Greetings From Purgatory

Having the week of Thanksgiving off from classes has been nice, but I haven’t had a whole lot to feel thankful for.  My game design hit a bad turn, and I haven’t actually played many games so much as I have wasted a lot of time this week.

I’m still working on actually establishing a schedule of what to do, and when.  I seem to be a largely helpless soul who really can’t control his destiny all that well.

  • I blame MMORPGs.  They’ve somewhat trained me to grind away the hours endlessly doing nothing particularly enjoyable or productive.  As far as games go, MMORPGs certainly know how to occupy a quantity of your time, but they generally don’t do so at a very good quality.  They’re escapism personified but, at the same time, a very poor substitute for reality.
  • I blame my age.  When you’re 32-years-old, you’ve probably got enough sense in your head not to give a damn about picking up virtual trinkets. Consequently, I spent a lot of time in MMORPGs not playing a single character but rather bouncing from one character to another, which has actually strengthened my tendency towards cognitive dissonance.
  • I blame derivative design.  If MMORPGs were something more than grinds, perhaps they could have been something great.  It’s this desire for them to be something more that causes me to keep trying them, long after I knew better.

The bottom line is this: this is no longer an MMORPG-centric blog.  It hasn’t been for awhile.  The reasons are outlined above.  I’ve lost faith.  MMORPGs are no longer special, there’s hundreds of them, and they’re seemingly unable to do anything particularly interesting.

Other types of games, on the other hand – those have some potential.  They’re less focused on being a staging ground for mass hysteria and more focused on being genuinely entertaining.  The details are many and varied, but suffice to say a developer’s motivation changes when they’re not occupied with stringing people along for $15 a month.

Of course, part of the trouble is that I’m going through some things right now…

Wednesday, I hit a dead end in my game design.  I took most of Wednesday, Thursday, and today (Friday) off reinstalling and playing Mass Effect.  I hope to return to development soon but, with only a few days left before it’s turn to return to classes, why bother?   It’s not like I’d have anything definitively finished before I return to classes.  I should probably spend this weekend boning up on remembering what class-related materials I no doubt forgot over the past 7 days.

Honestly, I’m beginning to second guess even returning to classes right now.  I was making great progress before I went back to school with game development.  With my financial situation being what it is, I don’t really feel secure enough to be a full-time student.

What I really need is a job that leaves me enough time afterwards to dabble with game development.  To provide some level of discipline and reassure me that if my parents passed way I won’t be out on the streets.  However, it seems that nobody of quality is hiring in my neck of the woods, or has been hiring in a manner accessible to an outsider, for years.

Thus, I’m really not at classes as a student so much as a prisoner hoping his serving time there and procuring a degree will deliver an easy way out of purgatory.  I’m not real confident that a line on my resume is going to make any difference at this point.  No wonder I can’t enjoy games lately – I’m a caged bird.

2 Responses

  1. I can empathize with the financial stress. Not sure where you’re at in the globe but I’m out in the Pacific Northwest in the USA, and the job market here is slowly crawling back out of the pits. I’ve been looking for work since getting laid off in Febuary, and other then stringing together some temp work for various companies there doesn’t seem to be much out there right now.

    On the plus side, one thing you can be thankful for is the conclusion that you have come to regarding MMOs and their entertainment value. As a game designer that seems to me that it would be a valuable thing to keep in mind when working on your projects 🙂

  2. I’m actually also in the Pacific Northwest, USA, (about where Washington meets Oregon) and I have to agree that sure seems like the situation.

    I’ve actually been going to school since 2005, partly because the prospects are so bad, and partly because I figure I’d like to get a 4 year degree out of the way. Approaching the tail end of the 4th years, I’ve got Senior Syndrome something fierce 😛

    Indeed, my conclusion in regards to the primary issues with MMORPGs has a lot to do with my own dabbling in BYOND.

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