Where is the Game?
That is the question of the month it seems. People have been asking about the Kickstarter, and why I missed my target for the second attempt. The answer to that is a multi-headed beast, with a few of the reasons being ones I didn’t even want to admit to myself.
The game is completed to the point that it could be on a shelf a week from now. I go back and forth on deciding if I need to add more or take some away constantly, and have hesitated on so many pieces for days at a time. So, you could say the completion status changes every day. Other issues have to do with the manufacturing company I am working with, settling on pricing I would like, and getting reviews and any quality marketing figured out.
If I remove all of those reasons, then my biggest obstacle currently is myself. I have hit a low point with the game, and with everything else going on, I think I have taken too big of a step away from it. I’ve been going so hard for so long, that I think I lost track of what I wanted to create or accomplish. It started to feel like I was trying to punch and scratch my way through walls, and every time a got through one there was an even thicker wall in front of me.
I started scaling back on how much time went into the game, then my marketing started to slow right behind that. The social media pages started going quiet and my ability to solve problems and move forward seemed to vanish.
I have been running a 2 year marathon and collapsed only 100 feet from the finish line.
It’s not the grind that got me. Creating everything for the game is some of the most interesting work I have ever attempted. I think at some point I snapped. The game began moving from a passion project to a business.
Of course everyone creates a product to sell, but when it became more of a product than a passion, I started to lose whatever it is that I had. All the ideas that used to pop into my head stopped coming. That excitement I would get as I created new designs began to diminish. The game is the first thing my emotions pushed me to create and it had just become emotionless.
This last 6 weeks has been rough, which could not have helped. I’ve had 14 reviewers reject even looking at the game. A company I had been working with for 5 months has completely pulled out. An entire shipment of prototype games was delayed, and I’m waiting on news on if they have been “misplaced”. I went from being in the top 3 in a STL Game Design Competition a year ago, to not even being accepted in my recent entries.
There is a great podcast called “StartUp” on iTunes that I suggest to everyone, whether you are wanting to make the leap or not. It goes through the highs and lows of all entrepreneurs, and is as real as it gets. I recently got my wife to listen to it, and in the second season they reference a term, “Trough of Sorrow”. I have heard a lot of others in the startup community in St. Louis call it “The Struggle”. It’s when you get bogged down to the point that things feel hopeless and you get so confused that you no longer know which ways up.
After listening to that episode, I remember my wife asking me if I had ever been in the “Trough of Sorrow” before. Emotionally I have had ups and downs with both companies I'm working on, just like anyone else, but would never consider it that rough. I was always moving forward and the good was always so much better than the bad.
Recently I have been thinking about that day, and if she asked the same question today, I might have to say yes. It's crazy to think that to be true, but I have a tendency to lie to myself and just assume I can fix the world. The traits that make me good at what I do, also handicap me. I'm self-confident and actually believe I can solve any problem that exists, but it makes me blind to the fact that I need to be able to ask for help.
This is where my wife comes back in. Not only does she work to make these blogs understandable with her editorial skills, but she can see through my bullshit. It's why I love her, and also why I’ll be working for her one day in the future.
Sorry to take everyone down a path of my psyche. I sat down to write this post and every reason I came up with sounded like nothing but excuses, and that’s just a waste of words. I want to be as transparent as possible throughout this process, I think I can learn from it as much as anyone who is reading. I also owe that to everyone that has continued to return to the blog and listen to me ramble. You guys are amazing and continue to surprise me every day.
To help relax a few of you, the momentum has picked back up on the game. I have found more reviewers and am focusing on increasing press and marketing. I want to ensure that I have done everything I can to get the word out there. All of the content for the Kickstarter is 100% finished and with the newest updates, I truly believe I have created the best game that I can.
Thank you to everyone that has been patient with me and I know it will be worth it. I can’t wait for you guys to have your first real glimpse into my world.
The wait won’t be too much longer.
I’ll talk to you guys soon.