Essay – Rise of the VIdeo Game Zinester

Opinion Essay

I hold a few identities. I am first and foremost a cisgender man. However, different from a lot of men in the gaming industry, I identify myself as a queer man. I also consider myself as a casual athlete. I am also a mechanical engineering student, studying design methodologies and product design. I am not a coder, unfortunately. 

When I read these two chapters, I did not realize that the gaming industry is skewed towards men who can code, and like building games; I did not have access to these information. I always thought making games are hard. You need all the skills such as project management, to coding to graphic design. I don’t think I can as an individual can do all of it alone. 

My first exposure to games have been Pokemon and Mario Kart, both with very fond memories. Games were a double edge sword to me. I suffered terribly with bad results in my elementary and middle school because of it. I swore off not to play it, until I was introduced to board games in 2014 in high school (the first was Catan, and still a joy playing it) 

I created my first board game in the height of pandemic since I was bored. I love games, I know the mechanics well, I could create one. In the end, I made a localized game that was a spin off of Monopoly Deal. I could barely kickstart my own board game, all thanks to that person who decided to put 2k into it. I did not know why, and I blamed on the lack of marketing. But how do I know how to market if I have not done something like that? 

My journey of playing to creating is extremely bumpy. What I realized after talking to board game publishers that board games are not any easier creating anymore. There are so many obstacles for people who do not have access to things. For example, I find difficulty establishing myself in the sea of eager game designers, nor do I have any reputation since I am new. I do not have resources to all these routes, nor would I ever know about these information, unless I do this game design class. (I really love this class – not a suck up)

If I have no access to Stanford, or to this class because of “max credit”, I would be stuck at not knowing what to do. This is rather similar to what was written in the essay. Accessibility. How can people create art without being judged critically? How are the inspired given the chance to create things that are beyond what have been seen? Is it always about financial investments for the big publishers? What about the small designers like myself? Am I going to be one of those artists that I will be rich and famous, only when I am dead?

This essay is a mess of different thoughts that came to my mind. And that is not unreasonable. This was also reflected thoroughly when I was talking to professionals to better publish my board game. I have to be good at so many different things; I don’t think I can do it alone. Even so, where do I find collaborators that share the same mottos as me? The big question is: how are “smaller, insignificant” individuals around the world, who want to break out and try something new, try them without a high entry barrier? 

The final chapter talks about the approaches we can do. They are critical in making video games and interactive storytelling, and I definitely agree with the approaches. They are great baby steps for people who want to make games, and have greatly lowered the entry barriers.  I would even implement using these techniques since I am relatively weak in making interactive storytelling games. But in order to create art for the next centuries, should we start thinking about the rules that are meant to be broken? I think that should be the way we can create art that transcend the current approaches. 

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