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What is the Purpose of Game Development?

'Know them for their fruits.' This has been my guiding principle in judging what is worth doing and not doing. As an artist and a mom, I have fallen in love with the opportunity of indie game development, yet 5 years later I witness too many kids

Elisabeth Boylan, Blogger

February 26, 2015

3 Min Read

'Know them for their fruits.' This has been my guiding principle in judging what is worth doing and not doing. As an artist and a mom, I have fallen in love with the opportunity of indie game development.  Yet 5 years into it, I witness too many kids outside looking at a mobile device screen with their head hunched over, sitting on the sidelines of a soccer field, on a bench or where ever looking into a screen. Where are their friends? Often these kids are ever so slightly overweight. It's not their fault, their parents are like the dog owner who can't help give their dog treats all through out the day but can't be bothered to take their dog for a walk.

What happened to tag or hide and seek?  They aren't playing anymore. Without a screen to hypnotize or distract them, they get bored. They need to be constantly distracted. You see the mom pass her iPhone to her baby, so she can talk to her girlfirend in a cafe uninterrupted. Kids are being conditioned out of their enthusiasm to run, jump and play. Sadly there's this epidemic of kids deprived of the natural vitality that comes from physical outdoor play. Everything is organized 'play' but only for a set time that suffices as enough 'exercise'. When I played as a kid, it was all day, it was part of my childhood, getting dirty, getting in trouble, breaking my arm. Now screen time has taken up this outdoor play time in a child's life. This is also the by-product of on-demand entertainment, free-to-play, addictive mobile games. Play for hours and you get so many coins,  a rip off soul drain of life energy. Stop creating games that suck the energy out of our kids.

Which leads me to the question of this post, 'What is the purpose of game development?'. Maybe, I will take a leap beyond game development and quote Alejandro Jodorowsky, "What is the goal of life? It's to create yourself a soul."

Creativity is a process, experimentation, exploration and risk are inherent to it.  An artist is judged by their portfolio, the fruits of their tree. I haven't created an addictive game. I haven't yet created a game that covers my overhead costs. I refuse to add cheap incentives, or put advertising into a game I create.   For the haters this post might attract that would scoff at my work- let me say, I'm not done yet. I have more work to do. I'm still working to create my soul.

That said, there is this fear. I think it lives deep within any of us who really wish to create something that matters, something that lifts people up and makes the world a better place. It's the indie developer fear that I won't be able to finish. I won't be able to cover my expenses so that the fruits of my labours can reach the souls of others and inspire in a meaningful way. Seth Godin says something like, 'You just want to make enough money so that you can continue to do what you really want to do again tomorrow.' In the case of Jodorowsky's Dune, it would seem that an idea grabs hold of you, it consumes you until you can give birth to it. Perhaps it's tragically idealistic, but otherwise what is the point?  

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