I spent most of last week at the Game Developers Conference.
It was fantastic, because it always is – it’s a solid week of jamming new game development knowledge in my head, and, y’know, there’s nothing bad to be said about that. There were many good talks. Talks about game philosophy. Talks about game design. Talks about game implementation. Talks about marketing. Talks about business models. Talks about target users and monetization.
I realized, somewhere in the middle of these talks, why I was having trouble moving forward. It was because I was moving to the iPhone, not because I was excited about the iPhone, but because I was trying to sell a game. A game which – let’s be honest – I wasn’t really excited about either. I wasn’t working on what I loved. I wasn’t working on what I’d gone into this crazy industry for in the first place.
I was trying to change from an artist to a producer. And I’m not a producer. My business cards say “Director”, but I’m not sure even that is accurate. I’m an artist, and games are my canvas.
When I talk about the people I respect most in the industry, I don’t talk about the people making 99-cent iPhone games with three million downloads. I don’t talk about thirty-million-player Facebook games, or the latest Madden game. I talk about Cactus. I talk about Johnathan Blow. I talk about Derek Yu. I talk about Jenova Chen.
I talk about the people who make the game they want to make. And, sure, they pay attention to marketing, to business, to target users. But in the end, I think these people all make games they’re proud of, and they all make games that are meaningful beyond the next five minutes of our collective attention span. And that’s what I want to do.
I’m still going to be doing my monthly experimental games, at least for the immediate future (and, hell, I’ve only got three months until I’ve been doing this for a year, it’d be a shame to stop now.) But I think it’s time to buckle down and make something that I can be proud of, and I think it’s time to start making waves and trying to wrench myself into the public eye instead of running dark.
If I’m gonna be a rock star, it’s time to start acting like one.
2010 is a good date for that.