Getting serious with gaming

Few industries have experienced change on the scale of electronic entertainment. The exponential explosion of technical ability from the late 1970s to the modern era belies the fact that the market has had some huge downs in that time. The beloved Atari 2600 was long in decline before the Nintendo Entertainment System picked up the torch in the mid-80s, and under a decade later, the Sega MegaDrive/Super Nintendo era ended in another industry slump when much-vaunted newcomers like the Atari Jaguar simply failed to shine.

Luckily for the industry, global giants (Sony and Microsoft) were ready to join the market a couple of decades ago and console gaming has been a stable, successful industry throughout the lifetime of most UEL Computer Game Design students. PC gaming has also grown over the last 25 years – long gone are the days when it was seen as a staid, non-user friendly corporate machine. Your Universe spoke to two of our CGD students – Dipo Master and Reece Henderson – to find out about their own gaming history and what they think the future will bring.

How did you first get into gaming?

DIPO: “As most children seem to, probably because my friends had them, so I was up for being included in conversations and sharing experiences with games. My first console was a PlayStation 2. I got it because it was also a DVD player. It was cool because I had friends that had it as well. So we could swap games, lend them to each other and so on.

REECE: “I started on my Nintendo 64 with Mario Kart when I was 4 years old I believe? That was when I started to get interested in games and moved onto PlayStation 1. A few years after that I started playing PlayStation 2. But I only had a couple of games on my PlayStation 1 and my Nintendo 64.”

When you were playing games growing up did you prefer PCs or consoles?

DIPO: “I preferred consoles because it’s more immediate. Right now I’m more of a PC gamer because I understand games better – I study them. It’s also cheaper. And console requires more time for a session - I’m always on my PC, so I can just swap between work and games.”

REECE: “I‘ve mainly focused on consoles before. A lot of the PC games are very competitive, online strategic battle games so I still prefer consoles I’d say.”

Growing up, which memorable games inspired you and how?

DIPO: “I think The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King because it was a multiplayer game I could play with my brother. And the second one, probably the most influential one, is the Halo series. I fell in love with shooting games and I used to play these games very often.”

REECE: “Mario Kart inspired me because it didn’t only have one game option where you could just race, it had another game option too, which was battles. It just gave me that feeling when I turned 16 that “the computer games industry looks like it’s getting very big now so it might be something that I can get into.” Ever since then it’s continued to grow.”

Do you play most games now on a Desktop PC, laptop, mobile, tablet, TV console or handheld console?

DIPO: “Right now I’m using a laptop because I just moved here. My desktop is in a box.”

REECE: “Console.”

Do you think we’ll ever see the return of low-end home computers aimed at children? Basically games machines that they could also do their homework on.

DIPO: “There’s still a niche market for retro games with text only. But I think as a society we’re going more towards video content. So to have entertainment on text, relying only on the imagination of the player? It would be really difficult to go back to that.

REECE: “I wouldn’t think so now, because the internet in itself is so expansive and we only seem to explore 8% of what we see. That means there’s just so many opportunities out there with the current hardware and it seems to be developing and improving a lot faster. But if they can compete against that? Then yes, they definitely can come back.

Overall, where is the future of gaming headed?

DIPO: “I don’t think PC gaming will go away anytime soon. But for sure, mobile is becoming a bigger and bigger market every day. The hardware in mobiles is becoming very efficient battery-wise and powerful like a PC.

REECE: “I’ll tell you, the future of gaming is heading into a much bigger and wider range of greatness and I think it’s gonna be a very, very great industry to get into. Not only gaming in itself but coding as well.

What do you think you’ll do once you graduate?

DIPO: “I’ll try to get into the industry and then work my way up the ladder to become a lead designer.”

REECE: “I’m planning on either getting an internship over here with a gaming studio in London or thinking about going to America; either to New York or California and get an internship out there with Take-Two Interactive or EA. Someone big! Yeah, it’s very ambitious but I’d rather start down below with them, work my way up, get some experience.

Can you sell me your degree in a single line?

DIPO: “Making games is more fun than playing them.”

REECE: “Creativity on this course has a purpose.”

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