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This is the first Spring Thing game I’ve played to completion this year. More accurately, it’s a work to be read through.
And it’s a very heavy one to read at that. There were mentions of illness, trauma, self-doubt. The author stated they were someone who had left religion. (And this is very personal, but) My own experiences with religion or even just organized faith have been confusing at best and self-destructive at worst. I am constantly questioning myself, my choices, and the wider world at large on the basis of what I’ve been taught and have been told to believe in; inevitably, that leads to the asking of questions such as: Can people be happy without religion? Without faith? Most importantly, can I be happy? This game brought such questions, or rather such feelings, right back up to the surface.
I have never released work (at least nothing of import), in the IF sphere or anywhere else, so I find it hard to relate to the author’s description of their struggles with external validation with their released work, or the issues they have/had with the IF community at large. For me it’s the internal struggle, that process where I imagine, create, try to transpose the details of my thought onto something durable, something there, and then try to finesse it that eats me up with my creative work. Once it’s out there, well, it’s really just out there then. Out of my hands and into the dirt. I get extremely happy for any stars or stickers (praise) the audience might stick onto my thing. I can get very prideful. But if I get criticism or just, no one seems to like the thing? I’m okay with it. I get that I can do better; I take the reaction into consideration as I see fit, I move on. Again, this might be because I don’t have the experience of releasing a lot of things into public sphere yet and therefore the mess of emotions that might come attached with audience reactions of your work. But my work, anything I do and the process I take to achieve it — it’s always been a very personal one. I do it because I really, just innately have to do it — or risk feeling very numbed out for the rest of my life, all those things rattling around in a cage in my head, and have my inner demons hound me forever. So I care very much if you did like it, but I could care less if you didn’t, if that makes sense. As long as you don’t come for my head when you criticize or otherwise give no attention to my work — those two things are separate, in my mind — maybe I’ll just not think of it, maybe I’ll do better next time out of thanks to your contribution to my work, or out of spite thanks to your lack thereof.
Anyways, that there got a bit long. I think, for the author, validation becomes important when you tie up your identity with your work, as it is with many other creatives. Which I can get. Sort of. In regards to the issues surrounding the community and what kind of output is encouraged and what kind isn’t, perhaps the author could be encouraged to check out other IF spaces different than this one to promote/release their work; on Tumblr, for example, choice-based and hypertext IF games are very popular, and representation, or diversity, for a lack of other words, is very present. I myself prefer the more serious/formal nature of this forum/community, and games-wise, tend to like more conventional works that focus more on storytelling / mechanics aspects than the ones exploring identity or relationships that are, for example, prevalent on Tumblr.
Okay that got a bit long and messy, and I’m sure that I’m going to look back on this in 2 minutes and cringe, but. Happy to leave it up for anyone else’s perusal. It’s just that this work had a very personal nature, which made me respond in an equally (if not slightly less) personal way.