I'm making a video game

You may know that I am an aspiring writer, with a goal of selling a novel to an actual publishing house. This is a long and nearly impossible task, but it's one I really enjoy working toward achieving. 

I read that the average literary agent
(the people who sell books on your behalf to publishers) gets about 20,000 submissions for books a year. So, it's not crazy to say that a non-famous person like myself needs a little bit of luck to get noticed. 

Of course, I've continued to write other things. More novels to query out. Short stories and poetry. But, lately, I've had an idea that almost seems like too perfect of a fit: make a video game

Stardew Valley is a farming and life simulation game that uses old-school pixel art. It was originally made by one person, Eric Barone, known professionally as ConcernedApe.

Although he partnered with a studio later, he made most of this by his lonesome. He taught himself how to code and make pixel art. He also had musical talents. Pull that all together, and you have the perfect storm. 

As of this writing, Stardew, released in 2016, has sold somewhere above 30 million copies (noted in Feb 2024). 

For perspective, Dark Souls 3, which also released in 2016 and is often noted as a "Game of the Year" contender, sold about 13.8 million. That game was developed at a studio with about 400 employees and probably cost 20 million to make. 

There are factors, of course, like DS3 was probably a 60 dollar game at launch, whereas Stardew costs $15 on Steam. But still, 30 million times only $5 is still $150,000,000. 

If one guy can create Stardew, then why can't I create something like that too?

Let's look at a couple of others...

Original series of games made by ONE guy.

Games spawned toys, movies, clothes, book series… hey, that's interesting. The guy who created Five Nights at Freddy's now also co-authors a number of books. He basically has the same kind of hold as the Goosebumps books I remember as a kid. FNAF is one of the biggest video games series going right now. Also, his marketing methods are genius. He stirs up mystery within the lore. His secrets keep the fanbase talking.

Minecraft is, with no hyperbole, the biggest selling video game of all time. (300+ MILLION sold, wow!). Yes, that's bigger than any Mario or Pokemon game.

Originally, made by ONE guy. Went on to open his own gaming studio then selling it all off to Microsoft for 2.4 BILLION dollars. 

All of these games have a few things in common other than being started as a solo project. 

The biggest thing and #1: they all have heart.

These inspiring video game developers didn't just make games to sell. They made games that went extra. Amazing, perfected gameplay. Unique ideas. Extra, quirky humor embedded within. Storytelling that is deep and mysterious. 

You can always tell the difference between an artist who cares and one that doesn't. As someone who has played each of these games, I can tell you, they CARED!

#2: None of these games are super HD, realistic glowing graphical triumphs. They are all simplistic. They go for style over luxurious visuals. Minecraft uses blocks. Stardew, pixels. FNAF has mostly-unmoving animatronics. 

#3: The games are all wildly fun to play. This may be the most important. These guys know what makes gameplay fun. That's not someone everyone understands. 

So, back to me. 

I teach several novels at the high school I work at, and I've gamified them into what I call the Inter-Class Competition. There's a map with several locations from the books and lessons we go over throughout the semester. They have to solve puzzles and challenges and one of the classes is then dubbed the winner.

Anyway, the students LOVE it. Some tell me it's the reason they come to school on some days. They've gathered together to try to break codes I've threaded into the games. Sometimes they try to "spy" and find intel from other classes to get the edge.

Well, one day at the end of last school year, one of my students said something like, "Mr. Aye, why are you doing this for us? We don't deserve it! Your talents are going to waste! You should be selling this!"

And it struck me, that yes I should be making a game to sell
[also, students DO deserve to enjoy school and have teachers care about them!]. After all, I've been doing this kind of thing nearly all my life. I can't say I didn't already have a whole game idea outlined before that. 

And I'm a musician. I make art. I write stories. I create interactive experiences. I have some coding experience. 

I have the tools, the perfect storm of skills to make a game all by myself. 

One of the buildings
in my game's town!
My game is set in the world of my novel, and guess what? I'm going to use this game as a platform to try and sell my novel too. If my game were to blow up, then I bet I would have a better chance to get noticed! I could even put that on the login screen of my game. 

This is not a declaration of my beginnings; I've already been working hard at it. I've been working on code and gameplay, as well as art and music. Right now, you can walk around the town and do a few basic things. It's 2D sprite-style art, all made by me of course. 

I have some awesome plans! Perhaps I'll share more about my development as I go here on my blog!

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