Whatever Happened To...

Whatever Happened To...
A Conversation with Chris Crawford

Max Steele | 27 Sep 2005 08:00
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We were looking at samples of Deikto code for a bit when I suddenly realized I'd been interviewing Crawford for almost two hours. I decided to press him for a self-evaluation: "You remind me of Albert Einstein, post-relativity. Have you, like Albert, lost your way?"

Crawford thought for a moment. "I think it's a fair comparison, me to Einstein, post-relativity theory. I am searching for a grand, unified theory - a grand wonderful solution to all of our problems, and I have not produced an answer yet. The difference is that Einstein really was groping the entire time. He never showed a major step forward. Whereas I am much more confident that Erasmatron will solve the problems. And Mateas and Stern have published a tiny version of Unified Field Theory - so we know it can be done. But it's weird and immensely difficult. I may not have the strength to pull it off, but I retain great confidence in the likelihood of success."

It is the peculiar tragedy of genius that the greatest minds of any generation find themselves drawn to challenges that are beyond the limits of their era. Tesla invented the radio and the alternating current before embarking on a fruitless quest for broadcast power. Einstein gave us the special and general theories of relativity before turning his attention to the unified field theory that eluded him to his death. It is quite possible that Chris Crawford, perhaps the most gifted designer of his generation, is destined for a similar fate.

But I actually think not. When Crawford emerges from the wilderness of his isolation, like Musashi with the Book of Five Rings, count me as unsurprised.

Max Steele is an enigma wrapped inside a riddle. When not actively being mysterious, he passes his time manipulating time and space to fit his plans for world domination.

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