Have you ever seen a young, music crazed person complain about how “the music today just isn’t stuff that he can relate to”, and then move on to actually start a band to do something about it? What would you say if you saw a young teen-aged video game-crazed person complain that way about the video games on offer today? And then go on to design one on his own? The idea these days is that everybody should turn video game designer. It’s like it used to be with rock music before the corporate interests ruined a lot of it.
If all you’ve ever seen of video games are the major shoot-em-up titles from the major video game software houses, you have to realize that that about exposes you as much to what’s possible in the world of games as looking at the shelves at a major record store would tell you what was possible in music. All you get to see is what the corporations think you want. Mass-market tripe isn’t what the artform is all about.
Video games can be quirky, individualistic, beautiful and artistic. You mustn’t think that you can’t get in as a video game designer unless you have a great deal of programming experience and employment with a major publisher. It’s just an artform. You just need a little bit of programming skill and a lot of artistic vision. There’s a lot of cheap software that makes programming video games very easy.
For instance, there’s Game Maker; pay $15 for your copy of program, and can quickly create and publish games on your own. In this case, you don’t even need to know any code at all. It’s about the beauty of the vision you’re bringing in – not programming chops.
Some people have begun to understand how being a videogame designer can be like being a musician – how it’s about personal expression. And they have been coming in, trying to think about new kinds of ways to look at video games, creating games with what they see.
There are independent videogame designer meets these days where new converts come to show their work. The Independent Games Festival is one of these places. With simple programs that help you create games without any of the technical hassle involved, videogame design has quickly become an artform. It’s open to anyone with a dream and a vision.