January: Storm Weather

The year has been wiped clean again; when it rains now I think about going outside to kick around in it instead of staying in stasis with my 3DS and Hakuoki. But I don’t go outside. I am thinking about how I have to leave home soon.

I had an idea: to write about people who make games. Not the process itself, or games as ‘products’. I wanted to know how people’s lives are reflected in games. So I suggested that I go and see them, stay with them, and write about it. And people invested in it. I was surprised, and then scared. But I put out my first article for it and people liked it. I remember saying over and over to myself after the article first went out, ‘the subscriptions are going up, not down, up not down…’ I guess, at some point in your life, you have to start thinking you’re okay and stop thinking that at any moment someone will catalogue the serious failure in your work to mean anything at all. I will remember ‘up not down’ from now on. Even if people stop subscribing, I’ve always got the initial total lack of disappointment from my backers. And the people who I did annoy were the ones deep in the ‘objective’ games journalism trenches, the ones who have put down pot plants there. I think it’s okay to not like this thing. It’s not really for ‘Games Journalism’. It’s just for the people who want to read this sort of thing.

Sometimes I look idly at Patreon and the names there and I feel like I am crowdsurfing 300 or so fucking radically amazing people. If that is you, I am so glad your arms are there. I am glad you can subscribe to this idea. You are the most rock and roll people in the world. I would like to attend parties with you where we dance to David Bowie. You are the best. I thank you so much. You are great. I am working hard for you.

January was a hell of a month. It was a storm that tore up the ocean near where I live; it spat pebbles and half a burnt-out old pier ashore. January made me ill and fucked up and sad and alienated from London. When I came back to Brighton I was so happy I virtually stayed in the pub for a week clinging, twitching to Brighton friends, guiltily missing my London friends already.

Things I wrote I was proud of since last we talked:

I made videos for Never Been Half-Lifed One and Two
I made Steve Gaynor pretend to be a paper mache duck
I began a column called S.EXE at Rock Paper Shotgun
I fell in love with Jazzpunk and Stranded
I made predictions with Elizabeth Simins for this year in games
I wrote an essay about how we are revising history to exclude women (and how I love film noir)

But please read my Embed With London story. In the beginning, I didn’t know what to write, how to start. But a few days ago, late at night, one of the people I wrote about in this sent me a message about it. They said that they showed it to their father and he said that he understands better about games now. He said he understands better about what they do.

I think that’s the thing I wanted to write. I will write more.

Many thanks to Tom Armitage for his help in wrangling the widgets on my website.
Images as always, from the brilliant Rekall.