10.29.2019 / Schady says

Forgive me father
for I am about to game

Hey it’s the Schadenfreude devlog! We make things ~ here we’ll talk about the hows and whys.

I have a creeping suspicion that being a person on planet Earth will always feel like the end of days?🙃

It’s easy to imagine the simplified, abridged version of the past as somewhere easier to be. Without the compromises, the dirty details, the moment to moment struggles – “then” can seem a lot more appealing than it really should be. But the fact of it is being a person has and will always be hard. There will always be struggles, regrets – things left unresolved. People determined to hurt others whether it’s because of hate, ignorance, or more than likely ~ both. History never “ends” and we don’t “know better” just because we’re on the present’s precarious edge. We’ll continue to make mistakes and hurt each other.

In short, video games can seem kinda irrelevant in 2019?

While, again, I won’t gesture towards saying we know better ~ I think it’s safe to say at this point that games certainly won’t save us. Yes, games can say and do so much. They can truly touch another person’s heart and be there for them in difficult times. As Matt Lees put it much better than I “Games are places where disenfranchised people live”.

But even so (as he also pointed out), at least for now the reach of games is limited by who games are made for. Who has access to technology, or the novelty to even afford it? Who is “intended” to be holding a controller, or can even comfortably use one? Regardless of the highs many of us have experienced with games, the uniqueness of the medium is also what bars it from reaching the people who can truly benefit from it.

All of this makes dedicating oneself to developing games ~ difficult to navigate ~ to say the least. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in a room full of indies, I was the most pessimistic about games as a whole, or at least the culture surrounding it.

And yeah ~ I get it, a game studio certainly doesn’t make a great first impression with the words “video games might not be all that great”.

But nothing can grow without a little self reflection, and games’ capacity for good can only be broadened when both the people playing and making them become willing to examine their limitations and blunders. Games criticism is by no means a new thing. But a generation who’s grown up with it and games, navigating tumultuous times full of existential threats? That’s new. And maybe good? Probably?

~ Maybe? ¯\(ツ)/¯

While I don’t have any illusions that Schadenfreude will further carve the path towards gaming as a vehicle for social good, it’s easy to compel oneself to find the virtue in one’s work, especially in a creative endeavor. As much as I would like to turn this around and say “but games are good! Schadenfreude will do good!”, those aren’t really my words to say are they? What I can say is that I want to try to make cool things about loving yourself and others. Fun and silly things that, hopefully, help people feel proud of who they are. But the success of that is not mine to judge. I must be pragmatic ~ my games and art may very well not change much of anything. I could even make things worse if I’m not careful. But I wanna try. I wanna help. I want to put smiles on people’s faces and help others find acceptance and self validation. And I, myself, want to learn.

So yeah, this is a video game company. Yes, it needs to make money in order to exist. Capitalism is still here. But we’re also a platform by the nature of our existence and by the fact that we have a developing audience. We don’t want to take that for granted. If people can make room for another indie game company, then the least we can do is make it some sort of force for good and self reflection, despite the limitations.

So ye humble gamer, if you’d have us, we’re Schadenfreude and we wanna be good to you. Maybe make a joke or two while we’re at it. It’s up to you to decide if we succeed in the end.

~ Jace