Art, Games, and I


Yngvill 2 yrs, afraid of fireworks

So let me tell you a little bit about how I ended up where I am today.

I was brought up in a family of artists and as I learned to walk and talk, I also learned to express myself visually. I can’t remember a time I haven’t been drawing and painting, and for me, creating images has always been about telling stories.

The art world I got to know was the traditional one. I learned from my grandfather and my mother, and as they taught me about composition and techniques, they also told me stories about the old masters, and their own favorites. And I quickly figured out I wanted to be a painter when I grew up.

Now this doesn’t mean I didn’t have other interests. I was also introduced to computers at an early age, as my mother started studying IT and programming in the mid 80’s. I remember she brought home a computer, which quickly became a point of gathering for the children in the neighborhood. We would play fantastic games like Snake and Pacman, and something called Castle (or something like that). And although these games were just green blobs on a black background, In my head there were knights in shining armor slaying dragons and all sorts of other fantastic things. It really didn’t take long for me to get lost in the world of computer games (imagination… it’s a hell of a drug).

Then one day, I’d been visiting a friend, and I came back shaking in excitement, (my mom loves telling this story) talking about a machine you could connect to your TV, and you could control this little dude, and you’d travel to all these different worlds, and there were monsters and creatures and princesses and omgomgomgomg! My mom was picturing something like Avatar. I’d had my first encounter with Nintendo, and the game I had played was Super Mario Bros 1. Needless to say, my mom was a tad disappointed, but for me, this was the start of a beautiful relationship, and an ever lasting love for games.

However, art and games were still two very separate things in my world, and I kept working towards my goal of becoming a traditional painter.

Then Myst happened, and art and games were no longer two separate things. It would still take some time before I transitioned into digital media and decided I wanted to get into game development, but Myst was the game that started the process, and (to get a little emotional), set me on the right path.


Me, my husband and D’ni

For those who know me, you know exactly how big a Myst fan I am.

Since Myst was first introduced to me by my uncle back when I was about 13 years old, the franchise has been a major influence, and I dare say, one of the great loves of my life. In fact, the Myst games have been such an influence that when I was having my lifeline (consisting of all the important dates in my life) tattooed on my arm, the only right choice of lettering was the D’ni numerical language.

I have played every single game over and over. I’ve explored, gotten lost, and been mesmerized by the beautiful worlds, fantastic stories, and wonderful mysteries. And when they announced that End of Ages was to be the last in the series, I actually shed a tear in desperation as the realization that I’d never set foot on another age hit me.

Today I’m sitting here at my computer, along with so many others, shaking in anticipation, as I’m following Cyan’s kickstarter campaign for their recently announced game Obduction. The game is being called a spiritual successor to Myst and Riven, and I can honestly say I haven’t been this excited about a game since,.. well,… the release of End of Ages. I would never have expected that sitting on needle points for hours while watching a number slowly ticking towards it’s goal could be this exhilarating.

I want to thank Cyan for the experiences and inspiration they’ve given me over the years, and for being partly responsible for me ending up as a game developer. And I just can’t wait to follow the production of this game through the next couple of years :)

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