I attended the RebootDevelop Red game development conference this past week. Somewhere, tucked away in the back of my memory, is the last time I ever attended a game development related conference. When I was there I witnessed a spirited demonstration of Samba De Amigo, a maraca based rhythm game. I also tried out a version of the real time translation functionality in Phantasy Star Online. If you know either of these two games, you know that it has been quite a long time since I was at a game development convention. According to people I talked to who had attended conferences like GDC and PAX, RebootDevelop is not the usual fare.
I could write stories about who I saw, what we did, and conversations that I had, but I would really rather not. There is a reason why I number rather than title all of these posts. I have a strong belief that that some experiences should be ephemeral. Some moments need not be recorded. I realize that all of these posts are searchable and discoverable, but I don’t really make it easy. Maybe for the internet that is ephemeral enough.
Here is what I will say. I don’t know if I have ever been more convinced that what I am trying to do, making games, is the only thing I should be doing. It’s not that I couldn’t do other things. I certainly spent a long enough time in the various branches of advertising. If I needed to I could probably create store displays, commercials, and promotional banners again. But that isn’t what I should be doing. I should be making games.
Every person I talked with, every person I had even a brief interaction with while at lunch or refilling coffee or ordering my third beer for the night, every single one of them was working in games because if they didn’t, no one else would.
The long and short of it is, making games is incredibly hard. It’s technically, artistically, economically, and emotionally hard. Everyone I met had skills that could take them far in other industries. They could all be wildly successful doing anything easier than making games. But they weren’t doing other things, because they couldn’t do other things.
At some point during the three day conference I was in the middle of a conversation with a game developer and I realized something. The game they were telling me about the game they were proud of, and had put so much of their effort and passion into, if they hadn’t worked on it, no one would have. That game would simply have never existed without that one person’s dedication. The thing was, it was a very good game. It needed to exist. The world is a better place because that game exists. And without that one person, that game would not ‘be’.
There are games that I want to see in the world. There are games that I think need to exist. The only thing stopping them is that I haven’t made them yet. I need to change that.