Declutter: the decluttering

I've been doing more decluttering in our house. This has been a slow process, but I've found it pretty helpful to help me focus on the things that I want to be part of my life. Nothing is immune from the decluttering. At the moment I've been looking through my game collection and removed a bunch of games that I know we're not going to play anytime soon. I've also been reviewing the books in my collection. As a game designer and programmer I've found "how-to" books are like candy for me: I couldn't get enough of them. So I've amassed and gotten rid of a lot of books. I've also realized that I've learned a lot about game design and don't need the same types of books that I did while I was learning. Same with programming proficiency books. So here's some of the rubrics that I have used in order to cull the herd of books and games.

  • Programming books for languages that I have no intention at the moment of learning. There have been a lot of aspirational purchases that I have made. Computers languages move so quickly so if I haven't got the time or inclination now then I'm not sure I'm going to have the time or inclination anytime soon. Out they go.

  • Books for programming languages that I used that I have no intention of going back to. The big one for me is Perl. I was a Perl programmer long ago and made some serious projects with it. Do I envision going back to Perl anytime soon? Hardly. Out they go.

  • Programming books that say the same thing. Is it a revelation to anyone in 2022 that programmers should use version control or test driven development? Books in the 2010s felt the need to hammer this point home. At this point it's just padding out a book. Out they go.

  • Anything adjacent to Uncle Bob Martin. Fuck that guy and his peccadillo's about Java programming. Out they go.

  • Games that will require more effort than they're worth. I have more games that I haven't played yet. I don't need to have games that have a cognitive overload that's more than the game is worth at the moment. This goes for board games, RPGs, and video games. Out they go.

  • Games that require more than 2 players. JoDee and I tend to be the only folks in this house that play games. Anything that requires more than two players and doesn't have some way of gracefully moving back to two players is a non-starter. Out they go.

  • Game design books that have whole sections on monetization. I tend to sell my games like a busker, not a concert promoter. There's nothing wrong with either approach, but the advice about monetization for games either takes two forms: describing the past, or trying to get folks on this conveyor-belt of giving folks money via DLC or expansions or what-have-you. Neither is productive for my current approach. Out they go.

  • Game design books that are essentially a re-telling of Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies deck. Leave that shit for the Lifehacker crowd that think that all creativity roadblocks can be solved with cards that say "Try faking it" or "What to increase?". Perhaps it'll work for you, but it's lost on me.

  • Dungeons and Dragons. I pretty much fired this whole system from my life because I didn't want to have to remember who the bad actors are in such a large field, and because i find the system doesn't match my current head-space. Rather than waste my time trying to adapt myself to the system I decided I'd had enough. Out it went. That also was true for another system that I found to be a creative dead end. You wouldn't believe how much this freed my mind to think about other things. Sometimes you have to let go of something you brought with you as a kid to let yourself really find your true voice. If it no longer serves the intended purpose then let it go.

  • Items from publishers I no longer trust, or have lost my trust. I don't believe in sunk cost. If a publisher starts behaving badly I'll remove their books from my collection. Even if they managed to publish one of the gold standards of the field it's not worth it to me to keep space for it. That said I also tend to do collect a lot of retro books so most of the publishers that step on this are the ones that are already dead or have been taken over by other companies like some parasitic wasps. I'll hold on to a few things here and there, but if a publisher crosses the line they get removed. I don't have time to play, read, or promote their crap. Out they go.

I still have a bunch of things that need culling but this has helped me make space for the things I actually enjoy. It's a work in progress, and if I come up with new rubrics I'll gladly share.