On Saturday, my husband and I went to a video game exhibit. Are we major gamers? No, not really, even though we do enjoy the occasional game (if the words “Final Fantasy” are in it, I am down to play it). We were there because I was conducting research for my novel (and, well, it also seemed like a fun thing to do).
I discovered a lot of things there. The X-Men arcade game was broken, forever crushing my dreams of ever playing it (it was always out of order at my childhood Pizza Hut). If you think a game looks like a Miyazaki film, it was probably produced by Ghibli studios (see Ni no Kuni). Kids will inevitably hog Duck Hunt even though they don’t have any nostalgia for the game (not that I am bitter that I never got a chance to touch the beloved gray gun). After several rounds of Street Fighter, it was definitely decided that I am better at video games than my husband.
While all those discoveries were pretty cool, my favorite one was the difference between mediocre games and those that stood out. Was it cool graphics? No, not really (although that helps). Was it amazing gameplay? Nope (I never really care about that much). It was one big thing: purpose.
I remembered a game that served as physical therapy for kids with prosthetic limbs. I was obsessed with the game that helped kids work through their anxieties and fears. I was totally infatuated with a video game that helped introverts explain their POV to their spouse.
Want your work to be remembered? Have a mission. Don’t just write or create for commercial gain. That is the fastest way to mediocrity. Actually think about the why behind your project before you start creating it. If you don’t have a purpose, then why are you doing it?
Tears for Frears claims that everyone wants to rule the world, but I think everyone wants to change it (for the better). How is your art achieving that? Once you have an answer to that question, go forth and do it.
Because once you have a goal for your art, I am almost positive you will achieve it.
What is your purpose? Tell me in the comments below.