Matter Of Fact, I’ve Got It Now

Having told, and retold, this story more times than I can actually remember, I figure it’s about time that I immortalised it in print. This has two benefits: first of all, the next time somebody asks me about it I can write down this site’s address, slip it into their shirt pocket and slap them on the shoulder in an overly familiar and slightly condescending manner, saving myself time and energy while simultaneously reinforcing my image as a huge wanker. Secondly and perhaps more importantly, Jess – who has heard the story approximately seventeen-and-a-half bajillion times – will no longer have to restrain herself from choking me to death every time the story needs retelling.

But what is the story, Tim. What’s it all about. Well, I’m glad you asked…

Continue reading Matter Of Fact, I’ve Got It Now

A nice holiday

Well, I’m early for my lunchdate, so blogging when I have nothing better to do has always worked in the past, right? Only now – I’m doing it on my phone. So yeah, spelling mistakes. Watch out for those.

Between this and listening to music, I’m sure I’m giving my battery a run for it’s money. Or, well, my money, I guess.

Man it shits me that different songs are different volumes. There should be some kind of normalizing software built in. Or at least some kind of volume control on the headset so I don’t have to go digging it outta my pocket every five minutes.

Jeez, I’m sorry I’d I don’t have any life changing epiphanies for you! I’m pretty freaking hungry, not to mention thirsty. Does that count? I mean, that’s pretty life changing, right? If I don’t get something soon I’ll DIE. If that’s not life changing, I don’t know what is.

Alright, lemme think.

Oh right. So I got a call from Thingz in Belmont today. They want to interview me for a job. Yay, right? Well, not really. I mean, hell, I could get money, and lots of it. But… is it wrong that I don’t want to work full time? I have no problems with working. Even working full time. I just… can’t face the same thing everyday. Two jobs that equal fulltime of something. I just can’t face waking up, working all day and then going I bed to wake up and do it again. Particularly in a job I have no real interest in.

I feel really whingy, and in the “current economic climate”, as Tim would put it, I know there are lots of people looking for work that can’t get any at the moment, and I’ve put a lot of resumes out, and this is the only reply. I’m just… hesitant to invest so much time in a job I don’t want and whose skillset is so basic that I won’t even take anything away from the experience except piles and piles of money.

Goddamn, and now I’m talking myself out of it. And Tim did such a good job of talking me into it this morning.

Man, I haven’t listened to a lot of music lately. Basically my intake has been nonexistent since moving to Perth since I no longer spend 6+ hours in front of MSN talking to Tim, where all my music listening used to take place. But I’m slowly rediscovering my playlist. Slowly, slowly but surely.

I sort of feel like it’s stagnating though. And I don’t have the patience to discover new tracks like I used to. I listen so infrequently now that I just want to hear the goodstuff, not try and listen to new things. Which makes me sad. Oh so sad.

Having said that, funny story. I was going through Wikipedia last night, via the random page function, and found the page of a band that sounded interesting. Couple of iTunes purchases later, and, uh, yep. I guess it wasn’t that funny afterall.

There are flowers on the seat next to me. There aren’t any trees around of the same type, so they couldn’t have blown here, despite the substantial wind. I like to imagine the story of these flowers, like somebody brought them here after a break with a loved one, and they got left behind. Bittersweet.

Ah, young/old/middle-age love/courtship/marriage/flowerlover.

Yep. I don’t even know any more. For complete juxtaposition, I can’t wait to get so drunk I can’t feel anything anymore on Saturday. That’s going to be a nice holiday.

On Epiphanies

Here’s the thing.

I spent my entire childhood drawing. I devoured paper, notebooks and sketchpads, I collected books about how to draw cartoons and superheroes, I spent hours painfully slaving over tracing paper in order to blatantly plaigarise pictures I found interesting and draw my own costumes over the top. I owned entire Garfield collections, read every Tintin and every Asterisk and Obelix until I knew them back to front. It was nuts. It was crazy. It was great.

Then I turned eleven, and the strangest thing happened. I discovered video games.

Video games are addictive enough for any kid. But when you’ve spent your whole life drawing and suddenly you realise that these are drawings that move, and walk and jump at your command, something clicks and you say I am going to make some of these and good golly they are going to be awesome. I fell, and I fell hard. And so it began, years of planning and talking idly with friends about the game system we would create, designing controllers, company logos, bragging about the awesome graphics this thing is going to put out Jesus Christ man this thing is going to be the best thing ever can you imagine.

As it turned out, imagining is all an eleven year old can really do, aside from a whole pile of what are now completely embarassing sketches. But then I got older, and working through high school and into university, nothing ever dampened my desire to be part of the video game industry. I even enrolled in a double degree in Computer Science and Multimedia, thinking these would be the best things to combine to get me where I needed to go. Turns out they were working on a Games Technology degree anyway, so when that dropped, I dropped everything else and got on board.

I had so much fun at university. The Games Technology degree taught me so much about myself and about others, about the industry and the tools you use. I made some amazing friends and had some amazing times. And though I’ve never worked harder in my life, I never stopped enjoying it. We pulled 35 hour laboratory sessions, worked every weekend for 6 months to meet deadlines and stopped living our lives altogether, but we did it. We graduated and then, after a fashion, we found work.

I was lucky enough to get my foot in the door at Interzone. Getting a games development job in Perth is hard enough, especially at Interzone who at the time basically maintained a policy of total media blackout and radio silence. It wasn’t easy, and I was rejected twice before I finally got in – doing web development, of all things – but I did it. I made it and I was happy.

Working at Interzone has been the best job of my life. I will always count myself lucky to be able to work alongside such amazing, interesting and talented people for as long as I have. I found myself no longer living for the weekend, looking forward to getting in every day and tackling new issues, finding new ways to apply myself creatively and knowing that I was appreciated and rewarded for the challenges I overcame.

That was a year ago.

When I was young, I couldn’t put my pen down. I was always coming up with ideas, dumb sketches, getting excited over this or that. Now, when I come home from work – nothing. It’s just… not there. It’s not that I don’t want to draw or paint or sketch, I just can’t muster the energy to think about what I would need to do – I’ve taken all the creative energy I had, burned it up at work and left myself empty.

So, I fire up the ol’ video games, shoot a couple people’s face clean off, and call it a night. A night not wasted, I tell myself, because I’ve had a good day at work. I’m enjoying my job and I’m building a great career, after all. This is what I spent the last ten years working and striving for. This is what I want from life, right?

And though I am having fun, I am enjoying myself, and I guess I am building the start of a great career, in my heart of hearts I start to increasingly realise that… well, no. This isn’t what I want from life. It’s fun to be part of something bigger than yourself for while, and there’s great satisfaction in knowing that you’re appreciated, but when you take a few steps back it’s not hard to realise that you’ve just spent the last year building someone else’s sandcastle.

Ten years from now, if I keep doing what I’m doing, all I’ll have to show for it are some screenshots on the internet and my name in a couple of credit rolls. Twenty years from now, I might have worked up enough industry credit and connections to make it to a senior position, from which I might be able to have some slight say in what sort of shape somebody else’s sandcastle takes. Thirty years from now, if I’m lucky – very lucky – somebody will pay me a whole lot of money to design a sandcastle for them. Forty years from now, I’ll be too old to work in the industry anymore, they’ll cut me off, give me a brand new RoboSpine 9000 as a going-away present and send me on the first bus home and in all those years I will never, ever, get to build my own goddamn sandcastle.

At the end of the day, I think I’d rather be able to tell my grandkids that I was a cartoonist, writer and illustrator who was privileged enough to work on some video games, than end up bitterly recounting to their expectant young faces another story of how, many long years ago, their grandfather used to be quite good at the old cartoons. I can’t bear to think of a future where, no matter how successful I get, I will have forgotten what it means to do something for myself.

So, I’ve decided to get out.

I love my work and I’m hoping I won’t have to ditch it just yet. But it’s draining me, badly, and I fear I might have no other choice. Even if it means working shitty retail – even it means working good retail, or data entry, or something, anything to keep me afloat and fired up while I make the transition. I will do whatever it takes.

I wanted to work in video games. I sacrificed a lot to get my foot in the door and take a shot at the dream, and I don’t regret any of it for a single moment. And maybe this is all wrong, and maybe I’ll return a year from now, sobbing at game development’s skirts and begging for her to take me back, swearing that I can change. I don’t know. I don’t know a lot of things right now.

But for the first time in my life, I’m savouring the uncertainty.

Amazingly amazing

Beautiful.

What an amazing blog. It looks just amazing. Amazingly amazing. I’m amazed.

Honestly, I’m almost speechless with how good it looks. Almost, but I still gotta blog, right? But seriously, Tim has done an incredible job, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart.

Tim, thank you.

Together, we will make beautiful writings together. Or rather, separately, but they’ll be published together. And look awesome in the process. FREAKIN’ AWESOME.

I’m trying not to gush here, but really. Wow. Still, gotta move on to something new and shiny and interesting!

Well now. It’s been about a million years since I last blogged, so I’m not going to try and recount everything, cause that’d be boring, and hell, I can’t remember it all anyway. I have just returned from Sydney, so I could regale you will hilarious anecdotes from there, but honestly, I can’t even remember that far back. It was mostly sleeping really late, reading awesome books, catching up with my family and friends and spending quality time, in the form of every second of every day, with my Timly (AWWWWWGHHHH).

I’d like to say I had a great time, but really, without Tim there, the BadTimes would’ve at least equaled the GoodTimes, and that’s a ratio that really could’ve been improved on, quite frankly. It was… difficult being back at home. I’d forgotten the extent to which my family doesn’t function as a normal one. That and some things at home needing sorting out, and some money problems, meant I broke down in tears on more than one occasion. I was looking forward to coming home, but was afraid of what I’d find here.

On that note, things seem to be working themselves out more or less. Some problems have resolved themselves, others are rearing their ugly head, the money troubles are changing but not for better or worse, really. Just changing.

For example, I come home to find my company in receivership, and all staff but the store manager and assistant manager let go. So now, having lost the EB job, I’m completely unemployed. A feeling I haven’t really experienced since I’ve moved here, let alone since we’ve had bills to pay and food to buy. Combined with Tim’s company giving THEIR entire staff a hard time on the money front, we’re a little concerned.

Blah, blah, blah, enough about money.

Fable 2 came out, World Tour came out, Rock Band finally hit Australia, we got a PS3, there’s been a lot of action on the video game front. Fable was every bit as excellent as I expected it to be. I’m waiting for the story to wear off a little so I can play it again, only different. Y’know. I’d like to pick up Storm of Zehir at some point, but I’ll be putting it off till it drops some more, and I get some income. Obviously.

Also, the WeekLAN this Thursday. Hopefully someone will have games my computer can handle that I can steal sample temporarily. But at the least I’ll snag borrow some Futurama, and maybe some of season 3 of Heroes.

I’m sorry I made you take your time off for Christmas, Tim, instead of the LAN. I didn’t even think. I’m sorry. 🙁

Well, Tim’s on his way home, and we’ve got to jump back on the gym wagon, though really, the leap itself should be more than enough exercise. And I’ve more writing to do elsewhere.

So ends the first post of Jess the Eloquent of Buttsvale.