Tag Archives: writing

The Death of Graphics in Video Games?

If you visit a video game site, you’ll be struck by all the beautiful high-definition videos and photos that capture life-like moments. Turn on the TV and game ads will hit you in the face with their large explosions. Walk down the street and . . . you get the picture.

One might think that these ubiquitous fancy graphics and explosions are what defines video games. But you could be forgiven, if you looked only at advertising, for thinking that.

In case you didn’t know, popular games can have simple graphics.

“But wait,” one might say, “you’re talking about games that were popular. You’re talking about the old school.”

Not quite.

I can think of at least two popular indie games that have simple graphics. By indie game I mean a game not produced by a large studio, without a traditional publisher, and it doesn’t look like its mainstream counterparts.

One example of an indie game with simple “graphics” is Zach and Tarn Adams’ Dwarf Fortress. In Dwarf Fortress, a player controls a group of dwarves who try to build — you guessed it — a fortress and survive.

Better yet, check out the pop cultural heavyweight Minecraft. Will you fight monsters or just hit things with a stick all day? Well, you can do both of those things and more in the pixellated world of Minecraft.

Would you believe that these two games are making plenty of money? Of course, everyone knows Minecraft is a success. Microsoft also seems to love it and paid $2.5 billion for it. In addition, The New York Times says Tarn Adams earned $50, 000 from Dwarf Fortress in 2010. That’s not bad.

The Next Big Game?

So we know indie games with simple graphics can do well.

But I wonder what the next major indie game will do to stand out from the rest. I mean, and I say this somewhat facetiously, can developers keep out-doing each other in simplicity?

This would be like a tech striptease where eventually there will be nothing left to strip. Just a black or white box will remain on the TV screen, and maybe a contemporary art museum will mount it on a wall.

But maybe there’s one way to stand out from other games with simple graphics. A developer could make an old school text adventure. You know, the ones were you see nothing but text on the screen. I mean, you can’t get much simpler than only having text.

Also, it would be nice to see a game that focuses primarily on telling a deep story. We all like a good story.

Now, I like games with gorgeous art work and graphics. You probably do too, and that’s why so many games have stunning graphics. But who knows for sure what the next major indie game will look — or read — like?

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Can Video Games Help Writers?

I think playing video games can benefit writers and help them learn discipline.

Writers who enjoy video games get to practice self-control. They do not need self-control because video games are an “addictive” drug. Instead they practice their self-control to balance their time spent playing with their time spent writing. They will have to put the controller down and pick up a quill, or a mouse, at some point. But the chance to practice discipline, by itself, is not a great reason for anyone to play games.

Perhaps a more persuasive reason is that video games can inspire writers to start writing. A person who plays video games can draft previews, reviews, news and anything related to games. These writers already know their audience: it is other video game players.

In addition, video game stories could inspire a person to write fiction. The fiction could be a novel based on a game. Or one could pen an original novel with influences from the story or themes of a game.

Working on video games could give writers a chance to do what they love. An established fiction author might pen the story for a blockbuster video game. Or maybe this author could offer some advice to a development team. So video games can inspire and even get writers paid. Is that it?

Video games offer everyone—not only writers—a chance to relax after a hard day with a fun hobby. Whenever you finish a post or piece of fiction, go for a walk and play a game. Use that time to clear your mind, and then tackle a fresh piece of paper or a blank computer page that taunts you.

Of course, writers still need to read and practice their craft. After all, you can’t finish a post when you are fending off waves of zombies with a machine gun. Or perhaps you have superhuman multitasking skills and a gift for writing without thinking. I did not think so.

I cannot guarantee video games will make you a better writer. However, they can inspire you. They can get you paid. They can help you relax, but don’t forget your discipline.

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Berenstain Bears Inspired This Post

writing is one of my favourite hobbiesMama and Papa Bear inspired me to write this post.

See, when I was a kid, my dad read the Berenstain Bears to me before bedtime. I loved that series. Sometimes he would add funny words to the story to see if I was following along. I would always call him out on these added words, and we would laugh.

On occasion, after he had a long day, my dad would fall asleep while reading to me. My mom would check on us after my dad had already shut his eyes. “Shhh,” I’d tell her, “Don’t wake him. He’s sleeping.” Then I’d continue reading until we all had to go to bed.

Not too long after these bedtime stories, I decided to pen my own tale. I remember a book called “Colour Your World,” about a cat, inspired me to write. After scribbling the last word and showing my mom the triumphant masterpiece, I realized I had a lot more to learn about spelling.

Cue years of learning and writing. But most of that writing was dryer than 2 week old stale bread. Yes, it was fun to write at all, but I wanted to try different styles of writing and be more creative.

So I started this blog and decided to write with flavour. I wanted to leave behind the bland writing of my past, to experiment with words, and to make something that excited me.

Video games became my subject because I love to play them and know a little about them. So many of you love them as well, which meant I could talk to you on my blog.

But when it comes to hobbies, writing is near the top. Thanks Mom and Dad.


I wanted to reflect on why I write this blog. Why did l choose video games as a topic? What experiences in my life made me fall in love with writing and then start this blog? As I reflected, I recalled something beautiful about life that mirrors my favourite hobby. My life is a story with a history, a present and a future I look forward to writing.

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Thanks for Reading This

video game blog 100 hundred followsI have an urge to be creative. I get up in the morning, as the alarm buzzes in my ears, and want to do something great.

But I don’t sculpt statues and don’t lift heavy objects. Toolboxes, bricks, and easels aren’t necessary for me.

Instead, I use pens, keyboards and a mouse. Ok, for those keeping count, this is my metaphorical toolbox. This toolbox doesn’t matter too much; any pen will do. Perhaps I would care about these items if I was a keyboard designer or engineer, but I’m not. In truth, these tools are only important because they help me put words on my blog.

I chose to blog about video games for two reasons. First, I love playing them. And when I am close to them, roses fills my nostrils, all I see are hearts, and the music from Romeo and Juliet plays in the background. Sharing this love of games is the logical next step for me.

Well my goal with this blog was humble. I wanted at least one person to like and read it. I’m happy to say that my blog has long since achieved and surpassed that feat. A couple of days ago, I earned a total of 100 followers and 200 likes for good measure.

But I want more than these numbers: I want my words to captivate the eyes of non gamers. Maybe they’d learn something new about games, or maybe they’d realize gamers are like them. I’m proud to say some great writers from non game blogs have already liked my posts. Here’s to having more of them pop by!

I love words, video games, and I need to share my thoughts with you. I want to let the words flow like a river from my head, down my arms and on to the screen. From there, they trickle into the vast ocean we call the internet.

Thanks for reading.

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