I'm going to post something a bit meta today. I'm not going to talk so much about games, but a little bit more about the games industry. In fact, I'm even pulling back my perspective to talk a little bit about creativity in general.
Let me set the scene. I currently live in central Oklahoma. There's not a lot in Oklahoma. There are farms, there is oil and natural gas, and there is a smattering of a few other things. If you live in one of the two major urban areas (the Oklahoma City metro area, and Tulsa), there's a slightly broader array of things to do and see. A small handful of companies have their headquarters here (most notably, the drive-in fast food chain Sonic), and downtown OKC and Tulsa have some offices for various corporations.
But otherwise, there's not a lot to Oklahoma. The state tries to rely on its Native American heritage (all of which was basically imported from other parts of the country anyway) to promote tourism, but not many people think of Oklahoma as a vacation destination.
All this results in people here working in agriculture, oil and gas, and then a small percentage working in corporate offices, with a smattering of other occupations. The University of Oklahoma is located in Norman, just a little ways south of Oklahoma City, and that institution provides many jobs, as well as an influx of cultural influence that is very distinctly lacking from the rest of the state. In Midwest City, on the eastern edge of Oklahoma City, is Tinker Air Force Base, and in the southwest corner is Fort Sill; these two installations also provide jobs, but not so much in the way of culture.
If you're not working in one of those industries, you'll find yourself more or less alone. Even the public education system is actively besieged at the moment by the state's leadership, both governmental and religious, and teachers are finding it harder and harder to make a living for themselves.
This is relevant to today's topic because in places like Los Angeles, Seattle, or New York, there is such a great wealth of diversity that even niche industries are flourishing. It's easier for people in those places to break into a career because there is a very good chance they'll be able to meet people in that industry, if they don't already know someone.
So, circling back to my point: I was watching some videos this morning. Several were from Shut Up & Sit Down, and a few were from Geek & Sundry. Some of these videos were covering games that had been funded through Kickstarter. And as I'm watching these videos, I'm thinking, I wish I could do that.
Specifically, I wish I could make videos. I wish I could design and produce games (I'd prefer to publish roleplaying games, but if I were able to come up with any decent board game ideas, I'd like to be able to publish those too).
But I don't have the resources to do that.
Making videos requires equipment. I'd need decent video cameras, editing software, a good computer that's able to handle everything I'd need to function... all of this costs money I don't have.
Even if I had any ideas for game to try to publish (I've never been able to come up with a decent board game idea, and the RPGs I come up with are of the old-school Statistic variety, and it's become apparent that modern RPGs are moving towards a more Descriptive model of game design), I'd need to be able to produce videos to sell the idea, and funds to advertise it.
If I were able to somehow come to the attention of a big and well-known organisation like Geek & Sundry, I'd be too far away to be able to benefit from their resources. I couldn't very well go into one of their studios to film; it'd be a few hundred dollars to buy a plane ticket, not to mention hotels, meals, and transportation.
My actual job is as a teacher. As noted before, being a teacher in Oklahoma is a difficult proposition. Most of the other teachers I work with have summer jobs to help ease the financial burden of working in such a poorly-paid profession. That, along with the volunteer work I do on some evenings, and especially this year as I've developed some health issues that are eating up a lot of my time, means I haven't even had an opportunity to work on the novel I had wanted to finish before August.
I know this post sounds very 'Oh, woe is me!' so far. But I'm actually using my situation to illustrate a larger point. It's not just my situation that is regrettable. I'm sure there are many others who would have more to offer than I do, but are just as stymied by their lack of access to resources. Maybe there's someone living in Quincy, Iowa that would be the next Reiner Knizia if only she were given an opportunity to explore and foster her ideas. Perhaps there's someone living in Sweetwater, Idaho, who would be able to create amazing video content for the Dice Tower YouTube Channel if only he were able to get his hands on a decent camera and video editing software.
I don't really know for sure where I'm going with this. Idle rumination, perhaps. But that's what I was thinking about today.
Anyway, something to contemplate. Until next week, remember to