Notes so far
Stepping back for a moment and looking back at the first two months of this project, I’m noticing a couple of things.
First, the quality of my writing is… not what I’d like it to be. Mind you, most of these game poems are written as they’re conceived, usually within thirty minutes or so, and then posted with very minimal editing. But still, I’d like to think that I could construct sentences and paragraphs in a more engaging and clear manner. But, like my buddy Dave commented, “writing is re-writing”, and eventually, I plan to revisit each one of these (once I reach my goal of fifty-odd games for the year) and give them the once- or twice-over that they (and you, the readers and players) deserve. In the meantime, please bear with me.
On a related note, if anybody out there is reading (or playing!) these, and has comments, questions, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to post them hear. I’m interested in any kind of feedback, including (especially!) critical feedback, as my aim is to make these as good as they can be, and I don’t believe that I can do that all my my lonesome. I appreciate and look forward to any and all input from my patient and thoughtful audience.
Secondly, I notice that many of these game poems are a lot more… well, “gamey” than I’d originally expected, or intended. But, that’s okay. I’m kind of a gamey gamer, and my designs tend towards fiddly little systems where they may or may not belong. But, that’s where playtesting comes in, and if things are too fussy, out they go. I’m primarily interested in evoking certain impressions, feelings, or emotions with these game poems, but I’m also a firm believer in “system matters”, and I think that the right game mechanics can produce that kind of effect as well as the most finely crafted turn of poetic phrase. Thus, the “game” part of “game poem”. I’m going to try to focus a bit more on making them more evocative through not-rules in the next batch, but I write whatever comes out of my inspiration, so that’s not a guarantee. I hope that they do the job, either way.
Lastly, and kind of related, a couple of my favorite game poems so far (and I’m going to withhold the identity of those at the moment, so as not to taint the judgment of anyone whose opinion of a particular game might be influenced my by own) tend to leave out something important, something central to my conception of the experience that the game should produce. Leave out in the text, in the description of the game here, that is – I believe that these things emerge from the process of play. Eventually, probably not all the time, but as my designer-mind traces through the pathways and possibilities that a given game poem can produce, I see a few of them generating these awesome results that aren’t stated directly in the rules, but are discovered by the reader/players along the way. That makes me very happy, and even if this experiment ended right here and now, I’d feel that I was successful in doing just that. I hope to come back to this point and explore it and talk about it some more in the future, so if I forget, bug me about it, okay?
So, that’s enough jabber for now. I hope that you’re enjoying this game-poem experiment, whoever you are out there. Only ten months and forty-three games to go!