I haven’t really been doing much emulation work lately, even after trying to get back into it I found it to be even less enjoyable than before, just feels like all the fun has been sucked out of working on it, so decided to just delete my MAME account over at Github and get on with other things.
What I have been doing is looking more at the previous generation of games, building a nice collection of Playstation 3 games and trying to expand my knowledge and understanding of things. How games work, not just in terms of code, but logic, systems, balance etc. has always fascinated me, seeing how genres advance, get split up, get combined and how new ideas get thrown into the mix and evolve over time, all that type of thing; this more than anything else is what I’m passionate about researching and building an understanding of.
I always felt that I had a good knowledge for generations before the PS3, especially the arcade side of things from working on MAME for so long, and many of the home systems right from the 8-bit era through to 32-bit, but having been rather put off by some things I was seeing in newer generations I haven’t had that much interest in studying them until now.
I’m not sure why I value this kind of knowledge so greatly, maybe it’s because I do at some point see myself more in a ‘design’ role, looking at game mechanics, refining how the games actually play etc. supported by some programming skills, rather than primarily a programming one, but despite a huge depth to my knowledge already it’s definitely not an easy role to really get a foot in the door with. Maybe it’s just personal curiosity, maybe I just want to create the games in my head and play them out, I definitely do that all the time anyway.
Anyway, something I’ve been considering for a while is doing mini-reviews of the games I’ve picked up, highlighting things I enjoyed, things that irritated me about them, ways in which I feel they could have been improved, or ideas that weren’t used to their full potential, or cases where things have really stood out. I guess there’s potential for it to be a little controversial because some of the games that actually put me off the generation entirely for a long time are ones that others seem to cherish, Heavy Rain comes to mind.
Outside of building the PS3 collection and playing those games I’ve spent an awful lot of time with Terraria on the PC, there are very few games I’d describe as masterpieces, but that is one of them and on top of being an excellent game it has one of the most enthusiastic development teams I’ve seen, always putting out new feature updates, fixing bugs, it’s twice the game it was when I paid for it and probably the only game where I’d be quite happy to buy it again just because I can appreciate the work being done on it, definitely the kind of project I’d jump at the opportunity to be involved with the design of because there’s just so much potential.
Honestly tho, I don’t actually know exactly where my life is heading, I’m definitely good at doing emulation work, but I do need to be able to use the creative skills I have in some way and while the arts in a traditional sense aren’t my strong point I think creativity at a more technical, logical level is more my thing and emulation doesn’t really provide any kind of outlet for that.
For now, I’ll collect, analyse, learn, and hope to actually make use of that knowledge one day.