Why “Foolish Panda Games”?
This is a question I get from people when I talk to them about my game studio name and my dream of making games for other people. The story is filled with ups and downs and I hold it close, paying attention to my audience, but it is one that will stick with me for the rest of my life. My first ‘massive’ (a very large rave) was a beautiful event called Paradiso. It is a 3-day event held at The Gorge in George, Washington (yes you read that right). Two days are devoted to music and dancing and one is devoted to setting up camp and partying.
In the rave scene, there are traditions and practices that everyone (typically) abides by. One of these traditions involves trading homemade jewelry (Kandi) with others. After a few shared words, and some hand gestures representing P.L.U.R (Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect) two people then exchange their Kandi. Throughout this event, I refused to trade one particular piece that had the word ‘Panda’ in the bracelet. It also had a bell that made a nice jingle when I danced.
On my right arm, I have a tattoo that simply says “foolish”. This tattoo continues to mean a lot to me and the story behind it has evolved. The main point behind the tattoo is one that I share freely and that is simply to be foolish. We don’t need to pretend as if we have all the answers, and the more I chase after my dreams and search for truth… the more I realize I don’t actually know. This can be a scary thing for people, but to me, it offers a sense of peace. The rest of the world may not understand why I do the things I do, but that isn’t why I am here.
With these two words sticking out to other festival-goers my ‘rave name’ was born. Foolish Panda wasn’t created in a vacuum, it was the result of meeting so many wonderful people. This is why I went with this name and why I am going into crowdfunded game design. Games, like festivals and conventions, are amazing events that bring people together.
So who are you then?
Foolish Panda Games is the brainchild of Chris Michelotti. I have read a lot about the benefits of possessing a Mission Statement, and I may just go about making an official document, but seeing as I am the main engine behind the entertainment I put out into the world, I can keep it more relaxed. As to who I am in my passion and journey to creating games.
- I want my games to be fun.
- This is paramount to game design. If the game isn’t fun then why play it? I understand that ‘fun’ is a very subjective term and I know that I won’t make games that appeal to everyone, but at the end of the day, I will enjoy them and I hope others will as well.
- I want my games to be beautiful.
- I want to find other artists and support them. The world is full of people creating amazing works of art and hoping to share, my desire is to find those artists and invite them in for a chance to not only have their art seen but played with.
- I want my games to tell stories.
- Ever since I was young I told stories through various mediums. Tabletop games are an amazing opportunity to create worlds and welcome players into a glimpse of the world. New games and expansions can give even more pictures into the lore of the world, but again, the game being played forces the player to stop and look at one singular moment or problem in the time of that world.
- I want my games to showcase the world we are in and the potential worlds we are heading to.
- Things are changing all around us, but the one thing that doesn’t change is time. Time has a way of righting wrongs and granting wisdom from mistakes. Most of my stories come from a perspective of “Wouldn’t it be ‘interesting/funny/cool’ if this happened?” and as other creators in the past, this question is the foundation for stories that call out the direction we choose to move as a species.
- I want my games to challenge the status quo.
- If I get the opportunity to publish games from other people, I aim to be as inclusive as I can. I don’t want the Foolish Panda Games library to be a one size fits all collection. A lot of board game art seems to fall into the same style, so I will find different types of artists. A lot of board games seem to focus on similar themes, so I will find new themes to explore and I may not see the world in the same way as other designers so I will seek out different viewpoints to share. My purpose isn’t to control the story of the world but to give voice and power to other views of the same world I live in. When you play our games you may find that they are not for you, this is fine… I do hope though that you see the value and honesty that pours from them.
Where do you go from here?
A lot of that depends on you! If you like the things that I am making then please share it with your friends. If you want more of something I am producing, please let me know. Contact me through my website, social media, carrier pigeon, or however you choose to but please make sure to reach out. I want to know what other people are thinking and I am happy to put more of my time and resources into what brings joy. As to what we currently know, we have one life to live… I hope I can help make it a good one!