It’s been a busy week of extracurricular activities for Big Fish Games, and I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in some of the week’s exciting events. On Monday we hosted the second annual Big Fish Games Workshop, and I got to watch developers and casual gamers come together around the games they love.
Throughout the rest of the week we sponsored Casual Connect, and I learned about the power of collaboration when those within the casual gaming industry joined forces and shared their experiences.
There is much about the week that was noteworthy, but perhaps the most memorable event for me was the keynote speech that Jeremy Lewis, our President and Chief Executive Officer, delivered at the Big Fish Games Workshop. Jeremy spoke about the importance of play, and although at the time I couldn’t explain why Jeremy’s words were so important to me, they came alive later in the week and I saw how true his words really are.
I was boarding a plane to California in front of two of the cutest kids I had ever seen. They were clearly thrilled to be getting on a plane, and I watched with amusement as they dared each other to do innocent things, like touch the outside of the plane and sneak a peek at the cockpit. Later, when I took my seat next to them, I learned that the two children and their mothers were on their way to one of California’s famed theme parks.
I chatted with one of the mothers for a while, and then when we reached cruising altitude I pulled out my iPad and began playing one of our games, Fisher’s Family Farm. Priscilla, one of the children, asked to switch places with her mother so she could sit next to me (and the game).
After a few minutes of watching, Priscilla asked if she could play. I happily handed over the iPad and observed while she learned the game and played it with her own strategy and tactics. Working in our Seattle headquarters, I don’t get to watch our customers interact with our games very often, and the experience of watching Priscilla was pretty novel. It reminded me why we do what we do and what casual gaming means.
Priscilla’s gameplay was not particularly goal-driven. It was enough for her to feed the fish, watch them swim around, and tap the screen to spring the tractor toward the hay fields. She especially seemed to enjoy keeping those pesky pelicans away from her fish, which, I confess, is something that she and I have in common.
It was while watching Priscilla play one of our games that the real-life meaning of Jeremy’s message became salient: games are fun, and fun for its own sake is important. We make casual games because we believe that everyone deserves to have fun, and because we believe that fun brings people together. I watched this creed in action several times this week—at the Big Fish Games Workshop, at the Casual Connect conference, and on an airplane with a child named Priscilla.
Priscilla is a reminder of the importance of play. She’s the reason that we hosted the Big Fish Games Workshop and the reason that the casual games industry came together for Casual Connect. If you’re having some trouble finding your inner Priscilla, open up Fisher’s Family Farm. She’s there feeding the fish, driving the tractor, and watching out for pelicans.