There is a weighted word, it's probably one of the most important and sometimes elusive concepts in gaming. It's that thing that makes the creative part of your brain stand up and start doing some work, finally. The problem with inspiration is that it's so rarely realized. A good idea might hit you and then you forget about it, or don't flesh is out enough, or just don't care quite enough to make it happen. Worse, you might not even have an appropriate outlet for it!
I'm going to leave doing something with inspiration for another article and focus instead on where it comes from. Call this part one of a series of blog posts on inspiration. See I was so inspired yesterday (and a little this morning) that at work all I could think about was this one idea. It made me a little sad to have to shelve it, but after a long hard look at the state of the campaigns I'm running it absolutely had to hit the back burner. However, it did get me thinking about where the idea came from.
It came from Dark Souls. Dark Souls is the spiritual successor to the most atmospheric game I've ever played, Demon's Souls. It simply oozes style and substance. The story telling is extremely subtle and the open world of the game is so terrifying that stepping away from relative safety is genuinely worrisome. The first time I ran into an enemy in the wild it was actually fear-inducing, and the circumstances weren't even that crazy! It was a skeleton in a graveyard in broad daylight, nothing scary about that in a normal game. But Dark Souls is crafted in such a way that makes every enemy encounter a struggle and every new experience a serious mental health concern. In short, it's one of the many sorts of games I wish I could run.
It's a... complicated love affair with media, because I'm often exposed to things that spark new ideas, and thus I am constantly shelving them or pepper-spraying them because they just can't take the damn hint and leave me alone. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. On the contrary, it's awesome to take in inspirational experiences all the time. I love being showered with the affection of my creativity, even if it's a bit overbearing at times.
Sometimes it's harder to find, for a lot of reasons. Personally, I almost always find it hard to be inspired for something I've spent a lot of time on already. For example, a long running game gives me trouble, I can never come up with ideas I love. This even happens in the relatively short term, it's why I can't run games for more than a few hours. I think the people who never ever experience some sort of inspirational road blocks are people who lead impossibly interesting lives. Or they are liars. Maybe both.
Gaming has made me take in experiences differently. Whenever I hear cool music there is something in the back of my mind calculating it's usefulness for role playing. I have created entire awesome scenes based on just songs, without even knowing the context. I take in all media like this. My inspiration engine is running full bore whenever I'm seeing, hearing, or experiencing something cool. It's a blessing and a curse, I have a hard time focusing on stuff sometimes because of this.
I think the stereotypical image of the basement dwelling nerd is incorrect, because I think a lot of gamers are like me. We need to be taking in cool stuff. Whenever we need that kick in the brain we just start filling our brains with outside influence, and that happens a lot! It's the fuel we desperately need. For now, I'm going to absorb Dark Souls in it's entirety and hopefully crank out some ideas that will drive a desperate fear and anxiety into the hearts of whatever players end up on the business end of my idea.