I remember when I was younger,
I couldn’t wait to get home to play games. First it was Earthworm Jim I think. To this day Earthworm Jim Special Edition for Windows 95 is my favorite game. The reason for this is not that I think it’s the best game ever made (although I do think it’s pretty far up there), it’s because of how much Earthworm Jim affected my life.
Earthworm Jim was the game that made me obsessive about games. I was four years old when I first played it. My brother got it for his eighth birthday from Don (who later became one of our uncles), and at first I had to be convinced into playing it. I was very unsure at first, and would just watch my brother play in the beginning, but not long after I was the one playing it the most!
By the way, the reason we had a computer in our house so early in my life was because my dad is a graphic artist. He bought a computer for work, and he and my mom would teach my brother and me lots of different things on the computer through educational games when those were really awesome and experimentation with programs such as notepad and Fauve Matisse. I pretty much got started on computers when I was three years old, most of the time just watching my dad work on the computer.
Back to Earthworm Jim.
We got Earthworm Jim on Windows 95 in 1996. That was the same year as the event that has turned out to be my oldest conscious memory, the night of hurricane Fran in North Carolina. For some reason, I remember that night in black and white. While that is definitely a whole different story, I’ll say this for the sake of this subject: I needed something to latch onto after that, and that’s when Earthworm Jim came onto the stage.
For me, games are everything. Everything is a game if you look at it in a certain way. I think in terms of games and mechanics. It is partly because of this that I see things differently than others. I think that games have incredible potential for changing the world and enriching lives that is somewhat ignored in favor of pure polish and commercialization.
The games of the future that I imagine are not drastically different in some ways from the games we’ve played before, but in other ways they’re completely in another direction.
Games in my mind are not best as slick products. They can have a point at which you can relate with the game and/or the game developer(s). Sure, if the game doesn’t work at all, that’s not good either. Same for if you can’t at all tell what’s going on no matter how much you know about the game. I’m not saying that games with poor craftsmanship are somehow better all the time, because that makes no sense. What I’m saying is that a feeling of honesty and openness from the game developer(s) can be present in games that are still enjoyable, or, if not meant to be enjoyable, still intriguing.
I almost never play a game to be presented with a blockbuster big-budget showdown with a screen. I know I’m in the minority now, but I prefer games that really affect me, and generally extreme graphics take away from that. It’s kind of like music. You can play an instrument really well technically, but if you can’t affect how I feel, it’s all pointless. As Carlos Santana said, “You can get a lot more emotion out of one note than you can out of twenty.” I feel that way about games. It is vain to do with more what can be done with less (however at the same time minimalist design is not quite always the best way to the goal).
…I can go on and on about games, and that’s what this whole blogging thing is going to be about for me. My posts will consist of long streams of thought, statements on games and the industry, and other things. I hope it will be of interest to you, and I appreciate you giving me a chance.
As you follow my blog on Independent Gamesman, you’ll learn my story, as well as my take on the story of games as a medium and where it’s all heading next.
Today is the day I had planned a few months ago to begin blogging. Today, the 16th of August 2016, would have been my brother Mitchell‘s 28th birthday. Mitchell is the person that really got me into games, challenged me and supported me in games, and I owe him forever. Mitchell died by suicide earlier this year on February 13th after a long battle with depression and addiction. I’m blogging about games in memory of my brother, and I hope you will understand why that is. I at the very least plan to maintain it regularly until what would have been Mitchell’s 29th birthday a year from today. If there is enough interest, I’ll hopefully continue after that as well.