Imagine for a moment that you are a rock star. Your daily life consists of traveling from one gig to the next, performing in front of crowds of adoring fans, all of them singing your songs and screaming your name. To those who've followed your career, your a genius who makes performing seem as easy as tying your shoes. But, you know better. Your days and nights are long, the constant performing is often grueling, and the traveling comes with a lot of loneliness.

On the other side of that reality is the fans. They hang on your every word, every appearance, and every move. For many of them, you provide them with some sense of purpose, maybe even a sense of belonging to something larger than themselves. Because of you, they lives are fuller and happier because they always have something to look forward to, or fixate on. You. The Rockstar.

So now tell me. Who has it better?

Sure, the rockstar makes all the money, probably has as many groupies as he can handle. There's the satisfaction of being creative and actually having the guts to use those gifts. There's the great ego boost of knowing that quite simply, you make people happy.

But if you're that rockstar, who makes you happy? Any healthy relationship that lasts for any length of time strikes a delicate balance of give and take. Too much giving without reciprocity never works for too long. And too much taking without giving is equally bad.

I used this illustration of the rockstar to establish a metaphor for the the relationship between those who create the entertainment experiences we love, and the people who eagerly eat it all up. The thought came to me because there have been certain moments where I have thought that being a gamer nowadays is probably one of the greatest things a person could experience. Ofcourse, it could be that I just need to get out more. Hmmmm...

But to be serious, There'll be times when I play some random game that has me absolutely hooked. And I think, "This IS brilliant!" And I can't help but wonder if the designers/developers/producers could have possibly enjoyed making the game as much as I enjoyed playing it. Do I have the secret advantage in the fun department?

Think about it. The average gamers concerns pretty much boil down to this:

1) What's it going to cost? And...

2) When's it coming out?

That's it.

On the other side, the creative people putting all that stuff together have endless deadlines, delays, limited resources, advertising issues, budget constraints and probably a dozen more things I can't think of. And at the end of the day? When the product is all finished and ready for the public, the creator's of that product can look forward to a few things. A paycheck, some happy fans, and the satisfaction of a job well done. That's if they're lucky. Ofcourse, the other possibility is having your hard work met with general apathy, or more commonly, to be forgotten within a very, very short time.

What would that feel like?

We've caught glimpses of what the minds behind the games feel like. Phil Fish comes to mind. Cliff Blezinski has sounded off on the dark side of game development on several occasions. Every artist in every field of creative expression loves to feel that their work is valued and understood. Sometimes, it's the only thing that makes the work worthwhile.

Have you ever invested yourself in doing something really great for someone you know? Maybe you bought them a special gift, maybe you threw a party. Who knows. But you know that feeling you get when you realize that they could totally care less? Then you understand what I'm getting at.

I've often thought that I prefer to be the fan, or the "critic". Granted, I like to think that I consider the hard work that went into making something really great. But, I simply can't imagine the constant pressure of having your your best efforts whimsically judged by an often fickle public. But I could be wrong. Maybe there's another side to being "the artist" that I don't know. Maybe there's some greater joy, or feeling that makes it all worthwhile. At least I hope so. What do you think?