This post is both a reaction to the excellent essay “Discipline and Pleasure” by Willie Osterweil on The New Inquiry, and a follow-up to my own “On defending myself from videogames.” It’ll take a more personal approach than the average essay, so much so I’m still not sure it entirely fits this website as opposed to my personal blog. But while the details of my circumstances may be unique, I also believe that enough similarities can be found to draw connections and analogies between my life and other people’s.
The great people at Haywire asked me to write for them and I accepted!
Since I’ve been having trouble keeping up with my writing, this will also allow me to write regularly, but not feel like I have to write too often and feel overwhelmed.
My first article went up already: it’s about Final Fantasy 14 and how MMOs have failed to develop storytelling techniques that really make us of their “massive” number of player. You can read it here. If that article is written better than my usual ones, it’s all thanks to the two editors that helped me out. (and that I’m honoured, not to mentioned embarrassed, to be working with. It’s as if I wrote a novel and it turned out my editor was Stephen King)
Some ideas that didn’t make it into the final draft:
- Multiplayer games’ systems are held back by their very players: everything has to be designed by taking into account the worst that humanity can offer, and every possible exploit. This limits what can be done immensely. Take MOBAs for example: not only there can be no friendly fire whatsoever, but you cannot design champions that interact in interesting ways with their allies, because some troll could use those champions to ruin the game for everyone else, and willfully put their own team at a disadvantage. This goes for *every* system, including narrative ones.
- I think there’s an interesting comparison to be made with board games and Pen&Paper, but having a very limited experience of board games and no first-hand experience whatsoever with Pen&Paper I didn’t want to go out of my depth. My ideas are that, for one, a human game master can make stories more replayable and adapt them better on the go; a videogame has to repeat the same words every time, and can only work within the parameters the writers and designers anticipated and implemented. Secondly, playing with friends removes a lot of that conflict of motivation that afflicts online multiplayer. Then again, online multiplayer is popular precisely because few people have enough friends, or can regularly bring them together at the same time to play a game.
Aside from that, I think I’ll be playing Final Fantasy 14 as my go-to game for quite some time, while I play some shorter, more focused games on the side. (I’d have a lot to say about the good things FF14 has given me, but this is not the place) I’m also second in command in my guild on one of the EU servers. If you want to play together, by all means let me know! ^_^
Thanks for reading! Meow ❤
I wrote something about what has been going on with me on my personal blog, in case you’re interested.
If you don’t care, the short of it is: I’m feeling a little better, and I’m working on a couple of posts. I’m not sure if I’ll ever finish them and publish them, after all it already took a lot to get that short post done, but I’m doing my best.
p.s.: you won’t find me on Twitter these days, but if you want you can always add me on Steam.
Thanks to SuperGiant Games retweeting my Transistor essays, I’ve got a lot of visibility lately. Thanks, everybody, for reading my work, and for all the comments I received. Thanks to that exposure, I also received two offers from websites that asked me to write for them.
I decided to start writing for Blackman ‘n’ Robin. At least, I’m giving it a try for now. I was considering starting a Patreon, but given that many people that do more or less what I do (and are exponentially better than me – Stephen Beirne and Cameron Kunzelman spring to mind, but there are many many more) get very very little, I’m trying to explore other avenues. The harsh truth is, if I don’t start earning something by Summer 2015, I’ll have to stop doing this, or at least I won’t be able to dedicate to it a comparable amount of time. I won’t earn enough from this site alone, but I’ll still be writing, learning and improving, working with some people who do seem interesting, and I’ll get something, however little, while I hope someone else notices me.
(As an aside, I refused The Game Fanatics‘ offer to write for them. Partially because they didn’t respect me enough to offer me any pay at all, and partially because the site’s ethos, revolving as it is around hype and big AAA titles, is pretty much antithetical to what I do and what I believe in)
I’ll still do long-form analyses, but this also gives me the opportunity to give a little visibility to games I love or find important, without having to study them in detail. Reviews are not a strength of mine at the moment, but I’m always learning, and even though the first few will inevitably be bad, they will improve, just like my analyses did.
I’ll make sure to link my work here. I suppose I’ll also be posting whatever I happen to write that doesn’t fit elsewhere.
I started by recommending Jonas Kyratzes’ A Postcard from Afthonia. Because it’s lovely and there’s nothing else quite like it. (Seems appropriate, too. You know, Marxism and material conditions of life fit well with the rest of this post)