Self-Indulgent Nonsense You Can Safely Ignore

I’m out of town now and posting from a public computer, so this is going to be even shorter than my usual succinct style. But a lame update is better than silence, so please indulge me.

I wish I could say that I would be as happy reaching five people a day as I would be reaching five hundred thousand. But the fact is that I’m as greedy as can be; I want to make a living by calling video game creators big stupid-heads and that is a frivolous desire. Not that I’m going to quit doing it, mind you, but I realize how ridiculous I look. My tough-guy posturing amounts to little.

It’s odd trying to get paychecks by writing a lot of words because I’m not at all talkative in person. I just want to live in my cave and play video games all the time, but talking about those video games is the only reasonable way to survive off of them. Creating games is not an option with my lack of skills in programming and art, and being a QA is one of the dreariest jobs this side of gravedigging.

Every gamer’s dream job is to be the rich guy in charge of a gaming company who tells his employees how to make a game yet leaves all the unpleasant details to the grunts and code monkeys. They automatically assume that all of their ideas are great and they don’t need to create anything on their own. You can see some aspiring film directors with the same bad attitude. We all want to be a Miyamoto, a Sid Meier, or even a CliffyB who calls the shots and gets piles of money while doing it. But we’re not willing to do the hard work to build ourselves up to that point; we first have to make the Radar Scopes and the Jill of the Jungles before we can move onto stuff with big budgets and the whole world looking on.

As a result of this I can understand why there are so many indie game developers out there. You can make a basic, uncreative platformer with rudimentary (“retro”) pixel art and foist it upon players as a complete product and not as a Wario Ware minigame. Don’t get me wrong, there are indie games that actually worthwhile endeavors (I’ve clocked in hundreds of joyful hours in Spelunky and The Binding of Isaac) but there’s this prevailing attitude that indie games can afford to be lazy. In many cases that is certainly true (How could anyone enjoy playing Passage?) but I’m guilty of not giving many artists and programmers the respect they deserve. Hamilton Clower can consider this an apology for all the times I made fun of indie artgames in the past; I may sneer at them but they’re still accomplishing more than I am with my juvenile attempts at literary criticism.

The fact is that my generation is full of arrogant entitled slackers, including me. I’m not a special snowflake and there’s no reason why I should have special privileges that other gaming editorialists don’t. I want to “write my way out of this” as that one Jets to Brazil song goes, but I’m no genius. I’ll probably never be as good a writer as Seanbaby or as popular as Yahtzee. I could do more of the tedious social networking stuff—posting on Twitter every hour, posting links to my site on message boards—and increase my daily hits, but this betrayal combined with my aspergers my stupid selfish nature keeps me from obtaining the success I desire. The easy victory didn’t come to any of the people I respect, so why should I with my inferior talents be any different? I’m not really better than anyone who writes for Gather Your Party or Second Quest.

I need to write more, and I need to write better. Thank you to everyone who visits my site, everyone who demands better of me. I’m doing this until the day I die.

About Lee

Lee Laughead writes stuff about video games. Read his Twitter at even though Twitter sucks.
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2 Responses to Self-Indulgent Nonsense You Can Safely Ignore

  1. Lee says:

    Mikelaughead says:

    This was a great post, Lee. A little down-on-yourself (you are actually a good writer) but this was a good expression of where you are coming from and what you realize about your place in gaming and gaming criticism.

  2. Strider says:

    So I realize this was another throwaway comment, but whe you mention me and indie games, you’re basically saying “Beetlejuice” three times. :)

    I guess my observation about indie games is that there are a couple different strata under that label- the polished semi-pro industry expat, the hobbyist putting together rough-around-the-edges experimental projects, the beginner looking to put together a portfolio with which to break into the industry, the artist who really wants to do interactive art but falls under the ‘game’ umbrella. These are very different folks with different budgets and goals, but you seem to be lumping then into a monolith when you criticize ‘indie games’, whereas I believe that things really need to be judged in the context they’re created.

    That the 16-bit art style is currently trendy is a great boon to indies; art costs money- especially 3D art- and relying on the retro look is a convenient way to make art that isn’t shitty on a tiny or nonexistent budget, even if you’re not an artist. I’ve seen small-budget projects that didn’t take advantage of this, and the results aren’t pretty; have you ever seen And Yet It Moves? A Valley Without Wind?

    – HC

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