It's been a long time since I've written anything on this blog realistically for a number of reasons, but the biggest being a big change. When I started this website, I thought it would be the only way that I would be able to be a part of the games industry. For me, just writing about it and being on the periphery was enough, and, in my mind, the best that I could hope for.
I can now firmly say that previous me was a fool.
I was afraid of coding. I would think back to my terrible experience in high school computer science and close the window, repeating the mantra that I couldn't code. That I wouldn't be able to make games.
Man was I dumb.
Over the past year I've learned how to code. I don't think I'm good at it (but then again, does anybody?), but at least I can get the job done. I knuckled down, learned C#, learned how to treat the Unity editor just right to avoid crashes and I've made games.
I've made a lot of games. I've made narrative twine games based on card game prototypes, I've made asymmetrical games in teams (a vampire game and a shameless WarioWare clone), I've worked on a puzzle platformer prototype, created a shambles of a roguelike with a fun control scheme and I've even created a horribly obtuse ARG-like game. I've written RPG scenarios, world bibles, even entire systems about parents and children having arguments (coming soon).
I've created code I couldn't even dream of understanding before (and still takes me some time to remember what I did), I've made games that are closer to art than anything and I've even participated in a game-writing jam! I've worked hard and I've become a part of the industry that I dreamed of being in so much.
This wasn't just done on an impulse. No, it was done chasing after a dream.
A card-carrying member
I set my sights high - I wanted to go to Graduate School for Game Design despite the fact that my focus during my undergrad was Screenwriting (with a healthy amount of sculpture courses). I wanted to go to SMU Guildhall. I was a fool with a dream, and so I set forth.
I learned to code. I made things for the sake of making things. I analyzed a post mortem and probably went through 20 different drafts of the document perfecting my understanding of the business and of what happened based on the limited information. I knuckled down so hard, that by the time I looked up I hadn't realized just how much time had gone by, how many games I had made, how much I'd done.
I submitted and to my sheer delight I had been accepted into Guildhall's Production program, with a sub-specialization in Game Design. I went from a year ago where I was just thinking about games and too scared to do any more than that, to having made a whole lot of bad games and standing on the doorstep of the industry.
I never imagined I could accomplish this much in such a little time. It's an incredible feeling.
I'm writing this to tell you that you can be a game maker in a really simple way - make games. Teach yourself to code and make a ton of bad games. Make boardgames or cardgames or physical games. Make interactive art experiences. Just make things and push yourself and chase after your dreams and one day you'll stop, look back, and realize just how far you've gone without realizing it.
Anybody can make games, so please, if you've ever had the impulse to make a game, chase that impulse. Make it a reality.
A game designer, producer, production designer, writer and editor, Jason has dipped his toes into many creative fields, perhaps too many. He lives in Toronto, writing, making games and thinking about dogs. Follows Jason on Twitter at @jwestonwong.