Why am I here?

Posted in Adventure, Games, News, retro on September 18th, 2012 by George K

Someone on a forum asked “What do you make games for?” and made a poll with the suggestions:

1. Money
2. Fun
3. Neither

I chose ‘neither’ but felt I should elaborate on that. It turned out into a bit of an essay, but I thought it might be ok to put it here, hoping to give people an insight into why I do what I do!

So, here’s my answer:

Ever since I was a young boy back in the 70s I wanted to make games. I was introduced to them via the arcades (Space Invaders!) and an early home pong system my dad bought us for Christmas one year!

This started happening in the 80s with the advent of the ZX Spectrum. I tinkered around in BASIC and made my first full game (a maths based educational title) for my ‘O’ level computer studies project.

Machine code was a bit beyond my capabilities so before and after that I looked into game making programs. There was ‘Games Designer’ (http://www.worldofspectrum.org/infoseekid.cgi?id=0001970) which I found to be fun but a bit limited.

There was also ‘The Quill’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Quill) which helped me write a couple of unfinished Adventure games. I found that having the initial idea is easy. Finishing a game is not. Something true even to this day! :)

There was also ‘White Lightning’ (http://www.forth.org/lightning.html) which was just way too complex for me. I did end up spending most of my summer that year sitting by a pool with a load of graph paper making characters. I must have been about 14 I think?

Then there was a hiatus of sorts as consoles took over. I could no longer make my own video games so I got into making my own collectible card games (using common cards from CCGs I was playing at the time). There are PC programs now that let you design your own cards, but back in those days I had to photocopy all the art, cut it out, stick it over existing cards to make my own etc etc.

I also got into board games and RPGs. My friends at the time weren’t really into that kind of thing, so I ended up playing out scenarios alone or in my head. I would read rule books for hours, marvelling at the amount of thought that had to go into making a game work.

Late 90s/early 2000s was when things really started kicking off again. I used GameMaker from a very very early stage, and ended up also learning how to make simple WAP games for early mobile phones.

I even tried my hand at a GameBoy Advance game. Alas it didn’t get far!

I was lucky that someone in an actual game company recognised the passion I had for games and gave me my first game design job. That guy is Jake, and he’s one of my very best friends now. I know of no-one else that loves games as much as I do!

So I got a games industry job, but I couldn’t stop making my own games. Later I used Adrift and wrote a couple of adventure games (http://www.ifwiki.org/index.php/Quantumsheep)

And then came GameSalad. I picked it up straight away, and it has been so much fun to use. It has changed my life because I can now create whatever I want to, pretty much. And thanks to Apple, I can distribute that to thousands of players and hopefully spread some fun around :D

Making games is, essentially, an extension of myself. I hope my games will reflect that. And while I’m not averse to making money from making games, it’s not the driving force.

None of my projects had money as the core reason for doing them. In fact, for nearly all of them there was no way to actually monetize any of it. It was literally done because I wanted to do it!

It’s all a bit boring I’m sure, but I hope that it shows I do this as a creative exercise to get all the ideas that swim around in my head OUT.

I love games. I love making games. I do this because I can’t imagine NOT doing it.

Is that a good enough answer for you? :)

QS :D