All That Glitters

I’ve been an artist long enough to know how hard “Simple” can be. It’s not just killing your darlings, though that’s clearly a part of the struggle – the minimalist must be willing to sacrifice not just the fringes, the stuff that doesn’t quite work, no, the minimalist must be willing to sacrifice everything but the best. Heck, no, we have to be willing to throw that out too, because there is only one thing that matters, and yes it all has to be top quality, but no, not all of that can stay either – the only thing that remains, after all the creative sand falls away, is a single experience.

The hot word in design circles is “user experience,” but I’m cutting that concept in half, and you can see what that does, immediately, if you’re paying attention. It explodes the value, like an incandescent bulb bursting into a sun. An experience has nothing to do with whether you’re a “User.” In fact, take that consumerist mindset and shove it, if you can’t bring yourself to let go of it in a more blissful way.

The minimalist, if he or she’s a true artist, generally starts like any other, by thrusting everything they have into existence, tearing the curtains from the walls of their imagination and painting with the rush of light, no matter where it leads. That’s the only way to get it out. Rivers don’t run on paved roads, you know? Imagination is like that.

So anyway, clearly I’ve only gotten to that step on this blog post, but that’s cool, I think I need a moment without artistic confinement, anyway. But you get what I’m driving at. With Quin we are hyper-focused on that singular experience. We could probably make 5 other games with just the parts we’ve thrown out. And they’d be cool, some of them. Maybe you’ll see them someday, anyway. But they won’t be Quin.

Quin is all about creating that experience. Honestly, we’re 18 days to launch and I’m already sick of selling it to you. Back it if you want. We’ve got at least a dozen slogans to emphasize that it’s “Not like the other! It’s fun, quick, 1v1 strategy where your choices have consequences. In the quantum world, luck doesn’t exist, but you’ll still never know what’s going to happen next.” It’s not that I don’t care if you buy it, sure, buy it, there are probably 20 links you can find on this website right here. I have faith that your attention span is longer than the 8 seconds Zuckerberg tells me it is. No but it’s just truly not all about that. Back it if you want. What we want is for you to HAVE it. We want you to PLAY it. We want to give you an experience.

There’s something twisted that this human world does to us artists, turning us into beggars. The best musicians in the world take tiny stages, performing for the enjoyment of a throng of drunks. Visual artists with 21st century tools, creating works that would make Michelangelo look twice, lucky if they get a freelance album cover to dig into for $50, spend their desperate days animating singing hot dogs for a dime. At least where I’m at, south of Denver, the struggling artist is everywhere you turn, running cash registers 40 hours a week, because for some unwritten reason we’ve considered that to be “essential.” Is your soul essential? What about your experience?

Obviously not all of them are great, but who’s going to become great when they only have 5 hours a week to practice in their free time? And art isn’t just about what you can sell, right?

I’m sure to some that sounds pretentious, but the truth is it’s the opposite of that. It’s impossible to be honest and pretentious at the same time. A little self-deprecation is healthy for levity though, so I don’t mind if you feel that way.

And this is just a game, right? No, see, it’s not that, never was. Quin is a moment caught in time, a thing that passed between my future fiance and I, in a sunlit back yard in a Colorado summer, long past. Quin is an attempt at making a game that IS art. Quin is an execution of simplicity in motion. Quin is honed, refined, precise . . . obsessively so. Quin is the culmination of a lifetime of gaming love – or at least I want it to be. But it can’t be that, it’s got to be just one game, one expression of what we’ve learned on that long journey. We’re not trying to take you on that climb with us. Quin isn’t the hike, Quin is the peak. Effortless. Breathtaking.

Simple.

We added a new Contests section to the site yesterday, and it’s my favorite thing we’ve done in a while, check it out. It’s been over 24 hours and one person did get the Riddle right, but they don’t seem interested in entering it officially, so the challenge is still open to everyone, for full Quin Points. Next Thursday we’ll put out Riddle 2, and I haven’t written it yet, but I promise it’ll be a tad easier. This one’s proving pretty tough for most. I guess the allusions to quantum theory and photons as grains of sand were a little bit of a reach. Maybe I shouldn’t have intentionally misled you by using the word “side” six times . . . next time I do that it’ll be a clue. And Google can’t save you, I will also promise you that. Google is fucking useless here, in the valley of the shadow of art.

Because googling something . . . well that’s really not much of an experience, is it?

Yoast SEO is telling me the readability “needs improvement.” That’s how I know I nailed it. See you all next time. 😀

Published by Brian Rooney

Author, Editor, Publisher, Game Master, Puppy Daddy, Activist, Monk

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