Gaming is a pastime most of us enjoy whether we are young or old. Some of us even got into coding and programming after our childhoods were spent playing on the old consoles and early computers. Now the internet is up to full strength and other technologies have caught up, there are games everywhere. Our TVs, tabs, phones and FaceBook accounts provide endless gaming opportunities. While the big consoles like XBox, Playstation and Wii still dominate, most games are now online and can be played interactively live with people around the world.
This internet gaming community has brought people together from all over the globe to talk about gaming passions. There is never a dull moment in any game, and you have the opportunity to meet people you would never have dreamed of talking to. Gaming is so important to so many cultures, and most of us have some very good friends we only see in virtual environments. Most importantly, these forms of social relationships are now considered the norm. Previously, we were all nerds, weirdos, and geeks, but now there has been a complete 180 turn. Now those who don’t have friends online or friends they communicate with online are considered odd and out of touch.
Gaming is more than a passion for us though. It has become part of our daily routine. We may game on our commute, or in our lunch break. Even at the breakfast table the phone may come out for a quick game. When you are checking the posts on FaceBook, you may have a quick go at that little game your friend posted about last week. If you are coding or you are writing game apps, you may even be lucky enough to design one that goes viral. Everybody will be talking about your game, at least for a week or two anyway!
With so many games available, getting to the viral stage does seem to be harder and harder. There may be a very simple reason. Think back to the nineties (perhaps impossible for some of you). The nineties saw one game character stand out head and prickles above the rest. Sonic the Hedgehog really was born that long ago, but all the merchandise that comes with his popularity is still going strong. Sonic the Hedgehog collectibles are even starting to make money on their original investment. Before you next have a house clearance, carefully package up anything ornaments or collectibles you may have!
Buying and selling gaming memorabilia or collectibles are still a way to earn a little cash out of your passion for gaming. Most of us have refused to give up our first consoles even though we haven’t used them yet this century. We all know they will be worth something again one day to the right collector. Either that or we will just have to pull out that Street Fighter II game once more! It won’t matter how many versions of Super Mario Kart come out, the original on the SNES will always be cherished forever.
The internet will never run out of good games to keep us entertained, puzzled and fully armed ready for zombie attacks. And it seems unlikely that, as a games platform, it will ever end up in the back of someone’s closet waiting to make a comeback. The internet and all that is good about gaming will be here forever, long after our phones have been replaced, and tabs have become wearable. If you ever needed a reason to learn how to code, this enormous industry of the profit-hungry and the generous to a fault game programmers must surely be it.
The tools of the trade are simple. A Mac will do, and a love for all things gaming. You may need a bit of creativity and focused mind for debugging, but a will to learn, and the time to try are all that should be required. Not everyone makes a living, but some get so rich they don’t know what to do with it all. It is certainly a mixed bag. However, if in twenty something years a grown man is holding a collectible figurine of a character you designed, you’ll know it was all worth it.
All financial estimates about the gaming industry are pointing toward it being worth $100 billion before this decade is out. It is growing, and it will continue to grow, so plenty of room for you all to hop on board this train. Collectibles will continue to increase in value too as the gaming industry becomes more and more important and financially enormous. It only takes one character to make you rich, provided it is sold and marketed in the right way. Think about the Mario or Lara Croft from way back when.
So what makes a good character great? It isn’t all about good looking graphics or a comprehensive backstory. Just the playability and the likeability of the character and what they get up to. Some are about the sound, some are about the graphics, but all of them are about being able to progress through the game. Make it too easy, and it lacks durability. Make it too hard, and you lose the casual gamer. Finding the balance, and some intelligent challenges are key.
Humor is also essential. Think about Minion Rush. People are spending hundreds of dollars to buy the funniest minions and use them in the gameplay. The gamers are not designing the characters or asking they be made bespoke. They are liking what is being offered because the choice of character is wide and varied, completely hilarious and enjoyable even for those just watching the gameplay. Yes, the spectacle of the gameplay is important, and some sort of objective or point to the gameplay is crucial. But so long as it is about having fun, there is every chance it will be successful. Take your time to design your character and all its characteristics, and then all that is left to do is produce the collectibles!