Making games isn’t what I thought I’d be doing for a career, but I’ve enjoyed it so far. I wanted to be an animator for Disney when I grew up, so entertainment is in my blood, but games were something I played, not made. That said, I’ve dug into game design quite a bit in the last few years, and I really like it. I see a LOT of potential for games to contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
It takes a certain playfulness and childlike whimsy to make games, and to play games. I think it’s good to cultivate that.
Last time, I complained about the “boys’ club” mentality that’s part of the game industry. I wanted to take a moment and make a distinction between being childish and being childlike. The former is what I’m not happy with, but I think the latter is absolutely essential, not just in the entertainment world, but in life as a whole.
I think Walt Disney had a lot of boyishness about him, and the notion of “embracing our inner innocent child” has permeated his legacy. I think that’s healthy, since if we ever silence that sense of wonder and innocence, we lose something very valuable. This is what drives us to keep learning, to stay humble, and allows us to be happy in the face of some of the harsh realities of life. It’s the inner Dory, prompting us to “just keep swimming”, getting distracted by new shinies along the way, simply enjoying life.
Being childish, on the other hand, is the selfish, whiny, demanding attitude that we see exemplified by tired toddlers or even grumpy teenagers. The immaturity inherent in the puerile “boys’ club” mentality is an outgrowth of this attitude, just with some biological maturation layered on top, and maybe a slight expansion of the vocabulary. I’m complaining about childishness and immaturity, which are entirely different from being childlike. These are the aspects of our childhood that we need to cast off as we truly mature, so that we can function in society.
I believe we should always remember our inner boy or girl, but only the good parts that help us be humble and see the world as a beautiful, interesting place.