A Life Well Wasted is mostly concerned with the human side of gaming culture–the people who make games, the people who play and obsess over games, etc. To continue that angle on the blog, I’ll be running this regular feature, which asks game developers to photograph and describe things that are important to their daily lives. If all goes well, these should serve as windows into the personalities of the (mostly) anonymous people who make our favorite amusements.
Today’s developer is Eskil Steenberg, an ambitious programmer/game designer from Stockholm, Sweden. Eskil is pioneering all kinds of fancy technology, special tools and programs that are allowing him to create a massively multi-player online game, Love, completely on his own. From the tone of his descriptions, I’d say the work might be getting to him.
My apartment, the cell of my self-imposed prison sentence. The development of Love has passed the point of no return. I won’t get out of here until I’m done. There are only two ways out: a body bag or victory. I’m working long hours–six days a week, sometimes seven. I get up early, before any of the day’s chores can disturb me. No calls, no one who can bother me, nowhere else to go, and with only music as company. Air, Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers, and Hendrix flow from the one speaker that still works, now that the Brodeo has gone away.
My apartment is where new games are made and old games go to die. Of the things I’ve brought home, many are still waiting to be explored. I can’t get side-tracked. I’ve got to keep working. It took me a week to unpack my 360. The shell of an abandoned SGI Onyx2 super computer is hiding behind stacks of Famitsu Wave DVD’s and a still-unboxed PC-FX. They don’t make three button mice anymore, so I keep old Logitech pilot mice in storage.
Not to underestimate the benefit of access to the masters like Ralph Mcquarrie, Syd Mead, Scott Robertson, and many many more–I fill my bookshelf with their work. Underneath them, holding them up, are Siggraph proceedings, scientific papers, and posters. I imagine them to be important, but I always end up reinventing rather then replicating. I don’t read many books. Vanity Fair and Edge take up most of my reading time. I read when I’m eating. I enjoy long articles. Nothing is interesting on the surface; every thing is interesting if you go deep enough.
My bike is waiting for spring. I miss riding my bike. The roads of Stockholm are made for bikes. With a bike like this, you are in direct contact with all forces but friction.
Abandoned consoles rescued form an Akihabara shelter for a few yen and a promise to give them a good home. I’m drawn to failed consoles like the GameCube, Saturn, Dreamcast, and Neo-Geo. Unwanted, under-appreciated. I dream of making a game like a Neo-Geo: far from the mainstream, an offshoot of the outer-branch of an ultimately failed evolution. Expensive and inaccessible, yet the very concept of its existence is impossible to not be seduced by.
The 10 consoles around my TV have long since given up on being connected. There are too many of them, too many cords, too few places to connect them, making even the simplest of hardware inaccessible. 110v, 220v, tp, Wi-Fi, Phone, HDMI, VGA, DVI, component, and controllers–all these controllers! I’ve got to get back to work. All non-essential system support is on hold.
My collection of swag is competing with my swag’s collection of dust. Event badges, Pikmin, damper babies, Utah teapots, and shampoo bottles from the Chelsea hotel, all taking up space and reminding me of my travels. Below them are comics and more books and manuals. I’m neither a comic or manual person unless I write them.
When you have writer’s block and can’t sleep, anything portable can fend of loneliness. All you need is Love–don’t think I don’t know it. My PSP has the weight that can only be found in a first-generation hardware iteration. The down button has given up after too much Lumines. If you cant go down, I guess the only way left is up.