A Brother

There once was a man who was very passionate about being a video game designer. He had gone through college in graphics design as he was an extremely talented artist, and had always enjoyed playing video games. He dedicated all of his time and energy to making his video game, networking with sound engineers, voice actors, and even a french musician, all of whom were excited for the vision the man had for his game that was destined to be a series of games.

He woke up and began researching every aspect of using the game engine he needed to make all the effects and puzzles he wanted. He made custom textures and models for the game with his artistic prowess. The game would certainly be great when it was completed, but the trouble was completing it.

Day and night he worked, not going anywhere or doing anything but occassionally watching a movie or tv show. The rest of his time was dedicated to his game. His little brother watched him as he poured hours and days and weeks and months and years into creating the game, excited to see its release one day. The man was almost constantly frustrated, and angry, often reflecting on the things he was missing out on for the sake of the game’s development. His little brother could hear the occasional slew of curse words, pounded objects, and shouts coming from his brother the next room over.

The first deadline for the game came and went and he had to go online, make some apologies to his hyped up fans, and promise it was still in development and would be released soon. He set another deadline for the next year. Finally, the man gave in; the vision of what the game was supposed to be and what he was accomplishing were two separate things. He would just round off the edges, throw everything together and call it complete, having already missed his first deadline.

Another year of missing events, not making friends, and hours of frustration later and he released the game. It was a mess and having never had playtesters for the game, his vision for at least one of the puzzles and the way others would try and solve it, coupled with the game engine’s difficulties, many were underwhelmed. He went back in and made some tweaks and fixes to the game and released it again as a sort of “director’s cut”. Many of the newer features he had tried to implement simply failed to work in this release.

The man’s heart was broken. His passion, his blood, sweat, and tears were all for nothing. The game had little more than a cult following and many people felt the game was closer to a proof of concept than a finished game. There came a time for him to learn the lesson from his experience. He jumped into the world he’d all but abandoned and began to thrive there. He didnt play video games anymore, and never tried to make a game again.

He began work one day on a script he’d want for a vision he had of his next game. He had a very unique idea and was an expert on the horror genre. He did preliminary work on the plot and script, and even asked his little brother, a writer, for help on it. The script and the ideas in it never surfaced and he never mentioned it again.

He’d learned the wrong lesson from the harsh reality of his time as a game developer.

The man was an artist. He got his degree in digital art creation, and everyone who saw the custom textures in the game loved the originality and creativity they displayed. He even created artistic images all the time just for fun. The man was an artist and not a game developer. Instead of jumping into other projects as an artist, he avoided video games and most everything that wasn’t human interaction. He gave up on all parts of the digital realm, even the ones that he had expert mastery of.

If it couldnt make money or get him notoriety, it was no longer worth his time and effort to do. He needed to see high returns on all further investments, because years of focus and determination had lead him nowhere. But he focused in the wrong direction, and was determined to do things he was not nearly as good at.

His little brother had always supported his big brother and had always wanted to see him noticed and appreciated for his work. Their parents had often praised his artistic skills and creations, but in the real world, he had no praise. People are harsh critics and the world is a cruel place.

His little brother, the writer, had difficult odds against him and his passion: writing. His parents had never supported it, always throwing away, ripping up and mocking his works. He was always focused and felt that his life goal was to get published. He was a writer and had always been, and even seeing the statistics of only 1 in 10,000 books getting published didnt deter him. He read many books and wrote as often as possible.

The man’s little brother one day, years after his older brother’s game had released, decided to look it up and see what had happened of the community of supporters for the project. It didnt take long and he found several sites still with mirrors to download the game. Many of them had counters of the number of downloads. The little brother was amazed to find 3000, 6000, and even 12000 different downloads all across the web. Tens of thousands had downloaded and played his older brother’s creation! All of the message boards said the same thing “I still play this game every halloween, it helps me get into the spirit of the season”. The brothers favorite holiday and time of year had always been halloween and seeing so many people say that the older brother’s game helped them reign in the season was truly an incredible accomplishment. All of the posters of comments, some even commenting weekly as new people discovered the game, all wanted to see more. Several even speculated a new game in the works.

The little brother used this thrill to go onto the website of a top game developer, the one who had created the game engine the older brother had used to make his game, and found where job applications were posted. The website said in big letters “We’re ALWAYS hiring. We have a 99.9% retention rate!”. There were so many positions open to apply to. The little brother was certain that with the success of his brother’s game in the community, and his degree in graphics design, he could get his brother a dream job in a perfect place where his passion and determination met: video game artistry.

He quickly emailed his brother all the necessary information and links all concise, and noted to him that he was qualified for each of the positions open. He didnt hear from his brother about it. Finally, a few weeks later, he texted him, asking him if he’d applied. The reply was short and empty but simultaneously full of so much meaning, “No.”

For the older brother, failure was no longer an option. He wanted a home run or nothing at all. Nothing but greatness that came relatively easily and excitingly would be enough. Determination and strong will had done him no good in the direction he’d wanted. His spirit, dreams, goals and directions had all been thrown out, baby, bathwater, and all. The world is a cruel place.

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