Parasocial relationships can be incredibly uncomfortable. They are also nearly impossible to avoid if you are an indie developer who wants to market your game. Platforms like Twitter and Twitch can be huge assets for catching attention and engaging interest.
The power of these platforms goes beyond business. In a world of constant stimulation, the loudest voice often makes the biggest impact. How do you get a loud voice in the digital world? Have a bigger social media following. Get more channel subscribers. But as your platform grows, your ability to know and interact with individual people rapidly diminishes. The parasocial relationships forms.
This is hardly a new problem; it’s been the problem of celebrity for generations. But now it’s a problem that many people who never wanted celebrity—who maybe just want to make games or make political change or talk about their passions or play games—face.
Today I want to dive into a bit of the psychology of parasocial relationships: why they can be so uncomfortable and some possible methods for easing that discomfort.
Earlier this week I made the decision to pull Karma in the Dark from public access.
As it stands now, the game needs significant revisions before I would feel comfortable keeping it available. Some of my problems with it are tied to the genre and original games that inspired it. Some of the problems are related to game mechanics that need a significant overhaul.
At the end of the day, it made more sense for me to take pieces of the game and start from the beginning to build an entirely new game. That game is Ruralpunk: a game about the cyberpunk future in rural communities.
Once Ruralpunk's main playtesting is complete, I will re-write the world generator from Karma so people can create their own cyberpunk setting.
This blog is a mix of game design analysis, commentary on issues affecting indie dev spaces, and some personal reflections.