ELGIN sat in his agent's office. She wasn't a very good agent. Most of the scripts on her desk ended up with the main player getting killed. "Besides," she told Elgin in an Annabel Giles cut-glass accent, "there aren't very many parts for marbles in modern computer games. They are passe".
He wouldn't have minded, but ever since he put on the boot polish for a roll-on part in Marble Madness as one of the evil spheres which try to knock you off, he had been out of work. Elgin felt rejected and rolled out of the office knocking over the remains of a flower pot which had been hacked to death by some ninja's earlier that day.
Out in the street he met Buster, a friend who worked as an explosion sprite in shoot-'em ups. Buster was on his way to audition at the fledgeling Sphinx software house. "Tag along", he said.
The Sphinx office smelt of reformed pirates, people who didn't shy away from composing unbelievably dull electropop durges on dodgey copies of Soundtracker. Buster went into the office to be cast in Thyrid, which Sphinx billed as Come Save Thyras - beat The Guardians of the Elements.
Lying on the coffee table underneath a copy of Playsprite Magazine, Elgin found a dog-eared script, Magic Marble. The plot looked thin. Something about a marble called Marvin travelling across three lands made of small tiles to save the planet MarbleBlue. Yuk, thought Elgin. And he was right.
But the action sounded OK. Lots of stunts, transforming into a man, walking on the thin ice, bouncing of mirror type devices, turning hot to melt the ice, becoming indestructible or suddenly being able to fly. The maze scenes sounded tedious, but jumping ramps was dead exciting. Perhaps Elgin could get a job as a stand-in stunt
Not exactly a big budget production, but good at combining the skills of learning a map and some adroit movements to get through the three acts. Well crafted so that the skills picked up in the first act are necessary to get anywhere in the second.
Remembering what symbols did would prove a bit tough for someone like Elgin, who had never had a speaking part, but the Steely cast in the lead would have no problem. But Elgin was wrong.
Bright the Steely burst out of the Boss's office in a cloud of cigar smoke, shouting: "I'm not working for you if you insist on having some metallic tart on the high score screen". He did a double backflip to make the point, not realising that this doesn't look very impressive when you are spherical.
"Don't worry", boomed a voice from the dark. "We'll find another marble to play the lead. Take your 0.8 per cent carbon and stick it where the electron gun don't shine."
This was his chance. Elgin walked into the office.