Thoughts On The Game Industry From A Developer Who Doesn’t Have Any

“I don’t like video games. I don’t play video games. Most video games suck. Someone says ‘Hey Joe, you wanna play some video games?’ You know what I say? I say I don’t like video games. I don’t play video games. Most video games suck.”

I am paraphrasing Joe Garrelli (his last name is Rogan?) from the 90’s sitcom NewsRadio to show you how strange this is. It’s not often a lifelong gamer gets so far with making games, and then loses interest in even playing them. If you told me back in 1999 when I was learning C++, OpenGL, and DirectX, you would never have convinced me that I would ever stop gaming. Giving up on making games, maybe, but playing them, impossible.

But it happened. Games just don’t compel me enough to play them. Graphics that almost match reality somehow don’t mean very much to me either. The visuals overload my mind the same way that older games must have felt to my parents, because they never played video games. They are only 20 years older than me, and that’s enough of a difference for video games to be too unfamiliar for their minds to process. It’s almost like how older TVs ran at a frequency that pets couldn’t see, or how I could never play Nintendo 3DS with 3-d mode turned on. So I’m not surprised that in terms of technology I already feel like a 35-year-old geezer.

The last game that I absolutely had to play was Portal 2, which is no surprise. But I would have enjoyed it just as much if it was on GameCube and matched the visuals of Metroid Prime, one of the other rare FPS games I actually played, also because it was a must-play title. Speaking of Rare, take a guess what other 3 or 4 FPS games I ever liked, and you’re probably right. The FPS genre is almost the #1 focus of the game industry, and 3rd person is really my style, so that’s another factor in my loss of interest.

Anyway, what this means is that I don’t have any real opinions about modern games, and my opinions matter even less than opinions usually do, which I guess takes them below zero. And it means that I can watch any video criticizing any AAA game and not take it personally. Even if a Vlogger hates a game, I can still enjoy the passion that gamers have for this incredible art form.

The only thing about AAA titles that bothers me is seeing so many gamers disappointed with them. Too many decisions based on greed, getting a fanbase hyped up only to let so many devoted fans down. But what makes it so much worse to me is knowing about the developers. On top of being burned out from crunch time, they finally release a game only to have thousands of gamers piling all of their legitimate complaints on them because they had some bad business decisions dropped from above. Needless to say I have no regrets about not getting into the industry back when I graduated in 2000.

I guess the harsh criticism just shows you how much gamers love gaming. The idea of making games for a living must appear to be so perfectly exciting all of the time, that any of the work involved doesn’t feel like work at all. And I can understand where that comes from.

Perhaps part of the problem is that there’s just too much possibility with games. Or at least there appears to be, and maybe that’s the deeper issue. The human imagination can come up with countless possibilities, but technology is only starting to become ready to literally handle any idea. So it’s all too easy while playing a game to start imagining what could make it better, like a back-seat game designer.

So that’s what I’m focusing on for this project, the part of every gamer that wants to be the designer. If I wanted to make an addictive game that sold like crazy, I could make that my focus, and if I’m lucky, I could probably pull it off. But there are more than enough developers doing that, and not enough actually learning everything about code.

So I’m basically trying to get gamers just as addicted to making games as they are to playing them, but that makes it sound negative. The JEOZ Engine is for gamers like me who would rather play with game code than with games. I want to help turn game development itself into a toy.

And I understand that the market is already over-saturated. It’s become almost too easy to make simple games, and that has some drawbacks. But then again, so does everything else. Too many people and too much potential for easy money always causes problems. What we need are more people who aren’t just in it for the money.

I see this as just a phase of an industry that’s still relatively new, and we’re going into uncharted territory. Of course it’s going to reach the point where there are too many cheaply made products from people that are only in it for profit. But getting more people into this artform doesn’t inherently mean it will keep getting worse.

So there’s no reason to discourage anyone from using whatever language they prefer. Passion should never be discouraged, and no dream should ever be crushed.

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