A few people have taken note of this, but about a week ago I quietly killed The Anatomy of Games. It was a fun idea, but I really lost the plot with the series somewhere along the way. Ideally, the articles would take a more holistic approach to game design, but I honestly don’t have the time I’d need to invest in that approach. I’ve been taking the level-by-level/piece-by-piece approach as a matter of practicality: I can afford to play games in short chunks and write about those fragments, but the idea of playing a four-to-10-hour game all at once and parsing it out just doesn’t fit into my life. Unfortunately, as many people have pointed out, the bit-by-bit technique runs the risk of becoming a trainspotting walkthrough, which is completely useless.
The series isn’t necessarily going away—I mean, Nintendo just reissued Metroid: Zero Mission a couple of days ago—but I’m folding it all back into this blog. A big part of my current effort to get my life back under control involves cutting free the things that no longer have any value to me, even if their worthlessness is entirely perceptual. Every domain I run is just another hungry mouth to feed, and killing off one of them has brought a profound sense of relief. The Anatomy domain will go away pretty soon, and I’ll delisting the less creatively successful books from Amazon as well (most likely Mario, Zelda, and Mega Man—Metroid and Castlevania turned out well enough that I don’t feel bad about their continued existence).
In the grand scheme of things, though, it’s not really that big a deal. I almost cut loose Retronauts instead, since it’s a huge time investment whose earnings all go back directly into the show, and honestly it could continue running under Bob’s stewardship alone and probably end up all the better for it. But it would be pretty pathetic for me to drop out just short of the 10-year anniversary, I guess. After that, we’ll see, but I’m in it until… what was it? October 4, according to Wikipedia. Oh, wait, I need to finish out the deck of cover art playing cards. So I guess through the end of 2016, then! After that, it’s all a mystery. Sometimes it seems unimaginable that I’ll even be around to see 2017, to be honest. I can’t plan that far ahead.
In the meantime, I’ve submitted the final Retronauts Kickstarter book files to CreateSpace and have selected winners for the USG Mario Maker contest, which means that despite all the frustrations of the past few weeks, I’m still making headway. So: Suck it, 2016.
17 thoughts on “Don’t carry that weight”
I’ve enjoyed all of the Anatomy series, but hey, the archives are still here on Gamespite and if tucking it away here results in less stress for you, all the better. I can definitely see having something where it can be updated whenever inspiration strikes rather than having it as a constantly looming capital-P Project can be a better arrangement for one’s peace of mind.
I’m sorry to hear that the series is going away, but glad you’re getting some relief from the pressures of an ongoing commitment.
Will the archives remain up indefinitely? I’d hate to lose these great analyses! Please let me know if I should be archiving these articles offline.
All articles have been folded back into this site: https://gamespite.net/category/games/anatomy-of-a-game-games/
Considering I’ve spent nearly two years getting half way through a design analysis of a game that can be played to completion in about a day, it’s hard for me to be disappointed by this. Either way, looking forward to the more casual anatomy posts, and all your other projects.
I hear you on dealing with multiple mouths to feed, as it were. But before scrapping it entirely, have you considered making it a more community-run project? The whole thing sprang forth from a series of posts that eventually earned their own TT sub forum, after all, did it not?
No point—that forum is barely used.
Thank you for the games you’ve already covered with the series. Definitely in favor of cutting it though if it helps.
I really like Anatomy of Games (including the Mario, Zelda, and Mega Man entries, though I’ll acknowledge the Castlevania and Metroid ones are stronger) and I’m sad to see it go, but I’m glad to hear you’re cutting loose projects that aren’t fulfilling. Focus on the stuff you feel good about.
I really enjoyed the Anatomy series but completely understand why you’re ending it. Looking forward to everything you are able to do as a result of letting it go.
I enjoyed reading through the Anatomy of Super Metroid while playing it for the first time — I’d finish a session then jump on the site to check out your analysis of an area. Fun times, but I completely support your decision to put it away for now. I’ve always been…shocked (and impressed) by how many projects you balance at once. I understand the need to have multiple creative outlets, but from the perspective of “how on Earth can a single person simultaneously create multiple video projects, a podcasts, long form articles etc. etc. while having a job and a life”…I enjoy and appreciate everything you do, but my brain cannot comprehend how you do it :p
Short answer: I can’t.
I really enjoyed your Anatomy of Game, and I just order the Zelda and Mario ones. I can understand wanting to cut back though. I’ll keep enjoying all your other work.
Far be it for me to give any real opinion about your life, but if something like Retronauts is turning into an anchor I don’t think you should feel guilty about dropping it. Also, I would be sad to not hear your take on things in some sort of audio format, so I’m not trying to rush you to quit either, I just think that if things are a drag for you you shouldn’t feel an obligation to keep pumping stuff out, that’s the quickest way to get burned out and resent what should be a pleasure.
Anyway, I hope your year is going good and as somebody who has the Zelda book, I’m glad I got it before you delisted it as I think its’ a really fun little book!
Is the content of the Anatomy of Games 5-pack on GumRoad identical to the five books currently listed on Amazon? Thanks.
Yes, it’s the same. Should be!? I’m pretty sure.
Thanks. And these have extra content from what’s available at the link below?
It’s all pretty much the same.
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