Move aside, Bill Gates, there's a new whiz kid in Seattle: 14-year-old programmer McKaulay Kolakowski spent over 200 hours building a video-game tribute to the Seattle Monorail, just in time for its 50th birthday, only a week away. Even though his game hasn't been released yet, Kolakowski already has several monorail fans, and has been invited to join the celebration.
"This is amazing!" exclaimed Michael Taylor-Judd, president of Friends of the Monorail, an advocacy blast from the past. "Not only is it awesome that an eighth-grader can make this," says Judd, "but he also lets you choose Red or Blue."
"I certainly like the idea," says Kim Pedersen, president and founder of The Monorail Society, the world's largest online repository of monorail knowledge. "He sounds like a very good candidate for being a member." Pedersen is presenting the Historic Landmark plaque for the upcoming anniversary, and wants to meet Kolakowski. "I'm sure he could teach me some computer stuff, and I perhaps could teach him some monorail stuff."
Even the Seattle Monorail's General Manager Thomas Ditty is impressed. "I thought it was so cool," he says. Ditty spoke with Kolakowski's father today and revealed to the Weekly that they are bringing the boy wonder in on the anniversary action. "We're going to have him come put the game up on a projector for the celebration."
The March 24 birthday celebration will also include free rides for anyone who brings an old ticket stub or a picture of them riding the Monorail as a kid, and complimentary facility tours at noon and 12:40 p.m. Also, as a special gift for the early-birds, the first 200 paying riders get replica 1962 commemorative gold medals.
Kolakowski plans to eventually share the game on a website he's building. So you have a choice to make: the Red train or the Blue train?