“Why are you doing it?”

It feels like a long time since I posted here, and I guess a month is long (work and games. Playing lots of games), but I got asked this question the other day about why I design games. A fair question, it’s not like I’m launching onto kickstarter will an ill-thought out clone for $$$, so it’s not for money. It’s also not for praise- although don’t get me wrong, sometimes praise sustains me. Hearing playtesters and publishers say your game is exciting, or puzzles are some of the best they have seen, or witnessing professional critics enjoy your design is a phenomenal feeling, a high I could ride for days. But that’s not why I do it, it would be odd if it were- the praise follows the design, the design doesn’t chase after it.

It’s an intrinsic motivation. I simply find the practice of designing a game enjoyable. Designing a game is akin to solving a puzzle which you also set up. Of course it gets harder the further in you go, and sometimes you end up with a puzzle that can’t be solved, a game that’s just not fun no matter what. Sometimes a thought will get stuck in my head (a 4X game based upon Alpha Centauri *cough cough* ) which I feel compelled to work on to the detriment of everything else, which I’ll accept is an unusual proclivity, but I’m useless at working on anything else when I’ve got that bug. So that’s it. I do it because I enjoy it, and like all things worth doing, as it gets harder it also gets more rewarding. In fact, I don’t understand why people don’t design games. Now you may be thinking this is a completely obvious point, but it does make me question why I get asked it.

In other news, had a fantastic playtesting session earlier this week, looking forward to doing it again in a fortnights time (if anybody is in the Yorkshire area come along- super cheap pub prices as a sweetener). Shout out to all playtesters everywhere- you are great.