"If you were legally enjoined from creating games, what would you do instead?"
The Escapist asked this question of many professional game designers in both electronic and tabletop paper-and-dice gaming. Their answers fell into several broad categories.
(2) Retire and play games.
- Steve Jackson
If I couldn't work on games, I'd probably teach young aspiring game developers. I've lectured at DigiPen and Full Sail, and really enjoyed my time with their students. I also might work on non-game software, but I tried quitting the game industry once, and that didn't last. Teaching would probably be the right answer.
- Ellen Guon Beeman
In my case, I'm a designer, writer and web monkey, so I guess I'd design web pages and write books.
- Hal Barwood
I also write rulebooks for sports. Between that and coaching (creating new plays), I imagine I wouldn't end up in a bell tower too soon.
- Larry D. Hols, freelance paper game designer
If I hadn't become a game developer, I probably would have become a plumber. My father, grandfather and even great-grandfather were all plumbers. In many ways my work is similar to that of my dad. Plumbing and programming are both about logic and working solutions. They both have complicated innards, and a polished presentation to the end user. Maybe I'll come full-circle one day when I finally get around to writing that little game I've been thinking about. Called "Hammerhead Jack," it will star a bullish little plumber blasting through walls, laying pipe.
- Tom Gilleland, BeachWare
Turn to drugs, live on the street and sell myself cheaply to get by.
- Mike Kasprzak, sykhronics entertainment
Subvert from Within
That's easy. I would become a lawyer.
- John Ebbert, Arkadium, Inc.
I'd play music in seedy bars, and write, and maybe draw cartoons. All the while, I'd secretly develop games, passing them around on illicit CD-Rs, always tempting fate. Sprites would be traded in back alleys with other like-minded ludotraffickers, and I'd be looking up algorithms on a loose network of pirate BBSes that would go up and down. Eventually, my counterculture existence would attract attention, and depending on how the roll of the dice goes, I'd end up raided by the FBI, a martyr to the movement, and a cause celebre; or I'd be vanished, to work for the NSA providing military-grade puzzle games to keep the troops amused.
I'd stop designing games immediately. Then, I'd proceed to start designing, pastimes, sports, challenges, puzzles, contests, interactive activities, simulations, abstractions, etc.
- Jeff Siadek, Battlestations board game designer
Given how such prohibitions often increase the demand and the prices paid for the illicit materials, I'd set myself up as the Al Capone of the gaming industry, supplying that demand through black market means. I'd ruthlessly wipe out rivals who tried to smuggle in Canadian games.
- Matt Forbeck, writer/paper game designer
A) I'd write fiction about my game worlds, or
B) I'd move to someplace where I could create them legally, or failing that C) Do it over the internet via anonymous means, or
D) Found the militant National Roleplayers Association, or NRA ("You can have my dice when you pry them from my cold, dead hands...")
- Greg Porter, Blacksburg Tactical Research Center