For the past five years, I called myself a game designer. I designed video games with keyboards and passion; those were the only tools I required. My passion was fevered. I lived to “create”. I breathed in the air to say something to the interactive world. I created Glow Artisan. Then I created ASYNC Corp. Don't worry, I've never heard of them either. Yet, they are my beloved children; I will forever cherish them. Which one do I love the most, you ask? A mother never tells*.
Then, the company I worked for, they laid everyone off. And with it came unanswered resume submissions. Now I am not a game designer. I am but a man, a miserable pile of secrets. My keyboard sits silent. My passion wonders where to wander. But does that mean I no longer want to create? No. I want to create even more now. However, I do not possess the ability to create. I cannot code; I never had an Apple II. I cannot draw; Photoshop is but a foreign language. I cannot compose music; doesn't 4/4 equal 1? All I did was simply command our vessel to some unknown world. My handshake with tragedy has become awkwardly long.
While I have created Glow Artisan and ASYNC Corp., my ambition and personal expression are not satisfied; they tend never to be. And so they should! Life doesn't end when you think you've reached your climax. It keeps going, much to my chagrin. So, what happens after that? What is the answer to that question? Does anyone plan for it, at least when they're young and naïve, such as I? I didn't. My favorite movies and canceled TV shows were wrong. There is seemingly no end to this tragic plot.
When Apple approved ASYNC Corp., it was over. I had finished Life!, and with it an admirable score, one that stood prominently on the Childhood Dreams Fulfilled Leaderboard. Days passed. Then weeks. Now months. During that time, people seemingly (you can never tell) enjoyed ASYNC Corp., but they've since moved on to other games, as we gamers are want to do. Did I expect that? No, actually. I assumed people would play it forever and ever, never wanting to play another game ever again. Call me foolish. I do. So does my wife. Well, she always did.
Now, I'm an artistic fellow. Whatever I experience, I reflect upon.
“Oh! what a pretty tree! Does its leaves cry when they say goodbye to their Mother?”
I tend to enjoy melodrama.
When I look at games like Where is my Heart, my own Heart fills with sorrow. The cute and charming pixelated characters, the jovial, child-like music, both born from lost and scared NES dreams. The unique and personal expression embedded within its unique and personal design. All of it reminds me of how useless I really am. I want to create an experience just like that, but can't! What elegant algorithm drives their jumps? What underground source paved the way for their smiles? “I don't know!”, I yell as I run away.
As well, do I then have the right to enjoy these experiences if I can no longer contribute? Have I lost the right to have fun? My game room echoes no more triumphs, charts no more uncharted worlds. When I do Press Start, I am reminded only of my excommunication, again and again. What once was fun, hurts.
A pitiful end? Well....no! My life hasn't had its finale yet! It's not even in its Second Act! Yet, the days continue to fade. The weeks continue to march forward. The months cease to fill the past with treasured and/or regrettable memories. I am wasting them callously.
Day after day, my interactive visions expand. “Ideas are a dime a dozen”, they say, and I have but a pocket full of nickels. Without a guiding hand, their weathered ridges are rusting over.
I have no choice. I must overcome my fear. I must learn to code! I must learn to draw! I must tr0l1 4umz! I must bring life to a melody! I will decipher that jumping algorithm, and I will make it even better! I will find an underground source to be inspired by, and then that source will then be inspired by me! It's the only way!
In the end, I will have hopefully created something, and I will be better for it. It may not be Braid, it probably won't be Sword and Sworcery, and it most certainly will not be ICO. It will simply be something from me, to be treasured at whatever ancient age I happen to be.
A Passionate Gamer