Despite all the shortcomings of the games industry, Jason Della Rocca claims that there are still some virtues worth noting.
During his talk at Triangle Game Conference 2010, Della Rocca mentioned the feared “crunch time,” a period during game production that often causes employees to work 60 hour weeks, stealing naps under their desk whenever they can. However, for every developer that has a rigorous crunch time, there’s a company like Relentless Software, that takes so much pride in its “no crunch time” policy that it has a crunch clock displayed on its website, counting to the second how long it’s gone without a crunch period. Boasting such games as Buzz! and Blue Toad Murder Files, Relentless provides a functional example of the quality of games a “no crunch” developer can produce.
Further, the games industry is also starting to implement hardier strategies to produce a game with less stress, less crunch time and less inter-departmental confusion. Before development companies swelled in size, simple e-mail and face-to-face meetings were sufficient to create a decent game. Nowadays, when companies can host employees numbering in the hundreds, a more efficient strategy is needed. Companies are implementing new management techniques, such as Agile and SCRUM to make the process of game creation more streamlined.
In another panel at TGC 2010, Google discussed its multiple API’s and development tools that are available for aspiring game developers. Della Rocca also mentioned other development tools, such as the Spore Creature Creator, that let non-developers become intimately familiar with basic modeling tools. When development tools are so easy to use and included in a purchased game, the amount of people trying and succeeding at making neat games increases.
Further, videogames are also becoming about more than just entertainment. Games like Brain Age and Wii Fit provide new venues for people to keep their brains and bodies in shape. Games also have the ability to change the world for the better – as mentioned in Jane McGonigal’s TED talk on the subject. These “serious games” bring strangers into a different and harder worlds: Ninjabi and Darfur is Dying are just two examples of these kinds of games.
These are just a few examples of why the games industry doesn’t suck, and if you’d like to read more, it’s all clearly laid out in Della Rocca’s article “10 Things That Don’t Suck About the Game Industry“.