Game Industry Startup Co-Founder's Quest to Become a Real Gamer
by Andrew Wynans official
Editor's Note: Please give a warm welcome to Andrew, one of the co-founders of GameWisp!
There Are Gamers... and Then There's Me.
I have been a lot of things in my short life. I’ve been an athlete (if you call riding benches athleticism), a writer, a musician, a composer, a student, the Chick-fil-a cow (no, it’s not actually me in the picture, but I was in one of those costumes every Tuesday night my senior year of high school), an amateur balloon artist, and most recently, an attorney.
But to this point I have never been a gamer.
I tried to be a gamer when I was younger.
I can still remember booting up Rebel Assault 2 on DOS because my computer was too antiquated to play it in Windows. But that lasted until I got stuck on a level that, for the life of me, I couldn’t beat. (It was the level where the task is to maneuver a YT-1300 freighter out of the facility. I guess my hand just wasn’t steady enough, because I always crashed into something). Right then, any hope I had of becoming a gamer early in life dwindled fast. My parents didn’t believe in televisions when I was growing up, so console gaming was definitely out.
My friends were gamers.
As I got older, my best friends were gamers, the kind who have LAN parties, and know all of the appropriate lingo. I’ve picked up a bit here and there, but for the most part I feel illiterate in those conversations. In fact, at the first LAN party I ever attended, I spent much of my time playing ping pong and at the second, I read the majority of a Harry Potter book (not sure which one…The Half-Blood Prince maybe?). To be sure, I played my fair share of Halo in college… and died well more than my fair share of times. By the time I graduated, I was a fair hand driving a warthog, and had the most wheelman achievements of anybody… but I wasn’t great one on one and my skills with a sniper rifle were sadly lacking.
I helped found a game industry company.
Once college was over, I did what any relatively smart liberal arts major does: I went to graduate school. One hundred and fifty grand later, I stepped out of law school with a juris doctorate and a burning desire to do something more creative than legal research. The opportunity presented itself in the form of a collaboration with the guys that I had attended those LAN parties with back in high school and college; they were putting together a startup (later named GameWisp) that would let PC gamers back up data, share game saves and other content from their games. That seemed like an interesting idea, and somewhere that my skills could come in handy, so I joined up.
But I still wasn't a gamer.
But there is something that just seems so wrong about a co-founder of a company based around PC game content being illiterate in the ways of gaming. So after a lifetime of feeling outside that particular loop, I have decided to take the plunge.
I'm going to fix that.
I am going to venture forth into the realm of gaming and see where I end up. As I begin this new chapter in my life, I want to invite you to follow along. If you aren’t yet a gamer, maybe this will inspire you to become one. If you are a gamer, maybe you can remember back to when you were first discovering what it was like to experience vast new worlds with adventure and intrigue and challenge. Whatever your motivation, I sincerely hope you keep reading, because I think the concept of a 26-year-old guy just beginning to try his hand at something his friends have been doing their entire lives might just be a lot of fun for all of us.
And so we begin.
A couple of months back (before I decided to start this little journey), I bought a new iMac. As a consistent fan of Apple products, this seemed like a solid step for a guy who spends most of his computer time checking email, watching Netflix, and filling up white space in Microsoft Word. But as those of you who follow Apple products know, that particular purchase was not cheap. So, for the foreseeable future, that is what I’ll be using for this foray into gaming.
I had always heard that the gaming landscape for Mac was limited. While it is more limited than PC, I was pleasantly surprised to see just how many games have Mac capability. About a month ago, I picked up Knights of the Old Republic (a game I remember watching friends play, but I never got around to playing myself) and Team Fortress 2. I played a bit on each of these, but the Steam summer sale has really been my catalyst for building my catalog of games. I picked up Borderlands 2, Half Life 2, Portal, and Sid Meier’s Civilization V. I also grabbed Torchlight 2 from GOG.com a few weeks ago, but I haven’t installed that one yet. So those are the games you can expect to see posts about in the near future.
Thanks for Stopping By… Let’s Do it Again Sometime!
Anyway, so there you have it. The quest begins. I’ll be updating this on a weekly basis with thoughts about the games that I am currently playing and the experience of joining the gaming community later in life. But for now, I have a question for all of you. While I have a few games already, what are some of the games that I need to be playing to really get the gamer experience?
And a final shameless plug: If you haven’t checked out GameWisp yet and you’re a PC gamer, you are missing out. The application is great, and the potential to share game saves and other content is really exciting. So, check it out when you get a chance. Alright folks, I’m out. I’ll be back with more adventures in discovering gaming soon!