Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor
"Do You Want to Play a Game?"

The Escapist Staff | 6 Dec 2005 11:00
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There are no 'indie' gamers because there is no indie game scene. There is no cohesive, collective, acknowledged network of independent developers, reviewers to serve the diasporic masses of gamers who want it. Truly, The Escapist magazine is a step in this direction, but there must be a division between the corporate giants and the indie collectives, and that division (in a subculture) is marked by a healthy skepticism for the merits of corporate organization and its effects on the medium. Which means declaring unconditional love for something like the Xbox, (the Martini glass was a great touch) is not acceptable. You can't be an indie-rock band and love clear-channel, that's not how indie works. Indie means independent means of distribution and production. It means you don't need a big company to have lots of fans, and many of these fans you know personally.

I'll admit I really love the new Nintendo commercials, and as a gamer, I get jokes that my girlfriend does not. Does this make me a niche demographic? Yes. Does it make it a subculture? No. Can we build a subculture anyways? Yes. But we have to resist giving in to marketing and economics-derived explanations of 'what a game is' or 'what gamers want' and instead think about what it is we want, and how we are going to do it. Our history is largely unwritten! You hear me, Blancato? Stop all this doctor doom shit.

Perhaps I'm just perpetuating the gamer stereotype of the incessantly critical video-game snot, but I'm not critical because I'm a gamer. I'm critical because it is important to be when you care about something, as I do about games and their future.

Escapist, y'all have the power to spell the future of indie games, if you want. Or you can lament the end before it comes. Whatev. I don't care. I'm indie, I don't give a fuck.

Keep up the killer mag.


To the Editor: Funny your columnist should mention Neverwinter Nights in an article about the use of games (or not) in the classroom: one development team in the UK has thought just that, and has created a version of NN to teach Key Skills qualifications in Application of Number and Communication...

Altered Learning

-Adam J Hepton

To the Editor: The Escapist rocks! And I finally have good reason to mail you about my own stuff!

I enjoyed Jon Woods' article in issue 21, and just had to ask you to send him a link to www.KidsProgrammingLanguage.com. KPL is still new - v 1 released in August - but it's very hot. Hot enough that volunteers have translated it into Russian, Chinese, Greek, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Czech, Swedish and Catalan - so far. :) From our KPL site:

KPL stands for Kid's Programming Language. KPL makes it easy for kids to learn computer programming. KPL makes it fun, too, by making it especially easy to program computer games, with cool graphics and sound. KPL is not just for games, though - it can be used for teaching many different subjects. Its emphasis on games is based on the belief that learning is best when learning is fun.

-Jon Schwartz

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