Two years ago I wrote a piece in praise of slow games which included a bold manifesto —my vision of what Slow Games are and how they should be produced. I must have struck a chord because the manifesto resonated with many people and started a number of interesting conversations.
Since then many things have happened. The pandemic hit. I took my part in producing two games, one very slow, the other not so much. I’ve spent over a year and a half in isolation in my attic (praised be remote work). I’ve played a number of great, slow games. I’ve learned that running a studio is hard and I’m not really a fan. I’ve gone on a sabbatical and have more time to think.
When I looked back at my original manifesto, I realized that proposing a framework for the industry was not the best approach. Frankly, I have no idea what is good for the industry and it’s not my place to guess.
I do know, however, what is good for me as a creator.
Back To The Roots
The Slow Movement started in Italy in the 1980s, with the first Slow Food restaurant. The food it served was sustainable, local, organic, and wholesome.
It’s pretty self-explanatory when it comes to cooking — everyone knows, what organic food is. But is an organic game even a thing?
I believe that there are more than enough games about bleak anti-utopias. Yes, we know that people can be cruel and selfish, and the world generally sucks.
I want wholesome games.
Games that give me hope, inspiration, and present not the problems but solutions. Games that help me to connect better with my humanity.
I believe that truth is important and it cannot be engineered but organically grows from the whole of our experiences.
I want games that come to life to answer not the average market trends but the basic need to create.
Games that were made by humans, not human resources.
I believe that there are enough games about saving the world and not enough about saving a moment.
I want games that tell stories of people, places, and times that the mainstream overlooks.
Games that were made away from the main hubs of the game industry. Games that were inspired by things close to the creators, not to the non-existent average customer. I want to be exposed to ideas unknown to me and learn.
I believe that our main responsibility as creators is not to the market, not to shareholders, not to the company, not to gamers, and not even to the team — but to our creativity. I believe that our ideas and skills are the rarest of resources, and our responsibility is to keep them renewable.
Pushing oneself to make a game may be OK. Burning out to make a game is never OK.
I want games made by people who are allowed to take care of themselves, people working in a sustainable environment.
My Slow Gaming Manifesto
So, this is my second take on a Slow Gaming Manifesto — a design philosophy and an artistic path that I try to follow.
I want a sustainable work ethic.
I want local scope.
I want organic inspiration.
I want a wholesome message.
I believe that we can strive toward those values no matter what game we do and where we work. I believe that every step in the right direction is worth taking.
If the path calls to you too, just start walking.