Dead end.

So. This is supposed to be my last post. It’s not the first time I decide to “quit” but I think this time it won’t be undone.

My ticket expired. I had originally planned to run this site for about a year, then close the chapter, draw my own conclusions and figure out what I had left in my hands. Then some situations changed and I gave myself another one. The year is over and I’m already beyond that limit, because I was planning to close the site before the end of July, so that I had the rest of the summer to think more about it.

It’s not even the first time I put everything to waste.

Today is my birthday and I thought it was a good occasion to end my biggest dream with it. My birthdays have never felt particularly joyful or positive as I always felt more the weight of what I haven’t done than what I have done. And what I have to do and that I’m not able to. Now I’m not as young and the gap and the weight can just increase exponentially from year to year, so I didn’t mind to add a reason to that bad feel that I was expecting anyway.

What I don’t want to do with this site is the rare update, the slow down, the two-months leave. No, I prefer to put a definite end and don’t turn back to see. When I do something I dedicate myself as much as I can to it, without compromises. Moreover, I didn’t have another possibility since I would have never slowed down without a definitive choice. The more I get into things, the more I get absorbed. And I love it. As long as I can afford it. But I was an anomaly.

I did this as long as I could afford it. Probably even more than I could afford. So I knew that I was running out of time, I know that I was running already PAST of what I should have done. It was a stretch because I was chasing what I wanted instead of accepting to have my feet nailed on the ground.

Yes, I chase dreams and I’m proud of it.

See, the things I expect aren’t the things I wish. Systematically the things I expect happen, while the things I wish don’t. That’s also the margin between this site (I’m a designer!) and the real world (I’m a jerk!). This site existed on that gap. On air.

Like a walk in the countryside. “Let’s pretend that things aren’t as they really are.” Let’s believe that, at least for a while. This site was just that: a “at least for a while”. And then: “Just another minute, please…”

A midsummer night’s dream.

Now I’m done, whohoo! I’m so addicted that I’ll continue to write and take notes, even if it has no purpose. At least to mitigate the sense of loss. I don’t know how I’ll react because that’s really what I want to do. Get absorbed. Now I have to tell my brain “it’s over”. Don’t think about it. Don’t go that way. Dead end.

I was one of those who play games almost exclusively to analyze things, figure out what works, why it works, find sources of inspiration. I love that, it’s all I love. I’m going to close the site because I have to cut away all that to not lose myself into it. It’s poison. Go away.

It will be harder for me than you can imagine.

I’m sure that there will be better games, and that there would so much to talk about. People will do that in my place. Just don’t expect me to agree with them :)

At the end that’s what I wanted more. That we were “there” and all contributed to the same thing. The sense of participation, instead of each one doing his own thing, closed in his own house. I always tried to go out and “reach”. It’s also not something that I can do well as I’m not the charismatic type, but I tried.

I also see myself as quite miserable. I’m not proud of anything at all. If it’s an end, it’s an end in shame for me. In one of my notes I wrote: “I won’t be able to explain my parents what games are, because I just wasted time. And when people will ask me what I did, I’ll just sit there and stare at them blankly”. I do feel a sense of failure.

I chased a dream, but a dream that cannot be told. In James Joyce’s “Dubliners” there’s a story called “Two Gallants”. My hands are empty.

The reason why I decided to stop writing completely is because this site was feeding that interest. And it grew, and then grew more. And now I have to choke it. Forget about it. Off limits. What are the alternatives? I resisted till I could, fought my small, pointless battle. With no redemption at the end.

My biggest dream was to be part of things. Not because I thought of myself as the indispensable, unique genius, but just because I love those things and I wanted to be “there”. Ready for anything. No matter what the conditions were. I tried to adapt myself the best I could, do everything the best I could. And then more, because it is never enough. Not even close to being enough. But at the end I was here writing on a blog, it was the best possibility I had to get as close I could to what I loved (the ladder to see the stars). I somewhat achieved much more than what I originally thought. But this is of no use, nor satisfaction. It lead to a good amount of frustration, but that was expected, so I was prepared.

I’m quite the anomaly if you think that I had to go even against the language barrier and everything. I needed a fair amount of “arrogance” even to pretend to do what I did. Trying to find a space among people that I absolutely didn’t belong to. Raising my hand knowing that I didn’t have any right to speak and noone would care about what I had to say. I think noone could have been more out of place than me, but I just felt too much that push. Finding my own way, and then continue from there. Try to not delude. Try to get better, dedication. Vocation.

But it only works after you find a breach. I cannot cultivate something if I just cannot be part of it. It just too frustrating. Sometimes I used “we”. But there’s no “we”. There’s all of you, and me. I’m out.

At the end I could stay suspended on air only for so long, like Wile E. Coyote, no matter how much I want something. Or I was able to cross the line, or I should have gone back. A matter of “opportunities”. Real life is only a matter of opportunities, not dreams. The two rarely meet each other, and in general people put their dreams close to the opportunities.

So good luck to everyone who has that “privilege” of being there. I will always look at you with envy ;p

I have a HUGE respect and esteem for you, in particular for those few who participated in the “circulation of ideas”. You know who you are. It didn’t appear so just because I needed that arrogance to get the right to speak and not feel intimidated. And when I criticized it was because I knew you had big shoulders.

“The ladder to see the stars”. That’s an appropriate way to describe how I felt this site. It is just absurd. If you climb a ladder you don’t see the stars any better. But it was my only opportunity to be there.

I’m not going to open another site, I’m not going to write for someone else and I’m not going to vanish only to reappear under a new identity. You can get a sigh of relief :) No more bitching from me, no more dev-bashing, no more accuses, no more problems. No more broken english. I’m packing up my things and leaving you alone, at last.

This site should remain online, if things don’t change. So everything should continue to work, just without me posting what I write. It’s time for me to shut up, I don’t think I have anymore the right to say anything. I don’t feel anymore that right. The anomaly is resolved.

I’ll leave again as I arrived, with no friends nor merit.

One promise: I’ll remember all of you for much longer than you’ll remember me and this site.

“At three we run into opposite directions!”

“One!… Two!…”

Post Scriptum

I didn’t reply to the (kind) words Raph wrote or the (kind) forum thread on Q23 because I decided to not read anything for a few days. If you see me writing now it’s not because I changed my decision but only because I want to make some precisations as everyone that commented was wondering what I was trying to achieve with this site or the real reason why I decided to stop.

So I’ll try to explain as clearly and succinctly as I can:

The purpose of this site: The purpose of this site was to be a “surrogate”. A ladder to watch the stars. I didn’t expect to get a job in the game industry by writing here (come ooon). I was writing here because I KNEW I wouldn’t have an occasion to get a job in the game industry. Writing was a way to get as close as possible to what I liked and that was out of reach. Confrontate and all the rest.

This site didn’t have a “goal” to reach. I didn’t “quit” because I didn’t get as many readers as I originally hoped or because I wasn’t influencing game design enough. Nor because I wanted to replicate what Lum did. I don’t pretend to be on the same league. This site was a playground and an archive. A memory. It was simply a bag where I put thoughts. As a bag, it was just a container and didn’t have another goal or purpose. Just that.

The reason why I’m done: the reason why I’m done isn’t because this site had a goal that I wasn’t able to reach, nor because I cannot pay the hosting fees. The reason is entirely external to the site and is about myself. Writing about mmorpgs completely absorbed me and I loved it. I wasn’t bored doing that, I wanted to do it MORE. Dedicating it more time without feeling bad, but legitimate.

I simply reached a point where I wanted to justify what I’m doing. Is that odd? Justify that dedication. Find a sense so that I didn’t feel like wasting time. Find a legitimation. But I knew that I didn’t have an option, so I felt like being pulled into two opposite directions, and I broke there.

I’m broken.

So. Thanks everyone for the comments, but they cannot help.

There’s a (now old) thread on Q23 where I wrote some more. The thread is also interesting for the discussion beside my specific case.

I think that within five years, Abalieno will be able to make his dream come true. By himself, mostly.

That’s not a dream, it’s a nightmare. My dream is to work with other people where I’m just one of many and make games for other people. Not doing a game on my own and where I’m going to be the only player.

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