Major says he had no warning about the accident. He was walking past a construction site in Beijing when the earth just gave way.
When he woke, with a fractured spine, sore head, and broken pieces of plank all around him, his sole memory was the "free falling plummet". He lay in the shaft an hour before being rescued. He adds that he suffered a "compression fracture" and while he's now fully recovered, still endures pain and limited mobility in his upper body.
Major writes: "Seven years ago, things went very wrong for me when I fell 9 metres down a hole in Beijing, resulting in a broken back. It was an incredibly close call since about 7 metres down, there was a plank that I went crashing through. This crash slowed me down and was highly likely a lifesaver."
Quite remarkably, he's now used the accident to make what looks like a really fun, colourful game. In it, users are thrust into Major's harrowing journey and play as a cartoon version of him. Although, he concedes, he's made his beard hair a little more ginger.
"You guide me through a Beijing construction shaft as I plummet," he says in a press release. "The hole is randomly generated so each turn is never the same experience. Awesome cartoon graphics are based on the real hole and myself."
It's controlled very simply: All players have to do is tilt their smartphone left and right to move the character; the further they fall, the higher the score. "Just watch out for the edges," Major warns.
Major explains that he designed Plummet after losing his job. With time on his hands he decided to "make good art" out of "the most painful experience" of his life. He says he modelled the gameplay style of the notorious Flappy Bird and the ever popular Temple Run, with an endless game style that allows quick play any time — with the sole purpose of achieving a high score.
He sketched the initial cartoons himself and then enlisted the help of a Serbian designer and a Romanian app developer to build the game. It was finalised and posted for review on Dec. 30.