Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The value of experiences

I don't like "distractions" or "time killers".

We all get one life, of variable length. I'm going to ignore religion, rebirth, and all those other theories and say that the only thing that is universally accepted by all humans is that we are born, and eventually we die, and what happens after that is mysterious.

The thing is that we are born into this amazing, wonderful world. I don't have to believe in some higher deity to realise that the world out there is full of wonder and miraculous things. In the natural world alone, there is so much to be experienced, and mankind has been quite prolific in their own right.

I find the concept of free time hard to understand, and the same of boredom. There are so many things to do in life that are so fulfilling, that I can't understand being bored and looking for something to do to kill time. When I'm not working, there are a ton of other things I like to do - learn guitar, go for bike rides, cook, spend time with my household. And when I actually "relax", even that is as a break from all the other things I want to do, and there are so many wonderful books, so much wonderful music, and even a good movie or tv show here or there.

In short, there are so many wonderful things to do in life that most days I don't even get to do everything I want. Or even close. And I'm constantly getting ideas for new things I would like to add to my busy schedule. Like, boy, I would love to make such and such game. I would love to read such and such book. I would love to bike to such and such location. I would love to learn how to play such and such instrument. I get ideas for things to do faster than I can do them.

So to me, any hold on my attention is precious. There are so many amazing things that I could be doing, why would I do something mediocre, just to kill time? I'd rather be expanding time!

I like to think that I bring this philosophy into my creative output. I never want to make something that just keeps you occupied. I never want to make something that doesn't challenge. I view everything I work on as competing with all of the amazing things that people could be doing instead, and I don't want to disappoint.

Yet strangely, these types of experiences, these "just floating by" experiences are more numerous than they've ever been. Facebook and Twitter makes it easier for us to believe that all of our friends are interested in all the mundane aspects of our lives. TV not only forces us to make do with "whatever is on", but it attempts to brainwash us into wanting more and more of these mundane experiences. The iPhone app store is awash with people making an app with the first idea that came into their head and pumping it out as quickly as possible, in the hopes that something serendipitous will happen and they will get rich.

Everybody has a voice, but most people don't seem to have anything interesting to say.

Society, especially the whole "Western" society, has reached a point where less and less time is dedicated to staying alive. We have this amazing world to experience, where we can create things that really challenge people, make them think, and have lasting impacts. We have the time to do and experience the world like we never have before in history. But we seem to have this force called "boredom" imposing on our life, that drives us to seek the easiest source of minor entertainment.

Every moment someone spends inside of a game I make is a moment that they could have been doing something else with their life. I want to make sure that it is worth the tradeoff.

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