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Reflections - Enjoying your own game, and thoughts on the craft of Gaming.
- 10/30/2011 06:14 PM
I played my own game, and I loved it.
This experience brought me to thinking about the whole mental process of creating new worlds. I think the main lesson I've learned is the last thing I've written in bold below.
It is about a year since I began developing Whaling Revolution, and a lot has changed.
Developing a game was something I did with mixed feelings of frustration and excitement. My relative lack of experience in developing held me back, but my desire to spin a tale that was both funny and interesting drove me forwards.
One I finished making it a few months ago I put it aside and moved on. Since then I have written a serious novel that I am currently in the process of editing. But last night a friend of mine started playing the game, and I watched the opening hours unfold with huge nostalgia. I remembered my time crafting the maps, the story and most of all the characters this time last year, and couldn't help but compare it to the relatively more dull process of creating imagery in prose.
Of course most of all I remembered the video review I received, lampooning the game for its story heavy opening, easy gameplay and 3rd party artwork. All completely fair of course, from some perspective at least. Everytime I see the opening sequence I can't help but hear the reviewer's voice building in outrage at each new element. It makes me smile.
Needless to say, approaching Pro Whaling some the standpoint of a gamer is not so apt. Pro Whaling is a story told through a game - a game that allows you to jump into the sea and punch whales. That was the true joy of the whole project: the huge freedom of being able to do whatever you want, and twist the story whatever way I pleased in the knowledge that the mere concept of the game itself was supervening the actual content: people would have liked it to some degree regardless of what I wrote. I believe this to be true of almost any game.
You could argue that this is why games have a lower standard of writing than prose, and I would probably agree. However I am of the as-yet untested belief that a well written game is a far more powerful a thing than a well written book. Once I'm bored of books I might return to the world of games and attempt to do just that: to do what games like Final Fantasy 7 and Bioshock did for me - provide a completely new culture to discover, explore, shape, and generally engage with in a way that feels real and changes my views of the real world just like a piece of literature might.
For me, I would like to conclude, Pro Whaling is that game. I know the characters well enough to feel at home with them on their adventure, but only because I wrote characters very close to my own thinking. To create a world that everyone can feel comfortable in is something else entirely.
I decided to write this whilst the game was on my mind. Now I shall put it aside again and go back to the other fictional worlds I'm trying to create elsewhere. I hope that one day the existence of this game, and the fun memories it contains, will spur me on to make something better.
So here is my advice for people trying to build their skills in creating new worlds: make them to suit yourself at first. Once you're okay with your world, let other people in. You are the god of everything you write, building, draw or program. It will be a piece of you once you make it, but to connect to other people you must leave room for their own fantasies. The more I think about this point, the more important I think it is.
Good luck to all game makers out there. I guess this is a tentative goodbye to the game making community for now, but I can't wait to some back.
Thanks for reading and have a good day!
Oh, and long live the Whaling Spirit! :)