I started playing video games before I could read. I know this because I would get so frustrated that I didn’t know what these dinosaurs were saying on this 8-bit game plugged into our 2 hundred pound computer in the 90s.
I was the little sister, so in the beginning, my controllers to the Nintendo probably weren’t even attached while I watched my sister play, mashing buttons. But my love for video games was all the same and would continue to be my entire life.
I am by no means a competitive gamer. I grew up playing RPGs. And that breeds a casual gamer.
I fell in love with storylines, rich characters, difficult puzzles and monotonous turn-based battle systems. Some of my childhood favorites, of course, being the Final Fantasy games, Chrono Cross and Chrono Trigger, and we can’t forget the moment Kingdom Hearts entered the gaming universe.
I grew up in the 90s so about half of my life was dedicated to Pokemon. I would stay up late in the night under my covers playing my Gameboy with that little rubber wire light thing that for some reason I would bite whenever my Pokemon fainted. I would sit for hours walking around in circles leveling up my Pokemon, not knowing it would prepare me for the monotonous grinding required in any MMORPG.
Over time I branched out. Games like Fall Out, Witcher, Grand Theft Auto, and Sky Rim showing me the true capabilities of what an RPG can hold. Miles of land littered with small rich stories to progress your own timeline. Creating characters, FEMALE CHARACTERS, to gain more connection to the story. Making choices that actually matter, having multiple outcomes making you have to really think about it. But after a while, these games aren’t good enough.
It was never a thought that I could be a part of making these games. Yeah, I would always have ideas and tell them to my friends that would make games better. But almost everyone does that. It’s one of the fun parts of talking about gaming with other gamers. And my husband and I are always pointing out flaws in games and how they should have done this or this would be more optimal. But being a critic doesn’t make you a contender for anything. We would always wish we could make video games, be on the storyboard, even just come up with clever game mechanics. But it always ended at that.
But recently, I’ve had the opportunity to make friends with someone who just does whatever he wants. He has dreams and he follows them and understands that the way to get anywhere is by doing it. He has a confidence that is foreign to most, and it is an admirable quality. Through several conversations, he noticed my passion for writing and gaming and instantly put two and two together. He suggested that I check it out, and I kind of did.
Growing up I always wrote. I’ve been a writer since I was at least 11. I’ve got more journals than books. I get excited in bookstores in that tiny section of beautifully bound stories that haven’t been written yet. It never occurred to me that I could write as a career.
Looking into making games or being on storyboards or any of that, the majority of the people involved seemed to be coders. I thought I can learn how to do that. At the time, I was working two jobs and would eventually be getting my third. But I can do anything.
Well, I failed and I stopped and decided I can’t be in video games because I can’t code. I’m not good at math (Like, I took geometry three times. I might have taken AP English, but I was in remedial algebra) and the puzzles that the code created just got too difficult for me to wrap my head around.
Then I find out that there are plenty of designer’s and storyboarders who can’t code, and it was silly of me to think it in the first place. That I wasn’t good for my ability to create things on a computer, I was good for what I could create in my mind. I was only good for my ideas.
I can have ideas, right? So, I decided to start writing.
I’ve been creating a universe on paper for months. I barely have any story, it just has to be perfect. I’m learning how little I can get away with in a pitch aesthetically. And it’s apparently a lot.
But I can’t code. So how am I going to pitch this game with a prototype when I finally have the mechanics and storyline down?
DRAG AND DROP PROGRAMS PEOPLE!!
There are programs that minimalize the use of code. And I’m learning how to make simple games now, and by the time I have my storyline complete and solid mechanics, I’ll be able to create a simple prototype that will seem impressive.
So, I’m not letting anything get in the way of this dream. Can’t Code? I don’t care. No connections in the industry? I’ll make them. Dry of ideas? Wait, no that’s not a thing. Anything I don’t know I can learn.
Let me say that again for the people in the back who may be overwhelmed with something right now.
Anything I don’t know, I can learn.
We have so much potential in video games as a platform to get a message out. I have so much to say and I just want to metaphor the crap out of it in a way people can’t put down the controller. Bioshock Infinite changed my entire perspective on gaming because of its story. I want to elicit that same response from people. Completely mind blown and staying up at night for a few weeks just contemplating the meaning of life.
And I will.
I find that my motivation to change the word dwindles when depression rears its head. Some days, I wonder how anyone functions without chronic anxiety keeping you from sitting still. I’ll sit at my laptop and wonder if it’s even worth trying. How many people try to pitch video games? What makes mine so special? What could I possibly bring to the table people haven’t already thrown in there to just get noticed. I don’t even really know what I’m doing, I’m just learning along the way. All I have is a story that I think is awesome, and that’s it.
I have all of these ideas swimming in my head, and I love each of them so much that I want to pay attention to them all and I can’t even grasp one and I lose it all because I can’t focus. My brain is just so excited, it falls apart before I can benefit from its excitement.
My brain is working against me most days, and I just have to figure out how to push through it.
And I will.
P.S. Yeah, that’s me as a little gamer kid probably not even playing Mario in the picture with my older sister.