I have been chatting with Tom recently as he is on holidays and using his time to play Fallout4 on the PS4, watch you tube videos about Fallout4 and generally become obsessed.
Now I know what that is like. I remember the year I got HalfLIfe, I played it for hours every day, or the year I got Return to Krondor on my PC for Christmas, I actually spent all Christmas Day and Boxing Day playing it…
I did however remind him that he can use his brain and time to create games, rather than just playing other peoples.
As many of you know he has been dabbling in this for some time now, and after a few false starts has some pretty solid ideas and now some skills to actually make it happen.
What has been interesting to me though is the fact he is actually going a bit analog. He has started making his own boardgames. He made a maze runner game, designed the board, the cards, the game play all by himself. The design is rudimentary, but the gameplay is really good. It is also easy to understand, he was able to play the turn based game with his sister Oilvia who is only 5, and she was able to understand and enjoy the game.
As my career has always been largely digital (except for the whole newspaper thing of course…) I at first said why didn’t you just make it as an app, and Tom then said something that floored me – it was more fun this way.
At that statement, I had to accept he was right. He is doing what most of us dream of, doing what he loves and enjoys the most. Granted he is not making money out of it, but I have no doubt he will one day.
What is more exciting for me as a parent though, is the level of concentration he showed while creating his game, the determination to get the character cards just how he wanted them, and his dedication to the story of the game – he actually wrote a full family tree of all characters and a back story to the game.
He put in hours and hours doing this. it was this that lead me to the realisation that one of my lessons had sunk in for him, rewards are always on the other side of hard work. He did the best job he could do and finished the game to a standard he wanted before a single dice was rolled. The reward for him was not getting paid, it was the game and being able to play it.
At 11 there is not a much more you could expect of a child, that is fast becoming a man. And given the phenomenal success of exploding kittens on kickstarter last year, maybe he could even make money out his boardgames as well.