Skip to main content

Awkward Dimensions Scrapped Postmortem

I wrote this months ago, when the game first was released on steam. All the overwhelming chaos of releasing a game, having your phone vibrate off the table with email notifications from fan and hate mail, reading thousands of reviews, watching all the never ending lets plays, reading all the analytical articles... basically seeing people read your diary and rate it, have opinions on it, trash it, praise it...

It was a overwhelming. And I wrote this to get out those feelings then. I've changed my tune, I look at things more fondly with thicker skin than before. However I still kept it as a draft to publish because all of it was true back then. So let this be just a frame of reference to my most recent article "a reply to a year old article" to what I was feeling when all the stuff in the paragraph above was happening in real time. And looking back at them both, they're almost the same. One's a little friendlier and better written than the other, but that's about it.


Let me be aphoristic for once, none of these levels are actually my dreams. Except the chickenscratch one. It was all just a cover, and a bad one at that. Awkward was a way for me to express myself. To be understood, to better understand myself, to vent, and hopefully make someone else feel less alone. What I did was publish my personal diary for all to see the innermost parts of me, the parts I wouldn't show to people I'm close to yet somehow I managed to share it with hundreds of thousands of absolute strangers; it takes courage to do that. The past two weeks or so since the game launched I've gotten at least five to ten emails every day, and I've answered each and every one of them with a conversation. The first ten were a surprise, and after that it became work. I was overwhelmed in friend requests, in letters, in the reviews, in the let's plays, in the articles... I got exactly what I wanted, yet I was still the same person. I was right, Davey Wreden was right. I borrowed his words because they spoke to me, and they do now. No matter how much "atta boy"s I get, I will never be happy with myself until I stop measuring my personal worth in terms of success. When the game launched I constantly reminded myself out loud how big of a deal this was for me, how happy I was that I had finally made my dream come true and got a game of mine on steam, that all that hard work paid off, that I can play in the big leagues and be respected as an equal finally at those game dev meetups regardless of my age...

I still wake up every morning at 5am, take my pills, take a shower, get dressed, look at my social media, eat breakfast, watch the news, go to school on the bus, sleep on the bus, wake up and go to my classes, have an almost silent lunch while I watch my friends glued to their screens, go to theatre, and rush to the bus home. The bus ride back home is the same as in the mornings, one hour. Get home, take off my shoes, my backpack, and look at social media again in anticipation for some real connection, do my homework, eat dinner, and maybe if I have enough energy left I'll work on one of my games, then I sleep. NOTHING HAS CHANGED, yet somehow this steam launch is life changing I guess? I mean it's more popular than all my past work combined, and I've inspired a lot of kids and adults alike to go into game development which is good.

"This game didn't have any focus", that's fair. I never wrote a game design document in my entire life. At first it was a demake of mirror's edge because I couldn't afford the game, then it was a discarded space prototype, then a horror game using mainly sound to move around, then a discarded puzzle game that used a frame, and finally a personal diary. I didn't know what I was making at the time, and I still honestly don't know. All I know is that I needed to make it. No elevator pitch seems good enough. Heck, some may not even consider it a game at all.

I MAY COME OFF AS SOME ANGSTY TEEN, SOME EGOTISTICAL ARTIST, SOME PRETENTIOUS SELF OBSESSED TWAT WHO NEEDS ATTENTION. However, I was in a bad place last year. I wasn't sleeping well, eating well, and I definitely wasn't thinking well. I needed to devote some time to taking care of myself for once. So for those who think that way, fuck you. And I'm saying that now so I don't have to say it a hundred more times. 

Your hate mail and negative baiting reviews says more about you than it does about me. When people say that this game has no interaction... Empathy is interaction, do you not get that? 

When people say this game has no story or coherence... It's the story of my life, and yeah it's in snapshots but no matter how many doors I put in the game it won't change the consistency that you're in my headspace. If it doesn't feel right, it shouldn't. 

You aren't intruding though, you were invited. Why did I invite you? Because I wanted to prove to myself that video games had the power to bring people together. That this isolating medium of people attached to their goddamn screens all the time maybe isn't such a bad thing.

I wasn't trying to copy anyone. I'm not Davey Wreden, so why would I try to be. I'm not Brendon Chung, so why would I try to be. And I'm not fucking copying awesomenauts or courage the cowardly dog or whatever, I've never even played awesomenauts. My "machine" is not Davey's machine, my supposed breakup isn't even a breakup; we were never together to begin with. This isn't my first work by a longshot, so when older bitter artists say that I shouldn't have put it out this early in my career, fuck them too. I am myself, and while people make their judgments they'll never be able to understand me. No one can understand me better than I understand myself. But there's a silver lining to all this, because if I can continue to make some people feel less alone in the world and help them realize that everybody (even game developers) are going through their own shit, than maybe we might all get along better.