“Is that because you’re afraid of success?”
Man, fucking interviews at times. So I did an interview with the ever awesome and talented Mr Goring a few days back and it’ll be online soon unless he comes to his senses and realises what a daft idea interviewing me really is but there it was, in the middle of the chat…
Am I afraid of success?
Caught on the hop, “I dunno, I’ve never really thought about it” and I kind of haven’t. At least, not in the sense that I think I’m supposed to when it comes to making videogames.
But I guess it depends on what you call success, right? The traditional indieTM measure of success is a game that lots of people buy and play and love and do YouTube videos of and tell their friends and I get a fast car and a flying car and a new house and a duck and another duck and another duck until I’ve got all the ducks and you can’t have any of the ducks, they’re mine. BACK OFF, MISTER.
I don’t really give a fuck about that. Except the ducks. I’d like a duck.
When I was a teenager, I guess I wanted that success a lot. Not through videogames, through being a rockstar.
I was a shit rockstar. I loved the posturing, I loved walking round with a swagger like nothing could fuck with me but really, I just wanted to make enough money to move my mum out the shitty area we lived in and hope that it’d lift some of the misery off her back. I never managed that. My songs were shit, my voice barely able to hold a tune, my music made by other people far more talented than me and maybe that alt/disco version of Bowie’s Heroes wasn’t the brightest idea now I come to think of it. A swagger is meaningless when you know that walking down the street could get you lamped because that’s what happened to kids who walked down the streets where I lived. I was once so embarrassed at how bad my voice was that I pretended a tape of Flock Of Seagulls was me rather than just sort of admit that hey, I can’t sing so well.
I didn’t really care though, I just wanted out. Music was my escape.
Except it wasn’t. My mum was dying, I had nowhere to go. I’d hit the town, stay up to 4 in the morning and hope each day I’d see her again that day. For a while I did. Then I didn’t. Then I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to be a rockstar anymore, no point.
“Hon, I’m thinking about making a videogame”
I was bored and looking for something to do but y’know, I didn’t know if I could make a videogame never mind. “Why?”, she asked. “Bored mainly”, I replied.
“Whatever, hon. If you like”
I wasn’t looking to get into this to make the games I’d always dreamed of, I wasn’t looking into this because it was a calling. I wasn’t even really getting into this whole videogame lark because I especially cared about making videogames. I was bored, I needed to fill some time. Making videogames seemed like a good, cheap, way to fill some time. So I made some games and they were kind of OK, I guess. Eventually. Once I’d gotten the worst of the shit ones out of my system, anyway.
I didn’t have a plan. I’ve never had a plan. If I did have one, it’d be “make some games to fill some time up” and that’s kind of what I do. I fill in time.
Except in time, it turned out that actually, I quite like making videogames. It was never really a thing on my list, no sex, no drugs, no rock and roll. JD and videogames? Naw. JD and geetar? Fuck, yes. What the hell though, right? I’m old. I can have JD if I want. I’m married to a woman who’s pretty amazing, I’ve got kids. I’ve got the sex thing sorted. The drugs thing? Nah, come on, I’m old. A cup of tea and a biscuit, ta.
I’m kinda happy with all that.
We could do with some money, I guess. We could do with a bigger house, I guess. We could definitely do with more cats. I’d like a duck. A duck would be lovely, come to think of it. And I suppose success could buy me that. If we’re treating success as the traditional indieTM definition of success anyway. Maybe one day, I’ll get that. Maybe.
But I don’t mind if I don’t. Or at least, I don’t mind if I don’t get that through making videogames because that’s not why I make games. I make games because I like filling my time up with making videogames. I like making videogames because there’s some wonderful people who make videogames too and I respect them a great deal and they’ve gone a whole fuck of a way to giving me a better understanding of the world around me. I make games because I like flashing lights at myself. I make games because although I may not be able to walk with a swagger these days, I can still be a mischievous little shithouse when I want to be. “You can’t call a game DRM”, Fuck you, I can.
I’d like that big house and cat and duck and money and all the freedom that comes with it, maybe one day I’ll have that.
It’s just not how I judge my own success on a personal level.
I try and be a better person each and every day. I try and look after Mrs B as best I can, my kids and cats too. Sometimes I fuck up because I’m human and humans fuck up and I never really did work out how to be a grown up and it turns out, no-one really knows how to be a grown up when you need them to tell you either. I try and listen to people who are smarter about the world than I am and hear what they have to say and understand it.
I sit here and I wonder to myself “would my mum be proud of what I am?” I think she would. My aunt thinks she would.
I remember my mum asking me what I wanted to be when I left school. “A spaceman”, I said with a wide grin. “Tell you what, just be the best you that you can be”, she said in that sort of mum ignoring you being an idiot way that mums have.
My wife is proud of me. My eldest is proud of me. I have a million reasons to be proud of them. The cats don’t give a fuck because they’re cats and they have no fucks to give, just tuna to take.
Most of the time I’m just trying to be the best me I can be and sometimes I succeed.
That’s really all the success I need and I’m definitely, definitely not afraid of that.