I have been avidly collecting Creativity Aides for the past few years, and very recently stumbled upon The Storymatic. It comes with the following tagline/warning, “Six trillion stories in one little box.” And they are not kidding. With hundreds of character types and objects to combine, it’s a limitless story-generating machine.
I just opened the box and started with The Classic Storymatic exercise, which involves combining 2 character cards (gold) with 2 item cards (copper), and letting the story unfold. Here’s what transpired:
Bim is a professional video game tester at a large online gaming company until a rare blood infection causes the deterioration of his optic nerves. As his vision gets worse, he tries to hide it from his employers. Trying to make sense of his situation, Bim becomes paranoid and comes to believe that he caught a ‘blindness virus’ from using dirty controllers and rubbing his eyes. He obsessively blames his co-worker Stanley, the one who rarely washes his hands. Before total blindness sets in, Bim decides to exact his revenge by unleashing a virus of his own. He begins to visit hospitals, walk-in clinics, and emergency rooms to collect swabs from random arm rests, toilet seats and counter tops. He cultures his ‘findings’ in petri dishes, which he brings to work every day to smear on Stanley’s controller in an attempt to exact revenge. Eventually Bim is let go because he can no longer keep up the facade of testing games as a blind person. As he suffers in darkness, and begins to adjust to his new condition, he hears of a strange outbreak affecting the city. People are dying from a rare and highly infectious fever that literally cooks its victims’ brains. The spread of the virus becomes pandemic, and Bim struggles to find news about Stanley and to cope with his guilt. [Gold Cards: blind person, video game tester; Copper Cards: blood, fever]
One of the other fun exercises is called XYZ. X has an issue with Y because of Z:
Ron Stanton is the royal taxidermist, as was his father before him, and his grandfather before that. For six generations the Stanton’s have been stuffing the dogs and cats and bats and squirrels and bears and foxes handed down to them by their regal masters. And they have always done so without conflict or complaint for over one-hundred years. Until Ron discovers a hidden trunk filled with hair unlike any creature he had ever ‘treated’. It is too corse to be human, but does not fit the profile of an ape or a gorilla. It is long, dark brown, and smells of thick musk. As Ron starts to question other royal servants about his find, he begins to unravel a long-avoided secret of almost mythical proportions. Did King Gregory shoot a Sasquatch seventy years ago and try to have it stuffed? Or was it the other way around? Did the old King have a secret twin? Who was the hairy ape man that used to live in the back woods, or was it an old wives tale to scare the children into submission? Ron’s life begins to unravel as his obsession to solve this mystery threatens his occupation, his sanity– and his life! [Gold Cards for X: taxidermist, bigfoot; Gold Card for Y: royalty; Copper Card for Z: box of hair]
This is a very cool toy/writing prompt/teaching tool/parlor game! Thanks to Brian Mooney for creating such a simple and infinitely enjoyable box of cards.