Inventing a Brain Game
An Interview With G. Tommy
Have you ever though about inventing your own game? G. Tommy
not only thought about it; he created a game of mental exercise
Swaggle (tm), which will be available to play online, as
well offline as a board game. It's set to be released in October
of 2011, and Tommy already has several school systems (in three
States) which plan to use both versions as educational tools.
As regular visitors here and subscribers to my Brainpower
Newsletter know, I have an interest not only in the brain
and mind, but also in new inventions and ideas. So I was happy
to get a chance to ask Tommy about the process he has gone through
to get his new game produced.
What did you do before you decided
to invent and market a new game?
Well Steve, I have dabbled in a few arenas - I have 16 years
in the fitness industry, 10 of which were spent as owner/operator
of a fitness center. During that time I became a personal trainer
and a licensed muscular therapist (Ohio State Medical Board).
We offered child care to encourage more mothers to join. However,
many of the mothers either had too many children to bring in,
or they were a one car family. Being a single dad
encouraged me to create an exercise video for mothers or (dads)
with newborns, the ABCs of Exercise, After Baby Comes,
Exercise. This video was created for the stay home
mommy and had 14 exercises where the newborn was utilized as
the resistance or weight. Then as the baby grew heavier, the
resistance increased allowing mommy to continually see improvements.
All of these exercises were done with the focus on bonding and
nurturing a loving relationship between mommy and baby! Then
a national chain moved into our town and that was the end of
my fitness center and the momentum for the video took a hit as
Ive always had trouble conforming to corporate America,
so I knew that was out! Then I started thinking about how much
my son loved it when I read to him and how cool it would it be
to read a book to my son that I wrote. So, that being said, I
found myself doing just that. However, it happened to be around
9-11-01 and NO publishing company would accept any submissions
or packages of any kind. So now I had to get creative! With much
research I decided to self-publish. Had some great fun with personal
appearances and such, then a big dose of life hit me and sadly
momentum was lost here as well!
After a short licking my wounds break, I decided
to get back into the personal training arena for the next six
years or so. I became quite tired of that, which brings me to
my latest endeavor!
Where did the idea for a brainpower-related
game come from?
Quite frankly, I was always the guy recognized for continually
taking every IQ test that I could find. My two favorite past
times have always been stimulating my brain and my love of music.
Without question for the past 35 years chess and all word games
have been at the top of my list. Then just joking around one
day with a friend I said, How cool would it be to play
a game that combined both chess and scrabble! Well, that
joke began to fester in my mind and I was once again
on a mission.
I see that you use the tagline,
"Where Chess Meets Scrabble." How exactly does the
game resemble either or both of these games?
Imagine combining the strategy of chess with all other word
games, building words one letter at a time. Be the first player
to complete a word on their turn with 5 letters or more, however,
players take turns choosing a letter until a word is completed.
Each letter chosen must continue to build a valid word when added
to all previously given letters. Each time an opponent chooses
a letter, it can change your word. So, in essence a player must
think one, two or three letters (moves) ahead at all times, which
is the chess portion. Then, the ability to scroll through and
recall most every word in your memory bank that uses all the
previously chosen letters, while accurately spelling the words
the scrabble portion. We will have videos of people playing and
an instructional video posted on our site and youtube @ September
Almost any challenging game exercises
our mental abilities, but what kind of mental stimulation or
practice do you think your game provides more specifically?
Well, I think Neurosurgeon Dr. Rickson says it best Brain
Swaggle is very strategic and loads of fun; it certainly requires
and stimulates global brain power. Its been proven
that intellectual stimulation on a regular basis does stave off
Alzheimers Disease/Dementia. Currently, somebody is diagnosed
with Alzheimers Disease/Dementia every 77 seconds and that
number is predicted to be every 33 seconds by the year 2050!
In preparing to produce and market
the game, have you played it with friends, family and others
in order to try it out?
Absolutely Steve, test marketing played a crucial role in
the decision making. The feedback from family and friends was
positive. I then contacted some superintendents and teachers
of local school systems to arrange a meeting. Now, it began to
get exciting, because they recognized the potential for Brain
Swaggle to be utilized as a fun educational tool. The students
would be the next crucial stage of our test marketing. So, with
the help of Jacinda who is a gifted student coordinator, the
date was set to introduce this to the students! After playing,
I had all 12 students complete a questionnaire (no names allowed)
to get their honest feedback, again very positive results. Lastly,
I felt that if I could get an endorsement from a Neurosurgeon
or Neuroscientist that my test marketing would be an over-all
What was you biggest challenge
in creating the game?
The biggest challenge for me to this point has been condensing
the rules or instructions. I would have to say that the game
itself is easier to play then trying to explain How To
play it. We have spent over 20 man hours on this part alone!
Assuming you do well with this
one, do you have other games you have been developing or thinking
Actually, there are 3 additional games in the developmental
stages that we are excited about. We feel pretty confident that
we will have support from law enforcement agencies on our next
couple of games
and quite frankly, Im every bit as
excited about these as I am about Brain Swaggle, if not a little
I'm looking forward to seeing
the coming videos and then the release of this new brain game.
Thank you G.
To learn more, visit the website Brain Swaggle.