For the Love of the Game
"Sales of the game Darwinia went on to rescue Introversion from financial ruin. ... But the graveyard of the videogame industry is littered with the corpses of starry-eyed developers who weren't as lucky. Impressing critics, building up a loyal cult following and staying true to your artistic vision are sadly often the signs of a failed company in an industry where licensed properties and repetitive sequels still dominate. So, why do people continue to make these cult games if they know there are greener pastures out there?"
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What a great article. Thanks Chris.
I've often wanted to see a set of little regional scenes spring up, kind of like what happened on the American indie scene in the 1980's (Minutemen, Meat Puppets etc.) where the costs of all the infrastructure surrounding the creating is shared to enable the creators to create, and there's mutual appreciation and involvement between the different groups and what they're doing.
Being an old man I remember the scene around the Spectrum and Commodore 64 (although I was a little young to participate meaningfully) and the invention that was managed within the technical limitations of the hardware. I have to say that other than Bioshock (where's there been such care and attention to detail in the look and feel of the game) I've had no inclination to pick up and purchase any other first person shooter over the past 3 years. As far as I can tell from the media, the industry keeps churning out prettier versions of the same games.
You know what I used to have to do to find those games of well deserved critical success but poor sales figures, for whatever bizarre reason? I had to pick over every single place that could possibly hold a used game or bargain bin, sifting all the way to the bottom, bugging the sales clerks over and over, and trying to pay attention to if there were garage sales happening. It was a bloody quest, with many ups and downs. Heck, even when I learned of the internet, trying to find these things gave me headaches up the wazoo as I ended up downloading viruses along with them or non existent patches or no longer supported O/S.
You know what I do now? I go on something like Steam or Stardock, and I pay for it. No more filling out order forms, no more waiting for the post man, no more days/weeks/months of bugging some ignorant sales clerk, no more worry of viruses. Good lord, and demos are coming back too! This is a wonderful time for having a passion for good games.
And I also share the view of substance over pretty looks, so I don't care if the game looks "dated", I'm only concerned with three things: Is it fulfilling fun? Will it work? Will I not get ripped off by a online financial transaction?
Ahh, good days to be a gamer, and I do wish developers like those in this article financial success, so they can continue to contribute to one of my favourite passionate past times.
I hope to see more of these guys in the future. Small, nimble companies coupled with a virtually free distribution network are the way things are headed.
Great read. Anyone actually played Dwarf Fortress that can comment on it?
Beautiful article, even if I feel sad and alone posting here after nearly two years. At least it brought a little attention to this gem of a game, which beats 99% of other games simply because it is the only game in which you can throw your own vomit at enemies.