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Bye Bye hamster wheel

By Sherida, Jul 15 2014 04:12PM

One of my favourite people on Twitter is Maria Popova, who shares the most interesting things of interestingness on her blog Today was no exception and when I saw the picture above on my timeline I knew that I had to check it out. It’s a short read, maybe 2 minutes max. So check it out here and I’ll wait for your return

“We become so accustomed to life on the hamster wheel of achievement and approval that we just forget. We scamper on and on, chasing the ephemeral promises of “someday…” or “if only I…”

The interesting part for me is that this story applies so very much to both my personal life and the way that I design my games. Coincidentally it also sprouted from the same place of loss, the death of a father.

My father was diagnosed with his illness years before I was born and knew that the chances of him growing old were very slim at best. As a result he tried to never worry about the future, focussing on the present instead and pursuing everything he wanted with great passion and ambition. His dreams were big, creative and childlike and not always realistic. But that didn’t matter because he always seemed to enjoy himself. When he passed away I was only 9 years old and after crying my eyes out for weeks I decided that I would live in the present too and would not waste time on things I didn’t enjoy.

Looking back on my adolescence I may have taken that principle a bit far, always going my own way, quitting things ( and sometimes people) the minute I got bored with them. However, in the end I ended up finding my passion in life: making video games.

Not long after I enrolled in my game design program at college I started to feel the first hints of conflict within myself. On one hand I really loved making games and felt like I had finally found my place after years of searching and trying so many different things.

On the other hand I really disliked the type of projects that I was working on and the design philosophy that was taught :

Design your game for the audience. It doesn’t matter if you love it, it’s all about the player.

This was definitely not how I envisioned making games.. For me it was always more about creative self expression and discovering unknown territories. Or, as some of my teachers and peers called it, “weird artsy stuff”.

When people hear that Beyond eyes is made by one person, they often think that it’s a brave thing to do and they respect me for it. The truth is that it was never my intention to work alone, I just couldn’t find the right people to work with in college and decided that I didn’t want to wait until “someday..” and started learning myself the necessary skills to make games that are personal, intimate, emotional, bittersweet and experimental and take players on a journey that pulls them out of their comfort zone..

I don’t want to put you on a hamster wheel, hunting for achievements and high scores, waiting for their next objective. Instead I want you to walk around slowly, looking for little details that you would otherwise overlook. To live with presence for a little while.

One of the things I love about making Beyond eyes is filling it with tiny surprises waiting for players to stumble on and discover.

Some of the are easy to find, hidden in plain sight, so to speak, and many require a little more exploring and effort on your part. But my favourite ones are the ones where you take your time and just listen.

So when you’ll come across a little stream in Beyond eyes, be quiet and listen. You won’t regret it!


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