Iwata-san has the heart of a gamer, and my question is what poor bastard’s chest did he carve it from?Ask anyone about the recent game developers conference and you'll hear about 3 events. Sim's creator Will Wright's new evolution game: Spores. Iwata's announcement of the DS going online and the IGDA rant game developers rant session titled Burning Down The House.
The whole thing was pretty great; angry, subversive and funny - but I think the gold goes to our own Greg Costikyan - New Yorker and leader of the the New York chapter of the International Game Developers Association. If you're serious about making games and you live in NYC you've probably been in Greg's apartment.
I don't know about you but I could have been a lawyer, or a carpenter. or a sous-chef. How many of you are here because you’re after a paycheck? [One bloke raises his hand, audience laughs and crows]. Ahuh. And how many of you are here because you love games? [all hands go up]. Right. So we’re being told that everything’s going to get bigger. Paychecks. Budgets. Consoles. But is it going to get better? I’ve been researching old board games and I’ve spotted a pattern. A new genre: it’s called One Hit Game And Its Imitators. One fishing game appears in mid-19C and dozens follow. Games grow through innovations. Creations of new game styles that spawn imitators and whole new markets. The story of the past few decades is not about graphics and processing power, but startling innovation and industry. That’s why we love games. BUT IT’S OVER NOW!From Wonderland
As recently as 1992: games cost 200K. Next generation games will cost 20m. Publishers are becoming increasingly risk averse. Today you cannot get an innovative title published unless your last name is Wright or Miyamoto. Who was at the Microsoft keynote? I don’t know about you but it made my flesh crawl. [laughter] The HD era? Bigger, louder? Big bucks to be made! Well not by you and me of course. Those budgets and teams ensure the death of innovation. Was your allegiance bought at the price of a television? Then there was the Nintendo keynote. This was the company who established the business model that has crucified the industry today.. Iwata-san has the heart of a gamer, and my question is what poor bastard’s chest did he carve it from? [audience falls about]
How often DO they perform human sacrifices at Nintendo?? My friends, we are FUCKED [laughter]. We are well and truly fucked. The bar in terms of graphics and glitz has been raised and raised until we can’t afford to do anything at all. 80 hour weeks until our jobs are all outsourced to Asia. but it’s ok because the HD era is here right? I say, enough. The time has come for revolution! It may seem to you that what I describe is inevitable forces of history, but no, we have free will! EA could have chosen to focus on innovation, but they did not. Nintendo could make development kits cheaply available to small firms, but they prefer to rely on the creativity on one aging designer. You have choices too: work in a massive sweatshop publisher-run studio with thousands of others making the next racing game with the same gameplay as Pole Position. Or you can riot in the streets of Redwood City! Choose another business model, development path, and you can choose to remember why you love games and make sure in a generation’s time there are still games to love. You can start today.