But it sure is easy to get sidetracked. And by sidetracked I don't mean the heavy hand of the procrastination or utter laziness. I don't mean the little red Netflix envelope, Twitter banter, or figuring out what the hell Reddit is (okay I get it now, and I am a little hooked).
I am talking about losing sight of your original goals while you wallow in the inter-drama. I am talking about questioning your motives and falling off course, swayed by the opinions and rhetoric of others. I am talking about flocking to mindless controversy because it's seems exciting. Some examples:
- Community disputes over other game's worth/value/success (or lack of).
- A debacle over Xbox ratings exploits.
- Aggressive marketing techniques that ride the unethical gray area.
- Forums and comment threads locked in endless and often pointless debate.
Now I am not proposing that discussion or involvement in the above happenings is completely avoidable, or that it needs to be. For many, there's personal stake to varying degrees - and so be it, get involved. Get on your soapbox when it really calls for it. (just remember not to feed the trolls)
But I just played Portal 2. And holy shit it refocused me - like a slap in the face. Here's why:
As I poured through this game and it got it's grips on me, I was carried away. I was reminded of what makes games the mental vacation that we all crave. It reminded me of what I am attempting to do and why I spend hours of my free time doing it.
I am not going to talk about Portal 2 or why it's such a wonderful game - it just is, and that's fairly widely agreed upon at this point. The point is, Portal 2 did for me what I have always wanted to create for others - it's a lesson book for game design, or interactive media for that matter. It highlighted my favorite elements of gaming, and what I need to regather focus on accomplishing within my own project.
Better yet, the gaming high felt from Portal 2 contrasted so heavily with the swamp of eternal stench listed in the bullet points above, that it was a moment of clarity. I believe it hit me when I was looking through a blue portal and realized I was about to launch myself like a cannonball across a gaping pit to the exit, while being mocked by a vindictive and sarcastic A.I (and what I consider a top 5 video game villain of all time).
So I would encourage anyone reading this, to take a step back from the daily shitstorm and remember why you dove in headfirst to begin with. Get back on that path and beware the tempting sirens of controversy, opinion-blasting, and so forth. Ignore them, grab your drug of choice, and work on something special to you. Sometimes it take a great game to remind you what you set out to do.
Some screenshots of our work in progress, Ophidian Wars: The Legend of Kilflame: