Febuary 8th 2003
I have a dream...
The video game industry has evolved tremendously over the last couple of
decades. Twenty years ago, video game consoles had limited capabilities, but
the advantage in that was that you could make a game in a couple of months,
with a small team of developers. Today's consoles are infinitely more
powerful, and the number of people involved in developing a single game can
range from dozens to hundreds. The days of the lone programmer developing
a game all by himself in his basement are long gone...
Or are they? I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties
and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply
rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true
meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all
game creators are created equal."
I have a dream that one day in the jungles of Cyberspace the game-creating
gurus and the young aspiring designers will be able to sit down together
at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even Nintendo, a closed company, sweltering with
the heat of creative ownership and licensing agreements, will be transformed
into an oasis of imaginative openness and fair play.
I have a dream that my unborn children will one day live in a nation where
their game-creating talents will not be judged by their lack of experience
but by the energy behind their contributions.
I have a dream today...
Well, okay, it's a really puerile twist on
Luther King Jr.'s famous speech, but there is a good point behind it:
Anyone with a little imagination can design a mini-game, and it seems to
me like the dot-code technology used on e-Cards is perfect for supporting
such mini-games. So what's to stop someone with a good mini-game idea from
developing his game and distributing it on e-Cards?
Well, developing and manufacturing e-Cards is not exactly cheap (even if
it is much cheaper than making game cartridges) and we all know Nintendo
will never support this kind of open-minded initiative.
But what if they did?
In my wildest dreams, I can imagine Nintendo running contests where everyone
could submit their mini-game ideas, and the winners would see their games
printed on e-Cards and played by thousands upon thousands of GBA gamers.
If I were in charge of organizing such events, I would actually hold three
different types of contests:
- Contest #1: People with actual knowledge of GBA programming could submit
their games, in software format. The winners would hand over the source
code of their games to Nintendo, and Nintendo's internal development staff
would adapt the games to fit on e-Cards.
- Contest #2: You have a good idea for an e-Card mini-game, but you don't
know the first thing about GBA programming? No problem, just submit your
idea in the form of a design document, and if you win, Nintendo will take
your document and make the game themselves in e-Card format.
- Contest #3: You don't have any ideas for mini-games yourself, but there
are some old games that you'd like to see re-released on e-Cards? This
third type of contest would be for you: You could just vote for the
games you want to see on e-Cards! A classic arcade game? A cool game on
the Atari 2600, the Commodore 64 or the NES? A Game & Watch you used to
play a lot when you were younger? Just place your vote! The 10 games
with the most votes would be presented in a second round of voting, and
people would vote for the 3 games they most want to see on e-Cards.
Nintendo would then try to resolve all the legal aspects with the
copyright owners of these 3 games, and release the games on e-Cards!
Yeah, I know, I know, I'm dreaming in Technicolor. But just imagine the
excitement that could be generated by such contests, especially if they
were open to people of all ages, and if they were held periodically, like
once every 6 months or so!
I don't know about you, but I find this idea very stimulating, and that's
what prompted me to start the NES Game
Design Contest. It's nowhere near an official contest, but I hope
people like you will participate, if only for the chance to win an e-Reader!