Have you ever felt like someone made something just for you? As if they studied everything about you and found the formula for what would you would consider the most perfect movie/book/TV show/game in the world? It’s the way I felt when I watched the Wachowski brothers’ Speed Racer movie, and it’s the way I feel when I hear Jonathan Blow talk about The Witness.
When I first heard about The Witness, I was so psyched that a game designer I really admire, who already made something I really enjoy, was working on a new game in my favorite genre. And pretty much everything Blow has said about the game since then has reaffirmed and elevated my level of excitement about this game. I’ve heard him say before that he’s hoping to update the traditional adventure game genre through The Witness, but I really enjoyed the way he explained his inspiration in this Kotaku interview (excerpt presented here with interviewer commentary removed):
“I liked Myst and other games of that era but what I really liked were games that never existed. It’s like there’s some really fucking awesome game like Myst that nobody ever made because it was filled with all of these illogical puzzles and stuff, right? I can picture in my head what that game would be, I’m letting that inspire me.”
And that’s the moment when I jump up out of my chair and shout “That’s exactly how I feel! Where is that amazing Myst-like game?” He’s pinpointed that missing piece, the void that the fan of adventure games can never seem to fill, and he is taking on the challenge of filling it himself. And that’s the part where it becomes really difficult to convince myself that Jonathan Blow’s sole reason for being born into this world was not just to make the perfect game for me and me alone.
Earlier in the interview, on the topic of caring about video games, Blow says “But one thing that has always appealed to me is that I’ve always wanted to do something in life that is productive or meaningful that, if I wasn’t doing it, probably wouldn’t get done.” And that is why I’m thankful to Jonathan Blow. Who the hell else is going to make an amazing game like Myst, the greatest game I can even imagine? Nobody. And the fact that the game designer I would have most trusted with updating my favorite genre is the one who has decided to take on that challenge? Just perfection.
“The only way I can make a game is not trying to maximize my audience,” says Blow near the end of the interview. Please don’t ever try to maximize your audience, Jonathan Blow. Please just keep making this game the perfect game for me. I am your ideal client and I am so ready to love this game.