A number of years ago, I remember being lucky enough to interview Warren Spector for an uninterrupted twenty minutes. I admittedly did not know too much about his work, but he was a fascinating interview nonetheless. He spoke passionately about not only the game he was working on at the time (the disappointingly buggy Epic Mickey), but also game mechanics and the industry in general. It was easy to tell that even after over twenty years, the man was still extremely passionate about his profession.
I had run out of all of my prepared questions and I decided to riff a little bit to milk every minute I had with him. I turned the conversation to more casual topics and asked him what his favourite games of the year had been so far. I was incredibly surprised to find that he had barely played a game the entire year. How could a man so entrenched in the industry be so unaware of even the most critically acclaimed titles of the year?
I understood that he had to have been busy, but after such a long time, I figured he must have been able to find ways to play the very things that drove him to work so hard every day.
I am a very far cry from Warren Spector. I have some art assets, a pile of .txt and .doc files, unfinished code, and enough e-mails to fill a galaxy. Hardly the same as a legendary portfolio of incredibly influential titles. Yet, I think I can start to glimpse the sort of obsession that comes hand-in-hand with development. Gamers are so fiercely dedicated to their medium because they know the power it holds. Indeed, they have felt it themselves.
So now that I am starting to see my own game take form, there is the smallest of sparks. It speaks of the possibilities of a well-created game. It speaks of being able to maybe – if I am lucky – provide the same excitement and joy in other gamers that has been given to me countless times.
And then that’s it.
That is enough to forget about actually playing games for the next hit of their unique magic. It becomes an obsession in the endless pursuit to create that magic.
Of course I will never stop playing games, but is it somewhat of a weight off my shoulders to now feel like work on Lusipurr’s Fountain of Perpetual Disappointment is not limiting my capacity to be a gamer.
I may not technically even be a developer yet, but everybody has to start somewhere.