Show and Tell

Back Scratcher

Here’s something that sucks: The people who are closest to me, the people who I’d most like to impress and astound with my work, they’ll probably never be able to see it the way that other people do. Because I rely on my friends and family so much for feedback, and I run ideas by them, brainstorm, explore alternatives, because they see the world I’m making come together in my head, I’ll never be able to have them as audience members. It may sound petty, but it’s been something that has genuinely upset me and that I’ve had to work to get past– I used to avoid sharing any of my ideas because I wanted people to see only the polished final product. I still have that tendency, really, I’ve just been forced to learn to mute it over the past few years by hard necessity as, if I didn’t, I just probably wouldn’t get anything done ever.

To be honest, this is particularly a difficulty in the field I’ve chosen (video games) and the path I’ve chosen through that field (independent developer). If I was developing something smaller and more self-contained, like a novel or a musical album, I’d be able to create at very least discrete chunks of it at a time and share it with select test-audiences of friends and family which they could enjoy in much the same way as a normal audience would. Or, conversely, if I worked in a team I would have a robust environment for feedback every day and wouldn’t need to rely nearly as much on the people close to me for critique and validation. The more I think about it, this is a peculiar sort of situation I’ve found myself in, with my intended audience stuck backstage, unable to see the show except by side view, the sound muffled by curtains, the props unpainted and grotesque from behind.

More than anyone else, though, this is true of myself: I’m the one who I’m making games for, I’m the one trying to create worlds that I find interesting and exciting, worlds that I long to be a part of in some way– and yet, I’ll never be able to experience these worlds in the way I want to. I’ll never be able to be in them without seeing the missed opportunities and flaws– and, make no mistake, there will be flaws: There always are.

Yeah, it’s easy to say that creation is rewarding in a wholly different way, and that I am getting a unique experience from this that no one else who plays it will find, and that without me the thing wouldn’t exist in the first place. That’s all true: It doesn’t matter. It still makes me sad that I’ll never come to myself as a stranger, meet these worlds that I’ve constructed for the first time. It is a fictional nostalgia of a nostalgic fiction.

Is that nonsensical? No matter: It’s my job to long for things that are nonsensical. The grass is always greener, right up until the point where it becomes way, way too green and you just have to claw your eyes out to shield yourself from the majesty of all that goddamn green.

Oh well. Fuck it. I don’t even like grass. I’m allergic to that shit. It was probably sour anyway.

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1 comment
  1. dreamcrafter0raul said:

    It isn’t nonsensical. I feel the same way… My grapes are also sour (I bet), I just hope that someone else will find them sweet.

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