Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Game of Life

There are a lot of Artists on FaceBook... at least where I hang out. As an Artist, I looked into some of the very popular games on FaceBook like Pirates! and Castle Age, at first for the artwork, and then for the fun. And along the way I've made friends with other Artists who are also checking out the art and having fun! These games are very addictive, as you may know if you've tried them. But why?

First of all, the games reward you! Depending on the game, you perform quests to achieve certain goals, and when those goals are reached, you get Favor Points that you can spend on cool exclusive stuff that you can then use back in the game. There are random events that occur, where you might get cool stuff 'dropped' at random, and there are different layers of 'quests'. In Castle Age you can battle other players, battle monsters, perform heroic quests, and Demi-quests, and more, with each coming with their own requirements and rewards. That's right, you need to EARN the right to do certain quests, and by finishing a certain number of quests you can unlock monster fights and other stuff.

What's my point? Well, my point is that the games are fun, but also addictive. When you sit back to actually analyze the game, what are you actually accomplishing? Well, honestly, you're pushing a button and getting a treat. Just like a rat in a cage, or some poor monkey in an experiment. Yes, here we are, some may argue the pinnacle of evolution, and we're voluntarily acting like rats in a cage... and enjoying it!

But the game is fun, right, and there are levels of strategy, you argue, so for those two points we can say that gaming is good. But what have you got when the power is off, or your internet connection is gone? You're guessing 'nothing', right?

Wrong. You've got a pretty good business model for success!

Yes, you heard me. By taking what we learn from these games and applying them to real life, you might actually become more successful, and more fulfilled, for real!

Of course, the games are great because you know that as long as the program works, you will get a certain reward for certain behaviour, where as in real life, we don't get those guarantees. Still, what rewards we do get in life can't be taken away from us, and can lead to some rather awesome random events. :0)

So what the heck am I talking about? Suppose you want to be an Illustrator of Children's Books someday. To make that dream come true, you have to set yourself some goals, and pursue those goals until you earn some achievements, and eventually some rewards.

Goals should be something like, "Create 5 illustrations in 5 different styles", and "Create 10 illustrations in the same style". Aim for Achievements like "Send 25 submissions to 25 different Publishers" and go for the big ones like "Receive 5 replies from Publishers that are not photocopied rejections".

This last one has a great reward. You need to figure out why you are getting photocopied rejections in the first place. Did you follow the submission guideloines of the Publisher? No? Now you've earned a reward! Wisdom! Wisdom allows the bearer to submit at the very least professional looking submissions to publishers! Now you have levelled up! Your chances of getting a photocopied rejection letter have now dropped 20% or more.

Carry out this logic and you'll see that by setting goals and accomplishing them in a reasonable amount of time you will improve as an illustrator and become professional in the process. Extend your goals and achievements to running a business or getting an agent, and your chances of becoming successful have increased significantly. Of course, you still need talent, but if you can apply the discipline you have towards gaming to your art, well then! Good for you!

Of course, in a game, the computer automatically sets the clock, and doles out energy and tells you when to take the next step, so you sit there watching the clock, eager to take the next step.

To be a successful Artist, you've got to set the goals yourself, and watch the clock yourself, and make sure you take steps every day to achieve your goals. Heck, why not make that your New Year's resolution?

Hope 2010 is a great one! JOHN :0)


Brian Hughes said...

"By taking what we learn from these games and applying them to real life, you might actually become more successful, and more fulfilled, for real!"

And possibly, as you've already mentioned, get your real life reward/treat, like a rat in a cage...?

John said...

Brian, hmmm... not sure what you mean by that?

I'm hoping that in real life we at least have a few choices, unlike the rat in the cage. And by the way, I know that analogy is harsh, and I've been waiting for flack from the gamers on that one...

Seriously, though, I'm just boiling certain game play down to it's basic element, which is really just pressing a button and getting a treat. No offense meant, Dude!

I just think that ultimately finding a career that satisfies you and pays the bills may be more rewarding than games which are fun, but are often retreats from jobs that are unfullfiling.

Think about THAT and you'll see just how deep it's getting... I mean, how deep this post really is!


I amaze myself sometimes... :0)

Anonymous said...

Pretty interesting site you've got here. Thanks for it. I like such topics and everything connected to this matter. BTW, why don't you change design :).

John said...

I liked the design when it came out... now I don't have time to change it. :0) I have a lot going on right now, but eventually I'll follow the crowd and go with something lighter...
Thanks for stopping by, JOHN :0)