Today I Feel Grateful

Today I received a wonderful gift.

But that’s not how the story should start. I think I should start by telling you that this past year has been quite challenging. In fact, when I say challenging I mean, on a personal level, quite dreary. Not exactly what I had planned for, nor was this something I would envision a year ago.

Continue reading “Today I Feel Grateful”

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The Wheel Turns and the Path Unfolds

Loved finding this title.

I only had “The Wheel Turns” on my mind, over and over again. Then, the Universe showed me the rest (with the help of Google).

So yes, another year has passed since this blog’s inception, this was the first year of new discoveries, the first year after saying YES to life, universe and the rest. The first year where I was open to the abundance of [insert better word for ALL].

So what happened last year? Continue reading “The Wheel Turns and the Path Unfolds”

Love’s True Kiss

Love’s True Kiss

To behold a glimpse
of love’s true kiss
Would make faces turn into awe

For we have, since,
Forgotten such bliss
Since alpha, since the days of yore

What is this – you say – and turn to fly away,
I cannot upon you bestow

The angels’ blessing, with my hand caressing
Your heavy frown

Release thyself then,
From all the past, cumbersome and frail
To enter a brave new world, a new trail,
For you are the who, and now is the when.

© 2015 Tiago Loureiro. All rights reserved.

Gone Home (or why I love being in the videogames industry)

Back in 2013, when I was working as a producer for a very famous free-to-play mobile publisher, my guts started telling me (more like pressuring me, as only guts know how to) it was time to move on to what I loved most: telling stories.

Besides starting to get involved in talks about a project I am currently working on, that was also the same year when Gone Home was launched.

I was immediately drawn to the promo image (the one above) that gave away traces of mystery/occult/retro/artsy art direction. Then, after a few searches, I came across a few reviews in popular web games press sites and got to see the first gameplay screenshots, and even a short gameplay video.

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What the f*ck did I just watch? How come something with such an appealing (at least for me) promo art had turned out to be a first person game with graphics that seemed a bit dated (apologies for being completely honest) and did not show any of the atmosphere I was craving for?

Somehow the press and the public were praising it like maniacs. So I decided to give it a shot, someday, when time would allow. I ended up not playing the game at the time, but apparently all of my videogame-guru-friends did and that was a pain because no one cared if I had played it: they just shoved all the important info down my throat, like a BDSM slave being force-fed spoilers while on the rack.

I hate it when that happens. Nonetheless that did not impact my curiosity to play the game. I read what I could about it, while at the same time I was trying to avoid any more unwanted, spoiler-filled information. I really wanted to play the game.

Then I guess “life happened”. For some reason I kept postponing it. Days became months, and months… well let’s just say it was almost two years after launch that I actually played the game, but I will get to that shortly (I promise).

The year after the game’s launch, I went (as I do every year, with the exception of 2015 – with great sorrow) to the best games conference in the world and I knew I that I was going to attend a talk by Steve Gaynor from Fullbright. That thought grew in me (again) the desire to finally play the game.

I went to the talk without ever playing the game, but I seemed to know all about it by then. What it was about, plot twists and weird ways players found to finish the game (aka speedruns). I felt as passionate about it as any other fan that had played it, an already considered the game a brilliant piece of art.

I must say that I had never been in a games talk by anyone as passionate about his/her creation as Steve’s. I could have sworn that, at the end of the talk, his eyes had that special specular reflection, the one you can only have when you are about to shed a tear. I truly understood why Gone Home had the success it was having (and still has): it had been made with passionate love.

Now I was really mad about playing the game! I congratulated Steve (would have loved to have a few drinks with you but Mike took you away immediately after, acting like a freaking bodyguard in a ‘security compromised’ situation) and said to myself that when I got back home I would finally play the game.

Guess what: “Life Happened: The Return!”.

Then, after quitting my job to become a indie/freelancer/consultant/ games adventurer, spending months bootstrapping my career and flying to distant and exotic lands showcasing game design as a tool for empowering youth, I finally played the game, like today, Julian date 15144.

And I finished the game in the same day (granted, it is not that big). And I only wish I had done it sooner!

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Gone Home pushes all the boundaries on what storytelling games should be all about. It presents you a solid narrative, with multiple hints throughout the game, that always show you a different side to the story, a possible subplot or even some genius interactivity moments where you are, at the very least, grow a big smile on your face (I even got a nice big scare at one point).

Overall, and in a no-spoilers mood, this is a game about unconditional love, freedom and breaking free from social shackles.

This is the sort of game that everyone should play at least once in their lifetime. This is a game for you to show your children, your parents and your loved ones.

This is a game that makes me feel good for doing what I do, for standing on the shoulders of giants.

This one is about Love

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So I sat down, after a long day, waiting for sleep to come, waiting for the sweet kiss of night’s tender lips, Persephone’s scent, warm and comforting embrace.

On the floating, shapeless oceans
I did all my best to smile
til your singing eyes and fingers
drew me loving into your eyes.

And I heard you from far away, eyes calling out to me, a desperate cry for release, release from the shackles you built for yourself, from the life you foolishly chose.

And you sang “Sail to me, sail to me;
Let me enfold you.”

Have you dreamt about us? Have you love me as I loved you all this time?

Here I am, here I am waiting to hold you.
Did I dream you dreamed about me?
Were you here when I was full sail?

I have been here, always, a lighthouse to guide you in the never-ending darkness you drove into. Would you let go? Would you see me as your saviour?

Now my foolish boat is leaning, broken love lost on your rocks.
For you sang, “Touch me not, touch me not, come back tomorrow.”
Oh my heart, oh my heart shies from the sorrow.
I’m as puzzled as a newborn child.
I’m as riddled as the tide.
Should I stand amid the breakers?
Or shall I lie with death my bride?

In both death and life, I will be here, for you, forever. Hear me sing my song of light and warmth to your body. Let my arms touch your soul, if only for a brief second. Let me hold you just for a brief instant, in the everlasting flow of time.

Hear me sing: “Swim to me, swim to me, let me enfold you.”
“Here I am. Here I am, waiting to hold you.”

I am here.

Life (re)starts at 38

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Yes, it does. For me it’s more like restarting (quite poetic for someone teaching videogames programming at a media school called Restart), restarting on a new paradigm, new roles, new paths and new challenges. Oh, did I mention that today is my birthday?

Today is my last day at Miniclip. This level has been complete, as are all the achievements, and I also managed to get a fair position, mind you, in our leaderboards. Time has come for me to try something new, again, to venture in the world of questions, of learning and, ultimately, of adventure.

Looking back I love the path I’ve tread. I learned a lot, met wonderful persons, laughed a lot and got to see plenty of them growing with me. Some persons will still be in contact, some won’t, but that’s just fine, that’s how life brings you freshness every day: you meet others, make friends, love some, hate others, and, unfortunately, quite often, forget to be in touch more than you would probably want. But still, I guess that’s part of your personal growth, overcoming kindergarten-like emotional intelligence and start accepting who we are, what we want, and, ultimately, knowing how to let go of all the things we do not need in our lives.

I look at you (yes, I can see you) as someone who has taught me something. Even if our paths never crossed, I would like to take time to say Thank You! We never do it enough times in our lives, being thankful for life, the universe and everything.

So Thank You for being a part of my life. Thank you for making me laugh, cry or any other indiscriminated (is this a word?) emotion. You helped me grow, as a human being, a patchwork quilt made of stardust and earth.

Quoting an author you probably know very well:

“You step onto the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Here’s to being swept off!

Love & Light