I suppose if you’re not keen on the topic of addiction, pornographic addiction or the process in which someone may deal with that addiction, this subject matter probably isn’t for you. However, if you don’t mind learning something a bit about the creative process of tackling mature subject matter (while also dealing with that nagging burden on your shoulder) in an interactive visual novel, this interview just might enlighten you to some of what goes on in the mind-frame of individuals dealing with the difficult circumstance.
After originally doing an article about the indie game from Cleril Calamity Studios that ended up on Steam’s Greenlight page with plenty of hot-button responses and enough sweaty-forehead reactions to make a congressional hearing about the legality of cigarettes make tobacco executives look cool-headed by comparison, the developer decided to reach out about his interactive visual novel called My Name is Addiction.
The game continues to receive regular views on this here website and is garnering quite a bit of attention (even still) on the Greenlight page. Cleril offered me a review copy of the visual novel and I gave some impressions from a brief play-through. The experience left me curious about a couple of things regarding the interactive novel and I thought I might volley a few questions to the creator of the novel, Cleril, to get a better understanding of the mindset that put him into a creative drive to produce such an experience.
According to Cleril…
“I first got into porn between the ages of 11-13. I realized I had an addiction when I turned 18 and began trying to recover from there. I started creating the novel about 2 years ago which would make me 19 years old. Due to the addiction and college (but mostly the addiction) getting in the way it took 2 years to finish the novel. I’m 21 now of course.”
The subject matter wasn’t the only thing that caused controversy on Steam. The way the game is presented – the art-style and music choices – has caused a lot of people to react in all sorts of unpredictable ways. Some people like the art-style, some people hate it, some people think it properly conveys what the novel is trying to get across, others feel it’s “hipster” and “indie”. The thing is, everyone has a strong opinion about the novel, about its aesthetics and about the way it’s presented.
The simple gist of it is that it’s hard to ignore responding to My Name is Addiction.
Personally, I thought the music was courageously fitting to the changing moods and themes of the experience (even though majority of said experience was dark and brooding). According to Cleril, it wasn’t quite as meticulously planned out as you might have imagined…
“For the music I just went off my intuition. I don’t particularly have all that much planned when I make my video games besides concepts and particular themes to address which can change as development goes on (as was the case with My Name is Addiction).
“The goal of the music was to enhance the current scene, mentality, and situation you were involved in. Horror games use sound to stimulate the player into a rising heartbeat or shallow breathing. I basically came at the music from that approach. It was less about what I wanted it to sound like and more about what it was supposed to sound like.”
I definitely concur that the sound and music suit most of the visual experience with what you would expect from an experience like that. While the art may or may not be to your liking, it’s hard to deny the fact that it conveys what it’s supposed to in the way that it’s supposed to.
I asked Cleril if we would see this subject matter approached from a different angle… perhaps, a point-and-click adventure title? Cleril’s response…
“I never cover the same topics twice whether in the video games I create or my writing outside of my video games. My Name is Addiction is the only offering I have for the topic of porn addiction. I chose the visual novel medium primarily because it seemed the best fit for handling the subject matter. “
But there’s a bit more to it than that. It also has to do with player choice, or rather the lack thereof.
The young artist states that…
“Visuals novels vary in execution but they leave the player rather pacified in terms of what the player can typically do. You are meant to feel like a porn addict within the novel and I decided a less game-like medium would better suit that. After all, any addict will tell you that it comes down to choice no matter what the addiction. There is no game to be played. There is no losing or winning. You get your options and you have to live with them.”
Wow, that sounds like this other horrible thing called life.
I joke, I joke. Geez, tough crowd.
Even still, the whole thing boils down to what you, as an individual, want out of life. My Name is Addiction makes no presumptions about anyone in their dealing with any sort of addiction, assuming the individual even wants to classify it as such (because not everyone does). The choice ultimately falls down to each and every single person and how they want to deal with whatever form of addiction that may be ailing them.
Cleril left this bit of a nugget for people to cognitively chew over, stating…
“You have to learn how to be an active participant in your life. And then maybe you can play something more game-like.”
My Name is Addiction is currently seeking votes and favorites over on Steam’s Greenlight page. If you think the interactive visual novel deserves a place on Steam or deserves a platform in which this topic can be discussed with a wider audience, feel free to show some non-addictive love on the game’s official page.
(Updated: 27 July, 2014 @ 11:46:37)