Level 0: the beginning

Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to make games. I made games that you could play on paper (a horribly broken implementation of go), I drew mazes, I tried to make a “card game”.

Remember this one? It got turned into a SMB3 minigame if you had 2 players…

Then I got my first computer, a 8086, or an IBM XT (compatible, probably). It booted into a BASIC interpreter if you didn’t have a startup disk inserted. I remember the day a Mario game (the original Mario game!) told me my computer was too crappy and I had to upgrade to an AT to play it, and that I should, because “the game was really fun!”.

Dang.

I never stopped being fascinated by computers and computer games, but when it came to choosing a career and deciding what I would study at university… I chose law, and not computer science, or games development, or anything like that.

I don’t regret that decision at all – it’s allowed me to provide for my family very well, and I live a fairly comfortable life. As I said at the time, you can’t outsource law. And hey, I was right. And law does pay much better than game development, or even an IT job.

As I settle into my thirties, however, it feels like I’m missing something. I’ve heard it said that you don’t become a writer because of the money, you write because you have to. And I think that’s true of developing games as well – goodness knows game development is a terrible career for most people.

There’s nothing stopping me from making games as a hobby, though. And who knows, maybe one day my son will play something I made, and daddy will be able to say “daddy made this”!

So, for 2014, I will make a game! In fact, I intend to participate in at least 1 Ludum Dare game contest/jam this year. Just 2 days, maybe I can take 2 days off to get it done. It’s not going to be easy (the transition from functional programming to object oriented programming is absolutely wrenching) but I’m sure it’ll be satisfying and soul enriching.

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