Trying to write about leaving is incredibly hard. Each time I’ve sat down to do it since we made our decision earlier this year, I’ve found myself questioning what it is I want to say. Seeking inspiration, I read accounts of people leaving Australia and their own perspectives, but none quite connected with me. Giving in to self-indulgence, I tried to place the 13 years of living here in some sort of context alongside the evolution of Australian and international game development, but it became unwieldy even as it revealed things I’d never quite articulated. Trying to separate out the personal, I reflected on the recent stories about Australia’s games brain drain and how government funding aims to change that. Then finally, I explored my own relationship to making things, digging into the swing of my own bouts of ambivalence towards games and the ways that it broadened my perspectives towards writing and teaching, led me to Freeplay, and expanded the horizons of what it meant for me to not only make games, but to be a creative and cultural citizen of a city.
But each draft, focusing on one thing over another, emphasising something and deemphasising another, in their own way all felt smaller than the sum of their parts. Then, when I tried to include everything, they became unwieldy, self-indulgent, and ultimately too imprecise.
So I went back and forth, and as I did, the drafts kept spiralling back around to the same point. As I fought against it and tried to say more, the drafting process did what it was supposed to and pared things back, revealing more accurately what was sitting at the heart of everything.