20 year old nocturnal game design student and aspiring comic artist with a 9-5 office job. I'm like that boy that doesn't sleep and they can't figure out why, except i'm older, a girl and tired all the time.
It's hard to follow your dreams, especially when you get little or no support. With most universities offering degrees in game related fields, more kids are embracing the idea of wanting to make video games when they grow up. I think this is excellent and should be celebrated but there are many parents that don't feel the same way.
I'm a firm believer of classifying games as art. Like anyone pursuing education in any art form, the road to that dream can be long and rough. Sure, there are plenty of parents that support their children's dreams but there are plenty more who don't.
I come from a middle class family with two hard working parents who are well respected members of the community. My father is a doctor of psychology and a teacher at a local state college. My mother is a special education teacher, an ex local politician and the person who encouraged me to play video games as a child. Shee would sit with me for hours and play through old PSX JRPGs. She instilled the drive in me to go for 110% in every game I own. Even still when my parents asked me what I wanted to go to college for and I replied, "I want to do concept art for video games," my mother said to me, "It's okay to have hobbies but you need to pick a career." I was devastated.
Needless to say, I thought of giving up my dream, picking something else to do with my life. I thought law school would impress my parents, I'd be okay with becoming a teacher but on a whim I applied to some art schools in secret. When I got into the university I go to now, my parents were so proud. They asked if I'd applied to the engineering school like my mom had hoped. They were very disappointed when I told them the major I'd gotten into and told me "There's nothing wrong with changing majors". Not long after my parents made some rules. I wasn't allowed to tell people my major. My parents were embarrassed that I'd be going to school to "play games" while other parents sent their kids to get "real degrees".
Their opinions have changed since, after hearing that people can make a lot of money making games (I still don't think they understand that this isn't something that always happens and that this isn't something I'd get a steady pay check for), but they still treat me poorly over my choice. After my older brother decided he wanted to follow my lead, they stopped saying anything around him but they openly blame me for influencing his choice when he's not around.
Now, this is just my personal experience with the matter and just between my classmates, their parents all hold different opinions on the matter but there are plenty that think we didn't actually do work. This is completely and utterly false. Game design is time consuming, the programs used to make games and the coding languages they use take time to learn and longer to master. To make a good game you have to be smart, talented and well trained (either self taught or school learned). Many people seem to not under stand that and it really bothers me.
It's hard for anyone to pursue something when they're discouraged by the people who should support them; be it family, friends, even school. As computers and smart phones have become a bigger part of day to day life, it has become more common for students graduating from high school to go into fields like computer science and web design. With the booming popularity of video games, game design has also become a popular choice for graduating seniors when applying for college programs. Hopefully as time goes on and our generation becomes parents, we'll consider the profession of game design a respectable one and be more inclined to encouraging our kids to pursue such career paths.