Friday, July 16, 2010

Too young to be rich and famous

When I was a child I had the opportunity to play with computers before many even realized they existed. I remember when games came on 8 inch floppy disks. I was thrilled with 3.5 inch floppies and blown away by CDs. And when I was a child, I imagined how I would make my millions.

My first thought was to become a game programmer. Back then the creation of video games was slightly different. Often times it would be just one person with an idea. Sometimes it would be a small team of programmers. These programmers were rock stars in a way. You would buy games based on who the creators were. My favorite game company was Sierra, and my favorite rock star video game programmer was Roberta Williams. There might not have been much money in gaming, but there was fame of a sort.

But times changed. Now games are made by huge teams owned by huge companies. As a game designer there is no fame any more. The only time a name is associated with a video game is if they are a relic of the previous era, like Sid Meier. It was sometime in early highschool that I realized my dream of being a famous game programmer was not to be. It wasn't that I didn't have the talent, or the skill, it's that I was too late. I was too young. By the time I would be able to write a game, there was no fame to be had in it.

I was lucky, and had access to the internet before things called browsers existed. In school I had the pleasure of using gopher. I had access to the internet before AOL existed. Through a summer camp I had the pleasure of roaming the internet freely in 1995. It was not long until we had dial up internet at our house. I knew that the internet was a Big Thing. More than that, I realized that there was money to be made.

In high school I watched in horror as the dot com bubble happened without me. I knew I had the ability to make my millions in the dot com world. I had my own webpage of course. I even had a webcam. I didn't know what exactly I was going to build to make my millions, but I knew I could do it. I knew that in order to make it happen, I had to get out of school and make it happen.

I was a rare one though, in that I thought that college would be important. But I also knew that in order to make my millions I had to get out of school fast. I was taking college courses in high school to speed myself along. I graduated from high school a semester early, just so I could get into college faster so I could get OUT of college faster. I had it figured how I could graduate from college in just three years if I worked really hard. And then I could go out and make my millions.

My first semester of college, March 2000, the dot com bubble burst. Like many, I didn't see it coming, and I didn't even see it happen. The following year at college, I started to realize what happened. There was no fortune to be had in the dot com world anymore. I was too late. I was too young, again. I wouldn't be rich.

Here it is 10 years later. I am not rich, I am not famous. I was too late for that. I realize that the fame and fortune wouldn't last if I had been on time. But I can't help but think that maybe I would have been smart enough to invest some of my fortune into something stable and survived the burst. Or maybe I would have made a game series so memorable that my name would still be uttered by geeks. I am sure there is another Big Thing up and coming where fame and fortune can be found, but I'm too old and tired to chase them now.

No comments: