Creator Of The Stanley Parable Says Some Profound Things About 'Success'

Davey Wredon is the writer of the critically acclaimed The Stanley Parable, the innovative, smart piece of work that somehow managed to be an entertaining, well-made video game that brilliantly skewered all video games. Now the game has been commercially successful, and lauded in the games media, Davet Wredon is perfectly placed to discuss the concept of 'success' and what it meant to him personally. You might be surprised by how it has affected him.

In order to make sense of how success has changed his life — sometimes for the worse — Wredon created a comic.

"The point of the comic was purely just to clarify that financial and critical success does not simply make your insecurities go away," he wrote. "If you were insecure about other peoples' opinions of you and addicted to praise in order to feel good about yourself, the dirty truth is that there is no amount of praise you can receive that will make that insecurity goes away. What fire dies when you feed it?"

Wredon clearly doesn't like too much attention, so I was in two minds about posting this. But I do think he raises some important issues about how we treat one another online, and how that affects other people.

Davey Wredon puts it better himself:

Obviously you get to do whatever you want, that's how this creator/audience thing works, and no matter what happens I'll be fine. But I want to stress that the weight I have carried is real and it is heavy. And despite my trepidation about posting this online, I really do want to share it with you. I want to be able to show you this weight, to put you in my head. I am compelled to. It is just in my blood. I have no other explanation. Thank you for joining me.


Comments

    And then once Wredon wins GOTY:

    This is a story of a man named Davey.

    Davey worked for himself in a small building, where he was employee number 1.

    ...

    Sorry, I just dont understand all this whinging lately about "success". I swear these guys have some serious issues if their only complaint is that they're making a living out of their passion... its like the Flappy Bird guy; "my work is loved by millions of people.... so now i'm sad."

    As an independent game developer, I'd kill for this kind of success - even half the attention these games have been getting (let alone recognition for your work - i.e. awards). Want to know what's REALLY sad? Working years on a game no one plays. Now THAT is depressing. 99% of indie devs know this pain... these "one hit wonders" have it good.

    Davey brings up a good point, albeit a little melodramatically.

    Praise is addictive. Like all addictions, we crave it the more we get it. You know you're addicted when, if it is not received, you feel empty and despondent. When you obsess about it to the detriment of other factors in your life. The absence of that praise can mimic a withdrawal effect.

    It helps if you mentally voice the phrase "fuck it, I don't care what others think". It's not that you don't care, but it does help to alleviate the worry about the opinion of others. Balances things out.

      Have an upvote, to undo all your hard work and feed your addiction. :)

        Oh the humanity!

        More upvotes. Need moar!

    I cannot think of anything more horrifying than the Stanley Parable being nominated for a "Game of The Year Award". Not because it wasn't a great gamey-type-thing; Wredon made a fine creation and he should be proud. But if this meta-narrative on the terribleness of games is the best thing we've made in 12 months then the industry clearly has its head so far up itself that there is possibly no hope of redemption. Besides which Gone Home came out in the same 12 month period, and clearly when the putative knocks against Gone Home are largely just that it's "short" and "not a game" then Stanley doesn't have much of a comparitive leg to stand on.

    Reading that kind of makes me feel a bit bad for the guys who make games like Call of Duty and the like. Everyone praises certain games while anything subsequent gets shitted on for not being as good. Living in your own shadow must be difficult, because you either have to try and replicate your successful formula (satisfying calls for "more!" but inviting "it's more of the same!" criticism) or trying something new and getting lambasted for not giving the people what they want. Damned if you do damned if you don't really.

      It'd be particularly brutal if you've been working on something like Duke Nukem Forever, or something else for like.... 5+ years of your life. Can you imagine the result of 5+ years of your career being critically panned and held up as an example of what's wrong with an industry? And you're sitting there going, "Yeah, but did you like the textures you fuckers? I DID THAT. THEY WERE GOOD, GODAMMIT."

    The three fingers over the bar at the end pretty much confirms Davey has been contracted to finish Halflife 3 on weekends. Yes.

    Last edited 03/03/14 5:07 pm

    On the one hand, I know the feeling of wanting to succeed and feel like the things you do are worth something to people other than yourself. On the other hand, it sounds a bit like; "I'm so popular and it's just so hard having my thing that I made be liked by so many people. Everyone should be telling me how good my thing is or I'll feel sad." Davey seems like the kind of guy who has his feet on the ground though, and it's always hard to talk about the pressures of success without sounding like you're complaining about being awesome.

    On a side note. Fire can die from feeding it. You can overfeed it and smother it, or you can feed it the wrong thing and kill it.

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