Game Development when you’re Old

Now that I’ve been over 50 for a while I might seem kind of old in comparison to those other game developers out there. Today, I thought I’d take a break from developing and give some unsolicited advice to you other old timers, you know who you are. You might even be feeling old even though you’re only 26.

I started doing commercial game development at that age. Even way back then most of the other programmers in our group were younger than me, and if you were over 30 that was definitely over the hill. Eight years later when I was in another group we called one of our coworkers “grandpa” just because he was the only one over 40.

So how come I’m still at it almost thirty years later. The answer is simple. I love it. Mainly, I love playing games, designing games and, almost as much, programming. And I can’t stress this enough, I’m not too old for this. Maybe when I’m 110, but definitely not now nor anytime soon.

By the way, it’s never too late to start. It’s much easier now to get started in game development compared to the early eighties. The sheer volume of great introductory books is amazing. And of course there’s a ton of video tutorials on youtube and many specialized sites to help anyone to do this, regardless of age.

The most important thing, other than loving it, is to have a reasonably open attitude towards change. As we get older we have a tendency to latch on to the old and familiar ways while rejecting the new ways. My old friend Rob calls this ossification. So, in a nutshell, avoid ossification. Play some new games, learn a new programming language or two, get out of your comfort zone.

And, as a final thought for today, fight agism wherever you might find it. This kind of prejudice is just as ugly as racism or sexism.

About Franz Lanzinger

Franz Lanzinger is a classic video game developer with video game credits for Atari's coin-op Crystal Castles, Tengen Ms. Pacman, SNES Rampart, and the Gubble series. He has a degree in mathematics, wrote "Classic Game Design", a book about how to make classic video games, and is a professional pianist, accompanist and piano teacher.
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