Tag Archives: Art

Failing in Public

A lot of people don’t want to show off their work. They say that it’s not good enough to be seen by others. This is false humility – what they have is not respect for the spectator’s time. It’s fear.

Fear of being criticized (and rightly so). Fear of exposing their imperfections. Fear of being seen as the apprentices they are, and not as the masters that they long to be.

The point is that failure in public gives us good training. Because the work will never be perfect. Because even the work with which we are satisfied will have critics. Because the world will take care of showing us flaws that we didn’t ever imagine.

And because… When we see that showing imperfect work didn’t end the world and didn’t destroy our reputation, perhaps then we can relax a little more and be a little less afraid when it is time to bring “the one” into the world.

By the way, you won’t. Bring “the one” into the world.

A body of work is not “the one.”

It’s the accumulation of years of public failures; each one slightly less flawed than the last.

Gateway

It is very difficult to persuade people to try video games because entry into the world requires a lot more effort and expense than other types of art / entertainment.

You can cultivate interest in movies by watching the classics on cable TV before making the decision to invest in a Blu-Ray player and home theatre system. It is possible to listen to the classics of any genre of music on the radio or Youtube, before investing in a hi-fi system or a vinyl player. And literature? Books are cheap and convenient.

In the case of games, it’s much more complicated. Popular games are always recent ones, requiring powerful computers or specific consoles that are almost always over €200 in cost. Older games, the equivalent to movie classics, are mostly inseparable from proprietary platforms that either are no longer made, or are as expensive as new ones, or work poorly with today’s televisions.

The best way for someone to get started in video games is through the platforms that are looked at with disdain by connoisseurs – the phone. There are some reasons for such disdain: most mobile phone games are terrible, absolutely lacking in quality. And even when a classic is available on the phone, it is presented in a way that takes away much of its quality.

(Imagine if the only introductory way to see The Godfather was through a cell phone camera video shot during a cinema screening of the film.)

I’m thinking of a way to introduce people to the medium of videogames. I would like to formulate a list of 10 high-quality games (representative of a variety of genres) that are available to play (legally) on medium-range mobile phones and/or low-performance laptops.

Any suggestions? Leave them in the comments.

Collaboration Kills Creativity

Work is always better when someone does it alone. Even when it’s bad.

The world is full of things made by committee. It’s because it’s efficient. I see this when I coordinate teams – of video game players, of writers, of marketers.

When everyone gives their opinion on a project, the project is completed with minimum fuss. It works, it’s safe. And it rarely is interesting. It’s never fantastic.

But when I give someone the autonomy to disappear for a couple of days and come back with something vomited from the depts of their soul?

It may be a failure, it may not work. It might be that nobody likes it. But you know it’s the real thing. It’s art. It was born of the song sung by a person’s soul, without interference from outside forces. And when is it good, when it does work? It is transformative.

Even if the interference comes from someone who knows more, who has better taste, who is more experienced and has more technical ability – it does not matter. Even if it is technically and artistically “better”, it loses the individual stamp, the personal commitment.

There are many companies claiming to be “failure friendly.” But they waste the potential of the concept. While proclaiming that there is no problem in failing, they make sure that all work passes through a sieve of consensus, to ensure quality.

There is a certain time for the peer group’s opinion, for the masters’ suggestions, for quality control by the boss. That time is after having a prototype built, a first draft done, a project tested.

The group helps you decide if it’s good, or if it’s bad. If it’s salvageable, or condemned. Whether it is perfect, or where it can be improved.

But the genesis, the act of creation, the idea – this has to belong to the individual.

Because showing our idea – or as close to reality as we can bring it – is a thousand times more precise than explaining it.