I want to play games

It seems that many game developers and old school gamers don’t actually play games. Miyamoto says that he prefers to spend time in the garden, playing guitar, or walking his pet dog. Jaded gamers spend hours reading about games, but don’t really play them much anymore. Me? I love my wii and there are a number of games (across all major platforms) that I have enjoyed recently.

I’m considering a move into the video games industry, but I’m a little concerned that it may diminish my love for games. It seems that the game developer life-cycle goes something like:

  1. Get really into games; play them all the time
  2. Decide to make games; work hard to get into the industry
  3. Make games; work hard to produce a new title every few years

The thing that concerns me is that after the first stage, there seems to be very little time to actually play games. It makes me ask a number of questions: Does making games take away the mystique (such that one is happy to make games rather than play them)? Is game development what I want to do (especially if it takes away from my enjoyment of games)? Are developers mostly inspired by games that they loved many years ago (and can they make truly innovative games in that case)?

I don’t want to spend all my time making games if it means that I become disinterested in them, or if I don’t have time to play them, or if I get so far removed that my games are stuck with outdated notions of gameplay. However, I do want to make games… I suppose I just have to be sure that I always have time to sit down and enjoy them!

4 thoughts on “I want to play games”

  1. It’s very true, since I began working in the screen industry, I watch about 10% of the films (for leisure) that I used to.

    At the end of a day, I may have spent 10 hours looking at a screen, when I come home, I wanna play with my dog.

    It’s a life balance ying and yang thing. A good approach is to set aside some time to just play games for fun, so you don’t forget to do it.

  2. Maybe you can relate this to how your epicurial habits have evolved:

    Once apon a time I liked games, but eventually the best game seemed to be programming games. Programming made gaming feel empty and futile. I’d barely started trying to program games when I realised my ultimate dream was to create a toolkit that let the non-programmer build their own games (games were _real_ simple back then). I didn’t even know what the word compiler meant back then (straight from C64 basic to assembler, oh yeah) but I soon learnt. Got to uni with the plan of a career in low-level programming, but there I met enough architectures to realise I hadn’t abstracted enough, and it was the pure computer science (your telescope is just a distraction) that held my interest. Of course it didn’t take long to see that CS was just that part of discrete pure maths that applied to computers, and the interesting stuff didn’t necessarily have applications.

    Parallel to all this I developed a fondness for other people (it took me much longer than most to discover the existence of people worthy of fondness), and eventually realised that however much these things might fascinate me, the search for a deeper meaning would never bottom out – there is no base case – I would never find anything I could actually care about besides humanity.

    Slowly all that maths stuff became the means to an end rather than an end itself, but tonight it kinda came full circle: I caught up with an old, dear friend passing through town and while hanging with the resultant gang, had my first shot on a Wii. Tonight I enjoyed gaming without reservation for the first time in at least 15 years.

  3. Greg:

    Thanks for the well-considered and personal response. ^_^

    Aside from clearly communicating a process of intellectual and interpersonal maturation, I think that you’ve just written the best ever advertisement for the Wii. 😛

  4. Well too much of anything is usually not good. I think probably having an idea, making an awesome game (at least, in your mind) and then taking a break for a few years (like Ico/Shadow of the Colossus) is probably the way to go. Once you get caught into the trap of making games for money’s sake you’ll probably never be able to make good games again.

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