Today, I’m emerging from this most terrible winter to announce that I have somehow managed to finish another SECOND PUBERTY game. It’s called “Dance Dance Validation!” and it looks and sounds something like this:
“Dance Dance Validation!” is a dancing game, but not a rhythm game. It’s more of a virtual puppeteering game. The more you dance, the more layers of music and visuals appear, and if you stop dancing, they gradually start to disappear. On a more conceptual level, it’s about how I learned how to get people to like me by becoming good at performing. It’s also about how I found out that there are limits to this kind of approach to getting people to like you: performing gets very exhausting after a while, and there really is such a thing as too much attention and exposure.
I used to think I wanted to get famous. I thought being admired by a following of fans for being talented at something would counteract the constant aching loneliness I felt for being different. On the surface, it sort of worked: whenever I stood up in front of an audience and spoke, or made a videogame that a lot of people liked, or played or sang a song I’d been practicing for a while, or composed the perfect tweet, people were nice to me, which sure was better than the alternative. But as I would later learn, becoming famous for something is no real substitute for actual emotional connection with other people. I never really wanted fans; I wanted friends.
This is one of the reasons why a lot of my work and focus in recent years had been drifting out of digital spaces and into smaller, more localized physical spaces: that feeling of presence and connection with other human beings has become more and more important to me, especially given that my body has been gradually transitioning into a form where I feel way more comfortable living in it. Sadly, we are still in the middle of a pandemic and in-person activities and events are still on hold and everything is still online and weirder than ever. Like I said, it’s been a terrible winter. But hey, at least I made this game?