About Gemini Last Updated:
February 19th, 2011
Where to begin?
Well, Pixelmusement may be the registered business name I work under, but I personally am a one-man-show around here, at least for now. I've been making games virtually all of my life, starting with card and dice games at the age of 5, coming up with new rules for board games when I was 7, and finally writing my first computer games on a Tandy BASIC computer in an elementary school classroom when I was 10.
Games are my life. What more can I say on that?
But more about myself. My actual name is Kris Asick, which you'll note I make no effort to hide. I was born in Canada and raised mostly in Canada, though I've spent some of my life in Texas and Florida too in the USA. As I write this, I'm creeping into my late 20's and doing everything I can to pretend I'm still 19... with some degree of success I might add! Unlike almost everyone I know, I actually didn't make it through high school and haven't attained any post-secondary education. The reasons are complicated, but ultimately my plan was to simply wait to hit 19 so I would qualify to take a several-hour-long high school equivalency exam, NOT study for it at all, and pass it easily. When I come up with an idea it rarely goes according to plan... that time however it did! ;)
Between 2002 and 2004 I was a professional programmer for Neufeld Learning Systems, making educational software for the purpose of teaching people math. ‘twas my only connection really though, and ever since I left that job I'd been without another to go to, thus I started working on shareware, but have never been able to figure out how to push sales of my shareware to a point where it would be successful, plus I wasted way too much time just tinkering when I should've been making games.
Then, during the development of one of my most ambitious projects in 2009, I did end up getting a job... calling businesses all day long asking them to take 20-minute-long surveys. The job itself was terrible, I barely made over minimum wage (unlike everyone else I know who works at a call centre), and I had to leave the job because of an ongoing sleeping problem I have which was made even worse from all that. I've since learned that the real purpose of the survey was so that the company hiring us out could determine which markets they needed to advertise to and where their greatest market threats were, rather than improve their services. Go figure. :P
I never was able to get back into the project I had going because I simply didn't have the time anymore, but in May of 2010, seeing that there was a lack of informational-style web shows that try not to take sides, I decided to start my own: Ancient DOS Games, and that's primarily what I've been working on since, releasing new episodes at the start of every Saturday.
However, none of this has ever curtailed my interest in gaming and in game design. Actually, I consider myself a much better game designer than programmer. I have over 200 game design docs sitting on my system, about one quarter of which are actually completed or mostly completed. That said, it was very disappointing to see many of my ideas take form thanks to other companies and independents also coming up with them before I had the programming skill to make anything even remotely comparable. Massively multiplayer action games, games with colourful, glowing vector graphics, even the recent and hugely popular Minecraft is extremely similar to an idea of mine I came up with in 2005. Thankfully, some of my best ideas are still untapped and I'll be tackling those projects as I get the chance to... when I'm not working on ADG. ;)
In order to be talented at game design I've also had to learn how to do much of the other aspects of game making. The next best thing I can do is program and have experience with several programming languages including BASIC, Pascal and C++. I've also slowly but steadily been getting better at music over the past decade, tracking all of my music in Impulse Tracker. Very little of it is out there at the moment, but that will change soon enough. While I have 2D and 3D artistic skills both digitally and in reality, they're not the greatest and it takes me a substantial amount of time to make anything look even remotely good. (Believe it or not, it took several full days straight for me to do what little artwork there is in PixelShips Retro.) Even this website was designed by my hand, though I had a little help getting it transitioned from straight HTML to CSS. ^_^
I'm a one-man-show for a number of reasons, but mostly because I haven't the money to pay anyone to perform the quality of work I demand from myself. Life has taught me that if you're not going to pay someone for their work, chances are you'll get almost nothing out of them. That said, it also doesn't help that I've never really been around people with as much of an interest in game development as I have. True, much of my programming skill was helped along by a friend of mine during my last years of school, but since we were both primarily programmers we mostly competed with each other when programming, rather than combine our efforts. Besides him, I've never met anyone with an interest in game development as deeply rooted as mine is so I've been stuck most of my life doing all the work on my own.
As a gamer, I'm a talented jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none. I can play most video games extremely well, (except strategy games), but tend to fail against those who are best at specific genres or games as I don't religiously train myself in any particular games. I'm very methodical when playing a game and tend to look at how it's programmed, how it controls, and how it could've been improved.
As of this writing, my console+portable game collection is over 200 strong and my PC game collection is over 100 full commercial games and over 1000 if we count shareware and freeware, and of all of the full commercial titles which can be beaten I've completed about 75% of them.
One last side note is that despite my interest in violent games such as the Doom series, Grand Theft Auto, and the Elder Scrolls series, I don't like real-life violence in the slightest. In fact, I also have an interest in tooth-rottingly cute stuff such as the Klonoa and Kirby game series. Interesting contrast, hunh? ;)
This goes to show the kind of gamer I am: One who doesn't care what the game looks like, so long as it plays great, which is reflected in the work I do as a game designer. When you play my games, you're getting a game that I made to be FUN. If I couldn't play it for hours on end and return to it every so often, I'd've never released it! :P
So, that's pretty much my story. Looking forwards I'll probably stick to Ancient DOS Games for many more episodes, though eventually, years from now, I may bring it to a close and start another. I've also been looking into doing some hardware accelerated 2D games using the Haaf Game Engine.
Regardless of how things turn out, I've had this website of mine up for over a decade now since before 2000, and as long as I can draw breath, type on a keyboard, and connect to the internet, it will continue to exist and I will continue to update it, so always look back as I present new features, new games, and new videos! ^_^
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