You Search the Soul: You Find Nothing Special

This afternoon, as I sometimes do, I tried to search my soul. Or at least the game making part of my soul. I’ve been meaning to search my game making soul for weeks actually. I’ve been suffering from a certain concern that I don’t know what I’m doing, that I don’t know what to make next, how to make it, what it should be about, how it should feel. And so on. So I searched my soul. I sat in front of my computer and typed words into a document for an hour, this was how I searched.

My intention or dream was that I would kind of establish a sort of framework of why I make games and how I do it. I would formally analyse the process and I would use this formal analysis to come up with a result: what to do. But as I tried to explain to myself, in text, how I make games and what interests me, I just kept writing down ideas for games. I could make King Lear. I could make a game with aesthetics based on highly compressed images. I could make a game that is “emotional”. I could make a game that is a tone poem.

This is what usually happens when I try this exercise. I look for my method and I just find vague ideas for games. Very vague. Not ideas that are developed, but rather each is a little snapshot of a little piece of a game – a theme, a mechanic, a look. And in my heart (if not my soul) I suppose I know that the only way forward is to make one of them. I suppose I know that all the meaning and the interpretation and the understanding comes afterwards, not before.

This is how it is for me and my games. I’ve said many times that they start off as jokes. That’s true, they usually do, they usually make me laugh in their initial outline. And then I make them and they somehow become about something. Or rather I decide that they’re about something, and then I suppose that filters into the making of them and so then they are about something. Death of the author excepted, of course, of course.

So I search my soul and learn basically nothing. I make a game and learn at least something. It would be comforting to know  ahead of time, to have an explicit path I’m charging down, eyes full of passion or whatever it is, full of soul.

But I don’t have that, I just have all these games.

2 May 2014
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