Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No email to Jonathan Blow

I wanted to write an email to Jonathan Blow. The email would have been phrased something like this:
"Hi Jonathan,

I wanted to thank you for inspiring me. I first saw your talk in 2008 in Germany and the talk was awsome!
Thanks a lot for sharing your ideas with the community.

kind regards,

Bernie Schulenburg"

I decided to not send it to him (I guess he receives heaps of this kind of emails, anyway)
Instead I am going to write a bit about what his talk did to me.

When I saw Blow give a talk last year in Germany, I didn't know anything about the existence of indie games. (Well, maybe I felt vaguely that they existed, but I didn't really know). I had never seen any games that were commercially successful and actually seemed interesting to me. Apart from really, really old games back in the 80's and early 90's, some of those were kind of interesting. All I knew was, I wanted to make video games, that didn't contain orcs, dwarves or elves or big axes and guns. Back then I wanted to make a game about an entrepreneur named The Krampus, who exploited the people of a little town, letting them work in miserable conditions in a deep fried potato chips factory. This was the setting. The people worked in the factory, and all they could ever eat was deep fried potato chips. They lived unhealthy lives and died of boring factory work and the wrong nourishment. (This idea was actually inspired by the work of The Royal Art Lodge, a canadian group of artists) How could such a game ever be commercially successful, next to stuff like Halo? I was pretty pessimistic about my future in making games.
And my 3D skills are very modest. So here was this guy saying: "I wouldn't make a 3D game, if I were you.You can make really interesting games in 2D and apart from that people actually have problems using 3D games, there are tests and it doesn't work so well."

This is no direct quote, but the essence was pretty much that. This guy had all these (to me new) ideas about the gaming industry. He really inspired me. Right at the beginning of his talk he read out aloud the philosophy statement of a game company called Molly Rocket. This statement changed everything for me. You can read it on the Molly Rocket site right here.

After this lecture I returned home and my mind was set aflame. I started working on a game that I really cared about.

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