The Future of Gaming

The Future of Gaming
The Short Shelf Life of EGP Apparel

Jared Newman | 11 Nov 2008 12:34
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"I'm pretty certain it's dead," Gabler said. "The cool thing is, I've talked with lots and lots of indie developers about this, and everyone wants to do it."

So why didn't we hear about EGP Apparel until it was too late? For starters, all three developers were fairly busy at the time. Gray got a job with Electronic Arts and was working on a Nintendo DS game, Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure. Gabler was in full-swing turning Tower of Goo into a bigger commercial title, and McMillen was getting a sequel to Gish off the ground.

But Gray has another theory: None of the three developers are particularly media-savvy. McMillen confided at the end of our interview that he's just now getting out of his shell and making himself more available to reporters. The idea of publicizing the shirts to gaming blogs such as Joystiq or Kotaku didn't occur to Gray at the time. There's also the delicate indie conflict of wanting mainstream acceptance without "selling out."

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But with EGP Apparel, there was no compromise in artistic quality. There were issues with retail and marketing, but ultimately, the shirts underperformed because they lacked the fervent admirers that the games built for themselves in 2005. "It almost did feel like things just went too big, too fast," Gray said.

Gabler and McMillen have new ideas. World of Goo will soon be available for Linux, making it compatible with the movie and game players on the seat backs aboard Virgin Airlines. (Gabler is hoping the carrier will notice if he speak publicly about the idea.) McMillen is working on a line of toys along the same vein as EGP Apparel, and will have more details in a few months.

Whatever other distribution channels they devise, all three developers behind EGP Apparel want to resurrect the project, albeit in a smaller setting. They see it as an internet venture first, slowly building a following until, like the Experimental Gameplay Project at Carnegie Mellon, it reaches a critical mass and takes off. I hate when journalism is a self-fulfilling prophecy, but Gabler sent me this message by e-mail:

"You know, talking to you has started up a little process in the back of my brain - I think we'll put together a new shirt thing much sooner rather than later," he wrote.

This time, let's hear about it.

Jared Newman is a freelance journalist. Visit his blog at www.jarednewman.com/blog

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