Mike Bithell explains how his history teacher made Thomas Was Alone possible

You can thank Mrs. Woods for Thomas Was Alone

Mike Bithell is the indie developer behind games like Thomas Was Alone, Volume, and Subsurface and Quarantine Circular. Plenty of other folks have contributed to those titles, but today Bithell shared an especially curious credit, which he says was instrumental to Thomas Was Alone: Mrs. Woods, his history teacher.

“Teen Mike wanted to make games,” Bithell writes. “He did not want to write essays. Mrs Woods, my history teacher, wanted an essay on the life of individuals living in a feudal manor. She wanted it by next week. I somehow had the balls to ask her if I could make her a game instead.”

Somehow, Mrs. Woods agreed. Bithell tweeted out a photo of the floppy disk that housed the resulting game – the title ‘Manor!’ is pencilled in over the front label. It was a point-and-click adventure where you walked around a manor asking questions, and Bithell took the game back to school to walk Mrs. Woods through it. She was impressed enough with the results to let him continue making games for those essay assignments.

Bithell says he learned to code by making these games, which ended up including an interactive Da Vinci diary.

“It’s a little thing. A teacher who was likely half an hour late getting home once every couple of months. But by letting me do my nonsense, and encouraging me to use her history class as a game design class, she inspired a career. This disk doesn’t get thrown away.”

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Oh, and in case you’re wondering, there is a chance Bithell might publish Manor! eventually – assuming that disk still holds the data after all these years, that is. But regardless, we still have a heartwarming story about how a simple act can inspire someone to follow their life’s passion.