By now, all $5+ backers have a copy of the latest demo! I’d love to have your feedback on it. It’s a complete episode, which is a rare treat, and I’m hoping you can sink your teeth into it soon. And if you aren’t a Patreon backer, it’s not too late to get on board and play the July demo!
For this week, let’s talk about an interesting cross section of various things, as dragged out into the light by a TV show.
So last weekend I been binged on Halt and Catch Fire, an AMC series about the early era of computing… the PC revolution of the 80s, the earliest online gaming and communities, and this season the early world wide web of the 90s. I lived through these periods of time, even if I didn’t see what was going on behind the curtain, so I thought it’d be a kick to see the industry in that era.
And it is. Mostly. And gave me food for thought.
See, like most modern adult TV dramas, most of the conflict comes about from spectacularly grey area characters, packed tight with massive amounts of flaws. We’re dealing with some DEEPLY dysfunctional people, perpetually sleeping with each other, breaking marriage vows, lying when they have no good reason to lie, hiding things from each other, etc. It’s all internal conflict due to being horrible people. Y’know, like every other AMC show out there (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, etc.)
Which kinda sucks, because I didn’t come to see middle aged white dudes having marital problems, I came to see the dawn of the era of computing and video games. And it’s a 40/60 ratio of that to staple shenanigans. But that 40, well… that’s a damn good 40, despite the 60.
Arcade Spirits takes place in a world where the crash never happened, where gaming is taken seriously, and your character is navigating a world they’d never even known existed. It’s about business decisions, customer support, dreams, aspirations, compromises, and adulting as hard as you can. (“Adulting” meaning “To take on adult responsibilities in an adult fashion,” aka “Doing your own laundry and filing your taxes” and such.) But unlike Halt and Catch Fire, I want most of my conflict to come from the decisions you have to make due to OUTSIDE factors… crisis points, unforeseen problems, situations to deal with. Not due to jerks being immature jerks when they’re supposed to be adults.
Yes, Naomi and Gavin have differing ideals, and have trouble getting along. Yes, the characters each have flaws, and need to address those flaws. But true friends stab you in the front, and so will these characters, rather than sneaking around and being stupid just for the sake of drama. They’ll adult and adult hard, rather than being a junior high school student in adult clothing.
Now, that said, there’s another angle on all this which IS a bit more irksome.
Namely, in order to achieve my dream of publishing an indie game… *I* need to be the one to adult, and adult hard. Paperwork. Budgets. Planning. Team coordination. Which is bonkers because I haven’t done a team project since high school, preferring self-reliant little projects like Neverwinter Nights modules or novels. (“little” being subjective.) It’s big. It’s scary. It’s borderline terrifying. But… I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna be an adult. And I’m gonna do it with a minimum of drama.