By Camila Fisher.
Maybe the fact that I never considered game making as a career until it came to me by accident, was that for some reason I never really thought of the process of making a game as a creative activity. What’s more, I never really thought of the process at all. Not even when playing around with RPG maker or trying to make small modifications to The Sims as a teenager.
It’s possible that this happened because of the constant and annoying refusal of my brain to function in a logical way, which usually takes a big part in “traditional” game development, and which also led me to feel out of my comfort zone when I first started working in the industry.
After #1reasonwhy the discussion about the value of gender in the game making process made me see the topic with a new perspective: How the input of a variety of individuals wider than currently exists could also create smarter, richer, more innovative mechanics, stories and experiences.
It made me realize how personal creating a game can really be, and I’m not only referring to small teams or indie titles, but how dramatically a few elements in a big group can change the result.
For a significant amount of time, even thinking of creating a complete game in the traditional way seemed like a titanic task to me, and here I’m using the word “traditional” to refer to the seemingly standard sequence of starting from a mechanics idea, building a prototype with basic shapes and only defining features like story, art or music later in the project.
At this point it seemed wrong for me to question this customary method, even if I did produce a LOT of ideas that would best fit game projects, I chose to take them to other platforms and continue to limit myself to graphics.
But it was also around this time when I started playing the HD version of Shadow of the Colossus and got the chance to watch a documentary where Fumito Ueda explained how the idea for the game was born, how after making Ico he simply felt the need to animate a sequence that was wandering around in his head and how, from that short linear video, one of the most beautiful titles out there was born.
Have you ever had experiences learning something new, a new word for example, and immediately started to see or hear it everywhere?
My experience became very similar to that, I felt very identified with Fumito Ueda and with learning that Journey started out as a simple image and a melody. It showed me that games could be created not only with the purpose of being games, but also with the purpose of becoming platforms to tell stories that would feel incomplete in any other form of media, vessels for unprecedented levels of expression. And it showed me that the process of making a game can, and should, be as personal as the game itself.
This has significantly changed the way I see the craft: When I used to think about game design before as an area I’d like to pursue, things like illustration and storytelling looked like a waste of time. But they have recovered new importance in my eyes, just as the true meaning of interdisciplinary teams, where it’s not just about different skill sets anymore, but about different minds and creative processes.
Like I said, game making methods are personal and feeling comfortable with a standard can be an advantage, just don’t forget to see in games the huge potential that they have for communicating and expressing yourself in what probably is the most intimate way you can through entertainment.
Camila Fisher, Game artist from Chile with two years of experience in the mobile industry. Studied Multimedia Communication and currently work with Learning Shift and a few other super secret local projects. I also write about games, technology and other things on my free time. Find me on twitter as @kachiito.
Screenshot source: Shadow of the Colossus Official Japanese site