For most kids who grew up in the 90’s, playing video games was a way of life! You’d jump off the bus after school, complete homework and hop on the Nintendo 64 or the Sega Genesis and play for hours. Norman Wilson, owner of Squeaky Grease Productions, LLC, was no different! He recalls going into Blockbuster playing Mario Bros prior to the release of the game on the Nintendo 64. The 3D graphics of that game were the images that left a lasting impression. Born and raised in Cincinnati, OH, Wilson was the quintessential teenager. The only difference was that his teenage love of playing video games turned into a passion for video game design.
Upon completion of high school, Wilson left Cincinnati to attend Full Sail Real World University in Orlando, FL in pursuit of a degree in game design and development. Something his father cautioned him against because he felt it would be a rip-off. Two years later his father’s warning rang true, “At that time when I graduated back in 2003, even though I got my associates degree, I didn’t really have the skills to work in the video game industry” he explains. Hindsight being 20/20, Wilson encourages others to “Listen to your parents. The advice that they can give you is vital.”
Disappointed but not defeated, Wilson self- taught himself the art and design aspects of video gaming. Using those skills, he developed a portfolio he felt would aide him in landing a job at a gaming company as he transitioned to Seattle, WA. Shortly after arriving in Seattle, Wilson discovered what he describes as his “calling”, which was to start his own video game studio. An avid reader, Wilson credits the influences of Marcus Garvy and Malcom X among others with his discovery of the importance of entrepreneurship. A few short years later, Squeaky Grease Productions, LLC was formed.
Currently, Wilson is working on developing his first video game under Squeaky Grease Productions, LLC titled, A Shadow’s Trail. Described as a “stealth action adventure” that takes place in Japan, gamers play as a ninja who embarks on various task throughout episode one. Wilson along with a team of seven others are hard at work on the development phase in hopes of acquiring the necessary funding to bring the game to fruition.
Wilson credits God’s divine intervention in the forming of his seven man team. Making most of the connections via social media, he’s been blessed to find other men who share a common belief in God to also believe in his vision for A Shadow’s Trail. Wilson knows that it’s “God’s hand” in and on his business that allows the team to run smoothly. His faith is palpable and it is that faith that has given him the desire to eventually develop Christian based gaming apps once A Shadow’s Trail is completed.
Wilson is in the midst of realizing his dream of becoming the video game designer he always wanted to be. Most notably, his vision has extended beyond himself! Ultimately hopes to provide opportunities for others. Wilson professes, “What Ava DuVernay is doing for blacks in regards to film is what I want to do for blacks in the video gaming industry.”