Sickly green light washed over the stubble and pale complexion of the man hunched in front of his computer monitor. Beside it sat a television, black except for five horizontal, crimson-colored bands running from top to bottom like lines on notebook paper. Garry Kitchen closed his eyes, but the straight red lines were burned into the backs of his eyelids. Behind him came a steady pounding: pound—pound-pound-pound. He didn’t rise to the bait. He knew what he’d see. On the arcade cabinet’s screen, a giant ape the size of King Kong had just scaled a construction site made of straight red girders. With every stomp, the platforms had twisted and bent until they were slanted like ramps. Standing tall at the top, the ape intoned his grating, mechanical laugh. Kitchen gritted his teeth. His replica of the construction site was almost perfect. Steel girders, a flaming barrel, a little man in red-and-blue overalls, an ape at the top. There was just one glaring, maddening difference. His platforms refused to bend. That was going to be a problem. Garry Kitchen watched the success of Mattel’s electronic games with interest. Just a few years ago he’d been a college kid chasing an art degree a...