Some of you may remember the costumes that I have made over the years thanks to this community, but this is the first year I am not doing costumes. I know it is sad, but my family and I have been hard at work on another project. Today I am launching Robit Riddle, my first Kickstarter as a game designer. I thought I would reflect on how I got here with a community that was so important to me during a major transition in my life.
From the time when I first started watching my brothers play arcade and role playing games, I have been a gamer. It has been and still is a major part of my life. But over the course of my 41 years it has taken on many forms. There was one common thread under all my gaming incantations and that was socialising.
In my youth I played games by myself most of the time, but the times I truly enjoyed the most were with my friends all gathered around one of our small curved pieces of glass as radiation bounced around our eyes. It didn't even have to be multi-player games, I didn't even have to be playing. My most fond memory is of me and my two much older brothers playing The Legend of Zelda on our new NES over a long holiday. We took turns, stayed up all night, shared what we had learned. It was very magical.
While I was an active member here I was definitely a Retro Gamer. I listened to RetroForce Go! and even got to be on one of the episodes. I liked old school games and more importantly I loved games that gave me the feeling of my youth. I was searching for games that not only had an old school feeling, but games that brought back the social interactions that I craved. One of the things I enjoyed the most were Friday Night Fights... Wii style. This was a very small group of people that mostly like having a laugh over the vastness of the internet. I tried to play games with random people on the internet, but that was awful at best for me.
This is about the time that I remembered how much I missed playing things in person with people. I had recently moved to a new state and didn't know anyone. My boys were not quite old enough to start playing games all night, plus I needed more adult interactions. That is when I rediscovered board games, or rather table top games as the non-digital games are called now. I found a group on meetup.com and joined. The next event was happening at someones house. I didn't know these people, but they seemed nice enough when I showed up. Also when I showed up, there wasn't clue or monopoly setup on their kitchen table like I was expecting, but Arkham Horror with expansions. If you don't know anything about that game, let me just tell you that was more than a little intimidating, but I was hooked.
With this group of people I found everything I had been missing from my youthful gamer days. We played, laughed, ate. For some reason the physical games spoke to me more now then they used to. So much so that I started to experiment with my own ideas. I might tweak something about a game that I thought was lacking. Eventually I created my own game, which was pretty awful, but the process was amazing. I have always had a creative side, I majored in art at college, but I didn't have a great outlet for it. This was a great one. I could use all my different skills, and it felt very rewarding.
Rewarding yes, easy no. I have found out that having an idea, while it can be precious and amazing, is actually very easy compared to bringing that idea to market. Bringing what I think is my first marketable idea to the public has been one of the longest lived projects I have ever stuck with. I am going on three years and 16 versions, and it is now just starting to see the light of day.
As with my digital gaming, my own table top design has a fairly retro feel to it. A major set of components is inspired from the Choose Your Own Adventure books of my youth. The game fills a gap in the table top world and that is a quick play intro to role playing game. All the artwork in this article is from my game, Robit Riddle. I have spent a lot of time, money, and effort over the last three years and now it is ready for the next step.
And I guess I actually lied at the top... I did make a costume, but it is for a character from my game. Hopefully this new chapter in my life will be as strong and inspiring as the costumes this community nurtured.
It was during my transition from digital to table top that I started floating away from being an active contributing member of this amazing community. But I just wanted to take the time now to say thank you to everyone who has gotten me to this point in my life. This includes my wife and kids, my brothers and parents, my friends of old and new, and you the community of Destructoid.
I also want everyone to know that you are good enough and smart enough to do exactly what you need and want to do. I have seen many people from this community do amazing things, and I am just some average guy that decided to design games. Maybe I will fail, but I feel really good about getting to where I am today, and with enough effort anyone can do the same.