Thanks, Richard, for asking me to be a part of your new endeavor! ‘Tis an honor.
As many of you know, I am passionate about the importance of play, promoting our inventors and thinking of ourselves as an entertainment industry, just like in music, books, sports, fashion, food – we all compete for the same dollar. This passion led me to found DiscoverGames.com to help other game inventors after inventing a few games myself and not finding the help I needed; the Chicago Toy and Game Fair (ChiTAG) to promote play, inventors and our products to the public in the 4th quarter; the Toy and Game Inventor/Industry Conference to help inventors/industry learn and network; the Toy and Game Inventors of the Year Awards to recognize the genius of our inventors (it will one day be televised, if chefs can be celebs, so can our inventors); Games for Funraising (better than overpriced gift wrap!); Games for Educators; and the Games in Education Conference at ChiTAG.
Ambitious? Perhaps, but there is an overriding modus operandi: A Rising Tide Floats All Boats. ARTFAB. Working together, we can accomplish anything as well as help one another’s individual goals.
I’ve been contacting Time Magazine and other media for years about play and inventors. One of Time’s well-known columnists, Joel Stein, responded to me specifically about why they don’t write about our inventors like they do other industry’s creative talent. He said, “The answer to your question is the same reason no one cares about brilliant plumbers or set designers or poets or almost anything. If I could force people to care about cyclists I'd write about them in Time every week. Sorry.”
Well, it's nothing like being a plumber or cyclist, in which faithful repetition makes you stronger and your contribution to society is small (although very important to the ones who needed the expert plumber). Poets are widely recognized. They even speak at presidential inaugurations. Set designers are recognized at the Academy Awards.
Toy/game design is a little invention, a little art, a little design and a little passion -- no two inventions are alike (hopefully). It's somewhat akin to a mass-market piece of art, which in my opinion is very similar to a book or movie. They're all a dream or idea put into a form for everyone to enjoy. Some people keep toys from their childhood and hand them down to their children. Some people are toy/game collectors. Toys and games can conjure a memory from childhood. Playing games can raise a child’s IQ and delay dementia and Alzheimer’s. The American Library Association has made getting games into the libraries one of their top four initiatives. Schools are using toys/games in their curriculum. Studies show that kids and animals that do not play when they are young may grow into anxious, socially maladjusted adults.
We need to convince Joel and the world how important our industry is. What are you doing to promote our industry? ARTFAB