Back in 1998, I teamed up with my friend Rick Hou and created a number of board games under the name “Walking Ideas”. We were young and brave… and dangerously naive. I remember spending a summer working the circular saws and sanding down the game pieces by hand, then bringing them to a street fair and played them with kids and parents. To our surprise, we did manage to sell all of the game sets we made. There was a math teacher who bought three sets for her class. A young working couple who turned out to be avid chess players, picked up a set. And a grandma picked up two sets for her grandkids who couldn’t stop hogging our demo display at the booth.
That was when I knew I was going to be a game designer for life.
Later, we turned one of our board games, Oshiro, into an online version and was the grand prize winner of the GameTrust Evolution Challenge. I would end up catching the dot-com bug however, spending a few years working at some really interesting film and music related start-ups. But through a chance encounter, I found my way back into gaming when I joined the talented folks at Slipgate (now Gazillion Entertainment) and reinvigorated my passion. Most recently, I partnered up with my college buddy Tommy Wu (who crucified me in Quake with a score of 20 to -2 when we first met in the college dorms) and co-founded FabldLabs, a social game start-up with focus on storyline driven titles.
Even though my interest in technology and start-ups has taken me to various stops through out my career, my love for creating innovative, thought provoking, and inspirational games has never gone away. The name “Walking Ideas” had always reminded me of the ideal that brought me stumbling into the game industry as a young and naive kid. Now that I am writing to share my learning and discoveries from my adventure as a gaming entrepreneur, I can’t think of a better name for this blog.
So here we are – I hope you find my posts insightful, and let’s keep the good ideas rolling!
– Shawn “Manto” Chiao