Unlike my lovely wife who grew up in a house of books, I grew up in a house of games. Not really the sit-down board games but the visually intense world of video games. Sure, I spent a lot of time outside making forts, shooting BB guns and causing mischief, like most young boys, but the year our household gained the gem of a 1982 Atari 2600 was probably just the beginning of my love of art, vibrant design and in-game strategy. I vividly remember the Activision Atari game Pitfall! - Climbing weird looking ladders to get away from scorpions, jumping over poisonous snakes and chomping crocodiles. There was always an end goal and a path to overcome an obstacle or complete a level. Much like in my professional life as a designer, there was always a problem to solve and in my mind back then, that problem was solved level by level by level until I beat the game. I’d say, besides gaining all of that wonderful hand-eye coordination, I was learning at a young age how to problem solve with game design content.
Eventually our house graduated from an Atari to the new and exciting world of Nintendo and I immediately took to the (still very challenging today) game Mega Man. What?! You might ask…Not Super Mario Brothers?? Of course I played Mario Brothers but that wasn’t quite the challenge that Mega Man proved to be. The graphics started to become a little more rendered and the colors more vibrant. Before you knew it the Super NES came out and over night I became a Street Fighting (in-game) champion. Household tournaments were held, with my friends and I taking on my older brother and his friends. I reigned supreme. It was an artistic escape for me. The video game world offered a break from reality, much like the way books can, and although I enjoy reading, it just doesn’t give me the visual, problem solving, battling-through experience as the gaming world.
To make a long story short, I eventually moved on to PC gaming, then onto the PS3 and currently the PS4. Gaming is still an escape from reality, it’s still a challenge, I’m still solving problems and my hand eye coordination is probably equivalent to Bruce Lee.
In August of 2014 one of my dreams came true. The design company that I started with my best friend was asked to create limited edition packaging game inserts for the highly talked about, major launch of the game Destiny. I almost screamed in joy! I got to have a part in a game launch as huge as Destiny, even if it was these kind of weird aluminum engraved plates with graphics on them that got a funny reaction from an IGN review. (insert link to the unboxing video)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZHz-eNcdVE So what! It was still bad ass and they turned out beautiful. We’ve created some pretty cool things in our first 3 years of operation but this has been by far my favorite.
September of 2015 marked the 2nd year for Destiny. I was excited to see what kind of new product design and special limited edition items they would create for an even better user experience. Bungie and Destiny do a wonderful job making the fans of Destiny feel like we’re all part of a community. None of this would happen without the strategic planning, timing and thoughtful design they put into everything they do. Another brilliant thing they’ve done to strengthen their numbers is actually listen to the people who are playing the game. They change and evolve with their fans. Whenever there has been something unfavorable in the game, more often than not it gets changed into something better. I’ve never known a game or franchise to listen to its fan base and change in-game content based on their feedback.
I have to say that I was pleased with the design of the collectors edition - year two items. Just like in the year one collectors edition, year two included a book full of illustrations, stories, and puzzles to feed your desire to know more about the storyline and mysteries behind the history of Destiny and its evolution. Stickers, patches and posters also were included as well as an exact replica of the ever-so-needed in-game Strange Coin. What’s a Strange Coin? I’ll tell you, you need a lot of them to purchase items and upgrade your character. Pick up a copy of Destiny, join me in battle and hoard some coins for yourself. Together the light of our guardians will defeat the darkness.
Like I’ve said, this has always been my innocent escape from reality but it’s also been much more than that. These games are becoming much much more complex as it takes intense strategy to figure out and complete the in-game puzzles they try to stump us with. In the past gaming was playing by yourself or against one other person. The world is vast now and the challenges are more difficult. The maps are incredibly larger, there is not point A to point B. Now you can explore more of a less linear, free roam style atmosphere. Some missions require up to 6 people on a team in order to reach the end goal. I think subconsciously, through the world of gaming, I’ve always been honing my skills of problem solving, strategizing and communicating towards an end goal--which is exactly what I find to be my strengths in today's world of design.
Thanks for reading and happy gaming.
-Josh aka J1ANT