I cannot discuss your videogame, because any attempt at criticism would be foreign to me. Nothing touches a work of art so little as words of criticism: they always result in more or less fortunate misunderstandings.
Things aren’t all so tangible and sayable as people would usually have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word or logic have ever entered, and more unsayable than all other things are works of art, as the videogames are, those mysterious existences, whose life endures beside our own small, transitory life.
You ask whether your game is any good. You ask me. You have asked others before this. You send them to magazines, websites and youtubers. You compare it with other videogames, and you are upset when certain publishers reject your work.
Now (since you have said you want my advice) I beg you to stop doing that sort of thing. You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you – no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to develop videogames; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to develop videogames. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I develop videogames?
Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must”, then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.
Then come close to our world. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose. Don’t develop sci-fi videogames, fantasy videogames, platform videogames; avoid those forms that are too facile and ordinary: they are the hardest to work with, and it takes a great, fully ripened power to create something individual where good, even glorious, traditions exist in abundance. So rescue yourself from these general themes and write about what your everyday life offers you; describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty Describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use tools you know and resources you have at disposal.
If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a videogame developer to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is no poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in a grey office, whose walls let in none of the world’s sound – wouldn’t you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories? Turn your attention to it. Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance. And if out of, this turning within, out of this immersion in your own world, videogames come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines or websites in these works: because you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it.
I can’t give you any advice but this: to go into yourself and see how deep the place is from which your life flows; at its source you will find the answer to, the question of whether you must develop videogames. Accept that answer, just as it is given to you, without trying to interpret it. Perhaps you will discover that you are called to be a videogame developer. Then take that destiny upon yourself, and bear it, its burden and its greatness, without ever asking what reward might come from outside. Because the creator must be a world for himself and must find everything in himself and in the things around him, to whom his whole life is devoted.
But after this descent into yourself and into your solitude, perhaps you will have to renounce becoming a videogame developer (if, as I have said, one feels one could live without developing videogames, then one shouldn’t do it at all). Nevertheless, even then, this self‑searching that I ask of you will not have been for nothing. Your life will still find its own paths from there, and that they may be good, rich, and wide is what I wish for you, more than I can say.
Finally I want to add just one more bit of advice: to keep growing, silently and earnestly, through your whole development; you couldn’t disturb it any more violently than by looking outside and waiting for outside answers to questions that only your innermost feeling, in your quietest hour, can perhaps answer.
R.M.Rilke, Paris, 1913 / I. Venturi, Bologna, 2016