Bit late

Posting this a bit late today. I’m in Atlanta, Georgia at the moment visiting family here. Actually staying at the house my aunt Sara and uncle Phil have on their property I had never seen before.

Funny thing is, Phil is the person that convinced me to start a company; to become an entrepreneur. I didn’t always plan to be an entrepreneur. My order for my desired profession as I grew older was fire fighter, then everything, then everything but a wrestler, then quantum physicist, then game developer, and finally entrepreneur after all those.
On a trip to the beach in North Carolina in 2009, I one day took a walk with Phil. He asked me about what I wanted to do from this point forward since I would be graduating high school the next year. I told him I wanted to make games, and after getting a bit more specifics, he asked where I wanted to work. I said that I didn’t really know for sure, but named a few companies whose work I was fond of.

Quickly after that, Phil told me that he thought I should start my own company instead of working somewhere else. He gave several reasons, along the lines of having to do the grunt work when working at other places, and being able to have freedom when working on my own.

Much like other times in my life, I made a decision that day that didn’t seem as large as it would end up being. I didn’t know how soon after that that it would all be beginning, either (which ended up being 2011, or 2010 depending on how you look at it). Being an entrepreneur in games has transformed my life in a huge way, and I’m glad that I had that talk with my uncle on the beach that day.

Until next time,

~David Klingler

Directions

I’ve been thinking about where to go with this blog. There are many things I want to do with it, not the least of which is to just express my views on games as a medium. Most of all, this is a blog for me, and in memory of my brother, the person that originally got me interested in games.

Sure, I’m writing this and others will be able to read it, but that’s not the reason I’m writing it. It’s like what Tommy Refenes said in Indie Game: The Movie, “…it’s not a game I made for people. I made it for myself.”

That brings me to the thought of examining WHY we do the things we do. Why am I doing this blog? For myself. Why do people play games? For themselves? Perhaps, but does that make gaming a selfish endeavor? What about making games? …So many things to think about.

I play games for different reasons depending on the game. Sometimes it’s to slow down, sometimes it’s for conscious personal reflection, sometimes it’s for competition. Very rarely when people ask me why do I play will I say that it’s just for fun. Still, I do play for fun, like when I play Super Smash Bros. Melee with my cousin Gabe. That’s definitely a lot of fun.

Just like the interpretation of works of art are subjective, I think that the interpretation of the WHY (for why they’re experienced down to why they’re originally made) is also subjective. Maybe we don’t know enough about ourselves to understand the reasoning behind why we choose to play games or make them, but I think sometimes we know why.

I’ll leave you this week with contemplating the reasons behind what you do. That’s just another thing games have that reflect real life. You make all of these choices, but why do you make each one? Try to be aware of habits and be aware of your awareness itself.

…and don’t forget to play some games…
Until next time,
~David Klingler

National Video Games Day Was the 12th

Monday the 12th was National Video Games Day, and that’s what relates to this blog the most. Despite this, some bad things have happened lately, and I’m going to keep today’s post short because of things related to that.

I’m going to talk a bit about a few notable games that have affected my life in a big way, in chronological order of when I first played them. I may revisit talking about this in the future, but for now I’m just going to give a small bit of information on each one and how they affected me.

Earthworm Jim – first played in 1996

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This is the game that launched my obsession with games. An action adventure game about a worm in a super suit originally on the Sega Genesis (aka the Mega Drive) from Shiny Entertainment that went on to be featured in everything from action figures and a TV show to some great (and not-so-great…) sequels and remakes on all sorts of platforms. I first played the Special Edition of the game on Windows 95 when my brother got it for his 8th birthday from Don, who would soon become one of our uncles.

Chess – first played in 2000

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The ever-present, globally-recognized board game about capturing the opponent’s king by taking turns moving pieces with different movement properties around an 8×8 board. I later played in a middle school and high school chess team, winning quite a few awards.

Mario Kart DS – first played in 2005

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The installment on the Nintendo DS in the kart-racing Mario spin-off series. It was the first Nintendo Wifi connection game. I originally wasn’t even going to buy it but quickly became extremely competitive with it and eventually got all 64 world records in the game on Twin Galaxies.

Quake 3 Arena – first played in 2007

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Although I first played this fast-paced multiplayer shooter about eight years after it originally released, I soon was playing a lot (to put it lightly). This game was honestly what got me into esports and I never have grown tired of it. I don’t play much now because it takes such an investment of time, but I love Quake 3.

 

A few other games that could fit on this list, even though that still wouldn’t complete it: Metroid Fusion, Yugioh TCG, Pokemon Blue, Zelda Ocarina of Time, Zelda the Wind Waker, Zelda Twilight Princess, Donkey Kong, Paper Mario, Super Smash Bros Melee.

 

Until next time,

~David Klingler

 

Give it a rest, give it a chance

Far too often…
I find certain games that are wonderful getting overlooked. Yesterday I saw a video of someone playing a game called “This is Forever” which is a free game on gamejolt. The person playing the game kept saying, “man, this is beautiful…” and I was so glad to hear that.

This game wasn’t anything incredible at first, nor was it particularly deep in its game design or graphics. I felt like the most important thing in the game was the pacing and audio in relation to the activities and spacial organization. This is just one recent example of a game that I feel has been overlooked by many people.

Sure, it’s depressing for me to see games that I think are great getting overlooked, but I also understand that there’s really nothing out there that remedies the problem. The problem is not just discovery, either.

Games that don’t grab you right at the beginning aren’t necessarily bad games. Same for games that don’t teach you absolutely everything you need to do – they aren’t inherently bad. Besides, what is “bad” anyway? It’s so subjective. Give it a rest harping on a game that’s trying to do something different, and give it a chance for a change.

Another game I recently found on gamejolt is called “Dandelion.” It is played using the microphone to influence the wind that moves a dandelion seed in the air. It’s not a long game, and I don’t think it would make sense to charge a lot of money for it, but it’s memorable to me.

I don’t imagine a world where all games are just like “This is Forever” or “Dandelion” but I do think the creation of games like these, and the understanding of games like these, are extremely important for our medium. What would it be like if the only music in existence was what you hear on the radio? That would be horrible in my opinion (for many of us).

I’m concerned that games are presently or soon will be an artform in which people limit themselves to only what they’re told is good. I suppose you can think of it like poetry. Poetry that is really accessible and popular is usually thought of as very poor to many people that get deeply into poetry. There could be so many incredible experiences specifically for you that maybe didn’t mesh with the majority of the population that is considered to be “the authority” on the subject.

Always keep thoughts like this in mind when you find yourself disagreeing with someone or their creation. You’ll normally only find me disagreeing with someone when it’s a defense against their previous disagreement. I get in heated “discussions” (read: arguments) with people over the work of other game developers because many people simply hate on things just for the sake of hating on it without fully exploring the creation or even understanding it beyond the absolute surface. I know, however, I do that too sometimes.

Either way… Give it a rest. Give it a chance. Games can be more than what you see in commercials. Just because someone tells you what they think is good and bad doesn’t mean they’re the same as what you would think if you have an open mind.

~David Klingler