No, this is not about the quality of modern games, don't worry.
At the start of the year, a small handful of 'business angels' gave me a limited budget to come up with a game, both in concept, gameplay, and code. The basic idea was "a game that makes it fun to do good deeds", and the money was meant to allow me to work part time on it for the first half of the year. Through a lot of meetings, a lot of research, and a ton of different outlines and mockups, we got a few concepts moved into the very early test stages. The period laid out is now coming to an end, so what is the verdict?
"There really is no point in trying to push a way of living (doing good deeds) on people who don't want it, and the ones who already live that life don't need it."
Although this is paraphrasing a lot, it is pretty on the nose. Making good deeds fun is pointless, because those who disagree won't be swayed by a game, and those who agree don't need the game as a reason to do good deeds. I understand that, perfectly. I even, much to my displeasure, agree mostly with it. But it SCARES THE LIVING CRAP OUT OF ME, nonetheless.
It basically means that it is highly unlikely for anything positive to change negative behaviour, in my mind. Games won't make you try to be a better person, or healthier, or more informed in your decisions. Part of it is the flipside of "violent games don't make kidsviolent". Bad things in games don't inspire bad things in people. But apparently, good things don't inspire good things, either.
I want to make the world better. I honestly hoped to find a way to press my foot inside the door somehow on that, with this project. But it seems that there is a hardcore psychology side to trying to MAKE a trend rather than just make something that follows trends blindly. I don't know how to work with or around that, or even how to fit it into my head, but it saddens me, greatly.
My work with this small group will likely not end with this. They have ideas, I have ideas, they have a bit of money, I have bills to pay and hopes of doing it through something I enjoy, like making weird games. But I honestly cannot see this particular angle going much farther, and it bothers me. There are at least 5 small projects on the table now, though not all strictly games. We'll see where those go.
Right now, I have allergies and cats (not related) to attend to!