Marvin Gardens wakes up just before 7:00AM, ready for an exciting day at work. Before leaving his modest home on Baltic Avenue, he feeds his toy poodle and has breakfast, carefully emptying his box of cereal to remove the toy inside (temporary tattoos!). After breakfast, Marvin gets into his Toyota for the short drive to his workshop on Park Place.
Today is a big day. Marvin has been working on a new toy design—provisionally called the ZipBlaster 3000—and today he'll be adding the finishing touches to his sketches and presentation. This afternoon he has an appointment with a major toy and game manufacturer, ToySplosion, to present his new design. He hopes they'll produce and market his toy to the world.
Marvin arrives at his workshop and, as he does every day, takes a minute to soak in the fact that he's actually able to earn good money designing toys. Turns out playing sixty hours a week of World of Warcraft actually did pay off—take that, Dad.
Marvin's shop is filled with his inspirations: thousands of action figures line the walls, from old-school He-Man and GI Joe to more recent (and irritatingly pale and fragile) teenage vampire figurines. Marvin can source all his new ideas back to these figurines.
He moves to the only clear surface in the room—his desk—on which sits a computer loaded with the latest computer-aided design (CAD) software. On top of the monitor rides an assortment of troll dolls and toy soldiers. You have to allow for a bit of fun, because all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
"Okay," Marvin says to himself, "gotta get this presentation finished up."
Marvin works furiously, taking periodic breaks to wind up cars that he sends zooming across the floor, or make Silly Putty impressions of various body parts (he works alone), or tip rows of dominos clacking over in chain reactions. Okay, so maybe he isn't working furiously.
At long last, his presentation and sketches are complete, and it's time to travel by train—the Short Line railroad—to Atlantic Avenue, with a quick stop at Go To Bank to collect $200 for the weekend.
Marvin arrives at ToySplosion at 11:55AM and is ushered into the conference room, where a panel of executive toy manufacturers and marketing specialists sit. They're waiting for the next big idea. Marvin hopes his idea is the one.
He begins his presentation.
"Ladies and gentlemen, when I was just a wee little lad, my father homeward came one day and gave to me this toy."
"A wonder to behold this is," said ToySplosion's Head of Marketing, "with many colors bright!"
The minute they laid their eyes on it, it became their hearts' delight. The toy goes "zip" when it moves, "bop" when it stops, and "whirr" when it stands still. They can't tell just what it is, and they probably never will. But the truth is—they love it.
"We see huge potential in this toy, Marvin. The possibilities are endless, and we can't believe no one has thought of this before. It's simply marvelous. We're talking movie spin-offs, a Saturday morning cartoon possibility, and even the potential for including a miniaturized version in kid's meals at fast food chains. Well done."
Another marketing specialist speaks up. "Let's run a test panel in a selection of cities across the nation to see how kids respond to it, and we'll decide after that on the best marketing strategy." Marvin is ecstatic. He thanks each of the executives profusely and packs up his materials to return to his workshop.
Once there, he sits surrounded by toys, picking up a Flash Gordon and a Smurfette and briefly considering what their spawn would look like. He can't concentrate on much else, and instead spends the next hour or two wondering if his new toy will go down in history as the next big thing.
At 4:00PM, the phone rings.
"Hello, Marvin? Ventnor here. Ventnor St. James from ToySplosion. Listen, we've got some bad news. We think the production costs of the ZipBlaster are going to be through the roof—we'd have to charge a hundred bucks for it to make a profit, and that's if we outsource the materials and labor. Do you think you can do anything about the cost of the parts?"
Marvin fights back tears as he gathers his thoughts to answer. "I—I think so. Let me see what I can do...I might be able to switch out some metal and electrical parts for plastics. Is the whirring a deal-breaker for you all? If not, cutting that out might save some money."
"That could work. How soon can you get a new model prepared?"
"Hopefully within a few days," Marvin replies. "Can we schedule another meeting for early next week?"
"Yes Marvin, that sounds great. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with."
Marvin hangs up the phone, his battleship nearly sunk. He looks around at the toys in his workshop—all excellent examples of functional, fun, and cheap play-things—and suddenly feels oppressed by their greatness. It was only two hours ago that he thought his ZipBlaster would join their ranks. Now he's back to the drawing board.
Marvin, saddened but not defeated, sets up some GI Joes, Magic Trolls, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for an epic battle. If they don't inspire him, nothing else will.
From 4:30PM to 5:30PM Marvin feebly attempts to fix the cost problem. (Okay, he really just spends more time playing with his toys.)
Then, at 6:00PM, after stopping for a not-quite-celebratory fast food meal (no kid's meal; no toy), he arrives home, ready to check out some toy design forums to see if anyone has any ideas that might help him. He has five days until the next presentation—plenty of time to dream up a solution.