Hello! I’m Edwin Franco, the game designer and founder of Anxiety Monster. The team was originally formed when I participated in Indiecade’s Resist Jam in March 2017. We needed a team name when time came to submit the project, and Anxiety Monster just made sense. In my personal life, I’ve been burdened by severe anxiety and depression. It once held me back from progressing in many aspects of my life, caused me to feel panic attacks during major events, and even contributed to ruining multiple relationships. In time I learned to re-purpose the monster that was killing me. It became my super power, MY Anxiety Monster.
I have wanted to make games since I was 8 years old, but my mental capacity, attention span, anxiety, and self-deprecating depression positioned me to fail. After years of being lost, unable to learn programming, failing at every attempt, I was finally ready to call it quits on life. Then, at my weakest moment, I watched a Zelda Symphony concert in San Jose, CA. The music from my childhood’s favorite games traveled from instruments, into my ears, somehow made it to my bloodstream, and finally gave my heart the beat it needed.
It revived me.
I went back home to Los Angeles, found a school (Gamegen) that challenged me to make weekly games on Construct 2, a very accessible tool. I finally found a way to make games.
At the time of creating the name, I had been making games on Construct 2 for only two weeks. For the Resist Jam, I teamed with my friend, the incredibly talented Allyssa De La Torre. Together we made a game called On the Other Side, which was a simple stealth-narrative side scroller about a little girl who searches for her deported mother at the US-Mexico border. I knew very little about design or game development in general then, but I tried to create and complete something special. In the end, the game was played hundreds of times, featured in two Let’s Play videos, talked about in a podcast, and even scored me invites to the Games For Change Festival and LA Zine Fest. Since then I’ve made over 30 small games, added my talented friend, Jason Smith, to the team, and I’m finally developing the skills necessary to comfortably express myself with game design. Additionally, after over a year of using Construct 2 on a daily basis, I’m finally understanding simple programming.
What was once impossible to me started feeling possible. Now I strive to be good at what I do, and hope to one day do it professionally. For now, I find happiness being able to finally consider myself a game designer. Now, I want Anxiety Monster to be front and center of every game I make, showing everyone that they can make games too, even with their own monster eating away at their hope.