A Game a Day Recap

When I first thought about tackling this challenge, I think I was a different person. I was negative and a prisoner to my depression. Sure, I wanted to devote this blog series to mental health awareness, and yes I love making games so I was expecting to have fun, but I had ulterior motives that I was blind to.

I was jealous and angry.

I didn’t know this going in until an incident on June 10th. I was upset with my stage in life, where I was career-wise, how overlooked I was at work, and how artists in my personal life didn’t take me serious. I wanted to show them what I was made of. I originally thought I’d prove my job that I was a worthy contender for a junior or associate game designer role, and I wanted the artists that I worked personally with to want to work with me even more. Deep down, and I didn’t realize this, I was letting my depression defeat me. It made me angry. I was viewing my self-worth as something only that job or those artists could give me. So, I worked extremely hard the first week and a half, losing an incredible amount of sleep to impress. I wanted validation. I didn’t know this, but that’s what I wanted most.

I was sleeping 2 hours a night for the first 10 days in order to finish a playable project, add art, sound, write the blog post, even make a video for non-readers, and finally I’d share on social media. I chose to neglect my health. I avoided the gym and I’d stuff myself with fast food. On the 10th day, I had maybe totaled 20 hours of sleep (I should have been at 80 hours), and I was out of my mind. I was obsessed with page views for my validation. My closest friend saw this and then realized how much of a mess I became. This friend stopped being my friend that day and left me to sit in the shit prison I made for myself. I lied to my friend prior to this project, and I lied to myself. I said I was doing it for awareness and for myself, to simply see if I could.

The day after, I decided to react. I got up, I bought a ton of vegetables, I grabbed my gym clothes, and I started a fitness plan. My depression had possessed me to push away the closest people in my life. It’s made me into a monster. I never do anything evil or criminal, but I’m a pain to be around. I decided to put my foot down and focus on my health. You are what you eat, so if my body is only taking in healthy foods, I’ll feel healthy. If I work out constantly, I’ll feel happier. If I sleep more, I won’t become the monster I’ve become in the past. I also decided to put my blog series in distant 2nd. I did always try to make a game a day, but rather than devoting 8-10 hours and no sleep to a project, I’d use 1-2. Often, I wouldn’t have art and sound, or I’d submit unfinished games. My blog entries all focused on my daily health accomplishments. And today, July 5th, I can say that my mission is working. I’ve lost 23 lbs, feel better, look better, and I got new glasses. I’m cooking more, making healthy meals for my family, and spending more time with my puppies. I’m trying my best to finally get rid of my depression, and in the process I’m creating the self-worth I lacked all along.

Shortly after doing this, I remembered what my blog series was supposed to be about. I was devoted to trying to challenge myself, learn new things, and have fun, while also making my happiness the number 1 priority. I mentioned this in every post. I want anyone who may come across the blog to understand how important mental health is. In the end, I was happy making games and I used the majority of my words to speak about mental health. I ended up doing what I should’ve been doing. I let go of the pain that I allowed my job or artists to give me, and I have been fighting as hard as I can to forever feel better.

I would consider it a success in that case. Maybe soon, “Anxiety Monster” will only be a name. I hope so.

Thank you all for reading. Please take care of yourselves. If you know anyone suffering from depression, know they can be helped. They can beat it. Sometimes you may not feel really helpful, but a simple “I’m here for you” goes a long way.

To any young designers out there battling depression, you CAN succeed. Keep making game after game until you get better. If you have questions, contact me. I’ll respond. I know the feeling. Things can feel overwhelming and impossible, but I know you can get through it like I’m doing.

Good Luck,
Edwin

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A Game a Day: Day 26

Day 26

Due to personal matters, I will not be participating in the A Game a Day project today. I will instead focus on my health.

Depression can be defeated. I believe it.

A Game a Day: Day 5

Day 5 started off different. I woke and didn’t feel like myself. The lack of sleep really caught up to me. For those that don’t know, sleep deprivation can contribute to feelings of depression. And for those that experience depression and/or chronic anxiety, lack of sleep can severely worsen your experience with depression. To be as transparent as I’ve already been, that’s what happened to me today. I woke up in a rough state and knew I couldn’t attend work. I used a sick day. And people, please don’t be afraid to use sick days for when your mental health needs your attention. With that said, I made a game and I was a lot more successful than yesterday. What did I make?

I made a game simply called Piñatas.

That’s right, a 2nd piñata based game. This one started off as a tutorial I found on youtube. It was an easy-to-make physics based cannon game. I wanted to cheer myself up, so I added a swinging piñata to try to shoot. I added a timer, some health to the piñata and the game was done. The goal of the game is to try to diminish the piñata’s health before the timer of 30 seconds runs out. I worked on it for about 3 hours and declared it finished. I had lunch and then I noticed I still felt uncontrollably anxious and depressed. I decided to add more to the game as a form of medicating myself. I added items that spawn sporadically. I added an hourglass, a metal gear, mini piñata that serves as health, and fun music. The hourglass adds more time, but if the piñata collides with it 5 seconds is removed. The metal gear turns the swinging piñata into well…a metal piñata, and makes it invincible. The best thing to do here is to try to shoot the metal gear so that the piñata doesn’t get it. Also, metal music plays if this happens. In the end I felt a lot better. It was one of the rare times that game design actually helped me through an episode of depression. I knew PLAYing games could help people with depression, but I wasn’t sure than designing and developing could help.

Today it did.

With that said, play the game and let me know what you think. Do you like it? Do you think it’s one of the worst pieces of garbage that’s ever been garbaged? Tell me. Also, feel free to share this post and/or the previous ones, games, videos, and click like. See you all tomorrow with my 6th game straight. Thanks!

Total time developing: 7 hours

A Game a Day: Day 2

On Day 2, I was running on fumes. I had a lot trouble trying to upload my first game, so I started very late on the 2nd. However, I stayed up and completed something I was happy with. I started work around 11:30 pm and finished around 6 am. Since I have visiting relatives from Mexico, I wasn’t able to sleep much, clocking in only 3 hours. So, that’s a total of 6 hours in the last two nights. So what did I make?

I found myself talking about relationships in the form of stick figures and pressing time-sensitive keys on the keyboard. The game I made is called. I ❤ You. 

The keys that are displayed are difficult to press with the pressure of time, reflecting the difficulty of being in a relationship. For some, the longer you’re with, the harder it gets.

I originally started drawing stick figures in my notebook, and knew I wanted to make two characters being controlled by the same inputs. When I started drawing one of the stick figures in Construct 2, one of the hands had a C-shape. Then, the idea just popped. It eventually started getting a bit personal, but that’s a good thing. Games should help us get things off our chest.

Total time spent developing: 6.5 hours