Not Moving On
A few times over the last years of making games, say once a year at least, I find myself thinking about how I should “move on” from making videogames in which a key point of investigation tends to be “the nature of videogames.” Much of what I’ve made has tended to be “about” games as much as anything else. And there’s some part of me that I guess has felt a bit embarrassed about that, like a bit of a one-trick pony perhaps. People are always going on about how games can be a transformative medium, the most important thingamajing of the millennium, expressive power, narrative, etc. etc. And so perhaps I should be doing more of that and less of the kind of programmer’s-chair philosophy I do?
I had these thoughts again just yesterday while wrapping up Let’s Play: Ancient Greek Punishment: Limited Edition! which is classic for its depth of videogame-y navel gazing – a videogame about videogames based on a videogame about videogames. Am I doing this too much?, I asked myself.
While there’s definite merit in the idea of working on making games in other veins, perhaps pursuing narrative stuff or personal stuff etc., there’s definite merit in doing what I’m doing too. Why? Well mostly because I find it interesting thanks very much. I mean, not that you, gentle reader, have been rolling your eyes and wanting me to stop doing this kind of work, but when you’re working in a very niche area of a niche area of a medium, it’s hard not to question yourself. But ultimately, especially if I position myself as a kind of artist-academic (which I guess I do, given my job), it makes a great deal of sense to pursue the line I’m pursuing. It’s not like Shakespearean experts are sitting there fretting about whether it’s time to “move on” to Dante or something (and if they are I wish them well). It’s possible to spend a lifetime working on what you find interesting and worthwhile, even if it seems small sometimes.
Even if it’s highly abbreviated videogames about videogames. And so, onward for now, I think. Until I decide to do something else instead.