If there’s anything overproduced by the game industry, it’s unconsidered rants.

28 02 2007

Just discovered Magical Wasteland a annoymous blog with some very insightful posts.
I will be posting some extracts here over the next few days for those who cannot be bothered to go and read the long but rewarding posts.

On the Problems with the Manifesto of Manifesto Games

Over a year ago, a company called Manifesto Games was founded with the idea that it would aggregate and sell low-budget but innovative games and by doing so help to advance the state of the game industry. While I have yet to see a new genre of games spring from this site, I do generally like and agree with the idea of invention as an essential but under-explored component of interactive entertainment.Unfortunately, for all the talk of revolution (or even incremental improvement), the level of rhetoric actually displayed on the site is quite disappointing. The hyperbole in the actual Manifesto of Manifesto Games may be explained away as a stylistic choice, but the tract often crosses over into statements that are simply untrue. I believe it’s imprudent to base the foundation for a revolution, or even simply a new company, on such sloppy thinking

Breaking down some of the details:

“The large publishers’ desperate quest to reduce risk paradoxically makes it harder for them to find the best-sellers they need.”Actually, the “desperate quest” is called a strategy, and it works almost disappointingly well from a business standpoint: ask Mr. Kotick of Activision, or look at their quarterly results for the past ten years. There is no evidence I am aware of that suggests otherwise.

“Today, most games are developed in massive sweatshops by hundreds of people over three years or more.”

As before, I don’t have data readily available, but this statement strikes me as an emotional accusation that is not exactly borne out by the true state of things. It may describe some Electronic Arts projects or a few massively multiplayer online games. But to boldly state that “most” games are developed this way plays with the truth in a rather elastic way.

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