This is the canvas of today. You’re looking at it. Graphics and text, powered by servers and fiber optic cables. The beauty of the baud. Technology and advancement, some claim – I call her irony.
Our role models and heroes of days past struggled to keep a proper public image. The pinnacle of success was to see ones picture on a Wheaties box, or win an Olympic medal. They made public appearances, and if nothing else, mocked sincerity towards there fans and fame.
Welcome to today. You are now a hero and a role model to thousands upon thousands of people. You don’t play a sport, you have no noteworthy charm, and you aren’t exactly the greatest looking person on earth. You are, however, the half-naked female in Ever Quest, the dull parchment colored box of Asheron’s Call, and yes, you’re even the guy making ten bucks an hour as a Game Master. Your name is John Smedley, Scott Herrington, R. Garriott, even Abashi and many more.
Generations are beginning to look to you for wisdom, insight, a kind smile, or a gentle nudge towards the right path. Call it just a game, call it a virtual reality, or call it your vision, but it still boils down to that at this very second, behind a desk, in a room somewhere, countless “somebody’s” are supporting your product instead of playing a sport or watching a film.
To these nameless, faceless individuals, you are the Michael Jordan on the cereal box, you are the last action hero, and you are the Olympic medallist. You have the artistic talent they wish they were born with, you have helped them decide to major in computer science, and you have developed a product they adore. You are who they look up to when they ponder the future and their careers. No, I don’t want to hit a baseball like Ken Griffey Jr., I want to code and draw, just like you.
So where is the irony?
The irony lies in the fact that the vast majority of you don’t take the time, to, if nothing else; make an effort to at least pretend to recognize that you have replaced an important part of society. The part of society that has in the past, helped encourage kids to become a somebody.
Sure, numerous of your “customers” do nothing more than belittle your hard work and mock your efforts. But don’t you see? These are the ones that need your personal signature the most. These are the cries for help from a generation trapped behind a monitor looking for acceptance – by you. Your products helped make way for a new elaborate subculture within society, it’s now your turn to set an example for all pledging developers to come.
Respond to every email. Take the time to post on public forums. Show that you have personality. Don’t be bitter over words. Learn to smile. Pat a virtual shoulder every now and then. Shake a virtual hand once in awhile. Crack a lame joke.
Don’t be afraid to show that you’re human, and don’t be so quick to hit that “Delete” key, gentlemen.”
Perhaps I shouldn’t be posting this now, since I’m technically “competition.” But I’ve never been one to walk on egg shells or be overly political. What I am is honest – as a designer, a writer, or just an avid game fan – I’ll always be honest with you and speak my mind.
I guess what hit home the most was that I was this kid at one point, and a bigger version of the same kid, not less than a year ago. I’m one of the fortunate ones, I got lucky in finally being able to do what I dream about. To this day, certain people in the industry often don’t take the time to reply to simple “Hey how are ya?” emails. No, I’m nobody important, no I’m not working on anything you have heard of yet, but deep inside, I’m still this kid. I still admire what you do, I still look up to you, and I still want to be you.