So, I made my first step this past weekend and applied to my very first grad school: University of Wisconsin–Madison. I’ve gotten a lot of strange looks from my friends about this. People seem to think that I will freeze. I probably will, but I am bolstered by the fact that, for four years, I lived in Michigan, and I survived that. I have no doubt that it will be cold, but if following my passion means that I’ll be a little cold (or a lot cold) so be it.
Regardless, I’ve applied. I can’t take it back now. The transcripts are on their way, the application fee is paid, I’m obligated now to see this to the cold, bitter end. Sure I still have 10 more schools to apply for, but I’m not thinking about that now. This one event is just enough kick to get me over the horizon.
This isn’t the reason I haven’t been blogging. I haven’t been blogging because, well, I just never have. Blogging is a form of journaling, and I have never been good at journaling. Not in the traditional sense at least. I didn’t keep logs of what I did during my day or what I was angry about or anything like that. My parents tried to get me to do this, but I just never had anything to write down. I do, however have about eight notebooks full of game and story ideas. This was my journaling. I would spend hours writing out an idea for a game, detailing all the different things that energized me. I would spend my breaks at work writing in tiny composition notebooks details about a story or novel that I wanted to write. I would go from page to page and, sadly, very few of the ideas ever went far beyond the page.
One problem is that I get new ideas too fast. It’s hard for me to hold on to an old idea when there’s something new pervading my thoughts. I write down the old ideas so that I don’t have to remember them, and then I don’t go back to them. Granted, when I look back through my notebooks, I realize how naive I was to think that some things were even possible, or that they were interesting in the first place. But had I been diligent about a single one of them for at least a little bit, then I would have done something with it. Perhaps, then, I’d be in a very different place now, but that’s usually where discussions about the past go with me.
The reason I haven’t been blogging is because I’ve had too many projects on my hands to deal with and the least gets the ghost. I’m going to try to put this into perspective for my few readers. So here goes:
1. School. Applying to 11 schools over the course of the next few weeks (technically 10 now).
2. Research. Finish writing a research paper about online play motivations inspired by Minecraft.
3. Project. Finish the preliminary work on my game design for an RPG-over-Twitter game that I had hoped would be finished by this past weekend.
4. School. Take the GRE.
5. Project. Begin work on “Now We Are Twenty-Three.”
6. Research. Finish (finally) close reading of Bogost’s Unit Operations-side note, I’ve read this once and I greatly appreciate this work. A great approach to criticism to which I ascribe.
7. Project. Mystery adventure game inspired by The Airborne Toxic Event’s “Sometime Around Midnight.”
8. Project. A sidescrolling game called “The Ninth Rune,” which is practically already planned out.
9. Project. Develop a concept and plan out a psychological-semiotic text adventure about a person so steeped in symbolism he can’t escape it.
10. Project. Invisible. A collection of fantasy short stories set in second person.
11. Project. Market “Bird’s Opening,” which won the Jules Anatloe award at ASU, but has just been sitting, gathering digital dust.
12. Games. Just the lump of games I need to play and finish. There are many more than this: Fable III, Resonance of Fate, Dragon Quest XIX, Persona 3 Portable, White Night Chronicles.
This is only what I can think of right now, and I’ve edited out a lot of things that I don’t really think will get visited anytime soon. I’m not even about to tackle my reading list here. The point I’m trying to make is that I’m a project-oriented person, but that I give myself too many projects. The problem I’m faced with is that I want to finish all of them. Looking back at the past, this seems insurmountable.
I am reminded that I am capable of finishing a project. Even though “Neighbors” was a small project (it had to be, see my process paper on the project), I finished it. At least, I got it to a state I wanted to call finished. But, therein lies another problem. Neighbors isn’t finished. In fact, there were a number of other things I wanted to do with Neighbors, but never got around to doing (another character, playable, with a different storyline to discover; spanning over three days instead of just one). The way I finished the project closed off this possibility (the scripting isn’t flexible enough, I would have to script the whole thing again, in a completely different way). And this is why I never submitted Neighbors to its rightful place on the Adventure Game Studio website.
But this is digressing. I’m not sure, at this moment, why I am writing this blog. Perhaps just to explain why I’ve been so quiet. Perhaps just to do some “real” journaling. Maybe I’m writing this blog because I need help with something I can’t quite grasp. Or maybe it’s just to hear a friend say, “I know what you’re going through.” Whatever it is, I think it feels nice to give this ghost another try.