The Mysterious Case of the Japanese Screwdriver

As a producer, my role is to allow my team to do their job unhindered; to get the details out of their way so they can work their magic. It can include big things like going to bat in front of the CEO of the company for your project, or little things like carrying 10l of soft drinks from the convenience store to help morale during long nights.

Here’s an all too real example which happened today:

As you might know, I am currently producing Ghost Recon 2 for the Nintendo GameCube. Nintendo is notorious for being very precise in their functional requirements. For instance, GameCube games have to check if the format of a memory card is non-standard – even though Nintendo never released any non-standard games on the market.

One of these requirements is to check for a ‘damaged memory card’. If you insert a damaged memory card in a GameCube, the GameCube detects it, and the error message we must give is specific. The problem is, in order to implement this, we need such a ‘damaged memory card’.

Sounds like it would be a simple matter of putting a hammer to it, right? Nope.

Turns out you can only replicate a ‘damaged memory card’ by using an emulator (which we do not have) or by specifically short-circuiting two connectors on the memory board. Fine… We can do that. But wait a minute… If you want to open a Nintendo memory card, you have to have a special screwdriver available only in Japan.

And so, after getting in touch with a colleague from our Japan office, a brave soul left work over lunchtime to go hunt for the Magic Screwdriver in Downtown Tokyo. Said screwdriver is now on its way by FedEx Airmail. Hey, nothing so weird for FedEx employees, right? This is coming in from Japan, after all! Now I’m just hoping the parcel doesn’t get held up in Customs, because we need that tool now.

I love my job. No, really, I do.

About Daniel Roy

Daniel is a writer, backpack foodie, slow traveler, and endurance runner. He is the author of the upcoming book, "The Way of Slow Travel: A Hands-On Guide to the Best Travel of Your Life."

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