Every single person had games under their belt before they hit it big. Miyamoto (if you consider Donkey Kong small to Mario and Zelda). Sid Meir. Richard Garriot. Notch (he made some games before he made Minecraft by himself). Will Wright (Raid on Bungling Bay before Sim City).
I think the reason why this is the pattern is because people have to get comfortable with the craft including finishing and shipping a title. Once you have experience shipping a title and putting on the shelf, it puts everything else into perspective.
Also be ambitious in the ideas, not necessarily the gameplay or engine. Sid Meir’s Civilization is such an AMBITIOUS game… but it wasn’t that complicated in terms of its game engine or even its gameplay. Notch’s Minecraft was made in simple JAVA but the game’s ideas were so ambitious. Super mario Brothers was very ambitious with its ‘go underground’, ‘go to sky’, ‘go to castle’, ‘go underwater’, ‘dodge flying fish’ type levels all in 1985. Richard Garriot’s original Ultima was ambitious from the traditional fantasy to space ships to time travel and all other crazy things he put in the game. Look how ambitious the original Final Fantasy was in its ideas. The original Legend of Zelda, considered primitive, was insanely ambitious back in the time. Even the original Mega Man, with being able to stage select at the beginning and choose your own weapon obtained from beating the stage, was ambitious.
Ambitious doesn’t necessarily mean great graphics, complicated gameplay, or complex engine. Notch turned himself into a multi millionaire based on Java programming. You can do as much. I’ve noticed gamers tend to reward games that are ambitious or, rather, have ‘a lot of spunk’. The original GTA games were extremely ambitious for a simple top down game.
I’d look at game development as a journey. You start off going in one idea and you’ll make discoveries that push you in another direction. When you are done with the game, you end up with a totally different game than what you thought you were making when you began. That is what is so much fun. I don’t think the big game companies with their multi million dollar budgets can do this anymore which might explain why their games feel so stiff, so soulless.
Everyone is rooting for you.