One Game A Month

A couple of weeks ago, I came to notice a new challenge surrounding the game developers’ community. One Game a Month (1GAM) is an initiative by game developer Christer Kaitila (aka @McFunkypants) to create 12 games by the end of the year (one a month). Now, I’ve so far worked on very (very) few games, but one thing I’ve learned so far is that making games is not an easy task.

Here’s the keynote video (also available in the 1GAM website):

McFunkypants reinforced the idea I’ve just said: “Starting a game is easy. Finishing a game is hard.”

If you’ve heard of the 10,000-hour rule, then this is exactly the kind of things that can help achieve mastery, thanks to the constant training we must undergo by working every month on a game. For those not familiar with that rule, it was coined by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers: The Story of Success; Gladwell’s theory is that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice in order to become proficient in some area. Now, there are of course detractors of such theory, suggesting that it ain’t more than non-sense, and I’m no expert to really know the veracity of such claims (from both sides), but the theory does make perfect sense. Not everyone is born gifted, we have to work hard to achieve certain level of mastery in our work. What can we take from Gladwell and his rule is that we need practice.

One of my favorite TED Talks is from Sir Ken Robinson, which I urge you to see. On his talk, Do schools kill creativity?, Robinson talks about how we grow out of creativity and how education and work nowadays stigmatize mistakes and errors. He says this quote, which I absolutely love: “I don’t mean to say that being wrong is the same thing as being creative. But what we DO know is that if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original.” So, what better time than now to exercise our skills and do without fear of being wrong?

There’s also another quote, mentioned on the keynote video, from Ira Glass, that says:

Here‘s a comic by Zen Pencils.

So, why do one game a month? Practice. Practice. Practice. The Beatles (you’ve probably heard of them ;)) were initially one crap of a band. They spent the first two years of their career playing continuously on bars in Hamburg, Germany. It was only after those two years of constant and hard practice (either they played longer or they could kiss goodbye their work) that they started to become the group we now know.

Currently I don’t have too much free time to work on any game, partly because of my studies and one game I’m working on with some friends (more about that in future posts). But I do like the idea, so what I’m going to do (at least these first months, while I get used to my schedule this new year) is to think of game ideas and work on them on paper to have something in the future that I can work with. I’ll document any progress in this blog and any idea or comment is welcomed.

For more information on 1GAM, please refer to their website or follow them on twitter (or check out their hashtag).

Last, but not least, here’s a quote I remembered when starting to write this post:

“To every man there comes in his lifetime that special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered a chance to do a very special thing, unique to him and fitted to his talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work which would be his finest hour.”

Winston Churchill

So, how insane is the idea of One Game A Month? Well, you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one!

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