I wrote this thought for January’s upcoming droqen was here (#20!), and immediately felt dubious about my usage of the word addict. It seemed to have the right gravity about it, I wanted to take this problem seriously, but I didn’t (and still don’t) think it was quite appropriate — for me or for the word.
So as I have been doing lately, I decided to make up my own word instead, to help me get my feelings all in one basket and deal with them.
The MDA framework sets out eight example player-emotional-responses (“aesthetics” within the framework).
One in particular, Submission, always gave me trouble but I never could quite put my finger on it. I even tried to design anti-submission games through my “games-without-gamification” or “playables” experiments (you can find them at droqen.itch.io), but I don’t think it was ever the aesthetic that troubled me.
It was this then-unidentified vice, and how I could see it interacting with submission-aesthetic games.
Why truckle? Why gluttony? The personal etymology.
I didn’t want to use the word “submit” or “obey” or “follower” because they all came with connotations that I wanted to be free from, so I searched for a word to pair with glutton or gluttony and settled on this totally, to my mind, obsolete word that I’d never heard anyone use before. I’m sure other people have connotations attached, but I didn’t. To me “truckle” is just this word that means to follow, submit, obey, but unsullied by actual use. Also “truckle glutton” is really fun to say.
The word “gluttony” felt natural and appropriate. It evokes a cardinal sin which to me is poetic and also serious, but without being as serious as considering myself actually addicted. There’s also something about it that feels empowering to me personally that I can’t really explain; addiction has always been represented to me as something that one suffers, while gluttony is something that one foolishly partakes in. I’d rather be a glutton than an addict, and I’d rather stop being a glutton than stop being an addict. (Or maybe I’m just in denial.)
So that’s truckle gluttony. My inexpert attempt to define it follows.
(thanks for reading, and I swear I’ll get off this linguistic pedestal and return to proper game-art-design-discussion form sometime this year.)
truckle gluttony (n.)
greedy or excessive indulgence in activities that easily satisfy the search for meaning and purpose in one’s life, especially as provided by an external source.
I check social media notifications to satisfy my truckle gluttony; occasionally I’ll happen upon something important to respond to and it gives me something meaningful to do.