I was never an avid player of video games. To be honest, I was never a player of video games at all. While I would have loved to spend my childhood capturing the “high score” on visually captivating games like “Space Invaders,” (1978), “Galaga”, (1981), and “Donkey Kong,” (1981), thanks to the disability to my left hand, I could only be competitive on video games that could be played with one hand. Thus, my video game expertise was limited to “Pac-Man,” (1981) “Stampede” (1981) – a game made for the Atari 2600 game console – and “Mrs. Pac-Man” (1982). Even then, my playing ability was nowhere near “expert” level. The only time I had the “high score“ on a video game, was when I unplugged the machine to reset all of the video game machine’s saved “high scores.” Then I plugged the machine back in, and played the game, making my score the “high score,” because it was the only score.
Given my history with video games over the past three decades, it’s still difficult for me to comprehend that two of my original video game concepts were recently green-lighted, are bring produced at this very moment, and will be released at thousands of locations worldwide starting January 2013. But wait! The fun and games doesn’t stop there. A few weeks later, I orchestrated the rights for me and “Industry” to develop, produce and distribute several more video games based on professional athletes. Thus, I went from having zero video game knowledge to selling two handfuls of high concept games in a matter of weeks.
Side Note #1: The “Industry Corporation” (www.industrycorp.ca) of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, is who acquired my games. You’ll learn a lot more about this incredibly hip, cutting-edge and fiercely ethical company next week, when we interview their CEO and Creative Director Andrew Matlock.
Side Note #2: The names of the games I created and the names of the professional athletes who are working with us are not for public knowledge at this time. However, I promise the second I can share details with you, I most certainly will.
Now back to our regularly scheduled column…
Since I’m always reminding you to “think outside of the box” with your projects and career strategies, here are four pointers on how to develop a video game. Whether you want to create a game to compliment your film, book, or TV series, or whether you just want to create one that the masses get addicted to, here are your first steps.
Make Your Concept Diaper Generation Friendly
I’m not suggesting your game be appropriate for babies and grandparents (the two age groups of the diaper generation). What I’m saying is your basic concept has to be easy to comprehend. Regardless of the age group your game is targeted to, your concept should be easy enough for the very young and very old to grasp. Just remember, if players can’t figure out your concept quickly, they will lose interest in playing your game even more quickly.
Research The History/Success of Similar Video Games
Before you invest your time and money into a video game, do detailed research on how similar games have performed in the past. Were those video games hits or tax-write-offs? Who made them? Who distributed them? What was the production cost? What is the retail price? How much did the consumer pay for them? Were the games offered via iPhone apps? All of the above questions should be answered before you jump into the wonderful world of video games.
Craft Your Scope Wisely
Will one or two players play your game, or is it a multinational concept that millions of people can play, from America to Africa? Deciding the scope of your idea is often times as important and the idea itself, so choose carefully!
Benefiting From Certain Seasonal Release Dates
Once you’ve built your game, look at the best time of year to release it. Are there any themes in your game that are tied to any of the four seasons or specific dates throughout the year? If so, you should shoot for those dates. I know you want to get your game out to the world quicker than you read the end of this sentence but timing is everything, and “everything” can only be achieved when the timing is right.
On that note, it’s “game over” time for this week’s edition of “Going Bionic.” As always, I thank each and every one of you for lending me your eyes, and I’d be honored to borrow them again next Tuesday. Until then, have a great week!
I can be followed on Twitter @Lonelyseal.