About games and gaming thereof!

I Can Too Make Games

Okay, this has been garnering a lot of attention in the indie scene lately, but assuming you’re not a shut-in like me, there’s a good chance you haven’t seen it yet, so…

Richard Perrin, indie game designer, made this video to convince more people who would love to start making games but are terrified of the alleged workload and learning curve behind it (people like me) to start trying. As well as giving tips and telling us that it isn’t as hard to start as we think it is, he lists various free game design tools that can be found on the Web. It’s an extremely useful video, and I’m glad I watched it.

However, the reason I saw it in the first place is because of a Gamasutra article written by Aleksander Adamkiewicz called “No, You Can’t Make Video Games.” It’s a strange article written by someone who seems to be very cynical about the creative process. Here’s one quote that perplexed me:

“The medium doesn’t need the noise of more 8bit platformers and sprite-based nostalgia-driven RPGs without other merit than ‘HEY GUYS, REMEMBER FINAL FANTASY!?’ Be honest Richard, you wouldn’t want to play these games, nobody would, even the creator wouldn’t.”

Have you ever read anything more snobby?

His stance seems to be that if there’s a chance you might not succeed at first, then you’re definitely not cut out for it and you shouldn’t try. He clarifies at one point that he doesn’t want to stop people from trying, but that statement is contradicted by other things he says in his article.

This guy would make the worst teacher ever.

Another quote:

“Richard, I’m really not averse towards the “hands on” approach to learning, but fucking around in Unity will not make a game, and won’t make you a game designer. The same way fucking around in Photoshop will not make art, fucking around in iMovie will not make a movie, and fucking around with Word will not make a novel.”

I think there’s a clear misunderstanding here. Adamkiewicz thinks Perrin is telling everyone how they’re going to make the next Bioshock or Mass Effect, when Perrin’s really only explaining how people can get started. It’s like criticizing an artist for telling people to start painting by saying “fucking around with a brush isn’t going to make the Mona Lisa.”

Adamkiewicz mentions at one point that he “tried” making games awhile ago using RPG maker, and that his creations were allegedly bad. I’m sorry to hear that, but you make mistakes so that you can learn from them. Something tells me this guy is upset about his own failed attempts at game-making, and so he’s taking out his frustrations on this Perrin guy, who thinks people have the potential to make games.

And once people started calling him out, he had to backpedal, hence the update he posted saying “Guys, I’m not saying don’t try, and I’m not saying this, and I’m not saying that…”
Even though he basically did.

The article itself is rather unpleasant, but it’s refreshing to see the backlash to it. Various indie game designers on Twitter have called the Gamasutra article out on its bullshit, and Perrin has written his own response post on his blog.

In particular, I really like some of the things Sophie Houlden has said on her Twitter:

that “you can’t make games” article is such bullshit. the author should feel ashamed, especially if they care about games.

who the hell is he to say people can’t make games? everyone that makes awesome games started out shit. it’s called determination, fuckbrain.

saying not everyone can make games is a massive insult to those of us who have spent YEARS developing our skills. talent is a myth.

You know what? This is the exact kind of motivation I’ve needed for awhile now. I mean, yes, becoming a good game developer is going to take a long time, but nothing worth doing can be done easily.

I’m going to start making games.

After looking over the tools Perrin suggested, I’ve downloaded Construct, Ren’Py, and sfxr. I’m going to start by making a simple platformer on Construct. I honestly do not have a thorough idea of what I’m going to make, but I’m going to delve right in, open up a tutorial or two, and start learning.

I know how bad I am about sticking with things if I don’t make a schedule for myself, so I’m gonna make a deal. Starting tomorrow I will work on game-making stuff for at least one hour each day, and I will post an update about it here every two days. If I fail to deliver on this, please yell at me on my Twitter or something.

I’m going to start making games.

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10 responses

  1. I wish you the best of luck in making your game. You’re right, his comments come off as elitist and stupid.

    Side Note: Does anyone else find the sheer excitement Richard Perrin has in the video truly invigorating.

    August 1, 2012 at 7:05 PM

  2. The thing that really gets me? Fucking around in Word, or Photoshop, or iMovie is EXACTLY how one makes a novel, or art, or a movie. “Fucking around” is the essential beginning to ANY creation.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    • JPH

      Yeah, that’s one of the most confusing lines in the post, second only to “people shouldn’t try or else we’ll have too many bad games.”

      I don’t think this guy understands how the creative process works.

      August 1, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    • Sumanai

      Unless you can do that stuff inside your head, but that’s not a lot of people even if you limit the list to just the good writers that have already established themselves.

      August 2, 2012 at 6:28 AM

  3. We’re rooting for ya!

    August 1, 2012 at 8:18 PM

  4. pinkputty

    If “videogames” meant only AAA games made by studios like Bioware or Bethesda (literally first two developers I thought of) then his article isn’t too horrible.

    But it doesn’t, so it is.

    On more uplifting topics, I eagerly await your first update on the process of making vidya games. Good luck dude!

    August 2, 2012 at 5:00 AM

  5. Cant wait to start playing! i bet its gonna be an amazingly fun experience for you.

    August 2, 2012 at 12:35 PM

  6. Awesome. I like your motivation approach too. I have my own project that I should make a similar bargain with because I am not making nearly as much progress as I should.

    August 2, 2012 at 9:35 PM

  7. Wouldn’t it be funny if this ends up your big entry into game development? Pushed into the industry by the anti-encouragement of a dickhat. I don’t want to say that is ‘so you’, but there you have it.

    Best of luck. Show your work.

    August 3, 2012 at 8:25 AM

  8. aldowyn

    See, I’m just not that interested in the small scale, indie-style games. I’d rather be on a team with a programmer and an artist or something :/

    Although at some point I pretty much NEED to start making something to get a portfolio started…

    August 19, 2012 at 7:13 PM

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