There’s a running joke with a lot of people who know me that if there’s a way to make sure I don’t make any money from what I do, I’ll find it.
It’s true, I guess.
I’ve long maintained my games at accessible prices, either Pay What You Want, donationware or just flat out giving them away and yeah, I’m giving them away right now because I honestly think there’s a point where you do hand these things over for free, where you say “ok, enough”. I’ve done enough with them, it’s cool. I ran a big sale a few years back and spent all the proceeds on a big haul of shopping for someone who had none. I had a few quid over last year so I paid for a week in a spooky house and took people on holiday there. I’m not very good at making a fortune, I’m really not.
I’ve ran RR out of pocket for years. It gets some contributions to help keep it afloat and I’m grateful for that but the reality is that for the past ten years, I’ve paid out over 10k out my own pocket for the place and then some. Which isn’t a complaint, you have a choice in these things, right? Nobody forced me. Give or take the odd moment here and there, it’s been massively fun too. There’s a few things I’m not proud of along the way, a couple of things I’m sorry for but in the main, we did good I reckon. We made a lot of good things happen in our time. And during that time, I had amazing support from people too, when the shit hit the fan for RR, I never once had to deal with shit without help. I’m so thankful for that.
And I write here and write often for nothing. I’ve only really gone after one paid gig myself and I managed to “do a Rob” and make a mess of that by falling ill the week I was supposed to write something so that never really went anywhere. Truth be told, the kind of stuff I write about isn’t the kind of stuff videogame outlets generally look for anyway and it’s not the sort of stuff that runs to a schedule. I made an exception for Eurogamer recently because I have nothing but the most amazing respect for what Chris does and well, if someone you respect that much asks, be rude to say no.
But generally, writing about being a small developer, writing about the human parts of making games or making sense of the videogame world around us, it doesn’t pay anyway. Occupying a weird niche between opinion piece, explainer of things and intimate tales of my life as a developer? No outlet wants that stuff, especially not on the regular. I like writing here anyway where I can write more freely and be safe knowing that if I fuck up, I’ve got good people who’ll pull me on it and as I’m in control of things, I can sort stuff out pronto. You can’t do that freelance.
And I’ve been ok with all this. In many ways, I still am. No-one makes me do this after all. Also, after being knocked down ill a few times in recent years, it’s been an amazing way to stay sane during some really rough times. Wouldn’t change it, y’know?
But y’know, cash. It’s a bastard.
We’ve tried a few things in the past to ease the burden but nothing’s really sat pretty. Once upon a time a now very famous developer offered, alongside some other folks, to make games we could sell to help ease the costs but I kinda found that awkward and didn’t know quite how to handle it so I let it drift off. I’m glad I did now because there were better things waiting for him and for the rest who offered too. We tried some donation-incentives on RR and that’s cool but again, it was people putting up work to help get out of a rut and I couldn’t square that with my conscience. So.
Patreon seems cool. It’s sort of like donations and stuff but you get to know that because of it, it eases some of the costs of doing what I do. It means that I can justify the time I want to spend writing more without thinking I’m taking away from doing something that would pay a bill instead or get the kid some shoes. And there’s so much stuff I want to write, so many old posts that need to be updated so they can be useful still, I’m sure the world of videogames isn’t going to quieten down anytime soon so I’m not going to be short of stuff to say, yeah?
But more than all that, I’m kinda tired of being just a hairy dude with opinions on things. There’s been times this past year where I’ve near walked away, so many times, but the thing is I still love videogames but I miss being able to write about them. The reality is that with no money in it, there’s only a finite amount of time I can put away to writing things so that’s how I end up writing stuff that’s just bouncing off a thing that happens and being man with opinions. It’s so much nicer writing about games, what they mean to me and what they mean in the wider context of the whole game-i-verse (which is totally a real thing) and I miss that stuff a lot. I’d love to be able to afford myself a few hours here and there to be able to write about videogames proper again.
And it means that maybe, after ten years or so, I might be able to claw a few quid back for doing the things I do. Even a few quid takes some of the worry away, y’know?
But I know times are tough, I know Patreon isn’t something that can be relied upon in the long term. Of course I do because these are the sort of things I spend my days thinking about. For now though? Hopefully it can be a way for people who value what I do to help make it easier for me to do more, to write more. And spare some time to sort out a proper archive of the really useful posts. (All two of them or whatever)
I still feel awkward about it, probably always will, but if you like what I write, what I do and want to help make it easier for me to do more? I’d be grateful for your backing. I’d like to be able to keep on writing, keep on talking about life in videogames and every ounce of support, mo matter how small really, truly helps me be able to do that.
So yeah, I have a Patreon now and I’d be most grateful for your patronage.