November 29, 2010


Hi, my name is Andrew, and to the left of me here is my colleague, Greg. I'm going to use this post to explain why I love developing video games.

In the second grade, I had started playing Oregon Trail on one of the school's Apple II computers. I became immersed in the game's simple graphics and Mockingboard sound samples. This experience was incredible to me, and I became completely obsessed. After a year or two of playing, I had to know how these things worked. I found myself at the library hunting for books on the subject, one led to another and I started studying Applesoft Basic. I created my first "Hello World" application and felt intoxicated by what I had created. I learned some more tricks and code samples and eventually created my first game. It had all the elements I thought (at the time) a game needed:

-A win condition
-An obstacle to reaching that win condition
-Representation of the obstacle, player, and goal

The game consisted of a white square, a green square, and a red square. Every time you chose a direction to move, the game would cycle through it's script, causing the red square (the obstacle) to move 1 space closer to you, and a check to see if you had reached the green square (the goal). I was so proud that I had given this little red square the ability to calculate coordinates and follow you around the play field. I titled the game "Mover Man". Years passed and I am just as obsessed with game mechanics as I was back then. Every year since then I have studied game design theory, developed my own game concepts, and played games with an analytical eye.

I am very much into books, visual art, movies, music, and anything creative really, but gaming, in my opinion, is the most immersive experience. They are this beautifully complicated conglomeration of visual, aural, narrative, and interactive assets that come together to create this unique illusion of value and emotion to the player. The reason I use words like "value" is because as game players we invest a certain amount of emotion into the experience. We gain something within the game's universe; we can feel excitement, happiness, and sadness in a world that amounts to little more than electron pulses generating recognizable patterns. Tabletop games have the same effect. This is not to say all games are capable of this, but the good ones are. Alternatively, the independent game industry is experimenting a lot with what they can get the player to experience and is really challenging what a game actually is.

I see games as a collaborative effort of artistic mediums to create an experience or emotion for the player. What value the player finds in these games is hard to predict, but as a designer I prefer to make things that I think my friends and I would enjoy. I hope in this process that I can make games that the general public will enjoy with me as well. :)

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