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Archive for October, 2011

This blog has been defunct for over two years, since just before I came back to the UK from Japan. In that time I’ve lucked into a job with a media firm, moved to London despite my reservations, got a better job title, moved from the West to the East End, got another job title, worked some interesting projects, fallen in like with London, and just now got picked up for a job in a major game studio to manage content and write.

I’ve just finally sent off a TV pilot to my now-ex-boss. It’s something I’ve been working on for way too long, and I’m king of hoping I can just shelve it and finally move on to something else. I’ve got a script for a kids’ book, written in the pub in a state of abject disbelief. I’m working on an interactive argument in the closed Varytale beta.

I’ve learned a hell of a lot: in the media production trade, and in knowing where I want to end up, off in the distance. And the other day I caught myself asking myself – does the future seem nearer, now that I know roughly what I want and how to get there? Which seems more distant – a dream life you’re just waiting to happen to you, or a dream life you know you’re going to have to work for?

But working is normal life for me – everything else is just leisure. I don’t generally work for the weekend, and god knows I spend enough weekends working. Work’s not the space of my life I rent out to someone else – except on the most boring of projects. That’s why I’m so lucky to have had a decent job the last two years, where the gigs were interesting and there was space for me to work on my own projects. Now I’m walking away from that job, hopefully another step towards getting myself to a place where I get to think and write all day. Where there’s no longer any boundary between job-work and my-work.

So in that spirit I’m going to start writing here again, and try to get some personal branding up in this piece. It’s been a hard enough road to get a big games company to hire someone internal for a content role – to help make the cake, instead of just icing it. Getting known for writing interactive experiences isn’t exactly a carefully-hewn career path.

I don’t know whether I’ll keep posting on this blog – I certainly look back on some of those posts from when I was in Japan with some embarrassment. I’ll at least try to keep my sentence clause-count down in future. I was talking to a friend yesterday about looking back on your past self. It’s an odd feeling to know your 17-year-old-self would be kind of relieved to see your settled, reasoned life now. Because of course it’s a huge betrayal, a monumental compromise, that you no longer felt things so raw as you once did. But even compromise has to be worked at, and that’s something you don’t seem to understand when you’re a kid. You have to work at it every day.

Everything has a meaning or nothing has. To put it another way, one could say that art is without noise.

– Roland Barthes, Image… Music… Text…

That’s quoted in Gaiman/Mckean’s Signal to Noise, which is about compromise unto death, and film as an inherently compromised artform. (And was written by a prolific and highly effective collaboration, part fusion and part fight for atttention). Now, I believe games can be art. But because of the way they’re typically made, the sheer number of people involved and generally speaking the absence of a dictatorial figure, in some ways they are the noisiest of media, most prone to flaws and disappointments despite themselves.

Every aspect of a game is meaningful to someone involved in it, whether it’s the low-pixel area of the Skybox put by a coder to save memory, or the absence of a save point insisted on by the designer to keep it ‘Hardcore’. Or the shoddy dialogue written in Crunch at four in the morning. Now I’m planning to join that noise, and to try to help work it. We’ll see how that goes. At least I’m still not short of uncertainty, or ridiculously high hopes. 17-year-old is still hanging on somewhere.

like that and more so


					

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