personal log

Sitting in video game traffic, waiting

I’m scared.

That’s the reason, I’ve decided, I am spending so much time playing Just Cause 2 and now Sleeping Dogs for the last two weeks. For the first time in nearly a decade, I don’t have classes to bemoan or even a job to complain about. I am facing a personal event horizon and am, in the face of such a drastic change, running from it and into the welcoming arms of flashing lights, digital Hong Kong, and the ability to parachute my way through island forests. I am hiding out, ducking behind cover, and occasionally sniping at my future. I’m sure as hell not embracing it. Screw that noise; I’m going to punch some people in their virtual faces instead for awhile.

My eyes hurt.

I’ve been sleeping more since I graduated from college about a month ago. That’s been good, I guess. I don’t know. I feel awkward writing about myself most of time, hence why I hardly ever mention anything of personal note in public spaces and even those I speak with on a fairly regular basis hear of my birthday and graduation weeks afterward and in passing. It’s a fault I’ve cultivated from a past working at churches in my deep past. You were to put god first then, not yourself. Even with giving up on that part of myself, I still harbor such guilt about self-promotion. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even link to things I’ve made or places that have featured my writing. For example, I was in This Year in Video Game Blogging: 2013 — first time ever too! — and have I mentioned it before now? No, not at all. And I’m still thinking about cutting the last two sentences completely.

I don’t know what to do next.

I can’t decide if I am a game developer or an indie game developer. The extra word implies a great of baggage to me. Some of it good, very good, in fact, but there are other parts that can weigh me down personally. There are some unstated rules to follow and certain aesthetic qualities I don’t stand always with or even like. In some circles, it carries a very anti-everything tone I am not comfortable with and think hurts its ability to sway people to its cause. In my eyes, the shifting tent-pole of being against authority figures makes simple teaching difficult. Trying to tell anyone how they should learn to do something is becoming “the man” and runs against the Punk grain. And in so many people’s eyes Punk and Indie as synonyms. What type of education and which form it is currently allowed fluctuates too much for my taste. Many are just too quick to shit on things instead of offering help; we kick those who have fallen instead of first reaching out a hand.

Should I even write anymore?

Often, I feel I can help the community I am ever on the peripherally of more by writing guides and teaching small things than by writing some thoughts down. Even if Raph Koster promotes writing good pull quotes and other little “tricks,” he is also engaging with a community that already has him included among their Important People. And others tell us to question these “gods.” The messages are mixed, obviously. Find your own path; follow these steps. This way; no, that way. I’m right; you are wrong. You are right; I’m wrong. Red light. Green light. Opps. You moved: you’re out!

I don’t know what I want.

I don’t. It’s true. On the one hand, I have seen some positive personal growth in recent years within academia. I was able to take part in cross-departmental talks and create bridges between groups that rarely, if ever before, spoke to one another because I was a part of both of them. I could comment on what it was like to take part in different projects and feel like my feedback, for once, was useful and some changes would take place because of it. I could talk to departmental chairs and see their respect for my opinions. I mattered beyond my status as just another student.

However, unless I climb that tower, as many others in the community have done but for some reason are not penalized for, I also don’t matter much more than that. Only graduate students and then PhD candidates have the power to sway other opinions and to make major changes. My experience grants me some wisdom, sure, but I need more years and a much larger coalition to get greater access or even funding. It takes many more years of investment.

Yet, there is this just-under-the-surface hatred of academia by the indie scene despite sometimes feeling like I have some small cache of trust built up. I have seen it personally, and I feel it frequently. It’s disheartening to write in the least and borderline disgusting in places how, just by association, you somehow aren’t as important. Unless you have suffered through not fitting in through a particular manner, you cannot create Art. Unless you feel the pain of rejection on a daily basis, you don’t belong. Some minimum wage jobs, because they were experienced by certain people, carry more status than others. There is both a fame hierarchy and a hidden charting of whose troubles matters now.

Just honking my horn.

My anxiety and fear talk most often through me. The ineffectual honking of a metaphorical horn at the world. Hurry up! I got places to be, you know. The pressing of buttons acted out in the virtual in the hope of it touching on the reality of the moment. Wish fulfillment on a larger scale and the illusion of control, if only for a few hours per session. The ability to jump into the other lane and not worry, even if I do crash, because I can start over again. There are no real decisions to make because there are no real consequences either.

Just driving along and obeying the rules of the road. Not out of obligation or even fear, but because I’ve decided to do just for a few moments. Trying, often in vain, to find the joy in the journey and not seek out exclusive enjoyment in the disconnected missions that comprise the life narrative. Seeking out the times to go ahead and those to stop and reflect.