I'm currently making an exploration puzzle-solving game called Taiji, One time, I gave a puzzle game design lecture out of my car. I've done video essays on many game design topics, such as how 2016's DOOM manages to feel strangely like 1993's DOOM, what makes Gone Home a sincere experience, and how perhaps more games should play themselves.
That may seem like a lot, but I've barely scratched the surface of the things I'd like to do. Trust me, I have a list! With your help, I'll be able to spend less time finding ways to make ends meet, and much more time chipping away at that list of things I want to make!
What is Patreon anyway?
Patreon is an online patronage site where you can pledge money to creators that you want to support. This keeps them from having to rely on external sources of income which take time away from creative pursuits, or those which compromise integrity, such as advertising.
I like it because it creates a direct relationship between my biggest fans and my livelihood.
Why Support Me?
I currently spend 40+ hours a week working at a photo lab. This is not hard work, but it limits my ability to focus on work that really interests and fulfills me. I still make games and write in my spare time, but there are only so many hours in the day.
By backing, you are doing two things. First, you are helping me to afford better equipment to produce my videos and games. And secondly, you are helping me get closer to my goal of doing this type of work full time. This would be a huge milestone for me.
My essays and videos will always be free, as will many of my games. I will still make them even without your support. However, if you choose to pledge a little (or a lot), it could help me improve the work that I do and I will be beyond grateful. Even if you can only give one dollar, it's still worth it to me. Think about it, if you and 100 other people give one dollar, then that's 101 dollars!
Thank you for your consideration. :)
So, How Does This Work?
You set a pledge amount and each month, I will receive the amount that you pledged, and you will receive the rewards that you select. Simple as that!
What Do You Get?
You get high-quality essays and video essays on games and game design. You'll also get games, probably puzzle games, when I finish them. I am also interested in doing some more presentations on puzzle game design and possibly other topics.
If you back at $1 or more, you will be notified through Patreon any time I put out a new game, essay, or video. This is a great way to keep up with all the stuff that I do. You'll also have access to any patron-only polls, and can help shape the way that this Patreon develops in the future.
Even better, if you back at $5 or more, you'll get access to an archive of content which is completely backer exclusive! There are quite a few trinkets in there already, such as an entire retro analysis of Banjo-Kazooie, but expect more to be added occasionally.
if you're feeling extra generous, there are also special rewards for $10 or $20 pledges which will let you show your support in the credits of everything that I make!
Who Am I?
I'm Matthew VanDevander, a game designer living in Tennessee.
I've always had a profound interest in discovering how things work. As a little kid, I would tinker with things that I found and take them apart, often to the great dismay of my parents.
When I discovered games at an early age, I immediately was transfixed. Here was this world, rich and detailed, dancing up on the screen. I had a sense that there was something deep down, somehow alive, inside of the machine. There must be! How else could it feel so real?
I'm not sure when, but at some point I put it together. Games were made by people! Perhaps I could make them too!
I spent a long time trying to make games like the ones I was playing. It was well beyond my capabilities, and resulted in little more than a pile of abandoned projects.
As I got older, I became increasingly disenchanted with games. I never truly fell out of love with them, but they just seemed to have not grown up alongside me. It was something below the conscious level; I pried for deeper meaning perhaps. I started to feel apologetic for games, loving them for their potential more than for what they were. They failed to nourish me emotionally or intellectually in the same ways that works from other mediums did. Perhaps my father was right, maybe they were just for ten year old boys.
But things have begun to change. Yes, there are still several dozen blockbuster games each year with even emptier calories than the latest cartoon to receive the Michael Bay treatment. But bit by bit, smaller games by more risky creators have begun to push at the walls surrounding the current paradigm of games. It is impossible to tell how long this will last, or where it will go if it continues, but it has begun to be a beautiful and thought-provoking journey to follow the maturation of a 21st century art form.
I still try to make games. Bigger games in some ways, and smaller in others. The ideas are bigger, more important, but I have learned and am still learning my limitations.
More often though, I write. I write about what games can be, and I write about what games are. Not in some romantic way though. I am no longer an apologist. Games can be beautiful, but more often than not they are ugly.
Part of me still wants everyone to love them though. To understand them the way that I do, the way that only someone who has grown up with them really can. Through my writing, I hope to communicate that love, along with the knowledge that I've gained through a decade and a half of making games as a hobby.
In that sense, the ambition of my writing, much like that of my game design, continues to exceed my grasp. But it's a struggle. And I hope one day to reach them both.