I don't think I've mentioned this to a lot of people, but I've started making games. But in a hilarious twist of irony, I get anxious whenever I play video games because I feel like I should be working on my own game. Long after inspiration has faded, Space Delinquent lies incomplete. It yearns to be loved and nurtured. Longs to be a complete game.
Now do not get me wrong. Space Delinquent will be finished. But it's hard not to think about the next game, and the game after that, and what platform you are going to develop for, in what language.
Ultimately, I wish to satisfy my lust for telling stories. I can never draw comics on the level I want to. I have come to terms with that. I could't possibly write a novel. But games are a huge part of my life, and they are something I am immersed in. None of my real life friends read comics, and most don't even read books. But we all play games. And eventually, everyone in the world will.
I turned twenty-three recently and my thoughts have centered around moving out. It's not that I even really want to move out, but more that I don't want to be one of those guys that lives with his parents forever. I look at how much money I make versus how much an apartment is and it just does not seem reasonable. I can honestly say that I have no idea how people are meant to survive around here. What am I doing wrong?
I'm hoping to be good enough at making games that I can do it full time. I know it sounds crazy. As about as crazy as doing comics full time, I guess. But I'm going to school for computer science so it's a much more realistic dream, I think. I don't want to give up on comics forever though. I could probably find a way to combine the two thoughtfully given enough time. And no I don't mean using comics for cutscenes. It would have to take the traits that make them so good and somehow fit into a game. Something to think about.
Yipes missed this by a day. Also Im not doing the blog anymore I have a tumblr now.
Video games exist everywhere now. Gone are the days where you picked up a stick out of the mud and had to figure out how to have fun with it. Now fun is programmed into your every day devices. I play games on my phone while waiting for class to start. I may not even necessarily enjoy playing them. It becomes a habit, like smoking, where you do it just because you feel you have to. Gaming has become so ingrained in who I am that it has begun to feel mundane.
I’m not the kind of person that gets defensive when something I like gets “invaded.” Outside of my nerd hobbies, I’m a pretty social person and I couldn’t care less about a guy who has only played Halo claiming to be a hardcore gamer. Who gives a shit? I refuse to be defined by my passions or hobbies, and I refuse to become twisted up in fanboyism. My identity is rock solid, as far as I’m concerned. If video games vanished one day, it would suck but I would be fine.
What I do have an issue with is getting sick of something so important to me. Absence sure as fuck makes the heart grow stronger. Back when I was younger and stupider, my friend Nick and I would pirate Dreamcast games. It got to the point where we would put in a game and play for as short as five minutes before moving on to the next game. If we weren’t captivated by the introduction, the game wasn’t worth our time. We became junkies looking for that good fix. The one that was as good as Power Stone made us feel. The next Crazy Taxi.
Truth is, we probably passed up some amazing games. We were overexposed. Apparently this happens to a lot of pirates. After I got a job and stopped being such a cheapskate, I thought the problem was over. But then there was fucking Steam.
Steam sales are ridiculous. For the unfamiliar, games can drop as low as like three dollars. Not all terrible games, mind you. Sometimes you get a gem for a ludicrously low price. That’s not even mentioning all the games that are already a bargain. Ever since I started buying games on Steam, my appetite has become impossible to satisfy. I’m back where I’m started, looking for the next game while still playing the one in front of me.
Is this a matter of self-control? Probably. I’m pretty bad at that. Or maybe the internet has shrunk my attention span. Maybe. I can barely read an article without drifting off into other tabs. Or perhaps it’s just too much of a good thing.
I’m reminded of one of the most conflicting times of my life. Years ago, Texas was hit by Hurricane Ike. We lost our power for a good two weeks, and during that time I managed to read more and get to sleep at a decent hour. I played monopoly with my family, and waited around for the power to come on so that I could find solace on the internet, or maybe a game. When our power finally got up and running, I hurried excitedly for my computer all the while feeling like I was throwing something important away. Like when you start to finally enjoy camping out, but are overjoyed by not having to do it any longer. Nowadays I ask myself, were those simple days better?
No probably not.
I mentioned a while back about the absurd amount of babysitters I had when I was young, but I didn't mention Rosa. Rosa was a Mexican woman my mom knew, and another one of my babysitters. Mom would drop me off at her house at the ridiculously early hour of six in the morning and Rosa would put on Inspecter Gadget and go back to sleep.
Rosa had two sons whom you could say are the reason I take video games so seriously. Actually, I hate to use the word "seriously" to describe how I feel about anything, because it's not like I play games religiously. I'll just say that I have a lot of faith in the medium and I see it's potential to tell moving stories through mechanics and interactivity. Whether games become universally considered art before I die or not, I'll be somewhere saying I told you so and possibly hooked up to a machine that is keeping me alive/dead.
Rosa's sons were Johnny and Ricky. They were nothing alike. Ricky was the oldest, and I remember him being much more quiet and mature. He often chose to maintain a dignified silence where as Johnny would just scream about anything. Johnny had ADD and was prone to epileptic fits, and was a generally wild guy to be around. He was a few years older than me, so he learned he did everything first. He started liking girls first, he started learning guitar first, and always discovered the coolest bands before I did.
Around the time when I was being babysitted by Rosa the fighting game boom happened. Street Fighter II was a household item, and Johnny and Ricky were violently competitive. Inevitably I was dragged into the fray. They taught me the moves, taught me how to play fairly (as opposed to cheaply), and most of all they taught me what it means to be a loser.
That is to say I lost a lot. They taught me to hate fighting games.
When Marvel vs Capcom 2 came out almost ten years ago, they brought me over again. I was in my teens by then, and I didn't need a babysitter. I had merely graduated from "that kid mom babysits" to "friend" and I legitimately liked Johnny and his brother. They were fun guys. So when we started playing Johnny told me not to pick Cable.
Why, I asked.
Because Cable is cheap*.
Oh, I said. I never bothered to question it, though ironically this took place during a period of my life where I was questioning everything. I had adamantly refused to ever do homework again (which is a story I will save for another time, and a promise I kept until college I might add), I became agnostic, and I began to realize how shitty the music around me was.
But for whatever the fuck reason I never asked what made Cable cheap.
So in staying true to form, Johnny destroys me. But he says that I can borrow the game to practice. Well thanks man, that is really generous. The funny thing is that the next time I saw Johnny was about a year later. We had grown apart a lot. He became the guitarist in a band, had grown a beard, but most of all had a life. Something I knew nothing about.
After a year there was nothing Johnny could do to touch me. He actually had forgotten that I had the game, and had put it into the back of his mind. I remember him remarking the poetic beating he had just taken.
It's funny that the only way I can win is when you accidentally pick the wrong character, he said.
Like music to my ears. But then Johnny did the unthinkable. He picked cable.
And guess what? He still lost.
I haven't seen Johnny in at least 5 years. It is definitely more than that, but it's hard to keep track. I wonder if he still plays fighting games, or games at all. Street Fighter became a key part of my life, and I began to invest time and effort into becoming better at something that nobody cares about in the least. I put down hundreds of dollars on joysticks and spent uncountable hours in training modes.
The next time I see Johnny I'm going to ask him if he's playing and how he's been. I'm going to ask him where's he's working now and how his mom is. I'm going to tell him about how much things have changed for me and how much I have grown. But what I really want to say to him is --
*Cable is very good in that game. I don't believe in the term "cheapness" as used by poor players, but if I had to call something cheap it would be the ability to combo three supers together to punish virtually every move in the game.