November 28, 2009

One Year And Thank You

Well whaddaya know? Yesterday was first anniversary of the day I started this blog. This year passed surprisingly (disturbingly?) quickly, and has been an exciting time replete with career changes, interesting discussions, and new friends with which to have them. This blog has helped provide me with all of those things.

The most useful thing about all this writing, though, is how much it's helped me to refine and clarify my thoughts on game design as a discipline and a career, and my place within it. I've learned a lot in the past year about what parts of game development I'm best and worst at, and what my goals and values are.

Even if I never had any readers at all, that kind of self-knowledge would be completely worth the time and effort of blogging. This is especially true within the context of job interviews: It's amazing how easy and comfortable that whole process is when it's just an extension of the conversation I'm having all the time here.

I also use this blog as a place to make public declarations that I know will make me feel like an idiot if I fail to live up to them later. It's the place where I design the kind of game designer that I want to be, and harness peer pressure to be better at living up those ideals.

Writing this blog would be a good experience even without any readers, but I do have a bunch of readers and other people that have made it a great one. I'd like to thank all of you, as well as call out some specific people.

People who helped make this blog possible

I'd never have a blog at all without Penelope Trunk. She entertained and enlightened me with her blog for quite some time before eventually convincing me that I should start a blog of my own, and that I should just jump into it whether I knew what I was doing or not.

Joel Spolsky showed me that having a blog could be a useful outlet for someone who's frustrated by the state of their industry, and that there are more productive ways to communicate than ranting. I set out to write a blog that would be "like Joel's, but for games."

Around eight years ago, I stumbled onto Raph Koster's old webpage and spent a lot of time digging through all the game design writing there. This was the first time I had thought seriously about becoming a game designer. His descriptions of how difficult and frustrating it could be to make games that stood up to player interaction the way developers expected them to intrigued the masochist in me.

At some point I really need to just hire a webdesigner and make myself an actual portfolio page with an integrated blog, etc. In the meantime, tweaking one of Douglas Bowman's blogger templates has served me pretty well.

People who help make this blog successful

This blog would be much less successful without all the people funneling traffic my way, leaving insightful comments, or just posting great posts of their own which get me thinking. I'm definitely also leaving out a bunch of people, but here are ones that really helped get me on my feet:

Simon Carless (Game Set Watch)
Steven Savage (Fan To Pro)
Tesh (Tish Tosh Tesh)
Nels Anderson (Above 49)
Ysharros (Stylish Corpse)
Brian Green (Psychochild's Blog)
Damion Schubert (Zen of Design)
Steve Gaynor (Fullbright)
Gregory Piatetsky (KD Nuggets)
Tobold (Tobold's MMORPG Blog)

Thanks everybody! I plan to keep this blog going until I run out of things to say, which I can't imagine happening anytime soon. Now I just need to get better at posting on a regular schedule.

In the next year, I also plan on testing out some more interactive features, such as interviews, guest posts, and Q&A.


Brian 'Psychochild' Green said...

Congrats! :) I just celebrated 5 years on my blog. Yet another reason to feel old. :P

And, thanks for the props. Always happy to comment on a site I feel is insightful. Feel free to drop me a line if you ever need anything. :)

Stabs said...


Ysharros said...

Rar! Happy Blogday! And a very good blog it is too. :)

Mike Darga said...

Thanks you guys! Stick around and hopefully there will be some good things to come.

@Brian: I hope I make it to 5 years, that's pretty impressive. I definitely wish I'd have started blogging a long time ago. It would have been especially useful to have a game design blog before I'd actually landed my first gig.

I'm trying to get better at accepting help from people, so I may take you up on that offer heh. I'd especially like to pick your brain about freelancing at some point.

Eolirin said...

Congrats! It's been just as rewarding to follow. :)

I'm touched to be on that list, especially considering how undeserving I feel being next to some of the other people on there! :)

Nels Anderson said...

Wow, time flies, eh? I didn't entirely realize it, but I started blogging just after you did (early Dec). Congrats on an awesome year Mike and keep up the seriously great thoughts.

Mike Darga said...

@Eolirin: Eventually you'll start your own blog and then I won't be able to steal the value of all your comments for my own =)

@Nels: Oh nice, I didn't realize that either. Congratulations to you too! I'm going to try to mirror your consistency this next year.

Penelope Trunk said...

Congratulations on the blog anniversary. To do this for a year is a big achievement. Really, to do anything difficult for a whole year is an achievement, and it's inspiring to me to see other people do this.

Also, what a nice way to show gratitude. Loved the post.


Tesh said...

Congratulations on a good year, and some great articles! I'm glad I found your blog early on; it means I can keep up instead of needing to parse a backlog of articles. ;)

Here's hoping for many more!

Sylvia said...

Congrats!!! and yo's~~ how about that time i sat you down in my Morewood dorm and made you learn Starcraft... i think that was where the fall started... ; ; I'm sorry but not anymore. LOL
I think i went to class and came back and you were like a pro at starcraft... then moved on to CS. heh... good ol' days. (^-^)v

Mike Darga said...

Thanks Penelope! That's very kind of you =)

Tesh, I think for awhile there you and Eolirin and my mom were my only 3 readers haha. Thanks for sticking around!

Sylvia, you're totally right. I'd never have made games for a living if you guys hadn't gotten me hooked on online games. I got really good at CS, but I will remain terrible at Starcraft forever heh.

Gerard Delaney said...

Whilst I only recently discovered this blog I have enjoyed your writing. I wish you congratulations and the very best for many more years to follow.

Mike Darga said...

Thanks Gerard! I just checked out your article on zombie games - very good stuff.

Palli said...

Keep it up! I (and the others here) read it all the time!

Mike Darga said...

Thanks Palli, I'm flattered. I have the utmost respect for you guys and maybe some day I'll come move to Iceland ;)

I'm glad to see you've started a blog of your own too. Looking forward to reading it!

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