Dick Fight: Fought
So I released Lo-Fi Dick Fight into the world a couple of days ago. Always a nice moment to have another game out there, I find, and Dick Fight has been oddly satisfying really, having come out, ultimately, exactly the way it should. While there was a period where I kind of envisaged it being a “proper” fighting game, letting go of that and embracing an Atari-style one-button poor-collision-detection affair was really liberating and ultimately made it a better game too.
On the other hand, it’s been a bit of a weird emotional ride. Odd to say that about such an obviously trivial and silly game, but there you go. For some reason Dick Fight has been “important” to me since I thought it up late last year, always cheered me up to think about making it. And then as I made it it also took shape as a kind of overblown parody of “The State of the Industry” and shooters and fighting games, positioning them all as games about guys swinging their dicks around and making a literal version. Which I liked about it a lot, along with the Atari limitations, the cycling palette, and other little touches.
And then people seemed pretty enthused by the game when I posted the odd screenshot on Twitter, which really isn’t something I’d normally do – I just found the specific images of guys with no dicks hanging their heads in defeat too hilarious not to share. But yeah, people were totally into it, and that was really gratifying and I probably bought into that too much and found that too validating and important as part of the process.
So when I released it and Dick Fight didn’t get that much traction, I was weirdly heartbroken. This despite the fact that it did get people playing and and some attention – but for some reason I’d just expected this huge reaction, like I’d made the Ur Game or something and everyone would be like “wow, Pippin, you just nailed it”. This is one of the dangers of Twitter and the supportive indie crowd, in some ways – it’s very easy to build up a major craving for public validation, and lord knows I’ve built up plenty of that in my time on The Scene.
So yeah, it’s pretty lame of me that upon Dick Fight simply not getting lots of validation and “only” some, I became kind of disconsolate and drifted listlessly through the days writing anxious diary entries about it. That’s what I’ve brought myself to. Be forewarned, other indie game makers who run the risk of having some popularity and then getting used to it.
So in the end it’s been kind of a good “lesson” I think, a reminder to focus on just doing what I do and maintaining an enjoyment of having made what I wanted after the games are out there, rather than switching to a mode where post-game-release success is defined by it being covered and preferably celebrated by the community and press. As always, better to fire-and-forget. The making’s the thing.
So I’ve started four straight paragraphs with the word “so”. So what? So I’m going to focus in on making smaller things (like Dick Fight is) and getting them out there and not fretting. That’s the plan. A kind of detox from my obsessive, coverage and praise-needing self, if at all possible. I’ll try.
So there you go. Five paragraphs.