You’d be forgiven for assuming that all creative endeavours involve a similar blend of fear and exhilaration, but game development really is in a league of its own. For the digital world is the frontier of our generation, the wild west of our time, where fortunes can be made on the turn of trick, on bravery, madness, ingenuity, cunning or just plain luck. Billion-dollar empires spring up from student houses like oil once burst forth from the dry dust bowls of the old west, and start-ups, well they’re the new rock’n’roll.
Everyone wants in, everyone wants to be in a ‘band’, a band of co-founders, entrepreneurs, VC, angel-investors and any other term you can dream up to secure your pass to dodge city. And sure, who could resist the desire to jump on the next stage coach to dodge and play a hand at the saloon tables of the new boom town.
It was this desire for adventure that led us away from all that was secure and familiar for a chance to ride out west and seek our fortunes. And what a ride! Oh yes the exhilaration we sought was ours for the taking, but nothing had prepared us for the fear.
Your 15 mins could fly by in 15 seconds and you would miss the last train out of tombstone.
Relentlessly pursued by these fears, you feel like you could get it in the back at any stage along your journey. Fear of someone releasing a game too similar to yours, of new devices that would extend development time, of ‘highwaymen’ stealing your game as soon as it came out and making off with your bounty, of someone using your desired name, of hitting the upload deadline before you’re finished, of getting the marketing wrong, or even seeing the whole app world fall before you get finished… It seems as though you only have ONE shot at this, and any mistake you make will result in lethal punishment. Within days your app will be relegated to the scrap heap without a sinners chance of resurrection.
Because you see, this is the wild west and the wind can change so quickly that your 15 minutes could fly by in 15 seconds and you would miss the last train out of Tombstone.
There’s no doubt that a lot of love goes into finishing a game. It has to be full of the passion that drove you out here, and so you make it a part of you. If you fail, it’s going to hurt – bad.
Maybe we will look back and wonder if we had taken it all too seriously. Or maybe the frontier has always been and will always be the wildest place to head for, a place of fear and frenzy. You just won’t know until you’ve stepped down off that train.