In Defense of “Casual” Gamers…

We’ve come a long way in the gaming culture. Recently tuning into an episode of the YouTube Podcast DudeSoup, I was surprised to hear the bluntness of discussion regarding the way video gaming has been viewed over the last few decades– Particularly how it has shifted to the positive; which then got me thinking:

“If video games are mainstream, why are mobile games neglected?”

Used to be: ‘Games were for children’. Eventually, that sentiment evolved into ‘Video games are for children’. Since being amalgamated into the zeitgeist, video games have really come into their own, and then, oddly enough, turned somewhat in on themselves and proclaimed ‘Mobile games are for children, casuals’.

Just in case you were unfamiliar with the world according to ‘Hardcore’ gaming enthusiasts, the hierarchy goes:

  1. PC Master Race
  2. Console peasants
  3. Handheld children
  4. Filthy casual mobile gamers

“It’s a matter of gaming hardware power!” You yell, knowing full well that the current day smartphone is more powerful than the entirety of NASA during its premiere trip to the moon, all the while while completely ignoring the fact that a modern day iPhone is lighter and carries more processing speed than the highest selling console of all time. It’s this perspective, this US V. THEM mentality that have kept gamers subjugated to the realms of basement dwelling stereotypes for so very long. Now that gaming has been thrust into the limelight (with its multi-billion dollar eSport leagues, film franchises and television shows etc.) it seems odd to me that we, as a subculture, would discriminate against our own after so recently gaining acceptance.

On some level, I understand it– The borderline petty need for ‘revenge’ against the people who may or may not have bullied gamers in our younger years for our hobbies and interests. It sucks that for much of this generation (average age for a gamer is 31 and almost evenly gender split— Surprisingly not an army of 13 year old boys who tout sultry exploits about being with your mother) many of us have had to spend a chunk of their gaming careers in the closet, afraid to admit what our favourite button-mashing pastimes are.

However, It’s incredibly important to note here that the average ‘casual’ gamer is not your bully, and in all likelihood never was.

It won’t be long before mobile gaming becomes fully accepted as a form of ‘Hardcore’ and posts like this become an awkward relic of the times ‘When people thought playing on your phone was a sign of gaming ineptitude’.  The lines between PC, console and mobile are quickly blurring and it’s about time we throw the homogeneity bias out the window and admit to ourselves that the changes in viewpoints about gamers also need to come from the community itself.

Follow us on social media for updates on our upcoming titles here at ZeMind Games!


Video Games: A Motion Picture

…And lo, I stumbled onto a mighty secret.

There is work that goes into video games, especially when it comes to art.

Shocking, right?

Watching game art go from comment to concept, concept to sketch, sketch to portrait, and then portrait to animation is something to behold. The word animate is literally translated as ‘To bring to life’, something that has to happen to every movement you see on your mobile device.

For example, take this piece of concept art from our upcoming mobile release:

And yet, in order to pump this out, one of our artists (you can follow Patrick’s amazing work here) took several hours to hand draw it in each one of its different positions, starting with the concept of an ‘Angry Oven’ and then push it, millimetre by millimetre, into a new frame.

Then, because video games require a touch more masochism than anyone ever admits to, he’ll do this seven more times. While the truth might be that the more you animate the better you become- the process never actually changes no matter how often you do it. It takes HOURS to inch art into a new position while having it remain believably lifelike within the context of the game.

Create art. Move that art. Move it again. And again. And of course, again.

To create the artistic assets in gaming is a labour of love, make no mistake about it. Pour your passion into several hours and then you’ve got a somewhat animated product- Something which then has to be given to your cohorts so it can be meticulously examined and then tossed back; All so you can repeat the process over and over again. This goes on ad nauseum until you have the finished product, which may only be on the screen for a few seconds before fading into the background.

This gif was a second long. Now think about doing that 10+ more times for every single playable character animation (over 25 characters slated for our next game) and you’ve got a tiny idea of what it takes to make this whole darn thing work. Don’t even get me started on the environments!

Hours and hours in return for seconds and seconds. This is the life of a video game artist/ animation designer. It’s no wonder it can take years for games in development. The split second existence of a character you just wiped off the map? That may very well have been months of work.

Think you’ve spent a whole lot of time in a game? Try making the .GIFS for it.

Follow Charlie Ze Newbie’s exploration of the world of indie game development on ZeMind Game Studio’s channels and don’t be afraid to interact with him or the studio:


Project ‘Versus’, UPDATE 1

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

*Trumpet blares*

Project ‘Versus’ is currently in development and slated for a release sometime this year. Although no hard release dates are set, I can give you a few details as to what our next release is going to be like:

For those of you wondering, the story of Versus will be set in several battles consisting of teams (more like small armies?) fighting against each other in a real-time strategy styled melee combat.

This is what happens when a torrid affair between Plants Vs Zombies and Age of Empires results in a lovechild raised by a cartoon trio of fairies, a ringleader, and of course, a junkyard enthusiast.

In between campaigns you’ll have the opportunity to read through some of the incredible comic work put forward by our art team here at the studio, a sketch sample of which you can find here:


Not only that, but we’ll also have some humorous, RPG influenced dialogue used for some extra motivation. Each of your units will have a unique ability (details to come) that can sway the flow of battle and it’ll be up to you to to see how to use them.

While I can’t leak too much more on the project right now (the last intern who did was never found– I think he was fed to the office dachshund, Fletcher) you can rest assured that there will be more news to come within the next few weeks!

That’s all for now, I think I hear the dog coming.

-Charlie Ze Newbie

You can interact with Charlie, as well as the studio itself via social media accounts here:


The Importance of Story in Gaming

It’s pretty simple, right? Every story has a beginning, middle and end. Easy peasy, piece of cake.

…But what if I told you, the cake was a lie?

Internet memes and and gaming references aside, the meshing of stories and interactive media has been the subject of debate on many an internet forum for decades now, and it’s not likely to die soon.

‘What’s the big deal?’ You may ask. ‘Good games don’t need stories; look at Tetris!’

A fair argument. Tetris, Candy Crush, and Battleship all lack any narrative. Occasionally we’ll be tossed a leading character who walks us through the tutorial, but that’s it.

Just kidding, that’s a lie too.

The stories within video games aren’t just limited to voice acting and FMV cutscenes.

All games carry a narrative. There’s a story to be had somewhere. While you may not see it, the story is happening right in front of your eyes- erm, in your eyes, actually. Let me explain.

The story actually games the player- and this is something nearly all games have done since the human brain built the capacity to understand non-linear problem solving. Consider this: Conventional storytelling tells us at the very least, that all stories need a protagonist, antagonist, beginning, middle and end.

How does this apply to Tetris? Simple. YOU are the protagonist. The game, on the other hand (specifically the design), is the antagonist. The level has a beginning, middle, end completely dictated by you, the user. From the moment you pick up the game, you’ve started the narrative. Chances are you’ve overcome an obstacle or two while playing (all while yelling about how the ‘Z’ piece has appeared four times in a row and you’ve got nowhere to put the next one) then come to your logical conclusion by the time you’ve put the game down again. Regardless of whether or not you’ve overcome the obstacles presented to you during gameplay, you’ve:

  1. Started your session, beginning your narrative for the session
  2. Progressed/failed to progress through the level
  3. Finished your session, with a big smile or with less hair than you started with

Games, at their very core have always been a form of storytelling. As the industry, with its massive, multi-kajillion dollar titles moves towards a sales model mimicking that of movies and television, the only thing that has changed was how visible those stories have been.

See? Even Tetris had a narrative. It was in you all along.

Follow Charlie Ze Newbie’s exploration of the world of Indie Game Development on Zemind Game Studio’s channels and don’t be afraid to interact with him:


Welcome to our brand new blog!

Hello There!

Charlie Ze Newbie here, offering you a sneak peak into the endless stream of thought and creativity that the mobile game industry (in particular, ZeMind Games) has to offer.

Game development studios are a wonderful place. They are hubs for the tech-inclined, problem solvers, and classical/modern artists. As a ‘Lifelong Gamer’, it’s a bit strange to think that I’ve wound up here, in the meshing tides of the creative and business class as both endeavour to put together the best products they can.

I’ll be filling you in on a weekly basis, providing you with many insights as to what REALLY goes on in a mobile gaming studio. So far it has been pretty great, sneaking peeks behind the curtain and taking a look at the hard work that goes into the creation of something like our upcoming fantasy top-down strategy title (of which I cannot name under fear of dismemberment). Rest assured, however, that it is going to be GREAT.

Snagging glimpses at a few of the art assets I can tell you it’s going to be a fun, cartoon-inspired ride something along the lines of an Age of Empires meets Plants Vs. Zombies tilt. From what I can surmise there are fairies that do steroids, mono-handed bakers and raging monsters- So uh, there’s that.

…At any rate, I’ll be filling you in on the weekly updates of ZeMind games, and I look forward to spilling ALL the beans as they become available on our upcoming release. If weekly isn’t good enough for you, try following us on our social media accounts: – For quips, thoughts and our takes on the industry. – Gaming news and contests! – Artwork, photography, and other things related to the creation of our expanding list of mobile game titles.

Eventually, somewhere down the line, we’ll even have our YouTube Channel up and running again, able to show you better footage of the mobile games we’ve created. Until then, however, you’ll have to settle with me keeping you up to date on all things ZeMind Games.


Charlie Ze Newbie