I’m looking forward to Battle Princess Madelyn coming out on December 6, 2018.
Back on this date in 2017, I asked the following question on Facebook:
Parents: How much do personal preferences play a role in what media your child consumes?
The general response was that personal parental preferences play a huge role in what media a child consumes. I know that for years, in my home, I have curated and encouraged consumption of specific video games, shows, and movies. Part of that is me being an engaged parent; the other part of that is wanting to show my son what quality media looks and feels like.
Over the years, my son has watched a few shows that have driven me nuts. There has been nothing wrong with these shows, content-wise, but the voice acting and plotlines just seemed inane. Something I’ve had to learn, as a parent, is that sometimes my kid is going to like something I do not.
The big bad video game, in my house lately, has been Fortnite. A typical match looks like:
- Picking a place on the map to start out in
- Scavenging for weapons
- Trying not to make a lot of noise and survive
- Engaging fellow players with the weapons I’ve collected while trying not to become a victim of the virtual Hunger Games.
I have found that I enjoy the satisfaction of staying alive and making it into the final 5 players alive. Knowing that 95 other players have been eliminated and that I’m one of the few remaining is a good feeling. But I dislike how aimless Fortnite otherwise feels. I dislike the lack of direction, objectives, and how I have to make my own fun while surviving at the same time.
Fortnite does not fit my personal gaming preferences. This has taken me awhile to realize/put into words. But I’ve learned that there are times, as a parent, where you need to be quiet and explore the things your kids love. I may dislike Fortnite for many reasons, but I enjoy the time I get to play with my son. I have to focus on that positive, co-op play, and ignore the “we could be playing such-and-such game instead because that game is designed better” thoughts. Play in the moment, right?
I’ve known Justin Fox for awhile now. The last time he visited JBG, we talked about faith and his game ReElise (which was on Kickstarter at the time). Three years have passed and I figured it was time to catch up with him.
Hey Justin, what have you been up to since your last visit? What happened to ReElise on Kickstarter?
I’ve done a lot reading and understanding of the business world since then. Helped build my church, and I made another game (Black Simulator) in the process just to get a project finished relatively quickly.
As far as the Kickstarter goes, I gained a lot of new great connections… but I fortunately didn’t reach my goal. I say fortunately because I wasn’t mature enough with such an amount of money. I’m not saying I would have spent it on Blackjack and hookers or anything, but I wouldn’t have applied the “sowing and reaping” (making sure the money is making money) principle that I now understand. The investment wouldn’t have been what it COULD have been for that project. So I took a hiatus from it for 2 years to clear my head and only recently started active development on it again. Fortunately, I was able to raise a fair amount of money for ReElise through the Patreon. I’ve been able to hire colorists for the illustrations. It’s very humbling to receive support of any kind for it.
It’s interesting how God uses different seasons to grow and mature us. Seasons where we think we know what/where we should be going, but God is sitting there saying not yet. I hate those seasons of life but get why they are important.
Tell me more about your smaller project you’ve released. What did you learn in the process of creating the game?
The smaller project is a project called Black Simulator, a satirical mini-game on Steam where you’re just trying to run 3 errands without getting shot or arrested by the police. Started out as a joke with another developer but… here we are.
I learned a ton about the importance of workflow, time management, and even overcoming ego/defense mechanisms. That last one though is the biggest thing. I was so scared to release this game. My brain found all kinds of reasons to protect itself from potential failure. I had essentially been sitting on this thing for months, slowing my own progress, because it wasn’t perfect. It still isn’t perfect (truly far from it), but sometimes the bigger picture is just the experience of releasing a game on the market. Not a perfect game, but YOUR game is out there at least. It’s a starting point no matter how bad it is, you can grow from that place. Beyond even that, sometimes your loved one’s need to see you trying, because you never know who’s waiting on your progress to encourage them to do the things they’re scared to do. I learned that a good “why” can slay the ego. My “why” was that releasing this game would be edifying to my friends, because they need to see me win just a little bit. I don’t know if my game will have the impact of bringing understanding to culture, but I know it’ll edify my friends who believe in me… because they tell me it does.
So what’s next for you? Where can people find you and your game?
Next is wrapping up ReElise in August. It’s not the full game or even in the engine that I want, but I’m gonna release the first half of it. Then I’m planning to start ReElise over in an engine that isn’t RPG Maker VX! I now have someone to partner with, and we’ll make a true version of the game. After all, we’ll have an alpha/beta so to speak, with finished art, music, and sound. The Patreon is doing well to produce the art assets, and I’m so thankful to each of them.
In between ReElise and it’s final version though, I think I’m gonna make White Simulator and some other weird games. Super Baby Fetus: Pro Life Power is something I’m really excited about.
The sky is red as are the walls of the scientific research facility I’ve been exploring for the past few days. Demons roam the bloody hallways, hiding, ready to jump out and meet my machine gun. A lot of meetings have taken place here. Meetings featuring the roaring of my personal arsenal and demons flooding in from a gateway to Hell. Teleportation science run amok.
Walking down a dimly lit corridor, I know that there are demons waiting for my brand of clean up. I go to turn a corner and….
AHHHHHHHHHH! Someone touched my back… someone is behind me!
I rip my headphones off only to hear laughter from the guys on my dorm floor. I’m shaking with adrenaline. That day in college, I learned a few valuable lessons:
- Always face your computer to where no one can sneak up on you.
- Headphones, while cool, are not always your friends.
I’ll never forget how scared I was to play Doom 3 after having the guys sneak up on me. I did not play Doom 3 after that incident. The magic and the tension were gone.
What was the last game that scared you?
“Get on the Battle Bus, dad.”
“I’m not jumping out of that.”
“Just get on the bus.”
[Later, having exited the bus, we are now parachuting over an island that doesn’t appear to have a name…]
“Where should we go, Wyatt?”
“Umm… Lazy Links? Tilted Towers?”
“Just set a beacon and I’ll meet you there.”
“I’ve got a gun for you, dad. You’re going the wrong way! LOOK OUT FOR THOSE MONSTERS!”
“Where are you? How can you tell if there are enemies around?”
“There are enemies dad!”
“I don’t know, I just heard one.”
[Somehow, we both end up in a gas station. A fellow player notices us and starts shooting.]
“Wyatt, there is a guy outside by the gas pumps.”
“THERE! He is right there! Get HIM!”
Pew. Pew. Pew.
“Guess we are dead? Should we go back to the lobby?”
“Yeah, dad, let’s play again.”
Wyatt and I tried to get Fortnite, on the PS4 and the Switch, to communicate a few weeks ago, shortly after crossplay was enabled. For some reason, we couldn’t receive friend invites at that time and thus couldn’t see each other in-game. So last night, we checked again and found that crossplay is now running in a stable manner. We were able to quickly become friends and enter into a match together.
So there we were:
- Me, playing on the PS4 hooked up to the living room TV.
- Wyatt, playing on the Switch, sitting next to me on the couch.
We ran around the cartoony world and kept dying. But the boy was super excited to be playing Fortnite with me. One of those moments where I wasn’t super enthused to be playing the game, but I was happy to just be hanging out with him.
Last night, I was reminded that often, as a parent, you have to do things your kids want you to do. You have to suck it up, quit being the boss, and enter into the worlds of play your kids are inviting you into. Whether that is playing LEGO, shooting each other outside with NERF, or playing Fortnite co-op, you are making memories with your kids. You want your kids to say: “My dad used to play with me.” Gotta remind myself of that.
Wyatt wasn’t feeling well last night. I think Texas is trying to take him out. That’s right, the State of Texas decided to swap our weather from the high 90’s to cloudy, cool, and rainy. Overnight. The human body seems to take issue with sudden weather changes. Anywho, him not feeling great led to some great snuggle time on the couch (I love this). We watched Atlantis: The Lost Empire via Netflix.
I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to get over:
- The beauty of the animation in this movie. I love the style and mix of traditional and computer animation.
- How many people die within the film’s opening 20 minutes.
- How much action there is for an animated Disney movie. Wyatt loved it after snubbing the movie, for months, anytime I offered to watch it with him.
- The Disneyland attraction we lost due to the film’s performance at the box office.
- How cool it is to hear Michael J. Fox voice protagonist Milo.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire is up there, for me, on my list of Disney movies that dare to be different. Movies such as:
- Lilo & Stitch
- Treasure Planet
- A Goofy Movie
While we were watching the movie, I let developer Greg Labanov’s Wandersong download in the background. Will be blogging about this game soon.