The End of the Game
August 16, 2006
One day I shall be dead, and then I shall be at peace. Until then, I have little choice but to be who I must be, and say what I must say.
My wife suggests I put too much of myself into my blog; she's right, of course. Isn't that the point? But this does affect me from time to time. I do not see myself as a troubled soul (although one might justifiably do so): I spend so much of my time in a state of contentment, focusing on the times when I am otherwise seems monstrously impolite to those who live in a harsher world than I.
Like a Chinese finger trap, the less one struggles, the easier it becomes. That was Buddha's view as well. Only when the depression or the anxiety overwhelm me do I falter, and thankfully I have essentially vanquished the former and fought the latter to the point where it has at least become manageable. I hope I can help others with their own peculiar trials. That was also Buddha's view.
This blog must inevitably end. Perhaps it will end with my death. Perhaps it will end because I acquire too many subscribers and can no longer handle the comments. Perhaps attempts to foresee the causes of its end are futile, as life sweeps us along in its involuted currents irrespective of our attempts to anticipate the contingencies.
One day I shall be dead, and then I shall be at peace. Until then, I must speak my mind. I hope that you will gain something, no matter how insignificant, from sharing in this adventure.
A perhaps dumb point: what do you regard as success in handling the comments? Indeed, why do you have to "handle" the comments at all? "Successful" bloggers rarely respond to all of the comments (and usually ignore ones that are counter to their expressed points of view).
Many/most of us appear to gain something from our exchanges; a few appear not to. Clearly, how you wish to handle that is up to you, but one approach would be to restrict answers to the more vexatious posts.
As a personal aside, congratulations on essentially vanquishing the depression. I've had a number of bouts in the past, two of which would up with medication. To coin a phrase, it ain't much fun :-).
Posted by: Peter Crowther | August 16, 2006 at 01:18 PM
I think it'd be easy to mistake this post for having an air of finality or portentousness, but that would miss the point. I think this is one of those moments of deep articulation that everyone thinks they'll have and share with everyone, but if it does come it is usually saved for later, and therefore usually left unexpressed or at best implicit.
All too easy to let the quiet moments of contemplation slip past unremarked, eh?
I'm an artist who has always appreciated feedback and sensitivity to my work, always known how much it meant to me when people responded.
I know that we're all like that to some degree, but what took some realizing was how much I had left unsaid, usually thank yous, other kind words. Thought and felt, but not uttered. So I resolved, as best I could, to really tell people those things when I had the chance, since the interval all too easily slips away.
So thank you, Chris, for this post and all the rest, the ones before and the ones to come. I only wish I could phrase my thank yous in different ways so as not to seem trite or token expressions, because that is what I really mean. There is a time for all things and there is a goodness and order to that.
Long live 'Only A Game,' not a day longer or shorter than it ought!
Posted by: Jack Monahan | August 16, 2006 at 01:30 PM
In my blogging I make allusions to my history of drug use, drug dealing, sexuality, sexual disease, sexual disturbance, deep seated psychological disturbance, and uh, I pretty much put out all my competetive advantages for anyone with the will to re-skin on their own project and completely rip off. But I do it because I'm a fucking idiot and I don't know any better. Wait, that doesn't help.
With my blog, I figure you can tell by the name that this is the throne of my ego and you can enjoy the court or you can leave, but the court mystic and scientist occasionally make good points, so its worth suffering the jester and the king itself.
If Craig's comments have gotten you so raw you should go comment on his recent post on evolution, it might make you feel better.
I think the title of your blog tries to imply a magic circle where rules of relative civilty come into play. You should know by now that the magic circle is nothing absolute. Even Andrew Stern, co-creator of Facade and poster on GTxA, got some nasty comments from Allen Varney in his response to Allen's article decrying academic discourse on immersion, framed in terms of Narrativism vs. Ludology, for which Varney had a clear bias to the latter. And thats another thing, if you talk about storytelling in games you seem to push a button on a lot of game developers that raises ire. Its a fucked up sphere man, just gotta ride the wave.
Posted by: Patrick | August 16, 2006 at 04:10 PM
to move a bit further in this interesting (strangely "collective") self-reflection:
communication that recognizes the "other" as "one like me but different nonetheless" is what in my view is essential to the "human experience" or the "human condition".
Yet at the same time this process can be disrupted very easily, within seconds even, by any of the actors. So the weird thing you can learn in today's world while communicating online is that it does not even take physical contact or a hostile face to bring communication to the point of collapse - words alone plus certain flourishes you put into your writings seem to be enough...
Posted by: translucy | August 16, 2006 at 06:54 PM
Thanks for the supportive comments everyone! I wanted to move on from the previous topic, since I think the underlying issues had been comfortably exposed and I find it tiring to be accused of blasphemy by those who refuse to identify a religion! :D (Am I unfair in my analogy?)
Peter: I read a number of blogs with different volumes of subscribers and comments (some with the comments off, of course) and my conclusion is that what I want from my blog is a place of discussion, and that this is only possible with fewer than 100 subscribers (say). Without the discussion, I'd feel like I was 'preaching' and that's not what I want from this endeavour.
Fortunately, the odd post about religion, or "blasphemous" attempts to sharpen up our woolly models of evolution, help keep the numbers down. :)
I suffered terribly from depression for the first half my life, but I gradually acquired the tools to help me work through it. Now if the depression hits I can ride it out in a matter of an hour or so instead of days or months. It feels good to have escaped this oubliette.
Jack: Many thanks for your continued support. You are too kind - I suspect you are secretly a viciously mischievous imp in multiplayer games. :) I feel it must be clear that the content of this blog is nothing more than ideas skimmed off the top of my consciousness; posts such as this one make this more explicit. And thanks for your thanks. I hope your friends and family value you as much as I do!
Patrick: no-one will rip off your ideas because game designers are all secretly convinced that they know better than everyone else. :) I know of no confirmed case of 'concept theft' inside the games industry. Strange but true!
I found Craig's response simultaneously amusing and disturbing. But you're right that I find it tiring to deal with such an attitude, especially from people with the intelligence to see further. The idea that I would want to participate in Craig's blog is a strange one, though. I have people like you to absorb the fruits of his genius, and I'm not going to purposefully antagonise him on his home turf. If my posts here antagonise him, well, that's more his problem than my own.
translucy: I should have known that one cannot touch upon a verboten subject in passing without stirring up the hornets. Still, it is funny to post something 'attacking' a particular religious position and to receive such vehement responses from the anti-religious camp! :)
In your comment on the other thread, you revealed my hand of cards to the audience, though - it's nice that you can infer my gameplan so accurately, but I was not ready to play that card yet. Or, more precisely, the audience isn't ready. Fortunately, I don't think anyone noticed. :)
Posted by: Chris | August 17, 2006 at 08:08 AM
"it is funny to post something 'attacking' a particular religious position and to receive such vehement responses from the anti-religious camp! :)"
Your approach is often to shine a light into dark corners of several areas at once - especially where those areas are seen as opposed, as for example in the creation/evolution debate. Hence, in a post whose principal task was apparently "'attacking' a particular religious position", you also took a (perceived) sideswipe at "the anti-religious camp". The result could possibly have been anticipated ;-).
Posted by: Peter Crowther | August 17, 2006 at 04:31 PM
Yeah, I know. I'm a bad person. :) *Sound of the smacking of wrists*
Posted by: Chris | August 17, 2006 at 05:09 PM
I'm finding my niche in this industry to be representing the ideas of unpleasant genuises. I'd had about eight months of experience trying to communicate with Chris Crawford when I met Criag, it was useful experience.
Posted by: Patrick | August 17, 2006 at 08:50 PM
May I suggest that the simplest way to handle the comments is not to allow them? Personally, I wouldn't dream of providing a forum for every idiot who comes along, nor of engaging in public debate with them.
The time of your life is all that you have. On your deathbed you will not wish that you had spent more time making postings on the Internet.
Posted by: Ernest Adams | August 19, 2006 at 12:20 AM
I don't know about that Mr. Adams, I think it sort of defeats the whole purpose of blogging, and the commenters who had indirectly instigated this post are actually all very intelligent people who have blogs of their own and post worthwhile material on a consistent basis. The spirit of open discourse is worth the upkeep.
Posted by: Patrick | August 19, 2006 at 05:18 PM
I personally enjoy this peculiar distinction between Ernest and myself, especially since he only ever expresses this view in the very comments he opposes! :)
Possessed of greater confidence than myself in his enquiries, Ernest is comfortable continuing in his investigations alone. However, the game I am currently playing cannot be played alone - what kind of non-fiction role-playing game would it be that did not contain dialogue as part of its principal mechanic? :)
Posted by: Chris | August 19, 2006 at 06:30 PM
British politics, it could be argued :-).
Posted by: Peter Crowther | August 19, 2006 at 09:03 PM