What Games Mean To Me
Before I can really talk about what games mean to me I think it is important to provide a brief amount of background on where I am coming from on this personal subject.
I began developing a love for both drawing and programming as a young child and have spent countless enjoyable and priceless hours on those activities over the years. I caught the art bug bad in the late 70s after encountering Speed Racer on TV and the first Star Wars movie.
I filled page after page in my father’s art journals with little car race and space battle scenes. I remember him taking a lot of time showing me how to draw and even how to do flip book animations on the corners of the journal pages.
Even before we had a home computer my parents started sending me to Radio Shack computer camps at age six for programming in LOGO where I would get very familiar with that friendly drawing turtle and pen up and pen down. Then when I was about eight years old my parents got our first home computer. It was a TRS-80 but we only had it for one night–the salesman from Radio Shack called back to say they had received something better and wanted to know if my father wanted to upgrade.
That is how I ended up with a Tandy 1000 and a great book on BASIC by David A. Lien. I will never forget noticing the author’s middle initial and last name could form the word Alien and would always wonder if that was a joke or not. I would use that book on BASIC along with numerous Mother-chaperoned trips to the Public Library to spend all my free time filling floppy disks with hundreds of BASIC computer games.
This dual exposure at a young age to both art and computers ended up having a very lasting effect on me. I have equally split my time between science and art related pursuits. I remember piling on the art and math classes in high school and always being frustrated at how both subject tracks wanted to exclude access from the other. Teachers always wanted you to pick your path. They couldn’t seem to comprehend why you would want to do both. This made no sense to me. I’ve always seen art in science and science in art.
I have attended four different colleges trying to get degrees first in Illustration and Painting, then Film, then Psychology, and lastly Computer Engineering. I always did well in college but would eventually get too impatient with what I felt was a slow pace and drop out to pursue various self-employment opportunities either by myself or with other like minded people I’d meet in college. I still have no degree but it hasn’t really slowed me down any. I have been self-employed full time for over ten years now even though the types of businesses may have varied.
I feel this background I’ve shared critically relates to what video games have come to mean to me. I believe the frustration I found when I was younger in having to pick between either “being an artist” or “being a scientist” drove me mad. I didn’t understand why someone couldn’t be interested in both. I eventually decided to stop trying to pick and realized that I just love learning about anything that interests me.
It wasn’t until the past two or three years that it finally dawned on me that the only career and passion of mine that has existed since I was a child and that could encompass everything I was interested in was video games.
I believe you can make a video game about anything at all and it can utilize aspects from every art form yet created by humanity. This realization absolutely blows my mind with excitment.
I love creating the art, the sound effects, the music, the game mechanics, solving the math problems, engineering the software, writing story or dialogue if applicable–the list is endless as to what a game can contain. This inspires me beyond anything I have yet found in my life so far to create and I’m quite thrilled as to the possibilities that await people in general for both what games will continue to teach us and where they yet have to go as a medium.
All this debate I’ve witnessed over the past few years as to whether video games can be art or not makes no sense to me at all.
I am a person that truly believes a life well lived can be art.
Life is art.
Games can be art.
This is what games mean to me.