To start things off, I'm this guy. In seven hours as of this writing, I will be making available for sale my "first" game, I Get This Call Every Day. You might think that I would be nothing but excitement and enthusiasm, but I've been nothing but a big ball of nervous stress.
Some of that is launch-related: I don't have time to make a launch trailer! and what if the payment processor goes down? and I'll be at work all day on launch day, what if something goes wrong and demands my attention?
Some of that comes from everything else going on around me: cash is tight, bills have piled up, the usual holiday gifting pressure, and medical scares for both my wife and my mother-in-law that haven't been resolved.
Two years ago at Christmastime, my dog Kayla got irreparably sick. I made the call to end her suffering. I constantly question whether I made the right decision. The memory of holding her during her last twitch, watching her limp body being carried away... it haunts me. Especially this time of the year. I probably should have waited until the Holidays were over, because ever since Kayla passed, I hate this time of year.
I know there's a part of me that has deliberately lowered my expectations. I've gotten super-enthusiastic about my work in the past, only to have it shot down (often by my own father). I've become resilient to criticism by lowering expectations. There's less disappointment if it wasn't a big deal to begin with.
Last night I imagined what would happen today if I woke up and found out I was dying. My first regret would be that I wasn't leaving the world with something more positive. I Get This Call Every Day is bleak. It expresses everything I hate about my day job - dealing with idiots, dealing with a bureaucracy sorely lacking in human empathy, existing in an ugly world for eight hours every day. There is no good ending to the game. Others have found humour in the script, but I find none of it funny because it is EXACTLY what I named the game. I get this call every goddamned day. It's not exactly how I want to be remembered.
I wonder if other gamemakers feel this way when a launch is upon them?
I specified "first" in the beginning because I Get This Call Every Day is technically my seventh game. Zombie Zapper, EscapeOut, Ouroborn, A Game For Ana, Josephine, and Apocalypse Later are all a) jam games, made in 72 hours or less, and b) browser-based games that don't warrant a page on this site. You can find them on my website if you're interested, along with my interactive fictions. I Get This Call Every Day is the first game I made outside of a jam, the first game I ever did a huge amount of audio work for (over 250 voice clips, which are bloody hard to produce), and the first game I invested a significant amount of my time and my personality. Part of me hopes that it does well, and another part of me doesn't expect it to do much of anything. That's the defense mechanism talking.