Loneliness 10th Anniversary Update

Jordan Magnuson's picture

Ten years ago I made a little Flash game called Loneliness. Today I’m releasing an HTML5 port of the game, so that it can live on once Flash reaches end of life later this month. 

Loneliness is probably the best evidence I can give from my past work to support the point that it is sometimes worth putting things out in the world, rather than keeping them rotting on a hard drive somewhere. I don’t say this lightly, because these days I keep a lot of work rotting on a hard drive somewhere, too precious to be let out to the world. 

I made Loneliness at a time when I was not so self-conscious. I made the game in four hours after a moment of inspiration, and decided to go ahead and put it online because why not. Had I known how many people were going to play it, I would not have uploaded it on such a whim. I would have put more sweat and blood into it, would have made it better. Oh so much better. I tell myself.

But that’s how things go. People sometimes yell at me in all caps, angry that they were conned into playing the game by some top ten list or other. I tell them that I understand. I don’t know why Loneliness ended up on those lists either. Personally I don’t think it’s my best work. But that’s how things go. 

When I uploaded Loneliness ten years ago, I thought it would get a few plays at best. The idea that I might run into people in the wild ten years later who had played the game and been moved by it never even crossed my mind. 

I think that the way things played out was largely dependent on accident: right time, right place, yada yada. Who knows. I’ve made a lot of games over the last ten years, and most of them don’t really get noticed. But I do think putting work out there is an important first step. If I had kept Loneliness on my hard drive ten years ago, no one ever would have played it.

And I realize that sounds kind of… cute. If you’re a creator and you’re already doing this (putting work out there) but nobody is noticing: I’m sorry. I wish they would. And I don’t have a magic spell for right time, right place, yada, yada. But I applaud you for doing what you’re doing. Because it’s not easy. For me, releasing work has always been hard, and it has only gotten harder. 

But I’m glad I put Loneliness out there. Even if I sometimes wish people would play my other games, I’m mostly honored that they’ve chosen to play one. So thank you to everyone who’s played it, from Gregory Weir and James Portnow (whose kind words early on fueled my desire to keep making weird games), to all the lovers and haters on Newgrounds. It’s been a ride.

Oh yeah, and I’ve George Lucased the end screen. This was never supposed to be a "message game." Oops.

Loneliness screenshot

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