Where Have I Been?

question mark

It’s been almost a year since I last posted something here. The reason I even thought to write this article is because I saw that the domain is being renewed. If you followed my work, you might have wondered where I’ve been. Or, you might have forgotten that I ever wrote about games and this article is just now reminding you. Either way, I just wanted to give a quick update, because my goal is to start writing again. Just so you know though, it’s going to be a bit different now.

The main reason that I stopped posting articles here is because games stopped being fun for me. This is always the danger with a hobby. If you take it too far, it starts turning into work. When it became work, I started to avoid it during my free time. Instead of sitting down to play a game, I just watched TV. I pulled away from video games all together. I stopped watching as many videos, and I stopped reading articles about them. I just wanted to move away from games and take a moment to regroup.

I had inadvertently forced video games into being a part of my identity. When I did that, I put a huge amount of pressure on myself to keep up with everything related to them. I had to play all the new games and quickly present my thoughts about them here, or else I was failing to be me. I was working towards something that I had no passion for. It became about views and followers. Pure excitement for games was gone. I once wrote an e-mail to Patrick Klepek, a games journalist at Waypoint, and thanked him for some advice he had given me about getting started. In that e-mail I told them that I had taken his advice and started a blog. I said that I didn’t even care if anyone read it, it just felt good to express my feelings about games. By last July, that feeling was gone. So I quit.

I figured it was either step away or grow to hate video games all together, so I stopped playing and following video games. I focused on my work and developing other hobbies. I started taking nutrition and exercise seriously. I decided to go to grad school. I began to teach myself programming. And that’s where I’ve been. There’s no big mystery to it. I got worn out by putting too much pressure on myself. I stepped away and spent time figuring out what my identity really was. I really didn’t know if I was ever going to come back to games and focus on them the way I had before. Thankfully, I never did go back to how I was, but I have gotten my excitement back.

undertale

You will definitely see me talking about this game soon.

Even when I wasn’t following games, I would still play some here and there. Mostly with friends or just trying out whatever the free games for PS Plus were for a given month. The game that first fully drew my attention back was Undertale. It had come out a while back, but I never got around to playing it. Once I started, I was hooked. I played it all the way through in an incredibly short amount of time. It was the first time in about a year that I had felt a draw to keep coming back and constant excitement to see what was next. After that, I played a game called Headlander by Double Fine. The game just felt great. I loved the visuals, mechanics, style…everything just clicked. Following that, I played Thimbleweed Park, FTL, Horizon Zero Dawn, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and many more. My love for games was back. I was suddenly playing games, because I wanted to. There was no more pressure or feeling of obligation. It was that pure excitement and passion again. I’m back to loving games again.

So, what’s different about this time? Well, now I’m very aware that games don’t define me. As silly as that might seem to some people, it’s incredibly easy to make your world revolve around your interests. Thanks to my break, I can see the role that games play in my life and the role that they don’t play. I’d love to start writing about games again, but, to be blunt, there’s not going to be any consistency to it. I know that’s the mark of death for anyone looking to get views and followers, but I honestly don’t care about that anymore. I want to write about games again, because I love to talk about the things that interest me. I want to dissect and explore the worlds, stories, and characters that hold my mind captive throughout the day. I think they’re worth it. On the other hand, I’m not going to force myself to do it. I’m going to take the Bukowski approach and only write about games if I can’t stop myself from writing about them. This means that I’ll be writing about the games I find interesting and not necessarily the biggest games on the market. This is a site about my thoughts on games, not a place to keep up to date on the newest gaming trends and news. Just fair warning.

Lastly, things are going to be a bit different here, because I’m going to be writing about a new aspect of games that I’ve recently been spending a lot more time on: Game Development. I’ve never made a game, but I fully intend to. I’ve been spending a lot of time lately teaching myself about different game engines, theories of game design, and pixel art. I won’t be sharing wisdom from an old pro, but rather things I learn along the way. Everything I share might not be the best way to do something, but it’ll be an earnest look at someone pursuing game development. I follow a lot of game developers who are very open about their work and encourage others to join in. I want to do the same. Any resources I find that help me as I continue to learn, I’ll be sure to share here.

If you’ve read this far, thanks! I look forward to getting back into writing about games and exploring game development for the first time. Look for more stuff soon!

You can follow me on Twitter @jakecrump

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