Pause/Continue

Well, you might have noticed that I’ve not been writing as much as normal lately. There’s a couple of reasons for that, some more serious than others.

First up, I managed to fall over a couple of months back and lamp my ribs in. Whilst I’m picking up and I’m fairly mobile again, sitting at my desk for long periods of time is pretty much impossible still. Well, sitting at my desk for short periods of time too – the leaning over to type absolutely does me in and I haven’t found a comfortable middle ground.

I tend to draft pieces from the comfort of my bed and then tidy them up whilst at my desk later. So there’s that but it also means that with not being at my desk, I’m not anywhere near as plugged in to the game-o-sphere as I usually am. Which kind of means I’m not reading as much or even paying quite as much attention as usual.

I haven’t worked out if this is a better or worse state of affairs than normal, really.

There’s the pain thing too – it’s more managed than it was a few months ago (as in, it is managed somewhat rather than not at all) but I’ve only recently hit anything close to a vaguely medicated level with things. Unfortunately, rather than this wind down and go into remission for a while as I’m fairly used to – I’ve been riding this pretty much none stop since last October. It is simultaneously boring and irritating to have a lot of time taken up dealing with the pain instead of just about anything else.

Funnily enough I would sooner do anything else most of the time but it sort of is what it is. I try to fit stuff in around that but being a parent and a carer doesn’t leave me much time for anything else before everything kicks off again. Since December last year we’ve been having one fight too many on the financial front and family health front so that’s been a battle as well. Sort of used to it but it doesn’t mean I like it, obviously.

Then there’s the tired thing. Thanks to the joys of having a silly pain that you can set a watch to, well, it turns out this kind of leaves you knackered after a flare up. Which is not very nice! So again, it’s time taken up napping here over writing.

Right now, I seem to be accumulating drafts and stuff – I’ve got about 4 or 5 pieces which are ripe for turning into something more interesting and quite a few games I want to talk about. So it’s not like I’ve entirely got lost on this but there’s two other factors which are, right now, taking precedence over everything else.

I’m very burnt out on writing about games. A lot of last year was spent writing about really horrible things in games. I covered a lot of avenues and a lot of angles on the sheer chaos, hurt and upset that can come with being in games. It all sort of wrapped up in a piece for Eurogamer that brought a lot of these threads together and well, it was an incredibly stressful thing to write and prepare for. And, of course, you never know how this stuff is going to go down. You never know if this piece “will be the one”.

Anyway, turns out that repeatedly poking your head into The Bad Stuff for a year does in fact take its toll – not only am I struggling to muster the effort to talk about some of the more serious things that happen in games, I’ve sort of forgotten what it means to write about games without writing about this stuff. You know, like normal human beings who write about games. The ones that don’t stick their head into the videogame toilet at every opportunity for a very long time.

It’s not necessarily that I want to stop writing about that stuff, more that the money and support for doing so is entirely disproportionate to the emotional toll it takes *right now*. I’m not sure there is such a thing as ever enough money for doing it so I’m not entirely worried there and I do appreciate the support I have/have had but stuff like this, it’s hard to feel appreciated for. Not necessarily because doing it isn’t appreciated but the very nature of the work grinds you down so much that it’s hard to come up for air. It’s hard to see the good when you’re constantly knee deep in the bad, yeah?

And the other reason? Well. It’s keeping track of what I’m doing long enough to get to the end of a piece with a point intact. Normally, I employ a system of post it notes, remarks in drafts and whatever else to keep myself on track but between pain and pills, cutting through the fog has been exceptionally difficult recently. And whatever goes on, excluding pain and pills, already sees me struggle to keep track of what I’m doing, where I am or what my point was. That’s normal.

Just recently, it’s getting a bit more complicated and I’m having to check words more, spellings more, reread stuff to make sure it really does go from A to B. It’s a vast amount of more work than I’m used to. I’ve every intention of working round this over time but working through it is taking priority. I’m having to accept that maybe writing about games at the pace and wordcount I was doing so before is not sustainable. My health isn’t getting any better so quality and integrity (and something vaguely coherent) seem like smarter things to push towards as time goes on.

It’s all really complex and really messy and yeah, it’s not helped by the state of the world at the moment either. Just between health, fighting so many financial fronts, the huge amount of words on bad things I spent last year writing and my forgetfulness, something is going to have to give.

So with that in mind, I’m mulling over some changes to my Patreon over the next month or so – both to adjust expectations to what will have to be a slower output of words from me so I can use some of my spare brain power for writing a game and to offer something a bit more in return for the kind support I’ve been receiving.

I don’t know what yet and folks are happy to prod me on the Twitters over stuff or whatever. Or complain. I don’t know.

It’s a weird situation I’ve found myself in – I’ve been in increasing pain for years, I’ve had periods of exhaustion and burnout before now, I’ve had serious family stuff to deal with too, just very rarely all at the same time. I’m used to having to turn down travelling and this that the other but these past few months I’ve had to turn down stuff where the pay would have been nice simply because I cannot do it right now.

And as ever, I try and talk about these things to at least some extent as I know I’m invariably not the only person riding a wave of effluence out at the best of times and nor am I in the worst situation out of plenty of folks I know. But it is uphill right now. Everything sort of seems uphill right now.

And that’s all why I’m currently down to one or two pieces a month right now. Despite all this, I do sincerely hope you still find some enjoyment in them all the same.

Edge

I have huffed too much Edge this past week.

Not the recent and quite readable new Edge, old Edge. Early Edge.

I’d set out originally to find some lovely choice quotes from developers or interesting snippets of old news to talk about. Instead, around fifteen issues in I kinda felt like another issue would probably break me.

Edge’s sometimes wrongness is quite legendary. It is, genuinely, funny to read the early issues where there’s barely a page without a mention of the 3DO whilst the responses on the letters pages are “eh, no, we don’t talk about the 3DO like that. Come on!”

And then there’s the notorious “If only…” Doom review where the reviewer (there are no bylines in Edge) asks us to contemplate a game of Doom where you could talk to the monsters or form allegiances instead of the one we got. Which is certainly A Thing That Someone Put To Page and all that.

If only its wrongness stopped there.

It’s hard, post 2014, for me to give a generous reading to the bulk of Edge’s early content. In its early years Edge was a magazine that on one hand advocated for the future of games and games machines and on the other, sought to aggressively narrow down what could be permitted as games.

It was every bit the awful gatekeeping that not only still lingers today but we see the end result of touching so many of us.

I tend to go through phases where I reread old magazines and I think this is the only time I’ve ever thought “you know. let’s just put them away again and eurgh, curse them or something so no-one else should suffer”.

It’s all so silly, so inane. Barely an issue goes by without Edge maintaining that in the face of CD-ROM, games are under threat from non games. I’m not inferring this from their words, it is fairly explicitly stated on multiple occasions. I finally met my match in an exhausting and exhaustive write up on the ingredients of gameplay. An over long dictation of terms. This is what videogames are. Remember this.

Even though I spent a day tweeting it into the void, I’ve forgotten most of it. It’s stuff I’d read a thousand times before and went on to read a thousand times more. It is the argument that videogames are cause and effect, they contain violence, the player must be treated as a godlike figure, empowered and flattered at every turn. It was boring in 1994, it is boring now.

Videogames are in a state of constant flux but the hardware and software leaps in the early to mid nineties were incredible things and a good number of videogames from that time gave us templates we still adhere to now. It is an exciting and glorious time where who knows what’s next but look at the speed everything is changing.

Even then I found good reason to celebrate this. Edge, sadly, were more interested in telling people no, you can’t do this thing because… look, you just can’t. There’s a part of me that smiles when one article declares multimedia is dead because it’s just not fun enough.

And you know, there’s a part of me that thinks a lot of the content of early Edge should be taught at school in media studies or just in general. There’s a straight line that runs from so many of these ideas and editorials there to where the bad things are now. And like now, so many early issues of Edge are filled with the most amazing bollocks about making games. It’s a magazine that can explain a video compression technique over multiple pages in one issue but also fail to write how game development works in any sane manner.

My memories of Edge before rereading a year or two of its early nonsense was, I fear, overly generous. I had it pinned down as a big load of silly. I think it was a silly magazine. More than that though it worked really hard at driving a bigger wedge between the people who make the work and the people who buy the work for no discernible good reason.

I would say that history has been unkind to a lot of games writing, such is what happens with an enthusiast press. Edge though? I’m struggling to figure out how anyone took it seriously. It’s inane at best, wrong somewhere in the middle and had it been even ten or so years later still doing the same stuff as here, it would be dangerous

Sadly, I found myself walking away from it all with only a couple of nice quotes to talk about. The rest felt like it was dragging me under with it. So I stopped, walked away.

Because the thing is, for most of the stuff I found myself rereading, I can get that very same conversation in forums and comments sections a million times over. Today. Without feeling like the past let us down.

Even though, you know, it often has.

Compassion / Design

Given the games I write it likely sounds odd but I try to be as kind and compassionate in my design as possible. Well, you know, as possible as it is to be in brutally hard twin stick arena shooters that flash lights at people. Which believe it or not is plenty.

Finding and exploring different aspects of this is one of the more fun things for me. Trimming down rough and abusive design edges so that even when the game is hideously unfair, it’s difficult to get angry at the game itself.

In theory, of course.

Absurdity helps. With War Twat, my first proper jaunt into arena shooters – I turned the volume up to eleven, Mike’s music teetered on the ridiculous, the sound effects were set to “probable nuclear war” as were the visual effects. It is a loud game in a lot of respects and lasting 30 seconds is an art unto itself.

The player is also likely to find the cause of their death was either a bus, a silly alien or a balloon or a yellow digger. Or, just as likely, something they weren’t able to either see or avoid in any way whatsoever. It is a difficult game to be angry at precisely because nobody has a chance with it. Unlike, say, Super Hexagon which tries to teach you possibilities through practice, there are none in War Twat.

The entire screen is just noise in seconds. Bullets, sound effects, the music, the screen shaking in a way even Vlambeer would be all like “no way, steady” to.

It’s absurd, of course it is. There is a logic to it though – the player is permitted, by design, to know that death is inevitable and the only real way to play the game is to pretty much set their own goals to see how long they can last. If they want to. No matter how many times the player plays the game they will not learn any techniques to survive, they will not hit a difficulty wall because the entire game is the difficulty wall. It just keeps on going until they stop, are stopped, or somehow survive long enough to get bored and turn it off

And so in my experience, for a lot of players, this becomes just a silly thing. Killed by a bus or cleared the screen to the sound of Bruce Forsyth only for the entire screen to fill again in seconds. It is pointless. It is punishing. It’s the video game as ‘how far is too far?” and if I’ve done my job right, this should be so far over the line as to be baffling as to why anyone would make such a stupid thing – never mind call it *that* name.

Playing about with the SYNSO games and I don’t know, I don’t feel I ever got the first one in order – when porting the game to the Xbox 360, Andy (Noble) exposed *a lot” of design problems. Putting the SE version together at some point afterwards, I tried to correct a few but I tend to think of it as tentative steps towards a thing but very broken.

However, I digress! With the SYNSO games I tried to work on some simple principles.

The game would always be nice to the player – there would be a game over but it would still be somewhat celebratory. Not at any point would the game disparage the player, not even so much as a game over (I used the still final but a lot more ambiguous “Squidageddon has occurred” instead) and the death sequence would be as much a fireworks show as failure.

Any messages at all would have to be either surreal, pleasant or ambiguous. All to add a severe air of unreality and disconnection to things but also to try, wherever possible, to reduce frustration. All my games in recent years have asked the player to survive with just one life and no health bars and so designing against frustration is, for me, 99% of the job.

I am unapologetically happy for players to break my games. I’m not a great believer in my design as so precious and unfuckwithable. Whilst I didn’t have the time (twice!) to build options into Death Ray Manta, there is a near final-ish copy of the source code that ships with every Steam copy. I’m happy for players to do whatever they want with those – even release their own Death Ray Manta games if they so desire. If they wanted to hack in lives, remove the flashy stuff, tweak the stages, rejig the entire level set, remove the mines, I don’t care.

I don’t care because my work ended when I put the game into the world (if you exclude maintenance, obviously) – my ‘canon’ version of the game is the one that you buy on Steam with my name on it. I have no reason to care whilst that exists. And to be frank, if someone makes more money off it with tweaks than I do, I probably should have thought of what they did first. Mind, if anyone does this, I’d like to remind them that I am skint and I do have a Patreon and a donate button there to help me be less skint. I would like to be less skint one day.

With previous games, where time allowed, I’ve put options in to turn certain enemies on and off, to turn collisions on and off entirely, I’ve opened up all the stages from the start, I’ve measured time and score and let folks pick which one displays. Whilst a lot is certainly done for accessibility purposes, I am equally motivated by finding avenues for games to be kind, to be accommodating.

It is, of course, an avenue that essentially leaves money on the table at times. I get a few complaints that the stages in DRM are the same every time, that there is no reason to come back to the game because there is no persistence. This is a series of very deliberate decisions on my part.

The game is “learnable” so with practice, any player can hopefully get from stage 1 to 32 in time. There is an expectation though that twin stick shooters play a certain way – DRM is an extension of the work I put in on the challenge mode of Waves though so it sort of often brushes up against those expectations visually and then doesn’t really touch them much during play. Originally I set out to see if I could make this work with a single stick or easy keyboard controls and then with the more recent version, to play about with setting up a series of boards in a dual stick shooter.

DRM is an obstacle course, if you will. Every screen I will try to kill the player as fast as I can and every screen, I ask the player to find the best way for me not to do that whilst avoiding what I throw at them.

I also have no persistence. When the player hits game over, nothing gets added to a tally, nothing unlocks. I do not want to keep the player. Ten years ago this would not be the world’s most unusual thought but these days engagement is where it’s at. Which is fine but in a world where games are increasingly keeping the player, I want them to walk away. Enough is enough and fine, move on.

Trying to do this and keeping a game ‘fun’ enough to let people enjoy their time with it is, well, it’s an interesting challenge in 2017 and certainly, I get my fair share of complaints because I eschew addiction as a mechanism if and where I can. Again, this comes down to wanting my games to be kind and a challenge and this is just one route towards that.

It also, I hope, manifests in how I put the games together – clarity is important to me as I know the screen will get busy and so I try to add as many cues as I can think of whilst also trying not to overload the player with information. I overload the amount of things on-screen but I try (and don’t always succeed) to make sure I don’t obscure anything.

There is a caveat here that with certain folk, unless I strip the entire effects layer back it will still present them with visibility issues and I do regret not having the time to build the option to do exactly this into Death Ray Manta in both its incarnations. Luckily I have no such time pressures with the sequel, so fingers crossed.

So sound cues, visual cues and all that jazz. All messages again stay silly or ambiguous at best, nothing hurtful, nothing to ever say the player is not playing it well or rightly enough – that’s for the player to decide and not me.

It also means ensuring that I’m keeping screenshake and rumble to what I feel is necessary rather than anything that’s hurtful.

When I started messing around with this stuff I sort of felt like trying to mix difficult games with kindness made me an outlier – in the casual space there seemed to be a race to remove complexity over time and in the more traditional game space, to add ever increasing layers. I’m thankful that the industry has moved on and this no longer seems to be the case.

After all the years of presenting videogame design as antagonism, it’s nicer to see folk move towards balancing difficulty and complexity with a kindness. Loot Rascals and Graceful Explosion Machine are two recent examples of mixing fairly deep and traditionally nerdily obfuscated genres and making them friendlier to startlingly good effect.

It’s good to feel not so alone.

And yes, there is a reason I’m jotting this down now. It seems like a good time to remind myself of what I aim for whilst making games, yeah? *Cough* It’s been too long. And from the design of the game rules to the amount of rumble and screenshake to the way a game addresses the player, there are so many ways that kindnesses and difficulty can be bedfellows in game design.

Whilst I’m scarcely going to advocate for every game to be as kind as it can (unkindness in design has its own strengths), I personally find it enjoyable prodding at all the different ways I can toy with these aspects of games.

Now I’ve just got to hope I’ve still got the knack for making games, right?

Magic

Videogames are magic.

To those of us who slave over making the things they’re lumps of code, things that hang together precariously at the best of times. We see the cracks, we see the little bits of sellotape that keeps everything together. We see the hours spent, the problems already solved, the new problems to solve. The conversations, the meetings, the sheer amount of work.

If we’re doing our jobs right, videogames are magic.

We’re witches in the digital dimension, conjuring up whole worlds, whole universes, from nothing but commands that make a computer do a thing.

When it all comes together, when that code runs and becomes a videogame to be shared and played, that’s magic too. A wonderful magic that folks in the big wide world often fall in love with. Those universes, those worlds, the things built from the hands of humans that people forget are built by the hands of humans.

Which is the point, right? It’s why we put so much effort into covering up the cracks as best as time, money, knowledge and technology will allow us too.

Someone, somewhere, sits at home, flicks a switch and there they are. Somewhere else. Somewhere we created for them.

One of the things I try to hold onto whilst writing the videogames that I write is that people will flick a switch for the first time and this world I made will seem as magic to them. They won’t see the hours. They won’t see the shortcuts. They won’t see all the times everything went wrong to get something right. Or as right as it could be in the circumstances.

They won’t see the days where I make next to no progress. They won’t see the times I reach out to people smarter than me for help. They won’t know any of that. They will just see a videogame.

I write, by most people’s standards, simple videogames. Yet even I go to lengths to obscure the work involved, to cover over the parts which oh, if I had more time, more money, more knowledge, more people to assist me, could be so much better.

What is polish if not adding more magic to the mix?

And lost in this world where day after day I’m staring down lines and numbers and semicolons and more numbers, I’m not surfacing for air sometimes. Sometimes I see the cracks in other games, I see the seams and the breaks that so many people would never notice.

That’s the problem with being a magician. Sometimes you see how it’s done, not how it is.

I’ve been around since games. I cheered at getting a UDG on the screen, a sprite was something else. Making that little black rubber keyed box of mine bleep something that sounded vaguely musical felt like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Years later, toying with Blitz 3d, getting a triangle on screen felt like I had been handed such an obscene amount of power.

Yet. So many things I’ve made felt impossible to me once upon a time, unknowable and unknown. So much still does. I can make you a game where a 2d fish shoots a 2d laser at a 2d pink robot but you want me to work in 3d? This is gonna take some serious curtain pulling back before I even have the slightest.

I’m a magician but not the greatest magician, y’know?

I chose not to go into writing games first. In the eighties, making the things in my head felt out of reach. My head was bursting with videogames in all the colours. My Spectrum had a handful. Even the CPC with its most beautiful colours did not have enough. I left the magic to everyone else.

I’m glad I did. By the time technology was in a place where I could make these games at a high enough level and with all the colours I wanted, I was curious enough to dig deeper, to see how these things held together for myself.

Between the then of the eighties and the then of the two thousands, so many people kept me interested. Those who talked about the magic, pulled the curtain back. Whether it was Braybrook’s diaries on how Paradroid got put together or the internet where folks shared their progress as they made videogames happen. It kept me excited. It kept me wanting to be involved.

I had no stomach for the all too technical, all too code-y bits for a long time but the brief sneak peeks of how magic happened, the reminder that humans made the magic happen, gave me hope.

I sit here and I write about videogames, about being in videogames now. I write videogames. I know the work involved. I know the stresses, the sweat and the hard work that goes into making anything just fucking work at all. To holding these damn worlds together.

Yet it still all seems like magic to me.

Because that’s what it is.

It’s magic. It’s a magic where even the oldest tricks still seem impressive because that’s what they are. They are impressive. They’re impressive to me here, a maker of games. The glue that holds our game together is so much more magical, so much more impressive, to those who never get to see behind the curtain.

I try and always remember that.

To be fair, I don’t have to put much effort into that because one look at what everyone is making around me and it still feels as magical now as it did the very first time I laid eyes on a videogame. I hope, genuinely, this feeling never goes away.

I hope that small glimpses behind the curtain inspire more people to make themselves at home here as they did for me. I hope more people are excited and inspired by the ability to make really technical gubbins build really beautiful things.

No matter how rudimentary that glimpse may seem to me. Right?

Listening

I’ve long railed against the concept of “the indie bubble” or “the indiepocalypse” or whatever name you would wish to choose to call the idea that there were good times and now there are rough times in videogames.

I’ve railed against it because it’s a fiction – it’s a tale of a time that only vaguely existed for a handful of people and even then, you kinda need to ignore just about everything happening in videogames.

There never was a time where you could just put your game on XBLA or Steam and the money would come in for anything *waves hands* vaguely good or something. Regular readers will, of course, know by now that this is something I’ve gone over repeatedly just about every single time this comes up.

Needless to say, I’m quite bored of reiterating that stuff over and over from different angles. Molyneux save me, I just bored myself in a handful of paragraphs so sorry about that.

I realise though that whilst I’ve tried my hardest to consign this nonsense to the bin where it belongs, I haven’t really taken much time out to explain why it bothers me so much.

So. Right.

I try to be a good listener when it comes to wot happens to people in games. I will freely admit that I can be as obnoxiously knee-jerky as the next person (who was really obnoxiously knee-jerky), I am frequently wrong too and as I go on I try and temper the knee jerk and be less wrong. I hope everyone who reads my words understands this and takes appropriate measures of salt.

Just, well, the tales of indiegeddon, no matter which name they masquerade under, have one thing in common – nobody is listening, just telling. There’s a belief that things happened and are happening certain ways and little evidence can course correct it. I think we all have our blind spots so y’know, I’m not claiming any sort of special innocence in that regard here but a belief is still just that without something to evidence that belief.

When it comes to indie bubbles or indiegeddon, the numbers don’t really back much up at all really. Plenty of people didn’t make money then, plenty of different people are making money now.

It’s also who isn’t being listened to. When it comes to getting by in games, listening to the people who didn’t find success, who have been locked out of the system, is vital so that we can work to improve our lot. It’s vital in going some way to making videogames a less shit place. It’s vital so we don’t keep repeating the same things over and over again. It’s vital because we end up with stronger works.

What all these tales of indie bubbles and apocalypse have in common is telling people where they are. You know, whether they are there or not. It’s not just that these theories omit crucial information, it’s that they’re telling folk what their lot is and will be. They tell the folks who didn’t somehow live the indie dream between whatever year and whenever the so called rot set in that their lived in experiences are simply wrong.

Tales of goldrushes and bubbles can be a balm for some folks. Maybe it might make you feel better knowing that now, unlike however many years ago, things are hard and the chances are you will fail yet this has always been the case. I know folks who near went bankrupt despite having “known” titles on XBLA, skint folks who had their work on Steam during the allegedly making hay times, I know folk who sold their house (just like people used to sell their houses to keep the lights on) to no great or useful success.

Which brings me round to why I am so militant in repeatedly holding no truck with indie bubble/apocalypse witterings. (Finally! – Ed)

I want to learn from these folk, not write off their experience. I want to see where and how things are fucking up and I want games to be a place where we can talk about these things without assuming that the lack of success is because it’s difficult now or that they were anomalies during boom times. It matters, yeah? It matters that things are not that simple, this is folk’s lives we’re talking about. We might not have it right one time but it doesn’t mean we have to keep making the same mistakes for other people.

Though they masquerade as some sort of reflection on the state of the industry, discussions along the lines of indie bubbles really obscure reflection. They cover our tracks, rewrite our stories and make it harder for us to learn where things are going awry. They damn us to the belief that things aren’t constantly in flux in games, that years go by without substantial changes to how people need to deal with selling or promoting their videogame. In reality, we’re lucky to see a few months out without a major shift.

“Where we are now in games” is rarely where we were even two months ago. It’s partially why I find generic “finish your game” advice to be a bit worrying as a lot of people end up throwing years into projects without the foresight to know where we might be in four years. To be honest, I don’t know where we’re going to be in four years or if we’re even still going to be here on this planet so I’m absolutely not claiming this is an easy task by any means.

I am, however, claiming we need to break a lot of absolutist beliefs in what selling videogames entails and that means oh so very much more than ‘things are crowded and hard’ because this is the natural state of any entertainment media or art. This is bottom rung stuff. Always.

The thing about videogames we’ve tried to paper over as long as I can remember videogames being a thing is that those that make off with the money are the anomalies, not the failures. As long as I’ve known videogames to be a thing this has been the case and at no point in recent memory has this really been noticeably any different.

It seems prudent to me that we discuss trying to exist in videogames from the baseline that things are often fucked up difficult in this space, that at any one time there’s going to be shifts and lurches of where the money goes. This stands in stark contrast to golden age thinking which despite best efforts can often boil down to ‘we had ours but…’ even when not intended.

We’re seeing The Rise Of Indie but we’re not seeing the lost jobs, the studio closures and so much surrounding that made certain times feel like boom times to some people. I mean, let’s be fair, no-one wants to feel we’re stepping on corpses to climb a ladder but this is videogames and that is A Thing here. We’re skipping over so much key information that helps us understand where we are and replacing it with fairy stories.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for fairy stories. I’m just not the biggest fan of the ones that play havoc with folk’s livelihoods.

And that, I guess, is why I continually shout at these tales that circulate so frequently. I want as many folk as possible to succeed in games and that means stacking the deck in their favour where we can. That’s a long and hard road, definitely. Hopefully a worthwhile one though, yeah?

Hopefully, anyway.