So I played through The Beginner’s Guide over the weekend. Granted it was in two sessions (after the game crashed during a major bit), but as I guess its mission is to provoke a lot of personal reflection as a creator, then well, mission accomplished.
I’m hoping that what I say here doesn’t spoil it, but in case, I don’t think its worth reading this unless you’ve actually sat down and played it. Yes, it’s a ‘walking simulator’. Yes, it only lasts 90 minutes. But if you’re a creator, or interested in that angle of things, then I consider it an essential play.
This post is pretty much a bit of self-reflection as a creator - both of games, and of my retro gameplay videos - and just some thoughts about my motivations and desires with regard to it, based on some of the things which have been running through my head once I completed the game.
The first thing it got me thinking about was why I create. Why I want to create the games I want to make, or why I record the videos I do. Or anything else really. For some folks, it’s about wanting to communicate and to create those connections, and whilst I want similar - I don’t want it to be exclusively within the realm of the game or video - but rather having something which could spark up a chat in real life.
Which I find kind of odd to be honest - I always think of my self as leaning towards introversion over extraversion. I like my alone time, I hate being in places where I can’t talk to people, and I hate being in places alone where I feel like I’m out of place. But to contrast that - if it’s a long time being actually interacting with people, then I can easily get caught up in my own head, which in its own way can be incredibly draining if I’m trying to work on something.
From that, the other topic which got me thinking was about how a creator is energised by their works. I don’t think I could get away with working on something and just leaving it hidden away if I’m happy with it. In fact, when it comes down to it, I think hearing that people are actually enjoying a game I’ve written, or a video I’ve produced becomes a critical way of knowing that work has value.
On top of that though, it’s also valuable for getting feedback on what I’m doing - if I’m throwing something out which is in development, or a draft - then its main purpose is to get feedback from others, and hopefully use that to improve it. In fact, I think this speaks to a lot of my process - if my work doesn’t get that feedback, then it becomes hard to judge as to whether or not I should even continue to work on it.
This ultimately is what led to abandoning Pivotus (a project I was working on in late 2013) - whilst I had my visions on what I wanted the game to achieve (especially with the resources I had at the time), I was hoping to get feedback on balancing the gameplay, and use that to improve the game. Though in the end, the silence, was something which convinced me the game was worth putting on ice.
All up, I guess that’s something that’s important to me as a creator - the desire to always improve my output. That desire to have one’s work find it’s audience is always tough, and I guess as the internet enables more people to do that - especially those who maybe aren’t the best connected to it, there’s more things vying for attention.
I guess I feel kind of odd about it sometimes - but that’s probably something common to all creators I guess. At least what I see from other creative folk. Or maybe I’m just a tad self reflective by comparison.
But most of all, I’d love to hear what other creators think about this? Am I just being a tad too introspective here? Am I selfish for those reasons to create?