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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Indie Game : The Movie

It was a long and tiresome trip: I kept travelling from one airport to the next. Barely having enough time in between stops to rest. I was in the last part of the trip and I have spent almost 22 hours travelling…

(The total trip time was 26 hours!)

Imagine being exhausted, sleepy, in physical pain, and bored all at the same time and you would know how I felt at that moment. I wasn't really in the mood to watch anything on that plane. But I decided to turn on the screen in front of me anyway. Scrolling through the menu, it turned out that I already knew and saw most of the films and TV shows available on that flight. So in a moment of despair, I decided to look into the documentaries section; a genre that I like in general but for some reason I used to ignore during flights. Of the available titles, one caught my eye: a Canadian documentary from 2012 called "Indie Game : The Movie".

"Hmm... A documentary about video games. And it's Canadian! Interesting!"

Being myself; someone who is crazy about games, I had to watch that movie. Suddenly all the aching and tiredness was gone and I was eager to hit the "play" button! And so I did…

As the title suggests, the movie is about independent games and their development. The movie concentrated on three specific games and their independent developers. What was interesting about that movie were the stories as well as the direction. It followed the developers of those three games into their personal workspaces which were usually their homes. It followed them through various stages of development and showed a side that we rarely get to know about with such developers. I was surprised to see how personal those projects were. Those were not just games; they were the very lives of their creators!

Being "Indie", the creators had to do everything themselves. Everything from concept, story, art, programming, testing, bug fixing, marketing, to customer support and everything in between relied solely on them. So it was quite understandable that they had to sacrifice their personal lives and dedicate themselves to their projects. They've even lost money and yet refused to work under someone else's authority in order to preserve their independence. But the price they paid was that they had to spend tremendous effort and be under overwhelming stress. With that said, they still treated their projects as if they were their own babies; nurturing them and watching them as they grow little by little day after day over a number of years. You can see their pride when something —no matter how little— works right. And you can see their worry when something goes wrong. You can feel how terrifying it was for them after all the hard work to release their "children" and send them to the world; how powerless they felt when their projects were not under their absolute control anymore and they had to face the different reactions of users from around the world.

For me to see the amount of creativity and dedication those people had; it was inspiring to say the least. And I can definitely relate to some aspects in those stories. But there is also another thing about that movie that I've noticed. And in fact, it is why I decided to write this post in the first place:

Even though the games in question were huge hits and had great successes, and even though the movie crew were there to capture the exciting reactions to the wonderful news right from the beginning; the developers weren't as excited as one would expect! And that really caught my attention.

I'm sure that deep down, those developers were happy. But their initial reactions to hearing that their games were huge successes were more of long sighs of "finally letting go" of the weight of all the stress, fear, and terror of things going the wrong way. They loved their work so much and spent so much effort on it that they became terrified of it being rejected or finding that all their "upbringing" was in vain. So for them, hearing that their "game" did "exceptionally well" was not as important or as exciting as the realization that their "babies" have grown up and are now out in the wild and doing "fine"; so that they can have their sigh of relief and move on to think about their next project…

That's how I think most of us behave. In our moments of triumph, we focus on all the fear and stress that we've accumulated and bottled inside and how we can finally relax. Then immediately afterwards we start thinking about what's next; forgetting to enjoy the moment and celebrate our success.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mental Block!

It has been a while since I've tried to write anything..

I can't believe how difficult it is to write! I thought that by creating a blog, I would be motivated to write every single day about every single thing that comes to my mind. Especially that I'm not trying to be a poet or a novelist; I just want to write what I think and reflect about. To me, it sounded like common sense that having a blog (or two) would automatically make it easier for me to write and share. But in reality, I feel like it made it even harder! Now that my writings are not just for me anymore but rather for anyone out there to read; the pressure to put my thoughts into words is much higher. But that is not the main reason I find it difficult to write. Lately, I have been feeling like I am having a continuous mental block.

I can't read, write, or enjoy any of my favorite hobbies -- including drawing. I can't think of anything new or creative. It's like seeing my own brain being locked up behind a giant lock for which I have no key! And this makes me irritated, anxious, frustrated, and angry!!

It's against my nature! That's what makes it so annoying. I can't stand being so unproductive. In my mind, I should always be drawing something, designing, reading, writing, working on a project, presenting to an audience or doing whatever comes to my mind. Some people might disagree with me, but even playing games should be part of that list. I believe that it requires some level of creative thinking, skill, and coordination to be able to play. For me, that was how it used to be; I used to do all of the above. But not anymore!

When it comes to writing and drawing, I haven't come up with anything new in a while. I can't think of anything. And when I do have a spark of an idea, I can't build upon it or elaborate on it. My mind simply goes "blank"! Even when I have something that is ready to share; I think a thousand times before hitting the "share" button. And most of the time, I decide not to share! My hesitation is much worse than it was. The problem is: I don't know why!

It's ironic that I'm trying to think about not being able to think, and writing about not being able to write! I guess I just have to start somewhere. But what can I say? What should I do?

I have no clue!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

To My Lovely Wife

I've been meaning to write those words for a long time now. I've been meaning to share this message with you and the rest of the world so that everyone would know how much I appreciate you. I wanted it to be in writing so that those words can be preserved throughout our lifetime, possibly even beyond.

I wanted to thank you for accepting to have me as your husband, as your partner, as your companion, as your friend, as your confidant, as your supporter, and as your biggest fan.

I wanted to thank you for being my wife, my sole partner, my true companion, my best friend, my trusted confidant, my biggest supporter, my number one fan, my beautiful bride, my guardian angel, the queen of my heart, the mother of my child, my pride and joy, my soul mate...

I Thank you for being by my side no matter what. I Thank you for supporting me in all my ups n' downs. Thank you for taking me despite all my flaws. Thank you for all the love, affection, support, and encouragement. Thank you for all the smiles and all the laughs, all the hugs and all the kisses, and all prayers and all wishes.

Through your unconditional love and support, and through your faith in me and my abilities; you managed to pull me out of my worst states and darkest hours. Even at times when I doubted myself, you believed in me. Without you, I would be lost. Without you, I would lose my mind and go nuts! You are what is keeping me sane.

Thank you for being you. And thank you for being the best part of my life. Thank you for all that was, is, and will be between us.

I also wanted to apologize to you. I'm sorry for all the flaws that I have --and I know there are many of those. I am sorry if I have not lived up to your expectations. I am sorry if I have not been as supportive as you would want me. And I am sorry if I have ever said or done anything that upset you.

Looking back at our time together --now that we just marked four years of our marriage-- I have nothing but good memories. You have made the last four years much more beautiful and wonderful than they could have ever been. You have taught me what it feels like to be in love and be loved, to have someone to share the laughter with, to have someone who would always listen when I need to talk, to have someone who I can always turn to, to have a shoulder I can cry on…

I wish I could be better for you. Because, the way I am; I don't deserve to be with you. And I'm so lucky that I am with you. Because you deserve only the best.

May God bless you, protect you, strengthen you, and give you all the joys of this life and the afterlife.

I love you. And I am looking forward to all the years I am going to spend with you.
From the bottom of my heart,

P.S. writing those words reminded me of the song "Pictures in My Head" by Westlife. It pretty much speaks my mind:
Thank you for tomorrow
When you're gonna call me
Thank you for the weekend
When you're gonna see me

Thank you for the memories
We haven't made yet
You've always been a part of me
Even before we met

Thank yon in advance for the love you give me
I've had a glance of the good life
You'll be there when nobody believes me
I've gone through it all in my mind

I can see me looking at you
At the start of the day for all my life
I can see me dying to hold you
On my way when I'm driving home at night

I've got these pictures in my head
These pictures in my head…

Sunday, May 27, 2012

What Would Have Happened?

As I was driving one day near a busy local street-market, crowded with merchants and their tables full of merchandise, buyers crossing in every direction, groups of children riding their bicycles, and cars trying to squeeze themselves through the narrowed and crowded street; suddenly came some reckless teenagers in their car blasting their way through that market! They were going at least 80 km/h; which might not seem that much compared to what we witness on our streets everyday, but imagine that kind of speed in that busy marketplace! They appeared so suddenly in front of me as they were entering the market area. And they almost caused an accident with me!

I honked my car's horn out of startlement and anger. And I got my reply from those teenagers in the form of a middle-finger gesture and the screeching sound of their tires as they drove away. I went in my way. One turn later, I was surprised by the same teenagers driving behind my car, then overtaking me and harassing me by pretending to want to hit my car with theirs!

They ended up stopping their car in front of mine. By that point, I was furious. They were the reckless ones! And as it turned out, they had the audacity to turn around the block only to come after me! Then they used their car as a weapon and threatened me! And they finally stopped in front of me challenging me to respond!

Well, I responded!

I unbuckled myself, stepped out of my car in anger, and looked straight at those stupid teenagers who were still in their car looking at me through their rear-view mirror, and then I used my entire strength and the full capacity of my lungs to shout as loud I can in sheer anger "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!" and without waiting for a reply I continued "COME HERE AND SHOW ME WHAT YOU'VE GOT!". I even amazed myself at the intensity of that shout. I never thought that I could shout that loud! Everyone in that street was looking at me. And the children stopped their bikes and were anticipating a fight. Of course, all what I've got from those brats was the same hand gesture and the screeching sound of their tires as they've escaped the scene again. Still furious, I stepped back into my car and went in my way...

The reason I'm writing about this incident is that it made me wonder: Was the situation really worth my anger? What would have happened if those teenagers reacted differently to my shouts? Was I really able to stand up to them? What would have happened if they were carrying knives or even guns?! Was it worth my time and energy (and maybe my life) to react to those boys?

I couldn't help but wonder...

How would've you reacted to the same situation?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Why Do We Share?

"I only started writing in an effort to release some of my tension and bring myself closer to healing." --Myself

Those are the words I used almost a year ago. And those are the words I would like to start this brand new blog with. I don't mean to sound cocky and arrogant by quoting myself. And I have no doubt that there are many wiser people whom I can quote; people who have said it better than I did. But to me, it is not about who said it better; it is about whose words are more relevant. And I don't think that anyone's words are more relevant to me and to what I want to say than my own!

Although this article speaks about me writing, I have some confession to make at first:
I never had a diary before. And I never thought of having one.
I was never a writer before. And I never thought of becoming one.
I was never a poet before. And I never thought of becoming one.
I was never a blogger before. But I "sometimes" thought of becoming one…

But during a time of despair, I tried to write down what I felt. I tried using writing as a tool to force myself to think rationally instead of listening to my depressed mind. And to my surprise, I found it to be quite a relaxing and enjoyable experience!

I've decided to make writing a habit. And now my newly found aspiration is that one day I would publish a book of my own -- regardless of what that book might be about. Unfortunately, I'm no where near that level. So I decided to take it one step at a time. And the most sensible step to begin with is to start my own diary. And so I did…

Admittedly I have to say: Despite calling it a "diary", it is more of a scrapbook! Therefore, I wasn't trying to write on a daily basis or trying to list what happened to me during the course of the day. Instead, I started writing down short sentences, small paragraphs, little pieces of information, thoughts that crossed my mind, situations that led me to think, and things that made me wonder. The problem is, I left most of those pieces unfinished!

Since I've started almost a year ago, I've managed to assemble a collection of more that forty incomplete essays. Right now, I'm trying to complete those essays as well as start new ones. And although I have a couple of essays that I've already finished, I don't feel satisfied yet. The reason why I'm not satisfied is that I haven't shared them yet. And that is when I decided I should start my own blog.

Some of the people around me might argue that it's not a very wise idea to share some of my deeply personal thoughts and feelings. They might argue that I'm exposing myself and my weaknesses to the world; something that might bring me more harm that good. But I have an answer to that:

First of all, we are all human beings. We all have weaknesses and flaws. And no one is perfect. So even if I didn't expose them, I do have flaws just like everyone else.

Second, I don't care! If anyone wants to use my flaws against me, then so be it! I want people to know me and accept me the way I am. Not the way they want me to be. And if exposing myself like an open book is going to cost me a friendship, a job, or a social status; then I'm well-off those things. Again, I'm not being arrogant. I just want people to recognize me for the person I am; flaws and all…

Last but not least, I want to share because I need to share! In fact, we all do! Because sharing helps us feel better everyday. And we do share in many different ways. Not only in writing, but in many shapes and forms; whether that was a conversation over a morning cup of joe, a family meeting, a private talk with our spouse or a close friend, a phone call, an email or an online chat, a written article in a newspaper or a blog, a talk show on television, or a video blog… etc.

We share thoughts and ideas, emotions and feelings, opinions and views, plans and dreams, and many more. We do so because we were not meant to live life alone, because we can't survive without having someone to share with, and because we can't carry on without people to speak to and hear from.

It's in our nature, our blood, and our instinct to look for ways to socialize and share the contents of our curious minds. And we will forever continue to do so, whatever the means we use.

We share because we need the attention. We need to be heard and recognized. We want to tell everyone that we exist. And we want to know from their reactions and interaction that our opinions matter. We need the recognition that we are an influential part of our society.

We share because sharing is a vent for our suppressed feelings and emotions. It's an escape from the hardships of our stressful daily lives. We share because we find conciliation in knowing that we are not the only people with problems. And by speaking about our own struggles and hearing about the others', we find inner peace.

We share because we need to hear about each other's achievements . We need to be motivated by people's success stories. We need to give each other hope. And we need each other's support.

We share because we want to change our world. Because we want to make it a better place. Because we need to see it as a brighter place. We share because we desire the good and despise the bad. Because we want the best for ourselves, our families, our communities, our countries, and rest of mankind.

We share because we need to entertain and be entertained. We share because we need to smile and laugh. We share because sharing helps us feel better. Because sharing helps us heal…