what raises his stories to special heights. Tim and I worked together on the writing of MindGym back in 1996, a game about creativity, Rob worked on it too programming and designing  – it [...]

  8. Dwavenhobble on

    Im sitting here with a copy infront of me.
    I can tell you it can just and I mean just be made to run on a Vista Laptop but its a pain and thanks to the guys at PC world for their incompetence I really have no idea how I got it running due to them messing my laptop up.

    Id love too see this game updated and re-released maybe as freeware or shareware or even a new program Im sure if updated it would sell.

    If I again figure out how to get it to run on my laptop I’ll post again and tell you how lol

  9. ArkAngel on

    Wow, running on Vista – some achievement! Glad you enjoy it – I’d love to update it and put it online

  10. Katie on

    I remember playing this game for hours when I was a kid! Reading this has made me want to dig it out of the cupboard again….it was amazing!!! xx

  11. ArkAngel on

    Glad to have helped brighten your childhood in some small way ;-)

  12. Dee on

    I really loved this game as a child too and I’m still gutted that it refuses to install on my laptop. It’s probably still the most unique game I’ve ever played, thanks for developing it. :) I think this sort of game would be perfectly suited to the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, please make a port someday! :)

  13. ArkAngel on

    I’d love to. Really glad you remember it with as much affection as I do, it was a real kick to make.

  14. Practical Psychologist on

    Arkangel – do you think this might be possible? What might the difficulties be?

  15. [...] 2003 or 4 for Channel 4′s Family site. It was written by Tim Wright, my collaborator on MindGym. The title comes from an anti-drugs campaign of the late 70s or early 80s (Heroin Screws You Up) [...]

  16. asongtocyclehometo on

    I remember playing this to death as a kid. I also remember one particular phrase of “Smells like bullshit to me!” or horseshit or something, me and my friend loved it, to our parents dislike.

  17. theluckhabit on

    So good to see lovers of MindGym posting here – do Video Arts have all of the master material Aarkangel? Rather proud that I contributed the 5 quiz questions!

  18. ArkAngel on

    @asong from memory I’m pretty sure that was one of my lines (on account of the fact that as Executive Producer also I had to decide on where the naughty word boundary was) [otherwise it will have been written by Tim Wright or Ben Miller] – delighted it’s a fond memory in your childhood, we really enjoyed writing it too

  19. ArkAngel on

    @TLH I believe they do but lord knows if they’ve looked after any of it

  20. theluckhabit on

    Think I might find out!

  21. ArkAngel on

    Tim and I have talked about doing an online version – reckon it would work really well

    And Jason has just left ITV so we could get the Band back together…

  22. theluckhabit on

    or an app?

  23. […] business venture I’m kicking off tomorrow with a writer friend and a designer friend from MindGym days, an idea centred on Creative Thinking and which spun out of research I was doing for the Music […]


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