Develop What You're Passionate About or Default

I've seen a lot of game developers, movie producers, theater directors etc. look at what the last big hit was, and then try to emulate it. Although you will get residual success, the original idea was so well known that you will never become the hit that the first one was. For example, the mobile game Flappy Bird was such a unique and fun game that there was no genre for. It was a huge hit, earning about $50,000 a day in advertising at one point. Afterwards there were a ton of Flappy Bird clones such as Clumsy Bird, Flappy Angry Bird, and City Bird among others. None of them came close to the success of the original. 

Admittedly, Flappy Larry Bird is my favorite.

Admittedly, Flappy Larry Bird is my favorite.

 

The same with Pokemon, The Beatles, Titanic (the movie) etc. The originals are insanely successful, but the imitators do not meet the same amount of success. The reason for this is two fold. One: As I explained in my last blog, once the user already makes the discoveries (fun) of the product, it's hard to get that same reaction when the formula is already known. There is less to discover when doing the same thing over again. Pokemon blew gamer's minds away because no one ever made a game where you collect pets in a game, and then send them out to do battle with other pets. The second reason imitators will not reach the same success is this; those products/brands/experiences were originally created from someone passionate about the content. You cannot go to a normal game designer and expect a "Pokemon" out of him, that game designer did not have the same passion as the guy who originally created Pokemon, Satoshi Tajiri . Satoshi Tajiri was REALLY into bug collecting as a child. He is the only one who could have created Pokemon, because he believed in it so much that he successfully developed it, even as his development company (Game Freak) almost went bankrupt during the process. He had a unique, bug collecting hobby that he was passionate about it, he applied it to a video game, and the result is Pokemon.

Gotta catch 'em awwwww.

Gotta catch 'em awwwww.

 

A lot of young developers get frustrated, because sometimes they don't know what kind of product they should build. They tend to believe that they have to "create" something based on what the market wants. That's all well and good, but there is already something big that exists in every developer/director/designer. As a human being on earth, you have already had many encounters, interests, events, and beautiful memories that have happened to/on/with/around you. These are amazing places to find inspiration, the best part about them? They are unique to YOU! Even if other people are with you during these experiences, ONLY you can interpret them the way YOU can. Life is about what you pay attention to, and everyone pays attention to something different. Because of this, you're passions can't be anything BUT unique to you. The moments and ideas that mean the most to you, the ones you are passionate about, are the ones you should develop. These ideas can come from any and all directions. Never limit yourself because a lot of these moments of clarity/inspiration are sometimes hard to come bye. I myself tend to create game concepts from just listening to music. Also, don't limit your genre. Just because a game/movie/experience you're thinking about has never been done before, doesn't mean you can't make it fun. You'll get to the fun part when you know what you want to make. No one ever advised me to come up with game ideas while listening to music, I just do it like that because that's what I love, and the way I see music and the music I listen to is unique to me.
 

This is the music I listen to.

This is the music I listen to.

 

I've interviewed a ton of game designers, tv producers, comedians, theme park designers etc. (as well as being a game designer myself) and I've found that best way to create a truly unique and fun product, is to develop what you're passionate about. The guy who made Pokemon was into bug collecting, Will Wright (Sim City) had a deep interest in city planning. Trust me, if you're building something that truly resonates with you and you are passionate about it, I guarantee you'll have a unique product. And because it's unique, people are going to have fun with it, because there will be a lot to discover about this new, unique experience... one that only YOU could have come up with. After that, it's all about execution and making it "fun". But you can go online to learn how to do that stuff, for example, you can do that at my site: www.whatmakesitfun.com