Sorry about this, but, just for a moment, I have to talk about me.
I develop games and also write about them. I like to think this gives me some insight that some other game bloggers don't have.
The final section of my "games of the year" article touched on game creation. There are more games now than ever before, and the tools are available for almost anyone to make a game that interests them, with a little creativity and work. I find myself wanting to make some games this year and I'm excited and privileged to be able to make that happen. I've even signed up for One Game a Month so that I have a reason to release or announce something new every month this year. And, yeah, I'm working on more than one game right now.
But there's an aspect of that revolution that I find myself troubled by. It's something that Electron Dance touched on recently in a sort of confessional about confessionals.I lurked the comment section in that article longer than I should have, partially because this one was still gelling. Then I saw this appear on the front page of Something Awful: The Video Game I Made About My Mom's Third Divorce. And there was a satire talking about the kind of thing I was thinking about, not the confessional article, which we discussed quite heavily, but, the confessional game.
I want to make games that do something interesting within the medium. I want to make games that are in some way commentary or reactions to other games, or other literature. I want to have reactions to the world I live in; to trends in the news, to things that fascinate me. I am not at this time interested in saying anything in particular about my struggles as a person, if, indeed they do exist.
And it feels like I have a kind of disadvantage. If one's work is not personal, then the work is expected to be excellent. But work that is very personal, without necessarily being excellent, often gets discussed anyway... it gets a pass. Keep in mind that I have a pretty broad definition of what it means for a work to be excellent. But I'm not sure that being "totally from the heart" is enough to make a work memorable or great, if there's not something else interesting about it.
Eurydice, from the IF comp last year, is personal but excellent because it paints a vivid picture with writing (in spite of it being another sad about dead girlfriend kind of game). Dys4ia is personal but excellent because of the way it marriages game mechanics with its overall message. Mom is Home, a Twine game which got passed around on Twitter a good deal when it was built, didn't do anything for me at all. I guess being sad about your life and writing about that is a great catharsis, but as a work, it doesn't get me by. (A lot of Twine games feel that way to me, but that turned into a huge digression for a different blog post.)
Anna Anthropy says we need more "queer games" and she also mentions straight women. But I feel like I'm in a weird position as a straight woman: not queer enough to be part of the revolution, not man enough to be part of the establishment. Being otherwise straight and white I understand that I have a position of privilege, and as such, there's nothing otherwise interesting to say about me.
I can't decide if I'm not brave enough to be personal or if I really genuinely have nothing interesting personal to disclose. Like any woman (any human) I have anxieties. Mine are mostly to do with how I am going to manage some kind of work/life balance while I am now in my 30s, if I've been short-sold in regard to my male peers, or if I am ready to start a family (or if I ever will be ready). "Well make a game about that," would be the common reply. I have considered that but then I am not entirely sure that this is an interesting game, or, rather, that this is a game that is interesting to me.
I want to make games about other stuff besides my boring self. I want that to still be okay. I want you to still like the games.