Angela O’Hara is a senior artist at Big Viking Games, creators of mobile and social games such as YoWorld and Fish World. At Big Viking Games, O’Hara creates vector art for avatars and accessories that players use to design their virtual world. Many of the games are popular with middle-aged women, and diversity and representation is a core value in the art O’Hara creates for these games. In her spare time, she produces fan art, seeks inspiration from anime and manga, and mentors local aspiring game artists.
In this podcast interview, we talk about the evolution of her career path from comic artist to game artist; whether a college degree is necessary to work as an artist; how an always-online game means work on a game is never done; avoiding burnout when your hobby is your job, and vice versa; preserving the history of Flash games; being president of a college’s anime and manga club; the value of self-care; and the differences and similarities between Sailor Moon and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Stream the audio edition of this interview below or from Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Overcast, Pandora, Pocket Casts, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, RadioPublic, or the Internet Archive. Click past the jump for links to resources mentioned in this episode.
Links mentioned in this episode:
- Angela O’Hara
- Big Viking Games
- Fish World
- York University’s Visual Arts program
- Venus, the female ninja turtle
- Sailor Moon R
- “Flashpoint is archiving Flash games before they disappear forever” (Emma Kidwell for Gamasutra)
Podcast: Download (Duration: 54:18 — 25.7MB) | Embed
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Thanks for the interview Ken. It’s nice to hear about artists who make a game career in a less traditional sense, like Angela. What I found interesting was when you 2 talked about Flash. Flash is what I started and continue to use and as you indicated in the podcast Flash now has this negative stigma associated with it. This seems to be the cycle of technology. Something that was popular and rock solid 10 years ago is no longer. I went to school for graphic design and web development 15 years ago and almost all of what I learned is obsolete. It’s also exhausting trying to constantly stay updated to changing technology. That said I believe it’s most important to create something you love. I’m making an ARG and I’m using Flash and I love the process. I know I couldn’t create a viable, income generating Flash game right now, but I also have no interest in learning the latest game development softwAre, as it will probably be obsolete in a decade. Find that niche that you love and with some work and perseverance you can probably find the right audience that appreciates it. You may not make a living from it (I dont) but I love the time I am able to do it.